Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Laughter is great medicine

Today has been fine, but not exactly light-hearted. Sometimes all you need is a good laugh!

I had to treat Toby's ears because they stink! His ears are prone to infection because they are so long and never get air in them. So I read on the internet that it helps to pull the dog's ears back. I tried a number of things, laughing the whole time, because each time I did something, Toby would shake like crazy and the clips or barrettes would just fly out!

Finally, I got a scrunchy and put it around his head! It sounds cruel but its loose and it works!

But I crack up every time I see him! He looks so funny without his pretty ears and with his new "necklace!"

PS His eyes look a little freaky in these pictures...but that's not how they look in real life!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm out of creative titles

I had such a great weekend! Right after school on Friday (which was Johnny Appleseed Day, by the way) I drove to my friend Melody's house. Her church had Fee in concert! And to make it even better, Melody and her church's praise band opened for Fee. It was such a great concert!

But more than that, Steve (see I how I pretend we're on a first name basis?) made sure we understood from the beginning that this wasn't a concert; it was a time of PRAISE! And I was so thankful he said that, because I was all, "Wow he's so cute I can't believe I'm so close and I can see every drop of sweat and man he must be hot to be sweating that much but gosh he's cute."

So, I evidently needed the reminder about why I was there. Poor Denee was on the edge of a little mosh pit! Some of the kids evidently needed a reminder too!

The band did such a good job. They usually play for crowds of thousands but they didn't seem to do less just because it was a smaller group. I absolutely loved it! My favorite song they did has to be "We Shine."

Denee and I spent the night with Melody, had a fun day of "shopping" on Saturday (I say "shopping" because we didn't really buy anything) and then we headed back home.

On a sad note, I had a little sad event happen on my way home. I was driving through the boonies, and there were no houses or other roads in the area. I saw a dog walking on the side of the road. He didn't have a collar on, and as I passed he lay down right by the road. Well, if you know me, I have a huge heart for animals. I drove about a mile, trying to decide if I could just leave him.

As soon as there was an opportunity to turn around, I did. I just couldn't stand to leave him there. I got there and called him, and he walked toward me, tail wagging. He seemed friendly, and like I said, there were no houses around. All I could figure was that he was lost, because he didn't seem like a stray dog. But he must have been lost for a while, because he was dirty and had some bloody spots on his back like he had gotten hurt.

So, I pulled my seat forward, and tried to get him to climb in. No luck. Went around to the passenger side, tried to get him to get in that way. Nope. He didn't mind me petting him and talking to him, but he wouldn't get close to the car. I didn't have anyway to get him in the car...and it was getting dark. I didn't want to force him because I didn't know if he'd bite. And he was way too big to pick up.

I had to leave him :( I felt terrible but I didn't have a choice! I still find myself thinking of him and praying for him.

On Sunday, my sister Karlie came and picked me up for lunch! She is 15, so that's why that is so cool. Of course my mom was with her, but she was driving her new car...lucky girl! She's doing a great job learning how to drive.

If you read this whole thing you are a trooper! It was a great weekend even though I had a sad story to tell!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Before and After


Oh I love a good before and after, don't you? I am a sucker for just about any makeover: people, homes, makeup, clothes...I'm there. So when BooMama wrote about her ideas to fix up some areas of her house, I immediately thought of a few (dozen) areas I could work on. Well, I had high goals but, here's what I accomplished.

Goal #1: Power wash my front porch, buy new welcome mat, change door decoration. Please notice the lovely shade of green on the ground. (Now washed away!) I made that wreath too!

Goal #2: Clean and organize my garage. I hate garages and garage-y stuff. I hate lawn care and any kind of outdoor work. Too bad-I'm a single girl and have to do it! Usually I just do everything as quickly as possible and don't spend an extra second in the garage that I don't have to. But finally, I got tired of seeing piles of junk and I tackled it. Its not too dramatic but it is a lot nicer to come home to!

Thanks to BooMama for inspiring me! Now, she'll just have to do another one of these in a couple of months to get me to do my next jobs!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When the wind comes

I'm very easily swayed. In so many ways. Its easy to change my mind about a lot of things.

I'm also easily swayed in my emotions. I can be flying high, loving my life, content with my circumstances, proud of my work. And then the next minute, when one little challenge or criticism comes my way, my life is over. I'm in a bad mood, I panic, I feel terrible.

Take today for instance. I was doing wonderfully! I had an awesome day. Then due dates start piling on one after the other. And it would all happen to fall on a week when I'm going out of town for Friday and Saturday.

So, I start to panic. I feel overwhelmed. Woe is me. I stay late at work, take work home, map out my day tomorrow to get the most work done as possible.

But, I can't stand this about myself! I shouldn't be swayed by days like these. Not when I have the Lord that I have, who cares about every detail of my life and has it all under control.

This passage came to my mind as I reflected on the ROCK that I have as my foundation:

If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit--but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.

Matthew 7:24-28, The Message

Works for Me Wednesday

As a 2nd grade teacher, I realize that birthdays are important! Just about every child that has a birthday during the school year wants to bring in cupcakes on their birthday! Cupcakes are a hit and all the kids love them.

However, if there are 20 kids in the class, and 15 of them have a birthday during the school year, that's 15 cupcakes a year! They are messy, hard for the kids to carry to school, and most of the kids can't finish the entire cupcake. (And-I'm sure they take a good bit of time to make and frost.)

Great solution - make cookies! A student this year brought in homemade M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies, and they were fabulous! It was easy for him to carry on the bus, easy to pass out, and everyone ate their whole cookie. (I'm sure it took his mom less time to make than cupcakes.) I loved the idea and thought I would share with you!

More tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The weekend dl

I had a great weekend! I was sitting on my couch doing absolutely nothing, happily, on Friday night, when I got a phone call from Kelly. She wanted to know if she could spend the night. What a great surprise! We stayed up late talking and planning our Saturday. Saturday morning we went to get our toenails painted, out to lunch, then on a bit of a shopping spree. We went to AC Moore, Hancock Fabrics, The Loft, and a kitchen store. It was FUN! When I got home, I started working on some projects, which I'll save to tell you about on Friday.


Every girl loves a good before and after picture, don't we?

Now I'm off to hem some pants I bought at the Loft. I'm going to have to cut off probably 8 inches from each leg. It's the story of a short girl.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Its comfortable in my comfort zone

If you aren't a teacher, you are probably going to roll your eyes at this post. But...I love my u-shaped desk formation. Its so nice. I can see everybody easily, they can see me. There's not too many distractions...and everyone is focused on the board and me.

However, after school today I took a huge step outside my comfort zone to put my kids in groups of 4. I went to my math coach yesterday looking for help with what to do with my advanced kids. She advised me to try groups. I can see so many advantages. For example, I can put a math game in the center of the desks, and when they are finished, they can start playing the game together. Or, I can get the others started on a lesson, and then go back to the advanced group and teach another lesson. Hard to do that in a u-shape. They can also help each other a lot easier.

They can also talk a lot more, which drives me crazy! I tried this last year and it only lasted for a week because they were so chatty. Sitting there in that little group just seems to make them think its time to talk.

Anyway, I'm trying it, starting tomorrow. I even gave a little mini-lesson today on how to turn your chair when I am talking. And how to "ask 3 before me" when working on classwork.

I even went to Wal-Mart today and bought little Tupperware containers, flat aquarium marbles, and candy. Each group is going to earn marbles when they are doing what they should be doing, and at the end of the day, the group with the most marbles gets a piece of candy. Candy is mighty powerful with 2nd graders, my friends.

Here is a picture of the glorious u-shape comfort zone that is no more (I know its not exactly a u, but its close!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

If you're like me, you LOVE bath stuff. I accumulate quite a bit so I have a hard decision to make everyday! Do I want to be a sweet pea, a cucumber melon, a vanilla bean, or a strawberry daiquiri? Problem is, I don't seem to use body cream that much because I run out of time.

So, I decided to put the cream in the shower! After you dry off, you can slather it on really quick. And it works better when your skins a little wet anyway.

Another use is as a shaving gel. I don't buy shaving gel so I just use the body cream on my legs before shaving. It makes my legs so smooth!

Visit Rocks in my Dryer for more tips!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time to break out the winter garmets

This is very exciting.

In other news, tomorrow I start parent-teacher conferences. I'm fully prepared with a form for every child with notes indicating their strengths and areas of need. I've got all the logs ready for parents to sign. I've got my appointments scheduled in 20 minute increments.

And yet, I will still have butterflies when the parents show up tomorrow! It is overwhelming talking to parents, knowing that this is their baby and they love this little person so much and want them to succeed. I want the parents to know that I'm on THEIR TEAM! I want the kids to learn and grow and make friends and be happy too!

But sometimes, it feels as though parents think I'm the opposite.

Hopefully tomorrow will go well! I really will have an easy job tomorrow, not too many problems that I need to talk about. I'll let you know...

Smart kiddos

My class is very smart! I'm taking a class for gifted and talented students, but at this point I'm having to come up with things on my own to challenge my kids.

To start with...my small group reading time was not very effective. The books that I am supposed to use are very easy for my groups. So, I'm creating reading circles! Today I introduced 4 different books and let the kids write down their top 3 picks. Then, I created groups based on their choices.

The kids will be able to read independently, then we'll come together to talk about the book and I'll get to address the higher-level comprehension skills. The kids were really excited about it...and I was too! I just hope it works. I'll keep you updated!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My creative juices are flowing

On Saturday, I went to a stamping party. Not to be confused with stomping. A few of my friends thought I went to some kind of dance party.

No, its stamping and it reminds me of scrapbooking, except much less overwhelming. There were 3 tables and you rotate around to make different things. I made 2 cards, 1 gift bag with a tag, and 1 little candy packet. The last one would be fun for party favors. It was so much fun! I want to do more but I didn't even know where to start as far as buying stuff. I think for now I'll just go to the parties and get the hang of it.

Here are pictures of what I made. The candy packet picture didn't turn out and I'm too lazy to take another picture! And, if you know me and you get one of these cards just pretend to be surprised!

Oh, that last one of the gift bag? The swirly red design is a STAMP!!! Isn't that cool? Wow it was so much fun! I keep thinking of things I want to make!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's just be honest here

What is this blog for anyway? Is it to portray an image of me that is perfect? That's what I'm tempted to do.

But let's be honest.

What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.

I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it.

I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

Sound familiar?

Let me put give you a simple example: (its not really what I'm talking about)

I plan to exercise tomorrow. I REALLY want to exercise tomorrow. I know it will benefit me in so many ways. I know that I will feel better after I do. I know it won't really take that long and that it will be worth it.

When tomorrow comes, I DON'T DO IT. I don't have an excuse, I'm not too busy, I just don't do it. And then I'll do something totally counterproductive, like eat ice cream.

What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.

I don't understand it about myself, but then I read about myself in Romans 7. And it turns out its not something I can do on my own.

Here's the answer: I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Praise God!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Look! Something new!

To enhance your reading enjoyment I've added a new list of the blogs that I'm subscribed to! They are down there on the right...just scroll down a bit to see them.

Now you can see just how much of a nerd I am with all these blogs I read! (And maybe you'll get hooked on a few as well!) I'm still leaving my Top Five up...those are the ones I usually read every day...the others I check when I have time. Happy Clicking!

Its all good

Yeah, that's my life right now. Everything's going well, which doesn't lead to much material for blogging! No news is good news for right now!

I had a great weekend, the best part was hanging out with my friend Kelly on Saturday night. We went to Moe's (this might sound familiar) and then we went shopping. I'll tell you something, that girl is serious about shopping. If she says she wants green candles, not just any green candle will do. After about 5 stores and tons of candles, she bought one little candle! That's just Kelly, and I love her! I had fun buying fall decorations. I love buying and changing out seasonal decorations, and fall is one of my favorite seasons to decorate. No, I guess I like decorating for each season, but especially fall and winter. I bought a cute little pumpkin, a little leaf plate for a candle, and a fall welcome mat.

Something else fun is that the new 90210 comes on tonight! Did any of you watch it last week? I was SO EXCITED that they were making a new one, because I have seen all the old ones at least 3 times. And I still watch them on Surf the Channel if there's nothing on TV! I must say that it isn't nearly as good as the original. Its pretty cheesy...but I still love it for some reason.

Well that's it for this exciting Tuesday!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Do you believe?

"I believe in the power of Christ. I may not be living up to those beliefs, but I do believe."

Hadane smiled sympathetically. "You say that you may not be living up to your beliefs, but by definition, this is impossible. We always live up or down to our beliefs...It is the greatest misconception in Christianity today. That once you believed, you will always believe. That to profess is the same as to believe. That a profession made twenty years ago somehow trumps what you believe today."

Excerpt from A Man Called Blessed, the sequel to Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright. Pretty mind-boggling, huh? There are so many other truths in this book, I could quote all day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blessed Child

By Ted Dekker and Bill Bright

I just finished this book last night and it was such a good book. I love reading and have read lots of Christian fiction, and I have to say it was one of the best books I've ever read. It challenged me in my walk with the Lord and has encouraged me to BELIEVE. I can't even put it into words. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

Storm Party!

Yeah, just kidding! But, we were released at 10:30 today and the mood in the schoolhouse was pure joy. Never mind that we have a bit of a storm coming! Actually, everyone is pretty sure that Tropical Storm Hanna isn't much to be worried about, so we are glad to "sacrifice" a few hours of teaching in order to get out early! (Originally, we were supposed to dismiss at 12:30, but at 8:30 they announced the change. We had "lunch" at 9:30! If you serve lunch, you don't have to make up the school day.)

On the other hand, Hurricane Ike looks a bit ominous. Not like those of you reading this don't already know that. I think you'd have to be living under a rock not to know all about these storms. The meteorologists are having so much fun with all the extra air time.

Update on school...This week has been much better! Praise God! The Lord has answered my prayers in this area so much. I have felt like an effective teacher this week. I have taught and assessed and had small groups and everything that makes me feel as though I'm really getting through to the kids.

I'm getting to know my students better, although many of them still feel like strangers to me. I know that will keep improving.

I've already planned for next week and I'm trying to stuff a lot into the school day. It seems like this class is so on top of things that I have to plan more than I did last year. This class works quickly and needs to be kept busy.

Funny and cute moment today:
A student asked why they give hurricanes names. I started to explain that sometimes there is more than one at a time, and each storm is different.

I said, "for example, right now there are three storms, Hanna, Ike, and...I can't think of the other name."

S jumps up and says, "That would be Tropical Storm Josephine, which is west of the Cape Verde Islands which is near Africa."

Um, hello, he is in SECOND GRADE!! (I didn't even know how to spell Cape Verde, I had to look it up! I'm sure he knows.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Unplanned Blog Vacation

I've kind of disappeared here lately, and it wasn't on purpose! Wednesday I woke up with a very yucky cold, and I called in to work on Thursday. (It takes a lot for me to do that!) Then on Friday, we left for the annual beach house weekend! My family (mom, 3 sisters, grandparents, aunt and uncle, 2 cousins and miscellaneous friends) rents a beach house for the Labor Day weekend. It also happens to be my grandparents anniversary weekend.

We had an awesome time! It was very uneventful in a good way. We played games, ate lots of yummy food, spent time at the beach and pool, and just talked.

It was a rude awakening to go back to school this morning! It was hard to get back in the swing of things. I'm still struggling with the whole classroom full of strangers thing. I don't feel like I'm really getting through to these kids. And when that's your whole purpose, its very discouraging. I'm hoping and praying that I will begin making connections soon and feeling like I'm being effective! I can't stand going through the day like this.

And now, lucky-me gets to do yard work! I better get it done before Hurricane Hanna gets here.