Thursday, May 27, 2010

I got a new purse

Spring is here and my wonderful mother bought me a new purse! It's a skirt purse from Thirty-One. They have some cute stuff! This particular purse is so cool because the outside fabric comes off and you can change them out. Love it. I can't wait until next season to add to my "skirt" collection. Brilliant!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Month From Today:

We will be on our way here!

Click for source.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


  • I got to have 3 planning periods in a row. Thank you, SOL Testing! I completed all the paperwork I have been putting off for quite some time.
  • My students got to speak with the author of the book we are currently reading, via Skype. It was AMAZING! She spoke with us through video chat for 30 minutes and even played the piano for us (she is a world-renown pianst as well as writer). It was seriously one of the coolest experiences I've had, especially as a teacher. I do not teach an easy group of students, and they were totally into it.
  • I bought 3 new running tops from Walmart. (I needed some motivation.)
  • I'm making this for dinner. I'm mildly obsessed with Jamie Oliver after watching the Food Revolution. EVERY recipe of his I have tried is Fantastic. I would like to buy his book.
  • I took a much needed nap after school. Like, a serious nap. In pajamas and with a real pillow, not a throw pillow from the couch.
  • I am watching the 2-hour season finale of Chuck. This makes me a) happy because I LOVE CHUCK and b) sad because it's over until next season.
  • We get to see our friends Shawn and Sarah, who also love Chuck, and who have ditched us for birthing class the last 6 Monday nights, leaving us to watch on our own.

A very good day indeed. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Race

I finally got my pictures uploaded from my first 5k on May 8. The race was called Gallop 4 the Greenways, and it was held to raise money to expand and build more greenways here in our city. This race is held every year and this is the first year that we actually got to run on completed greenways built with money raised in previous years. It was a beautiful run, by the river and around the edges of the city. I want to do it again next year!

Patrick was at the finish line to capture me crossing the finish line.
(I don't know why I'm swinging my arms in this ridiculous way.
I'm working on my form after seeing this picture.)
I was about on pace for a 12 minute mile. That's about what I do normally. I'm a slow runner, but I'm running! That's the important part.

I did it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Prom Hair

This is my 100th blog post! In celebration, I thought I would show you something fancy:

Prom Hair. (And my attempt to capture it on film by myself.)

I tried to rock the trendy side bun.
(It was my attempt not to look like a teacher. Blend in, baby.)

I was lacking hairspray (which I have since remedied, should I ever want to recreate my prom hair experience) so by the end of the night, I just looked like I had a bad case of bed head. But it started out pretty dang good if I do say so myself.

Here's my cool trick for achieving this fancy-nancy bun:

You twist your hair into a bun and screw one of these clips into the top and one into the bottom and magic happens.

They are so lovely.

These clips make everyday feel like a prom-hair kinda day.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Crazy Love by Francis Chan is a great book for a number of reasons: First, it speaks of the intensity of God's love for us, and how incredible that is based on what we really are as his sinful, disobeying beings created in His image. Second, it really puts into perspective the fact that God is God and we are not. No matter how much of a control freak you are, the simple truth is that God holds us in the palm of His hand and can and will do as He pleases. He is God. He is allowed. He answers to no one, and certainly of all things, not to us. Thankfully, He is a loving, compassionate, merciful God. Slow to anger and always true to His promises. Thankfully again, one of those promises is his gift of a savior so that we are not stuck in our awful, wretched condition.

In this chapter I read tonight, Chan specifically addresses our tendency to worry and stress. These words were highly convicting as I've spent the last week and a half stressed over the end of the school year and the measly little things in my world. He says:

But then there's that perplexing command: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4). You'll notice that it doesn't end with "...unless you're doing something extremely important." No, it's a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, "Do not be anxious about anything" (v. 6).

That came as a pretty staggering realization. But what I realized next was even more staggering.

When I am consumed by my problems--stressed out about my life, my family, and my job--I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.

Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.

Wow. Harsh words. Filled with truth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Life has been busy.

I have neglected blogging.

I'm ok with that, but I know some of you aren't (ahem...Bethany....Suzanne....)
I apologize.

Here are some updates:

1. I did, in fact, complete my first 5k!!! On May 8, 2010. Mark it down in history. Can I officially call myself a runner now??? It was so much fun that I'm scouring the web this very moment for another one (also I need the accountability to keep running now that it's over). I will post pictures soon. I have to sweet talk my husband into uploading them for me because they are, at the moment, trapped inside our new camera. I can't find the upload cord thingy because he put it somewhere where I couldn't find and then promptly lose it, as I am known to do with such things.

2. We are officially in the countdown stage until summer! 21 School Days. It is so. close. I. can. taste. it.

3. I am caught up on grading after an entire month of being behind and playing catch up every single day. I realize this is only interesting to myself, but I need to put it down on this list because it feels so good to write those words.

4. We offically have plans for a Lord of the Rings Tour in New Zealand!! Thus, I'm deviating (again) from the booklist and reading the books as quickly as I can. All the pictures I look at are incredibly breath-taking. This is the perfect way to start our New Zealand/Australia adventure!!

5. I'm going to bite the bullet and start counting Weight Watcher points again tomorrow. (It is seriously the only thing that works for me.) I've planned out my whole week of eating. I made a spreadsheet. I am OCD.

Monday, May 10, 2010


It's me. I'm back at the coffee shop. In my usual spot. Doing school work.

Just wanted to share this:
There is a group of guys (maybe college age?) sitting next to me. Tattoos, ear gauges, scary looking to some people. And they are talking hardcore about Christ.

I love it.

Literally there has not been one sentence out of their mouths that has not been about the goodness of God and the redemption He offers us through Jesus. They are sharing their struggles. One of them just found out his parents were getting divorced today. One is struggling with the line of how much is too much to drink. One is struggling with the custody agreement he just worked out over the child he had out of wedlock and is now desperately trying to bring up in a Godly home, despite the circumstances. One is a pastor, answering questions. The guys are all begging for wisdom. They are discussing purity, peace in decision making, hearing from God, the beauty of abstinence.

Now they are praying for broken hearts.

Yes, I'm eaves-dropping. I can't help it. I'm being lifted up and challenge just by sitting next to them. They will probably never know the impact and the encouragement their conversations have given me as I sit here chugging away at the test I will give to my 9th graders in 2 days. As I've typed the words and thought about how I've taught the last unit, I'm reminded of my purpose as a teacher.

We asked God this morning at our Monday morning teacher's Bible Study to give us eyes to see and to remind us of our purpose--our REAL purpose--as teachers: to love kids and show and be Christ to them. Who knew he would do it in such a creative way. I serve an amazing God!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To my mom:

I am so blessed to have you as my mom.
You are strong, beautiful, and inspiring.
You kicked cancer's tail and lived to tell about it.
And tell about it you did.
You share your miraculous testimony with anyone who asks.
You have an amazing faith in God.
It is encouraging to see you challenged by His Word daily.
You are always stylish.
And willing to share your clothes with me.
Even when I don't give them back.
(Sorry about that.)
You love simple things.
Like having all your kids home at the same time around the same table.
And reading good books.
You are so sweet to my husband and happy to have him in our family.
In fact, you said, "Yes you can marry her!" before he even got the words out that night.
You are loving and generous to everyone in your life.
Even those you don't know well.
You welcome everyone as if you've known them all your life.
Thank you for always being hospitable, welcoming, and loving with open arms.
I love you, Mom!

Sorry I did not get you a card for Mother's Day.
I hope this will do.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Tomorrow is the day.

I'll be running my first 5k.

I'm slightly nervous because I haven't run outside in weeks because of my asthma (nerd). I tried to run outside yesterday and was sadly disappointed with the number of times I had to stop and walk. In my defense, I tried to run with a friend who is faster than me, and I started out trying to match her pace. Lesson learned: slow running is best, at least for me. I will do slow running tomorrow.

Patrick says he will come cheer me on at the finish line and take some pictures so I can prove that I actually did it! He says that while I'm running, he will be going over to the Texas Tavern and having an afternoon snack. Slacker.

Also my brother and his new girlfriend are coming in tomorrow (His girlfriend was also our next door neighbor growing up. You know, the familiar story of being best friends all their lives and everyone telling you, "You should just date Katie." "What??? No!! We're just friends!" And then, one day, they realize that they should have listened to everyone all along because they really are PERFECT for each other! Yeah, that's their story. LOVE THEM.)

(Mom, stop reading now) And we are giving my mother a very fun mother's day present that I can't wait to try out too.

It's going to be a good weekend. BRING. ON. THE. WEEKEND.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The table in front of the window.

I wish I had my camera and could take a picture of my cozy little spot. I'm at the local coffee shop, grading papers and finishing up some schoolwork (read: pretending I'm still a college student).

I'm at the table at the front of the store, looking out the huge picture window to Main Street enjoying my tea (and my piece of snickers pie that I'm pretending did not just happen).

This is the same table where I logged countless hours working on my thesis this time last year. I sort of miss that. (What am I saying?!?) My inner nerdiness is starting to ooze out. It's pretty exciting (...pathetic?).

This is why I'm a teacher. Because, sadly, I. Love. School. (There, I said it.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

School Trip

This week I was flattered to get to be a part of a trip to Northern VA and York, PA to visit schools that had recently been remodeled or rebuilt. The idea was to look for vision for a future remodel of the school where I currently teach. Along on the trip were 2 others teachers (one was my good friend and former roommate Jenn!), our assistant principal, the superintendent, director of secondary instruction, several school board members, and some staff from the city as well.

We had a great time and saw some interesting things, but I think the best part of the trip was not the seeing but the discussion that surrounded all the seeing. I'm blessed to be a part of school division that has some truly wise people for our leadership staff. It seems that our vision for a remodel for our school is much different than most people's. What we wanted to see was "the classroom of the future" where (in our minds) learning on several levels could take place simultaneously and there would be sufficient and efficient space in which to do this. Most people that we met with and schools we visited seemed to think that the classroom of the future just meant mounting a SmartBoard on the wall at the front of the class over the existing chalkboard. I was so proud to be a part of group of people who looked past just the current technology, recognizing that technology changes and comes and goes (smartboards will be out in a couple years as the next best thing replaces it), and looked to how we can be flexible in meeting in the needs of our students. Our priority was creating a space where teachers had the flexibility to meet students needs, at every level possible, the best way possible, with and without technology. They were only interested in technology that would be long lasting and would facilitate better learning, not just fancy up presentations. And that just as a sidenote.

In our last meeting during the trip we met with several education professors from a very prominant school along with a group of architects. While the education professors rallied for technology and a classroom where the teacher stood in the background while students "directed themselves" and became "free agent learners," the meeting ended with Jenn and I pretty much pleading the case for the students who need us so much as a guide, mentor, coach, and educator. It is our goal to create free agent learners, yes, but the students we teach are not college students yet. They are 9th graders. They are 14 year olds who don't know how to direct themselves. Teachers, we argued and were hardily backed up by our leaders from our school district, will not go out of style. Students need leaders. Those leaders need the tools and the space necessary to lead well. It seemed to them that this was revoluntionary. Crazy, I know.

Some good things did eventually come out of these discussions. We came up with a great idea for classroom design and are thinking of actually trying it out at our school next year as an experiment before we just throw in all the bricks and mortar and build the thing for everyone. This idea, again, is so wise. We aren't going all in with blinders on.

I feel so honored to get to teach in a division that not only respects the voice the teachers, the ones on the front lines, but values them enough to include them in their plans and decision making. We are blessed to have such wise leadership who are not swayed by the latest trends but wisely sift information and measure it to what is absolutely the best thing for our students. Not only that, but they do what they say they are going to do. We saw, we brainstormed, and on the way home, we said, let's give it a try!

This is the kind of thing that makes going to work everyday such a blessing and great part of my life. To work for people who truly support you and care about what you do, I realize, is a rare thing in our world today. I feel honored and excited to get to be a part of something so great!