Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Erin's Not the Only One....

Two years ago, we had the lovely opportunity to experience Hurricane Ike. Seeing as I live alone, I decided (after some convincing on my sister's part) that I would go to her house with she and Gregg. At some point, we decided to go to bed since nothing was going on. We all stayed in Erin and Gregg's room because I'm a scaredy cat - girls in the bed and Gregg in the recliner. In a matter of hours, the storm hit. Gregg and I were up all night. Being the smart individuals that we are, we would either lay there wide awake or stand at the window watching to storm. We traded spots at one point so her could "get some rest". Who do you notice missing from this story? Erin. That is because my sister literally slept through a hurricane. She has received ample teasing on that subject.

Fast forward to last Friday. It was about 7:00 in the morning and my phone chimes that I have a text message. A friend of mine was checking on me because of the apartment fire she saw on the news. I told her it was another apartment (I have four other complexes around me) because I would have heard the fire trucks if they came. As I laid there waking up, I heard the ominous sound of helicopters flying over repeatedly. So I decided to get up and check it out. As soon as I opened the door, the smell of smoke was overwhelming. I stepped outside and just a couple of buildings over, a HUGE fire was raging. Turns out that the office building was engulfed in flames from the inside out. Suffice it to say that about 7 fire trucks were onsite for this one. Big fire! The fire trucks had been sent out before dawn and guess who slept through it all. No cause has been released to us yet so we are waiting to see how it was started. I know where to find video of the fire but it would share my address. Sorry folks.

The moral of the story? I can no longer tease my sister about sleeping through a hurricane.

A couple of pictures of the building. Note to anyone thinking of doing this: Don't take pictures of the crime scene when a security guard is watching. It makes for some very suspicious looks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

So Far This Summer....

Lately a lot of people have been asking me what I am up to this summer. My evenings are pretty full (Tuesday night is the only free night during the week) but my days are very flexible. I have some fun things coming up but I don't want to ruin the upcoming posts. So in the meantime, here are some things that are filling my days:

There has been a little of this:

A lot of that:

Today I decided to don my new apron:

and make my very first homemade apple pie! This may become the summer of baking/cooking!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Good Day, Sunshine

Yesterday I joined some girls and we headed to Galveston to celebrate a friend's birthday. This was my first event of the summer and it was such a good time.

First stop was the beach. We got there and had a quick picnic lunch. After PB&Js with some fruit, we lathered up with sunscreen. I was especially careful to make sure this was done properly. Seeing how I am white as can be, I used SPF 70 (yes, 70) on every inch that needed it. Repeatedly. With friends helping to reach my back where my arms could not. And this is after an initial coat before leaving Houston. Once it soaked it, we hit the waves. Well, actually the waves hit us. It was a red flag day so we only went in up to our waists. Often we were in deeper water due to the swelling of the waves. It was a blast. We stayed in for a while jumping on waves, floating with the rises and falls, drifting with the current a bit, and just having a good time together. It was fantastic! We got out, dried off, reapplied the sunscreen, and I wrapped up in a towel so I wouldn't fry. Eventually, we decided to head out so we hit the showers and drove over to The Strand.

Touristy as it may be, The Strand was fun. We were exhausted so walking from shop to shop was a good way to kill time until dinner. First stop was the ice cream parlor/candy shop. So yummy on a hot June day! We walked in and out of every boutique and gift shop on the street. I wasn't planning on buying anything until we went to the last shop called "Christmas on the Strand". Yes, after a day at the beach, I bought two Christmas ornaments. They were too cute to pass up. They are red and are painted like bandanas.

After The Strand, we met up with some other girls we know for dinner. We had the best waiter. He knew how to earn a tip on a table of 11 girls. :) As we were leaving, one of them noticed that I was looking a little pink but we both bushed it off. After all, there were multiple coats of SPF 70 (yes, 70) throughout the day.

When I got home I wanted to go straight to bed but decided to take a shower to get the rest of the beach off of me. That was when I saw it. My cute new ornaments were not the only things red that came back to Houston. Grrrrr...... To top it off, this might rank up there for worst sunburn to date. At one point, I rolled over last night and it woke me up. I didn't make it to church this morning because what you see below is all I can wear. Thankfully my legs are not bad. It's the upper body that is hating me right now. If you look closely, you can see where the straps of my swimsuit were.

The pictures don't do it justice!
Both arms looks like this up to my neck. You can't tell here but my fingers got a bit burned too.

So I've decided not to head to the beach again for a while. It's too bad because it really was a great time! The sun just doesn't have any love for me. For now, I'm just loving me some aloe vera and remaining thankful it is summer so I don't have to go teach tomorrow!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Boss of my Heart

The following prayer was posted by Scotty Smith on Monday. It really stuck with me so I thought I would share it with you:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Dear Lord Jesus, today, like every day, somebody or something is going to gain the upper hand on the attention, affection and allegiance of my heart. My heart will be ruled… that’s an indisputable fact. Some entity will be the “boss of me.” It could be my bitterness, pettiness or cowardice. It could be evil masquerading an angel of light. It could be overbearing or aggravating people. It could be my lust to look like people on magazine covers. It could be my greed to have a little more. It could be religion or my hatred of religion. It could be old regrets or new fantasies.

But, by faith, right now… I choose your peace as the ruler of my heart… as the “boss of me”… as the centering and sending power for this one day. And who knows peace better than you, Jesus? You are the Prince of Peace! On the cross you secured God’s peace with me and my peace with God. The enmity and hostility between us have been obliterated and eradicated. Peace with God is now a legal right of mine… a done deal… a settled issue. How can I not overflow with gratitude, as this day begins… and continues?

Jesus, please make this legal right a personal delight—an actual power mightily at work in my heart today… and in all my relationships. For you are not just calling me, but US to peace. Yours is a much better story than simply a tale of calming down my restless, wandering heart. Yours is a story of reconciling love. You make enemies friends. You humble stubborn people. You soften hard people. You gentle angry people.

Because you have forgiven me, I will choose to forgive others. Because you have forgiven me, I will choose to ask forgiveness from others. Because you are at peace with me, I will do everything within my power to live at peace with others. So very Amen, I pray, in your holy and persistent name.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Year Seven - Done!

Friday afternoon I checked out with my principal to close out my seventh year of teaching. What a crazy thought! Already seven years. Wow! The last two weeks were insanely busy and I am now on to slower days. I'm not reflecting on it too much since I had plenty of time to contemplate during the craziness that was the end of the year. So in regular Dana fashion, here are some retrospective thoughts about the past ten months:

1. Never get comfortable where you are. This year was the most uncomfortable, stretching position that I have ever been in. It has taught me how to work with difficult people, how to see things from another point of view, and how to advocate like I've never done before. None of those were easy things but as the year went on, it became so. It stretched me as an educator and person. I would LOVE to be back there as soon as I can.

2. God will never ask you to go somewhere He won't walk with you. While it was not the valley of the shadow of death, I had some pretty intense anxiety at the beginning of the year. He not only got me through it, he grew me to relax, trust him, and enjoy it.

3. What doesn't make sense at the time always turns out to have meaning in hindsight. This I knew but needed a good reminder. When I was told I was being moved to "the trailers" (Comp Ed), it felt so out of the blue and didn't make any sense. In hindsight, here is what I see:
- There were lessons I needed to learn personally and spiritually I couldn't learn anywhere but back there.
- I couldn't have stayed with the Johnson's after Bladen was born if I had been in the classroom.
- I couldn't have helped out with the grandparents like I was able to if I had been in the classroom.

4. Sometimes, we all just need someone to believe in us to help us succeed. At a meeting at the beginning on the year, the district level person over my department reminded us that 80% of our job is emotional. I've never seen that to play out as more true as I have this year. Giving love and confidence can make a kid soar as much as imparting information. At the same time, some kids need more than we can give. We just have to love them until we can get them the help they will need.

5. Most importantly, never be anxious about working with people who are different from you. My team was so different than any other I've ever had. There was a co-worker I was most concerned about working with. She ended up being my favorite person on my team. Even better, God used her the most to teach me about his love. Another co-worker and I grew pretty close. She told me on Wednesday that as soon as a spot opens up on her team again, she's getting me back. I told her she better follow up on it! You never know the impact someone is going to make on your life or you on theirs.