Monday, December 21, 2009

They Do Say the Darnedest Things!

I've been hearing some pretty funny things from kids over the past week. Just thought I would share a few:

Yesterday we went to see our Bhutanese family. They have been here about 5 months now and this is their first winter/Christmas in America. We took them some blankets and clothes. As we left, we said, "Merry Christmas!" and the 13 year old said it back. When we asked her if she knows what Christmas is, she told us it is a festival. We told her she was right, it is a celebration. My friend asked if she knows what we are celebrating and her response was, "The National Day of Jesus!" Ahhhh - language barriers......
_________

We were discussing something in my Kinder group the other day and a boy made a very bright comment. When I asked him how he got to be so smart, he responded with, "My last name makes me smart! My dad said all of us are smart!"
_________

Again with my Kinder group, I asked a boy a question and the following conversation took place:

S: I forgot.
Me: That's alright. Even smart people forget things sometimes.
S: I know. I'm not sad. I know why I forget things.
Me: Really? Why is that?
S: Because I'm small and my thoughts are so big they fall out of my brain! My brain isn't big enough to hold it all.
Me: That's OK because when you sleep, it rests your brain so you can remember more.
S: Oh. So that is why old people are so smart. They sleep a LOT!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Movie ABCs

In honor of Christmas break and not having a car to run errands in (she's getting some love this morning), I am going to still this idea from a random blog I saw. It is a list of my favorite movies listed by title from A to Z. Now, I won't get to list all of my favorite movies because of the restrictions but these are some definite favorites! Make your own list or tell me what you think of mine. But beware - listing your own is harder than you think! Yeah for . It reminded me of many movies I would like to see but haven't! Here you go:

A - Annie (1982)
B - Becoming Jane (2007)
C - Christmas Story (1983)
D - Dead Poet's Society (1898)
E - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
F - Finding Neverland (2004)
G - Good Will Hunting (1997) - Only on TV though
H - Holiday Inn (1942)
I - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
J - Just Friends (2005)
K - The King and I (1952)
L - Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
M - Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail (1973)
N - Newsies (1992)
O - Oklahoma (1955)
P - Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Q - *Sorry, Couldn't find one*
R - Roman Holiday (1953)
S - Singin in the Rain (1952)
T - To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
U - *Sorry, Couldn't find one*
V - *Sorry, Couldn't find one*
W - Wizard of Oz (1939)
X - *Sorry, Couldn't find one*
Y - Young Frankenstein (1974)
Z - *Sorry, Couldn't find one*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas, Oikos Style!

On Saturday night, my class had its annual Christmas party. To explain the title of this post, Oikos is the name of my class. There are about 9 classes in the singles program so we name them to keep everyone straight. :) Oikos is a Greek word that means house or family. About half of us were able to come. I figured that since most of you have never met my friends, I would take this time to introduce you to a few of them. Lots of pictures!

Merry Christmas from Oikos!

If you see tacky sweaters, you will have guessed the theme. I didn't have one so my boss let me borrow his jacket. I got into the top two but didn't win. I was sure I would! For the top two, we had to model. Now you can see why I am a teacher!

Me and Sarah, the winner. She turned a Snuggie into a Christmas Tree.

This is the back of my jacket.

After awards were given we sang Christmas songs for a bit and then had a Dirty Santa (Yankee Swap) gift exchange.

You know you are in a single's class when a girl opens a jar of honey with a note attached that says, "If you are single, I'll be your Christmas honey!"

At first I got candles....

but ended up with a pink pony - she likes to give kisses. :)

Now for a few of my friends:

Sharon and Lisa

Sarah, Rachel, Christa, and Jennifer

me and Stan (just a friend)

Amy and Jason (yes, they do match!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Year Later....

All day long I have been scratching my head and wondering about the date. December 11th - why is it significant. Just a few minutes ago, it hit me. A year ago tonight, Erin and I sat in the Berry Center at Converge. Beth taught a lesson on anticipating God. At the end of the evening, Beth prayed that God would be building hopeful anticipation within us for what He was going to do in the next year. She also asked that a year from that night, we would see what He had been preparing for us this entire time. God answers prayers!

It is a year later and though the areas I thought would be different are still the same, He has done a mighty work in this life! One of the main points of the evening was "God will bless you with what you want or He will bless you with more than what you did not know to want." That was what this year was about for me. He did not give me what I wanted (yet) but he gave in abundance of what I could never have imagined. At the time, I was anticipating not being single anymore but (thankfully), God had/has something bigger at play. I'm not 100% sure what yet but some major steps were taken this year. He has been faithful in His promise to direct my steps. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone on many occasions but the result has been blessing on top of blessing. As hard as they have been at times, He has been faithful to direct my steps.

He took me from being a hermit to planting me in a new faith family. I have been blessed beyond measure to be a part of Oikos (my bible class) and the body it is a part of. Just yesterday, I was doing some counting and I have been showered with about 60 new brothers and sisters to come along side in the past 12 months with about 15 of those being good friends. He has taught me how to love others in ways that I have never imagined. People and/or traits that I had little tolerance for now have a special place in my heart. He has taught me how to pray scripture like I never have before. He has taught me the full meaning of James 1:19, "....Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry...." He is changing my world view and the desires of my heart. He is being faithful in the refining fires of his convictions. In many ways, I am not the same person I was a year ago. I feel like God has brought me back to life over the course of the past 12 months. It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz. Life was various shades of gray and then *BAM* color was given!

I'm excited about what the next year holds. I have no idea what I will type on December 11, 2010 but I know that I can look forward to it starting today. I know God is preparing something fresh and new for the days to come!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

You Might Need a Tissue - I Did...

While every job has its perks and challenges, I have been hitting challenges left and right recently. I love teaching for three reasons: challenging kids, seeing lights come on, and forming bonds with students. This year, I feel like I am getting NONE of that. It has reached the point that when thinking on to next year, I am already considering a change. The most challenging part is that I feel like I never see the lights come on. Or even worse, I'll think the lights are coming on and then they bomb a major test. It is heartbreaking to feel useless but ever more so to watch these kids lose confidence with each grade returned to them.

I do really like my 5th grade group. They are so sweet and really funny. It is a group of 5 girls and one lone boy. He is such a good sport about it! We tell him all of the time, "J, you are the man!" He thinks this is funny because he is really THE one and only man. We let him get away with more than he should but my group of girls love him (as do I). They took part in the annual Gingerbread House building today and were so excited about it. Late in the morning, I walked into the 5th grade math class to check on a few of them and they are taking their six weeks assessment. My stomach turned into knots and dropped at the same time. The last time one of these test were given, my kids scores ranged from a 20 to a 60. Watching them get those scores back is something I will never forget no matter how hard I try. Devastating. I noticed that my kid who earned a 20 was already finished and reading a book. Bad news! I went to the teacher and asked if I could see his test. My eyes bugged. He earned a 65! That was a 45 point jump! I thought I was about to die! I asked if I could take him and she said yes. We went outside and I showed him the grade. He shoulders drooped a little before I told him what a big deal it was for him to increase that much AND he got the hardest question on the test correct! He started grinning and actually straightened up. I asked if he wanted to look at his test and he said yes. As we went question by question, we noticed something. He answered three questions correctly but transferred to his answer document incorrectly. It started to dawn on him that he did not have a 65 but a higher score. He asked the value of each question and I told him 5 points. I watched as he counted that he had an extra 15 points for his grade. Then, tears started falling as I watched him count three times what his new grade would be. You see, he had never earned an 80 on a math test before. He couldn't believe it and had to check it three times. He needed me to to double and triple reassure him that he had in fact not only passed a math test for the first time in years but he had earned a B. He stopped again and figured out that this test was 60 points higher than his last one, checking with me again to make sure he was correct. When I told him he was, we hugged, he beamed, and I cried as I told him over and over that I have never been more proud of any student in my life. We sat and laughed for a few minutes before he suddenly stopped. This teacher is known as the hardest on the campus and not to be persuaded. He told me that he was concerned because his teacher only grades the answer document, not the test. I told him that we could talk to the teacher on two conditions: 1) He had to do the talking and 2) She may not change the grade. We talked about what he could say. We talked about that if she did not change his grade, he would know in his heart and head that he earned an 80 and nothing could take that away from him. I would not be any less proud of him. So we walked into the room, he talked to the teacher, and after a stern talking to, she gave him the 15 points! He not only officially earned his 80 but he was brave enough to make sure it happened. I gave him a hug and had to leave before I cried again.

Later that afternoon, I saw him leaving early for an appointment. He looked at me and smiled a smile that lit up his entire face. We had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: You're leaving early?
J: Yep!
Me: You've had a really good day! Dad came to build a gingerbread house with you, you earned an amazing grade on your math test, and you get to leave early.
J: Ms. LaMore, you know what?
Me: What?
J: I'm the man!
Me: Yes, J. For many reasons, you are the man!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Week With the Johnsons

On Monday, Bladen Joel joined our family. Erin, Gregg, and Liz have welcomed him joyfully and are growing love in their home. I was incredibly blessed to be able to be with them this week to help everyone get their feet on the ground. After a couple of days, Erin asked me if staying with them was making me want to have children more or scaring me off. The question still makes me smile. I told her that it makes me look forward to that time to come. I'm not longing for it more or dreading it. I know it is in God's hands. This week was just a sweet taste of things to come. Even though getting up at all hours had its challenges, rocking a sweet baby and praying at 3:00 a.m. was some of the most precious time I have had in a long time. Bladen is a sweet boy already adding joy to our lives. His expressive faces and soft noises warm the heart and balance out the times he is less than happy. He has pretty much stolen this girl's heart! Watching Liz be curious at this person who never left was something else. She was gentle with him and patient for her turn with her parents. She is going to be a great sister! She still has a tug on my heart with that smile, her dancing, and all of her different laughs. She had Erin and I laughing until we couldn't catch our breath this afternoon. Erin was able to start the process of learning how to ensure both of her children are loved, cared for, and getting their share of her. She is an AMAZING mom! She managed to work in one-on-one time with both of the kids each day without neglecting either one. Even recovering from giving birth and adjusting to being a family of four instead of three, she was an incredible hostess. If every home had a mother like her, our world would be a much better place! Gregg is such a great partner for her. They balance each other very well. I love spending time with them because they still enjoy each other - joking, playing, praying, and working together through rest and sleep deprivation. It is obvious that they know how to laugh when they need to most. Gregg is a great dad - playing with the kids, taking care of tasks around the house, and making sure Erin is getting what she needs. The Johnson family is blessed to have him as their head.

Overall, it was a sweet week. It was hard to leave them but I have no doubt that I'll be back very soon (well - when needed or to get a sister/aunt fix). Much, much love to my Johnson family!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Daddio and Liz

Daddio was a big hit this Thanksgiving with Miss Liz! Between reading books, taking pictures, and his clean shoes, his granddaughter was quite smitten! I do love my dad and my niece!





Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Lesson

The past two years, the two days before Thanksgiving break have been two of my favorite days to be a teacher. We would do rotations and in each group, we would have an activity to learn more about the lives of the Pilgrims and our Thanksgiving traditions/symbols. The kids LOVE it and we just have a great time. Since I am not in the classroom anymore, it was quite different today. I bounced around from grade to grade helping in their own celebrations. In addition to that, I spent part of the morning (yesterday and today) with one of my pull out kiddos. He is Jehovah's Witness and cannot participate in any holiday activities. Yesterday we "ran errands" around the school and played word games. It was really fun to be with this little guy. He talks a lot so I have to really be on him to be quiet in class. However, the past two days, he has been able to talk his heart out! Such a sweet boy!

*Sidenote: When I asked him to describe a clown yesterday, he responded with, "Cheeky!"

Today my team had a pot luck lunch. I was making fruit salsa with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips. Since it was fruit and I wanted it to be fresh, I decided that my time with the student today would be making the salsa. I bought a cheap chopper and let him go to town. All of that six year old boy energy chopped fruit faster than I have ever seen! While we chopped and mixed, we talked. About half way through, I asked him if he ever helps his mom in the kitchen. He told me that they just moved to a new hotel room and this one doesn't have a kitchen. As a matter of fact, he has never really been in a kitchen before.

This was a huge ah-ha moment for me. Instead of feeling sorry for him because he couldn't make a turkey, my heart broke for him. Here he was, a first grader, and his first experience making any kind of food was in a portable classroom with his reading intervention teacher. He loved every moment of it and was beyond enthusiastic! However, he has never licked a beater after his mom makes a cake. He has never helped ice cookies or helped stir the macaroni and cheese. He has never helped make a salad.

Instead of crying (like I wanted to), I told him what a good job he was doing. I said that he should be a chef. We talked about what a chef is and what kind of food he would make. I tasted the simple salsa and ooo-ed and awwwww-ed at what a fantastic job he did. He smiled this big crooked smile and asked if he could help me cook again sometime. I told him that in about three weeks I would need some more help (Christmas/winter parties). He just said, "aw-wight!" So in three weeks we will cook again and we will talk about being a chef. He will be the most amazing cook in the first grade and I'll do whatever I can in those few hours to plant seeds that can break the cycle his family is in.

Who knows - maybe the very next Emeril is sitting in my room instead of celebrating a holiday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lessons from the Corner

Each day on my way home, I get stopped at the intersection of I-10 and Hwy 6. Most days there is a man on the corner with a cardboard sign. There are a few regulars that I have come to recognize and have spoken to a few times. Nice men is need of a little help. There is even one guy that I look for because the next time I see him, I'm thinking of taking him to the new coffee shop on the corner. Most days, their signs talk about being in need of money, out of work, and/or being a Veteran. Most people get on their phones and avoid eye contact at all cost. My heart breaks for these men. They are treated like they have the plague.

Today, I sat at the light and looked over to see a new face. I've never seen him before but there he was - missing his front few teeth and leading the cutest dog ever. He had the most contagious smile I have seen all day long. He looked drivers in the eye, smiled at them, and waved enthusiastically. He made the corner of my mouth turn up a bit. I glanced at his sign and all it said was "Cheeseburger, please!" followed by a smiley face. It was too much. I burst out smiling and laughing. He saw me, smiled, waved, and gave me a thumbs up. I have never been so sad to not have cash on me. He made my day!

As I drove past, two thoughts entered my mind: 1) I hope he is there tomorrow and 2) what a brat I am! Here was a man with very little, obviously full of joy and seeking his daily bread. One smile, one meal, full of joy. There I was, sitting in my car on my way home to prepared dinner feeling a little down after spending a rough-ish day at my very secure job. There he was, with no income just hoping for the generosity of others, smiling like it was Christmas Day. It was obvious who has their perspective correct.

Today, I wish I was more like the man on the corner.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Praise!!

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for your prayers for my coworker! Today, an emergency C-Section was performed and this world welcomed little Dalton. He is 3 pounds exactly and is 20 inches long. There is concern about his lungs but he is in NICU for a little while. Mom is doing very well. She feels great and is beyond in love with her son. As soon as a picture is available, I'll share with you the results of your prayers.

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom!" - Psalm 145:3

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Prayer Request Update

Thank you so much for praying for my friend! They did a stress test today and the decision was made to schedule a c-section for Thursday. The only area of development that the doctors are concerned about are the baby's lungs. They are giving her a series of shots to help in that area and then on Thursday, we will welcome her son into the world. She is OK but still in shock. As things continue, I'll update more. Thanks again for your petitions on her behalf!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

Last year, God blessed me with the opportunity to work with an amazing woman. She is the most positive, loving woman I've ever met. I don't think that I have ever heard a negative word come put of her mouth. She loves her students, family, and friends so much!

As we got to know each other, she told me that before moving to Houston, she and her husband lost a son in her eighth month of pregnancy. She had to deliver him stillborn and it was devastating for them. Time was healing them as much as it could and they leaned deeply on God. Then, last April, she announced to us that she was pregnant again. Aside from my niece and nephew, I've never been so excited or prayed harder for a baby in my life. She is due on December 18th.

I just got a call that she was admitted to the hospital this afternoon. The doctor is concerned that the baby does not have enough room so they are keeping her to observe the baby overnight. She just text me that everything is looking good so far. I'm just so scared for her to lose another baby at 8 months. She sounds alright but I know this is in the back of her mind.

Since God is not bound by time, I ask you to prayer for her and the baby as soon as you get this. I so appreciate you joining me in this!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Me? Wrong? Of Course......

About two months ago, I wrote a rather embarrassing post about my celebrity crush of Adam Richman. At the time I ended the post with this sentence, "However, the reality of a Houston school teacher meeting the host of a popular national television show is highly unlikely." Well, looks like I could have been wrong....

I was just looking through my email at a list of events coming to the House of Blues and guess who is going to be in Houston on December 2? Oh my word!! If I were not expecting to meet my very first nephew, tickets would in strongly considered.

Oh what a nerd am I!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Oh the Things They Will Say

I haven't blogged about work too much this year. It's been pretty different in both good and bad ways. I'm working with a completely new population within our school through our REACH (reading) and Title (math) intervention programs. We are working with the kids that 15 years ago would have been in special education or pretty close to it. Most days are fine but every once in a while, it can be pretty daunting. This morning we had a meeting that was very overwhelming. Those of us on that team were pretty shell shocked. But bless 'em, we had kids that just made us laugh and laugh and laugh. Because, truth be told, if you don't laugh, you'll cry - really hard. Here are the things that broke our tension with delirious laughter:

Me: Who is your teacher?
Kinder kid: Mrs. REACH
Me: Yes, you are in REACH but who is your teacher?
Kinder kid: Mrs. REACH!
(10 minutes later)
His Teacher: Do you know my name?
Kinder kid: No
His Teacher: Ms. Mitchell
Kinder kid: Oh
His Teacher: OK, so what is my name?
Kinder kid: Mrs. REACH

Overheard from the boys' restroom:
- I left my pee in the water!

Teacher to a girl in the restroom (notice a pattern here):
Teacher: Why aren't you using the restroom?
2nd grader: The toilet won't flush.
Teacher: Did you push the lever down?
2nd grader: Yes
Teacher: Are you sure?
2nd grader: Yes
Teacher pushes the lever and the toilet flushes
2nd grader: Oh. I didn't try that.

Teacher: What are some things that you could be doing at 7:00 a.m.?
Student: Getting home.

Three minutes after giving a reading passage to students:
Student: I'm finished
Teacher: Are you sure? You read the passage and answered all of the questions in three minutes?
Student: Oh yeah, I forgot to read it!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What a Week!

Well, unfortunately I have had major blogging block. Thankfully I have been almost too busy to feel too bad but for you that means the simple, boring week in review until I have something else to share. Here you go:

Monday - God was incredibly gracious and gave me an unexpected night at home after placing an order at a bakery. He sure know what I needed!

Tuesday - Our school had its 40th Birthday Celebration. It was amazing! All of the former principals came back including the man the school is named for. It was such a sweet time to honor him as well as everyone who has served our school and helped make it what we love today. There were several tears of gratitude shed. It made for a long night but it was so sweet!

Wednesday - I helped host a bridal/baby shower for a couple of girls I work with. So fun but so crazy! Note to self - when doing a school wide shower, have more than two hostesses! Some of our former teammates came so we had some time to catch up. I left straight from work to head to church. Again, another long day but a good one!

Thursday - After work, a couple of girls and I went to see Mary Poppins. LOVED IT! It you get a chance to go, do it! It is a great story and visually stunning! I could go on and on but this is just a recap... It was nice to see my friends outside of school and just catch up. Working across campus can really make you miss your friends!

Friday - Dinner with the Johnsons and then watching Little Girl while her parents went on a date. I sure do love her! Lesson of the night - get faster at getting her dressed after bath time! I'm not anywhere near as practiced as her folks. Spent the night there.

Saturday - Come home after breakfast. Later, met up at church for First Fest with the Bhutanese. What an amazing fall festival with some of my favorite new people! Then, home again and crashed big time for a much needed night of rest.

Sunday - God dominoed everything on me today - in the best of ways. From an amazing time of prayer, worship, and study to meeting up with friends to discuss some of the harder aspects of scripture, He was all over today in revelation and conviction. My cup overflows!

Now off to bed so I can start this week well rested. Hope you all have a good one!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Point Made!

I heard the following sermon illustration in an amazing message on Genesis 4-5. Had to share it:

A young girl had a pet boa constrictor. She loved it and would let it get out of the cage. It was like a member of the family. She let it slither around - loved it, cared for it, fed it. Eventually she began to let it sleep in her bed with her like a friend. It would stretch out along her back and cuddle with her. She thought it was very sweet. Then, after a while, she noticed that the snake had quit eating. No more rats or mice. So she took it to the vet. He asked if the snake had experienced any trauma or sudden changes to its life or diet. She said no but left out the part about it sleeping in the bed with her because she didn't want to sound weird. He said if it continued to be a problem, to bring it back. So she took it home and nothing changed. She grew more concerned and began to freak out. She went back to the vet and he asked her if she was sure nothing significant had changed. She finally admitted that the snake was sleeping with her, and shared how great it was - it stretched out and snuggled up next to her. The vet immediately reacted and told her to stop. He corrected her that the snake had not been cuddling with her. In fact, the boa constrictor was measuring her. The snake was starving itself so it could eat her. He told her that it is not a pet - it wants to devour you.

And sin and temptation are the same way. You don't own it, it owns you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Running Mind

Well, for the fourth night in a row, my mind is spinning and sleep is not knocking on my door (quite out of the ordinary for me). So to help unwind, I'm going to leave it here so hopefully I can crash.

1. Liz in one today. When did that happen!? I sure do love that girl a lot. She doesn't know it yet but her aunt is pretty much wrapped around her finger more tightly every time I see her. I can't wait to celebrate her on Saturday!! Erin wrote an amazingly sweet blog and posted some great pictures. Check it out!

2. Things at work are kind of weird this year. They are changing and the stress levels are WAY up. I haven't felt this in years. I'm on a major learning curve this year and it has majorly overwhelming moments. I wear a pin on my lanyard that says "Expect Miracles". This year, I praying for it!

3. I can honestly say that I have never fully understood the meaning of having your heart tugged at but the past two days have pulled and twisted so many times. God is busy with some pretty significant lessons here and they keep me up at night. That is another blog for another day though. I'm sure it will come soon so keep your eyes open.

4. I made a pretty shocking decision yesterday. Women across the country will think I am nuts but I'm very peaceful about it. I've decided to stop attending the Bible Study led by Beth Moore (at least for this semester). I had a choice to continue with the study or to join a small group of girls that meets on Tuesday nights. Since relationships/community is one area God has been working with me, I decided to go with the small group.

5. I am torn between the American, westernized church and what we are called to be in Scripture. I see big discrepancies in my life and what we are called to. Again, another blog for another time.

6. I have the BEST bible class ever! My breath is taken away at the sincerity and hearts of the people I do this thing called life with. They are amazing!

7. I'm thankful for brainless books and TV to give me mental breaks!

8. Kindergarteners can make me laugh quicker than just about any age group. They are SO funny!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Fun Theory

Holly sent me a link to this website called The Fun Theory and I just had to share the videos with you. Each is only a minute and a half long. The idea is that by making something fun, people's behavior can change. In short, I want to live where these people are. Amazing and fun! :)

The Bottle Bank Arcade Machine (Recycling Glass Bottles)


Piano Staircase (take the stairs rather than the escalator)


The World's Deepest Bin (Throw trash in the trashcan)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Worry Amended

I totally forgot to share something with you about worry. You may know this already but humor me for a minute. Clint was sharing that in his study for the lesson, he decided to look into the origins of the word "worry". Now, he could have stopped after this because it is a one lined sermon. Ready?

The word "worry" originates from a word that means "to strangle".

If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what does!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Casting it on Him

Tonight at Koinonia, we talked about worry. We spent a lot of time in Matthew 6 are a few related verses. By the end of the evening, one of the conclusions we reached was that worry is a lack of faith. Worry shows doubt in not only what God can do but who He is. We spent some good time talking about casting our worries on Him and taking up His yoke. So I've decided to ask you to come aside me in casting some worries off. Below are some prayers that I am lifting up and covet your prayers along these lines.

1. Health - Things are a conundrum with my health again. The last appointment, the doctor threw out some words that sucker punched me. The medications are not working which means I'm not working. Satan speaks lies to me using this in many ways. My prayers are that the doctors can figure out something that will work, that I'll have peace through this, and that Satan will quit messing with me through it.

2. Singleness - not anywhere near as bad as it has been in the past but I feel it trying to sneak up on me. I just want to nip any discontentment in the bud.

3. Work - I'm still trying to find my footing in my new position. I'm just needing some assurance that something is making a difference. I still miss my old position but this is what I've been entrusted with for the year.

4. Finances - I really want to knock some things out but things keep popping up. I just want to be a good steward of what I've been given but I need to catch a break from things breaking. :)

5. Faith - To have a persevering faith that does not doubt but keeps relying on God. Some days it is hard to remember that not only have my prayers been heard but answered.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Words of Warning

Early last spring, I took a good long look at my life and decided that I was officially becoming a hermit. I spent much time praying that God would take me out of that cycle and help me to get a life. I prayed for things to become active in and for people to build community with. Fast forward eight months and now I am praying for a weekend to breathe. :) I'm so thankful but juggling everything is insane! Here are my weekend for the next few months:

Oct 16 - 18 - Community Pot Luck and Game night
Oct 23 - 25 - Liz's 1st birthday party (WHAT!? That was TOO fast!) and a friend's shower (in the evening)
Oct 30 - Nov 1- the end of the busiest week known to man (well, besides creation), Watch Liz and Dinner with the Bhutanese/FirstFest
November 7 - 9 - class hiking trip on Saturday and shower for Bladen on Sunday
November 13 - 15 - OPEN
November 20 - 22 - Jill's wedding
November 27 - 29 - Thanksgiving
December 4 - 6 - Sitting by the phone for a call about Bladen and Christmas Store
December 11 -13 - Sitting by the phone for a call about Bladen and Class Christmas Party/Celebration
December 19 - 21 - OPEN
December 25 - 27 - Christmas

So if I don't make it down to Pleasanton before Christmas, I hope you'll understand! :) So my words of warning, be careful what you pray for! It is a HUGE blessing but man, I'm thankful for this weekend to rest up for what's to come!

So is this just me or is anyone else busy?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Wonderful, Merciful, Savior

For me, the concept of mercy has been one that has alluded me. I've understood grace for about three years now. I didn't understand redemption until about 8 months ago. What can I say, I'm a recovering legalist. Learning the character of God and who He is continues to be a relatively new reality for me. However, He is faithful to teach me about Himself in the small doses that He deems me ready for. Tonight, He decided I was ready to understand His mercy.

We are studying Revelation this fall in an 11 week overview of the book. It is hard and heavy but SO good! Tonight we covered the first 6 seals (yes, you read that correctly). It was pretty intense. Reading about the judgements to come can be overwhelming and dismaying (to say the least). At the end of the lesson, we talked about some reasons we are so anxious about what we find in the Revelation. One idea presented was that we are merciful people, not wanting to see disaster fall on people - especially of an eternal nature. She said something that then opened my eyes to the meaning of mercy. We are merciful because we are created in the image of God - our Merciful God.

We read about His patience and desire for all to be saved (II Peter 3:9), His heartbreak in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:10-11), and His compassion on those doomed to eventual destruction (Jonah 4:2). If we feel such torment over the souls of our fellow man (even those we do not know), how much more torment does their Creator feel for them?

She made this statement and it kept me in my seat for a good 5 minutes after the study was over, frozen in humility. Everyday that we wake up and are still on this earth, it is God shedding His mercy on those He desires to turn to back to Him. He is holding back His judgement from those still in need of Him.

I will never grumble about a morning given again - no matter how my soul aches to finally be home. He is a wonderful, merciful Savior!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Words From the Wise Doctor

The other day I was looking for a quote and found myself wrapped up in the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. Enjoy these words to live by:

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient to living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go.

Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is Youer than You.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Stewardship

I've been think a lot about stewardship over the past few weeks. In every relationship, walk of life, and responsibility I've been given, I am starting to see it all as an opportunity to be a good steward. God has blessed me abundantly and now I need to step up in all areas for His glory. Here are some areas that I have been considering:

- Time - How am I using my time? Is it for the sake of others or for myself? Who benefits from my daily activity and focus? Does my calendar reflect my priorities? Am I honoring the Ancient of Days by making the most of this twinkling of an eye?
- Body - Am I making the most of this body? I have been blessed with full use of my body and mind but am I keeping it in shape? Am I honoring the One who knit me together by what I put in or how I exercise by body?
- Money - Am I being wise in the choices I am making? Am I being responsible with what I have been given? Am I honoring the Giver and Provider with what He has entrusted to me?
- Environment - Am I being the caretaker I have been created to be? Am I doing what I can to take care of my current home (this earth)? Am I honoring the Creator by caring for His creation?

What is all comes down to is honoring Him with all we are and all we've been given. It's amazing how great a task that is when you stop and actually think about it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Back!

Hey Y'all!

Well, after two weeks without a computer, I'm back! I have to admit, it wasn't as unbearable as I anticipated but I'm more thankful than not to be blogging from my living room again. The past two weeks have been filled with research on all brands and types of computers. While I am by no means an expert, I'm definitely smarter now! I made my choice and on Friday, I bought a MacBook Pro. I. LOVE. IT. I haven't had much time to play with it but so far, I'm two steps past giddy! Mom and I played on Photo Booth briefly yesterday and had quite a good laugh with it! I really do think that it will turn into a blessing for others as well! So I'm back and singing to praises of Mac! New posts to be coming soon (two weeks gives you lots of time to think).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As a Doornail.....

Well, I've about had it with computers. Six weeks ago, I lost mine due to virus repairs for about five days. Now it looks like I have completely lost it (well - that could have multiple meanings but for now, I mean just the computer). It won't even turn on. Dead as a doornail! In a nutshell, this stinks.....

So for the time being, I'm using the public library every couple of days. Who knows how long that will last! I've started researching new computers but they are not cheap. We will see. I may not last long without it! Sad, I know! So between my weak will power and sad need for the internet, I may have a new one before too long. Yea for consumer reports!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ten Lessons of Christ

Matt is going to teach a sermon series on the ten most important teachings of Christ. He asked us to share with him what lessons we would choose if we were to outline this series. I thought about it quite a bit and came up with the ten that are speaking to my heart most right now. Narrowing it down to just ten was hard! Here is what I said:

1. The Cost of True Discipleship
2. Lean on God for rest and rejuvenation (Matthew 11:28 - 30 and His times of solitude)
3. Do not cast stones! (Woman in Caught in Adultery)
4. Have God as God Alone (Rich Young Ruler)
5. Serving the Poor and Investing Ourselves in Them
6. The Greatest Command (Matthew 22:34-40)
7. Seven Woes (Matthew 23 - I believe that this is vital for 21st Century American Christians - especially for me!)
8. Serving Others (Washing the Disciples Feet)
9. Abide in Christ (John 15:1 - 17)
10. Freely loving people - especially the hard ones!

So what do you think of my ten? If you were to name the ten most important lessons Christ taught us, what would you choose? You are welcome to comment or post it on your blog. I'm curious as to how Christ speaks to us and our hearts right now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brad, Dierks, and Jimmy

Last night, six of us headed up to The Woodlands to see Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, and Jimmy Wade. What a great show! Jennifer, Krista, and I rode together since we were coming from Katy. We met up with Rachel, Sarah, and Greg. Yes, that is one guy to five girls - he is very secure. :) We had seats on the hill so we were thankful that the rain stopped, a breeze started blowing, and the temps sat at around 78 degrees. Beautiful night! The guys were so down to earth and funny! Overall, it was about 4 hours of great music. We all were wanting to hear different songs and we all got to hear what we wanted. Such a good time! Enjoy a few pictures from last night!

The Pavilion - Our view from the top of the hill

Four of the girls - me, Krista, Jennifer, and Sarah

Rachel and Greg
Jennifer and me
me and Krista

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Holy Reminder

Just in case you are like me and your just need a reminder that God is right where He always has been, where He is now, and where He always will be: Daniel 7:9 - 10, 13 - 14

As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.....there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all people, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Revelation

I know that for most people, going back to school is an exciting time for many reasons. Parents are ready to get their kids back in classes. Students are ready to see their friends. Teachers are anticipating new starts. Yet, for me, back to school spotlights one thing - Fall Bible Study!

Tonight, I (along with about 4,000 other women) gathered together to begin a 10 week study of the book of Revelation. I'm pretty excited! The night started off with several of my favorite praise and worship songs ("Lord Your Holy" will get you going no matter what type of day you've had). Then we dove into the Word.

Revelation is such a "controversial" book. I know that is odd to say but I hope you understand the heart behind it. So many people take so many different views about it. Yet, here we embark. One thing that I have grown to love and respect about Beth is that she is very upfront with you. Just as she did with Daniel, she announced tonight that scholars disagree on aspects of the book and she is presenting what she believes based upon her study. She highly encourages people to study on their own and form their own opinions. I so appreciate her honesty and exhortation towards personal study.

I'm looking forward to this study for several reasons but I guess one that I'm looking forward to the most is talking to Dad about it. He has been involved in a pretty intense study of this book for a while now. I am interested to see how what we are learning aligns with what he has read. There are good discussions to be had!

Just a sidenote - The minister at the church where the study is held is teaching on Genesis on Sunday mornings and we are studying Revelation on Tuesday nights. Talk about covering the whole spectrum!

I hope that you find yourself in a good study this fall!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Speech for the Students

Whether you agree with him or not, President Obama has a great speech lined up for tomorrow. Check it out here: speech

At least glance over it - it is the kick in the pants lots of kids need these days.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

What I Learned Today

About two days ago, I decided that I wanted to find a farmer's market in the area (another post to come soon). I found one about five minutes away so this morning I made my way over. Thankfully the vendor I was looking for was still there. He was from a farm in Waller that is all organic and grass fed. I was at the end of his line so we got to visit for a few minutes. We were talking and he asked if I eat much honey. I said not really but I like it. He let me sample what he brought while listing off the benefits honey. Some were blanket statements (helps ward off diabetes) but this one really stood out: Eating locally grown honey actually helps reduce problems with allergies. When I asked why, he said that since bees carry so much pollen, the pollen gets in their honey and acts like a vaccination for the allergens in the air. Basically, it builds up your body's immunity to the area allergens. WHOA! Makes total sense! The fact that I did not figure it out makes me feel dumb but it is so good to know!

So helpful hint for the day - if you have allergies, eat locally grown honey!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

To the Man in the Big, Black Truck

Dear Sir,

While you may not remember me, your behavior this evening insured that you will remain in my memory for a good while. To refresh you, I am the girl in the bright blue car who you saw driving on the interstate through Houston. I must give you credit, you most definitely got my attention. The fact that you drove parallel to me for a full minute would have been enough for me to take notice. So in an effort to acknowledge you, I turned to see who you are. This is the point in which your plan went horribly, horribly wrong.

As I was able to tell by your next move, you obvious do not know me. As a helpful hint, the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, please bear in mind the following information. A nice girl would respond well to the following if you are trying to get her attention while driving on I-10: a smile with a nod or small wave and possibly a wink. I would ask that you forget the move you made this afternoon. I would like you to know that flicking your tongue in and out of your mouth while staring at a girl in not complimentary or safe. While you may find this clever and charming, it has the exact opposite effect on women. I tell you this because I wish to clarify that the face I made in reaction (like I just ate an extremely sour lemon) was not in fact an invitation to continue driving parallel to me. A face of that type is intended to send the message that you can now speed up or slow down. In other words, please move on. Also, your choice to continue after I obviously ignored you for the next two miles actually came across stalker-ish rather than persistent. Instead of sending me into a tizzy of giddiness, the final result of our encounter was that of tremors, repulsion, and edginess around big black trucks for the remainder of my drive. Any good girl would respond in this same manner so I urge you to take note.

Thank you,
The Girl in the Bright Blue Car

Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend Update

One thing I love about seeing people post about a similar event is seeing what everyone walked away with. This past weekend, Julie, Lauren, Mindi, Erin, and I met up for Wicked and visiting in Austin. Mindi and Erin have both weighed in with pics and thoughts so I'll let you check with them for the shots and their thoughts. Here are mine:

1. I love these girls! Always have, always will. I could do an entire post on each one individually but I'll just hit the high points for you. Lauren makes me laugh so much - just ask her about her snake! Mindi has such a sweet heart and knows how to bond with my over teacher stuff. Julie is just that friend that always feels like time has never passed and you can just be your true self with. And I have done entire posts on Erin but I love to watch her with her friends. What a gift it was. Again, I just love these girls!

2. I love Austin! Just the very little bit we drove around stirred up all of that love that has been settling in. This weekend reminded me how great I would be with living there again. Lord willing, I would be thrilled to call Austin home!

3. It may have been the fourth time to see Wicked but it gets me every time. I noticed this time an odd sense of pride towards the performers. I admire the amount of talent and work putting on a musical night after night takes. I love curtain call just to celebrate and honor their accomplishments.

4. Charlie and Jeff are amazing with kids! Honestly, they were incredible!

5. Julie's home is beautiful! Not only can she decorate but she knows how to make people feel comfortable and welcome. What a gift she has for hospitality!

6. I'm not obsessed however - there was a Man vs. Food illustration in the sermon. I about fell off the pew. I'm just saying....

7. You know you are on the same page when we get ready to go and our clothes all coordinate perfectly without any thought or planning!

Overall, what a great weekend! Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrity Crush

The first week of school is down and I'm beat. It was much easier to adjust to than I anticipated but I'm exhausted. So after a long week (and that intense last post), it's time for something light, fun, and a touch on the embarrassing side. :)

I've never been one of those swooning girls. Celebrities have never really done it for me. Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey have brought many friends to their knees but not me. I've noticed a few famous actors but they have never really made me pause to take notice. Until this summer....

While I wait for my beloved Office to come back (September 17), I decided to check out a show I had heard about from Gregg, Erin, and the Fritsches: Man vs. Food. OH. MY. GOODNESS. It has jumped up to one of my top four favorite shows ever. The host travels the country taking on food challenges while exploring the city of the challenge. The massive amounts of food can be absolutely disgusting at times and makes this girl's TMJ scream but one thing keeps me watching when I can - Adam Richman. That's right - my celebrity crush.

Now please keep in mind through this next paragraph that I am a level headed, normal person with two realistic feet on the ground. I'm going to sound rather odd but you love me so I'm okay with it at the moment. Here is the greatness of Adam - not only is he obviously passionate about what he does, he is adorable, amazing with people of all ages, incredibly smart, loves to travel, and is absolutely hilarious. The best thing of all is that he is real. He doesn't put anything forward that is not truly him. Based on things I have seen and read, we have quite a few similarities. I've even called some of his unscripted lines at times. In any reality where there would be an opportunity to hang out with him, I have no doubt that good times would be had. However, the reality of a Houston school teacher meeting the host of a popular national television show is highly unlikely. So in exchange, I'll keep my crush from a far and enjoy the show as I unwind after a day with students. At least I don't have to ever worry about cooking for a food aficionado!

So don't leave me hanging here. We all have a celebrity crush whether we want to admit it or not. Time to 'fess up and share. Who is it?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School

This is a post that has been rolling around in my head for a while. It has been difficult to write about and I'm sure it still won't convey what I'm thinking/feeling in its entirety. Thanks for bearing with the stuff and fluff the past few posts have been while I process this.

A few months ago, I was blessed beyond measure to work with a community of Bhutanese refugees during the Houston Project. I wasn't the only one who was significantly touched by these people. The other people in my class were also affected and we have decided that the one week was not enough. In order to truly make a difference for the Lord, we have to be in there, building relationships and serving them in love. And they are SO easy to love! So far we have done two follow ups. Both had to do with school. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that it has completely changed my world view.

For most people, back to school time is fun. New supplies, new clothes, seeing old friends and making new ones. For those families we have been working with, I am seeing this experience in a completely different way. I am scared to death for them. We have adopted a few families but my experiences have really focused on two specifically. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Most of the families we have been working with have been here for one to four months.
  • The families we work with have escaped intense political and religious persecution.
  • The parents speak minimal to no English.
  • The fathers cannot get jobs - These men were farmers, shop keepers, and business men in Nepal and Bhutan. Now they are unable to find work. Language in a barrier and they don't know how to look for jobs here. On top of that....well, you know the state of the job market.
  • Since there is no job, there is no income. That means: no money for uniforms or supplies, no money for a car.
  • Since they don't have a car, how do the kids get to school? They live 1.6 miles from the school so they don't qualify for the school bus. Their choices are to either pay $1.25 a day to get to and from school on the Metro bus or they walk. The $1.25 a day doesn't sound like much but remember, no job. So they have to decide by tomorrow morning how to get to school.
  • The school district where these kids will attend hands out vouchers for one free uniform to those in need. But....they ran out last week so we have to hope that they can get one - IF they kid can figure out who to ask and how to ask for it. The parents can't help because of the language barrier.
  • They don't speak English so today we helped them fill out free and reduced lunch forms, emergency information cards, and employment surveys.
  • For the older kids, they not only have to get to school, they have to learn how to navigate in an American school. In Nepal, they stayed in one room all day and sat on the carpeted floor. Not so here.
  • We taught a girl how to open a dial lock for her locker. That is hard enough with English speakers!
  • These children will have to translate everything for their parents if they can remember it all. I'm not even going to go into the whole homework thing right now!

So tomorrow as I spend the morning getting ready to begin my seventh year teaching, I'm already thankful that I don't have a group of little ones to corral. My mind will not be on them. It will be on dozens of little ones who will hopefully be stepping foot into a new school tomorrow. Overwhelmed and having no clue what is going on, they are the bravest souls, eager and ready to get going. I honestly wish I didn't have to work tomorrow so I could just take them to their schools.

Pray, y'all.....Pray hard!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You're Kidding, Right?

So many wonderful things have happened in the past week but I am WAY to brain dead to put together more than a couple of coherent sentences. So to hold you over....

I was getting ready to check my email and a recipe caught my eye. What was the recipe? Bobby Flay's Root Beer Float. Well, Bobby Flay must have SOME magical ingredient if his root beer float is so good it calls for a highlighted link. I clicked on it and the ingredient list consisted of....wait for it.....vanilla ice cream and root beer! Seriously!?!? How sad is it that just because your name is well known, you can get a highlighted recognition for something so obvious/common! I bet tomorrow they will be featuring Rachel Ray's Water!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And There Go My Teeth...

Yesterday I was watching the Today Show while I was finishing breakfast (waffles, blackberries, and orange juice). On at that moment was a story about the five worst things for your teeth. Number four was lemonade. The dentist on the show was saying that it has the double whammies of sugar and acids. As she was mentioning the acidic drinks, I was taking my last drink of my orange juice. So I jump up and run to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Got the toothpaste on the brush, ran it under some water, and was about ten seconds into it when I returned to the story. As I am finishing up the bottom teeth, the dentist shares that if you do drink acidic drinks like lemonade, white wine, or orange juice, you should wait about 30 minutes before you brush your teeth. This is because the acids are so thick on your teeth that immediate brushing will actually be scrubbing your teeth with the acids instead of removing it.

Grrrr....I only thought I was starting my day right - healthy orange juice with breakfast and good dental care. In about 2 minutes, I learned I was swinging and missing. Oh well.....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Major Catch Up

So I've been without my computer for five days due to virus repair. Yes - FIVE DAYS! I know that the world continued turning and that I survived it. Life did go on. However, I cannot tell you how WONDERFUL it is to have it back! So of course, I had several blog ideas and no computer to put them on. Now that it is back, I can't remember them. :) So here is a recap of yesterday.

You know how when you move away one of two things can happen to your friends: a) you drift apart due to lack of contact or b) you have such a strong bond that time and distance make no difference. Yesterday was filled with option b. I took a day trip to San Marcos and it was exactly what I needed! I got to have lunch with two of the most amazing girls yesterday. Just seeing them made me giddy with laughter. I've missed them so much and just didn't know it until I could hug them. The greatest blessing is that is was mutual. These are the women who taught me how to teach and have just loved me, no questions asked for four years. They are so funny and such wonderful listeners! As we sat and visited about everything and nothing, all I could think about was what a blessing they are to me. I really don't know how I fooled them into thinking I was in their league but somehow I did. :) When we get together, it is like no time has passed at all. Now if we could get together more than once a year...Love you Adrienne and Danielle!

Then it was off to see my friend Brent. We've been in touch over facebook chat and we saw each other in February. Thankfully, it worked out that we were able to get together again. He is one of the few people that I have really kept in touch with from the barbershop world and we seem to be more at ease with each other ever time we get together. A few of the other guys came by while I was there. They didn't know I was stopping by so that was a fun surprise. Lots of hugs and just great joy! Again, lots of laughing!

Overall, it was a day of unquestionable love. Through years of moving around and coming into and out of different stages of life, I've learned that even though you love friends dearly through that season, you don't always get to keep them for years to come. You wish them well and remember them with fondness. Sometimes you get to keep friends but not to the same degree. Staying in touch is hard and it takes its toll. Things change and people change but some friends endure it all, loving you the whole way through. There is no difficulty in being together and time does no damage. Those that endure are truly treasures! Yesterday was filled with those I am incredibly blessed to keep - specifically Danielle, Adrienne, and Brent!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Daddio and Bladen

Erin and Gregg are having a son! In four short months, Bladen Joel will join the family! I was talking to Dad tonight and observed that he will be the first little boy our family has ever had. Poor guy will be the guinea pig for all of us!

While there are many things about Liz that I have loved, one of my favorite has been watching Dad with her. There is something about watching a man with a little girl. For me, it has been so sweet to see that side of Dad. I obviously don't remember what he was like with us as babies. Now, I feel like I get to see what I don't remember - Dad with his baby girls.

Now we are getting ready to welcome Bladen and I anticipate the same thing with him. Dad never had a son and has never felt like he missed out on anything (I know because I asked him once). Now, he gets a chance to fall in love, play with, and experience life with a little boy. I have a feeling we are going to get to see a side of my dad that we have never seen before. I cannot wait to watch him wrestle and rough house with Bladen. It will be so interesting to see the differences in him. I've loved watching him with Gregg but we are entering a whole new ballgame. It is one of the things I am looking forward to the most about Little Man getting here.

Here's to Bladen and all of the joy he will bring to our lives!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why This Teacher Needs To Go Back To Work

Apparently I've had a lot of free time on my hands to think and observe. That is changing now that school is starting to gear up again. So since I'm sure you have all watched the wedding video enough times to memorize the song, here are some pointless thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind. You are welcome....

1. Around the neighborhood are signs announcing a voluntary water restriction. Isn't that stating the obvious? Why post it if it is voluntary?

2. Standing on the corner with a cardboard sign asking for money is not nearly as effective if you are using your other hand to chow down on some major Chick-fil-a.

3. You have to love new friendships in which one week you are discussing your family tree's various religious backgrounds and the next week you are comparing bad experiences with animal poo.

4. You know that you are too involved with a book when aspects of the plot show up in your subconscious via your dreams.

5. Every town/city should have a coffee place where you can meet a friend and accidentally spend three hours just catching up.

6. Why does using the word "budding" in reference to relationships always sound romantic in nature?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

This Makes Me Smile!

If I were brave, this is how my wedding (Lord willing) would begin. Erin, be thankful! I SO want to be friends with ALL of these people! This is seriously worth watching!!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

That's What I Get for Moving

In the past 11 years, have lived in 5 different cities and in some of those places, there were multiple homes. It has given me many blessings but has also brought out a bizarre tidbit for me. As odd as this sounds, I was watching the news tonight expecting the anchors to give San Antonio addresses. I was REALLY confused about which city I am living in. It passed quickly but that was SO strange! Unfortunately, I can't say that this is an isolated event. I have had flashbacks of confusion to San Marcos, Pleasanton, and San Antonio. I never flash to Lubbock but that is because I only lived in the dorm there. If usually happens during the news or if specific songs come on the radio. I wonder if that happens to anyone else. Have you ever felt confused about where you are? Probably not - this is most likely just another one of my weird things.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Houston Project



This week, I was blessed beyond measure to take part in a city wide service project called the Houston Project. There were 1,093 volunteers at 10 different sites throughout the city. My bible class worked with an apartment complex housing Bhutanese refugees as well as about 4 other nationalities. The Bhutanese people came here to escape persecution from the government. The majority of them are Hindu and the conversion process to Christianity is very difficult. There are about five ministers working with this community alone and while progress is being made, there is much ground to cover. That was our goal - to help lay a foundation for these people. Each day, kids came for VBS, games, a meal, and of course, sno cones. While we worked with the kids, there was a team doing evangelism and prayer with adults throughout the complex.



Each night started with a meal and then we would take the little kids to opening assembly for the beginning of VBS while the teens ate and played games. Our group of kids came with very limited English - much more limited than we were anticipating. We sang the same five songs each night - My God is so Big, Lord I Lift Your name on High, I've Got Joy Down in My Heart, Trading My Sorrows, and Every Move I Make (Waves of Mercy). Then, after that, we would present the gospel to them using a felt board presentation to help make it more visual. They loved to sing and with the help of a translator, really started to get a grasp on the story of the gospel.


I worked on the VBS team with 3 - 4 year olds. We had about 3 different languages going on in our group. Thankfully, several moms joined us so we could communicate more effectively. Throughout the week, during songs, memory verses, stories, and just our interaction, my co-teacher and I came to realize that this was as much of an outreach to the mothers as to the children. They soaked up every word, hug, song, and activity. Yesterday was the last night and we were able to give them a bible for their help this week. You would think that we had given them the world! Immediately, they were flipping through them, reading as best they could, and asking questions. They had such kind spirits and eager ears!



A few things really stuck out about this week: Kids are kids are kids no matter the culture or language. Love is truly the universal language that will break down any barrier (even language). Kids go NUTS for bubbles!




But even more than these, it was SO humbling to watch God move! Despite the language barriers, the kids could tell you that God made everything, who Jesus is, and what He did. They were singing about life in Christ. In craft time and with sidewalk chalk, they drew Jesus on the cross and exact replicas of the felt board presentation - AND could tell you about them! They knew memory verses. The mothers were open to joining story groups with the ministers that work in their complex. Children who were afraid of these strangers who spoke a different language were running and hugging us, clinging on until the sun went down.


I cannot wait to go back and start our follow up activities. God is needed here and is making Himself know. This week was to His glory as are the days to come. As we sang each night, I would get choked up on one specific song. I've sung it for years but to see children who have never known God before this week lift up these words, it touched me very deeply because this was the physical manifestation of the lyrics: My God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty, There's nothing my God cannot do!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Please Vote!

This week I am taking part in an AMAZING service project. I will be telling you all about it and posting pictures on Friday. I would like your preference: Would you rather have a long post of single pictures or a slideshow? Thanks for letting me know!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Hard Pill to Swallow

This morning, I was talking to a friend about some verses that were rolling around in both of our heads. They were hard verses that make us uncomfortable. They are true and Spirit inspired but are difficult to process and apply. They cause us to question but not doubt - make us struggle to know what it means to REALLY live, breathe, and sacrifice for Christ. These verses define a genuine faith.

So I'm curious - what verses are the hard ones for you? Not the ones that make you crazy because people misuse them but the ones that kick you in the gut because of their challenge to your life (their implications). Which verses are an enigma and cause you to almost choke on their meat?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Blue Three

I'm not a very athletic person (understatement!) so when people say they want to play, my stomach tightens just a hair. I know that I am about to either own my lack of skills or embrace my ability to make everyone else look good. So last night, as we sat around the table at Carinos and the answer to "What are we gonna do next?" came out as "Play!", I just prepared myself. Especially with this group. They are the softball, volleyball group of the world! However, we all had a very late night the night before so something that active was out. It was decided to go to one girls house for Hip Hop Uno.

Now those of you who think you know the game of Uno, do not be deceived. There is a whole new level of Uno that I was introduced to. First, the obvious - the game was played with Hip Hop in the background. Big deal, you may think, but watch out! If you are not immune to the effects of Hip Hop, you will be distracted and will lose track of the game. How do you know if you are easily distracted? Let me ask you this: Do you car dance? Do you secretly want to car dance but are afraid of being seen? Then this will also be your Hip Hop Uno downfall! It took me a while to build up a resistance to the music and would often slip into it as the game progressed. More than one person lost the game this way.

Along with the music, I was playing with real cut throat Uno players. All playfully competitive and very strategic, I learned to play this game with some new skills. The Uno we played as children took on a whole new meaning! As cruel as the dreaded "Draw Four" card can be, we all quickly discovered that a blue three can be just as damaging if you know how to look for it...

So if anyone is up for a game, I'm in!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just in Case You're Curious.....

Guess what I'm doing this afternoon.....Breaking in my new boots! I'm SO EXCITED!! Since I'm not going on a vacation this summer, I decided to use the money from a math curriculum day to get my very first pair of boots. A friend went with me because Cavendars was having a sale. When the sales guy heard this was my first pair, he asked if I had just moved to Texas. When I said I grew up here, and acted like he was doing me a huge favor by finding me a good pair. He did! Now its time to break them in so I can wear them without killing my feet.

Sometimes it is the littlest things that can bring joy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pregnant Questions

Our regular teacher for class is in Kenya for the summer so until he gets back, some of the guys in our class are teaching through the book of James. Yesterday, we were going through James 1:27 - 2:13. Several things really stood out to me to make this an exceptional class. The fact that the presenter was working through it so visibly and honestly that he got choked up that he has to pause really touched me! We discussed the law and used a courtroom analogy to discuss our salvation. (A whole other post in itself but it is a better discussion than a blog.) He had us discuss two questions at our tables. They have been unspoken themes throughout our study of I John and have bled over into James. I would really like to hear what you would have said if you would have been sitting at my table. Here you go:

1. What does the 21st century American church look like?
2. What should the 21st century American church look like?

Please share.... :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Attached

Tomorrow is my last day of training for a month. HALLELUJAH! It has been a month of trainings that I can actually use and am looking forward to that. The past six days have been a crash course in strategies gears towards helping second language learners. We got the theory for the first two days and then the last four have been observing a class using these strategies and then writing a unit in the afternoon.

During our time in the classroom, we have been silent observers. We sit against the wall and watch the class of 17 1st - 3rd graders go through a unit. Today I was caught off guard by how easily it has been to get attached to a couple of these kids. At one point, it took everything I had not to go get a little girl from Pakistan and pull her onto my lap. Seriously adorable and so shy due to know having much English. I don't know when it happened. She and a couple of others are just SO sweet.

While I was thinking on this, I got to thinking over relationships in the past - friendships, crushes, mentors, etc. The same thing was true in several cases. I find myself attached to people rather quickly. Most took longer than three days, thankfully. I don't know what it means that I get attached to people so quickly. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it just how it is? Yes, I think that is it - that's just how it is. Maybe I need to learn to hold people more at arm's length. Maybe I need to just embrace how I'm wired. Who knows?

Just an observation on a Wednesday....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wake Up, Parents!

I heard these two facts today that I would LOVE to have all parent hear. I'll refrain from commentating on them and let these two facts speak for themselves:

  • Research has shown that there is zero brain activity occurring when children are watching TV.
  • Language development research has show it takes 85 times for a child to hear/work with a word before it becomes engrained in their vocabulary.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Helpful Hint

On Tuesday, here was my to do list: pack, take out the garbage, meeting, library, fill up with gas, get new tires, and get to Pleasanton in time for dinner. Mission accomplished - except for taking out the trash. So when I got back yesterday, just imagine what I walked in to smell. GROSS! In my hurry to get the smell out of the apartment, I forgot that there was a watermelon rind in the bottom of the can. I yanked the lid off and out flew about 25 fruit flies - everywhere! Again, GROSS!! Also, they multiply faster than rabbits so it has been annoying to say the least. I looked up how to get rid of them. Did you know that spraying them with windex 3-4 times kills them? It works - I know because I have been on a shoot out with the magic blue liquid. So far, I'm winning but also getting high on windex. Time for a break.....

So just a warning - don't forget to take out the garbage with you leave home. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

42 Seconds of Hilarity!!

This has been a GREAT and exhausting week! I'll write soon but I HAD to share this extremely short clip I saw in my training. It is 42 seconds and I recommend watching it twice. The first time, watch the old lady. The second time, watch the driver. Both times, enjoy!!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Update

The doctor's appointment went well today. I was praying that the doctor would say that everything was linked to the medicine I recently stopped taking. Prayers answered! He shared with me some different things I can do to help regulate the swelling, weight fluxuations, and restlessness. As odd as it sounds, I am very thankful that it was the side effects. Now, it will just be a matter of waiting until it is all out of my system. I am so thankful!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Summer 2009

School is officially out! WOO HOO! Let's just say that it took me two full days to recoup from the last day. I pushed it too hard and my back is unhappy with me. It is getting over it quickly which is a good thing since it follows me around everywhere I go....

So what does this teacher plan to do with her summer (when not in trainings)? Well, let me just list it out for you:
  • Caleb and Gabby's wedding
  • Be a helpful sister and a fun aunt
  • Tackle that list of books to read
  • Hit the work out room
  • Terra Cotta Warriors and Genghis Khan exhibits
  • MetroLive (weekly time of praise and bible study)
  • The Houston Project (weekly long service to others in Houston)
  • Dentist and optometrist (it's been too long for both)
  • Lunch dates with friends

It is going to be a fun summer!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Next Monday

What a week! And it is only Tuesday night! I have had things to share but have been EXHAUSTED so they will have to wait until later. However, I need to shoot out a quick prayer request.

As some of you know, I've been seeing a doctor and getting medication figured out to help regulate some things. It is nothing too serious right now but I would like to get it figured out before the time to talk kids comes. One medicine has been giving my body fits. My doctor took me off of it on Friday and we will see how things go over the next eight weeks. However, I'm pretty nervous about how some things are going in my body now. I know it will take some time for the meds to work their way out but something is not right. I am trying not to borrow troubles from tomorrow so I made a doctor's appointment for Monday with my regular doctor. I usually don't go to the doctor but I'm really nervous. I'm incredibly uncomfortable and my body is not as it should be. I'm hoping that he will give me some answers or just put my mind at ease. So if y'all could just pray for peace, that would be very appreciated!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Snuggling

For whatever reason, my camera will not connect to my computer anymore. So that means that I can't post many pictures that I take. Well, I am starting to work on our end of the year slide show for work so I got my pictures put on a disc at Walgreens this afternoon. On it is one of my all time favorite photos. This is a shot the day after Lindsey's wedding. Erin and Gregg were loading the car to head home so I was holding Liz (what a sacrificial helper). Anyway, this is the first time that she laid her head on my shoulder and snuggled up with her aunt. Totally melted my heart! It has happened several more times since then and it still turns me into a puddle. But this was the first time. It isn't outstanding of either of us but the moment was precious. I do love this little girl!!