Sunday, November 11, 2012

 What a crazy week this has been! I drove in from Annie’s engagement weekend late Sunday night. With no energy, I showered and crashed, awakening to yet another busy week. My students did experiments Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday we played “I Spy a Chemical Reaction” making real world connections to physical and chemical changes around our campus. Wednesday afternoon, my parents and I hit the road for Corpus Christi for the annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teachers (CAST) where I would be receiving my award. We stopped in San Antonio to spend the night with the grandparents. Thursday morning, we arrived beach side for a day of geeky excitement.

Pops and I after a successful presentation.
My amazing co-presenter, Ashley
Thursday was memorable for so many reasons. I forget how much I enjoy going to conferences, but each experience is better than the last. I run into so many friends that are on the same crazy, educational adventure as myself. My dear friend and I got to catch up over lunch. We reminisced over all our college memories. My, how things have changed in two short years! My Texas Tech CISER family was there in science style with support and smiles. I definitely miss those days. I presented two workshops, one with a friend and one with my dad. Both presentations went quite smoothly. My friend is an impressive presenter. I cannot wait to see where her career takes her. She is going to be very successful in the classroom.

The best part about the experience was having my Knight support. My principal arranged for the science department to come to CAST in support of my award. I was more excited for all of them to get the CAST experience in all its geeky glory! I had no idea how special it would be to have all of them there. I still can’t believe they orchestrated that on my behalf. I am so blessed to work at a school with such strong community among co-workers and a supportive infrastructure.
The Knight Science Department was there to support...
Principal not pictured as he was in transit.

I absolutely love working with kids and being in the classroom. I recognize my passion for teaching and my gift for communicating with children; however, there is a part of me that enjoys teaching teachers. I get a high from sharing my stories with other teachers in hopes that, they too, will have success with their students. I get excited to present and could see myself making a career of it in the future. The question is, could I do it without missing my kiddoes? What would I do without the hysterical daily comment? I’m sure the answers to those questions will come in time.

The 2012 award winners for the state of Texas
In the meantime, I am eager to get back to my kids. I am excited for them to test this week and prove to themselves that they know this material. I am thankful to have a calm weekend ahead to relax and rejuvenate. I am grateful to have a job I look forward to working each and every day. 

They're Goin to the Chapel!

Happy Engagement Lovebirds!
We often make the joke that my life is a lifetime movie. There is always a good story and unusual occurrences in my world. Not to worry, no kidnappings or murder weapons, just out of the ordinary laughable stories that are not fit for the Hallmark network. As I drove to College Station for my sister’s surprise engagement, I thought to myself, “I’m taking a break from the Lifetime Network and venturing into the land of Hallmark.” Smiles, kisses, tears, and most obviously, love. The real kind of love that makes your heart warm, not the infatuation we have demoralized love to be.

Torn out book pages hung on twine with hand painted letters
It was my favorite Hallmark movie yet! Sissykins was so excited. Yes, she was surprised. She knew it was coming, but was uncertain of the actual moment. She had no idea Bo would bring an entourage. Nor, did she know it would be in College Station in order for her to share the moment with her closest friends. For me, the best part was the preparation. Once Bo told me his plan, I began planning my portion, food and decorations. Now, that I can do! I scouted out the perfect decorations and carefully planned the menu for their engagement celebration. Everything fell together perfectly.

Modgepodged book for letters from friends, old record decorated with fabric paint on a vintage record player

Cake ball stand made with old book ages,
ribbon and twine atop vintage books

The sweetest part for me was speaking with Bo the days leading up to the big moment. He asked my advice on whom to include, what to wear, and how to get Annie distracted. I think he wins the award for Best Bro-In-Law, and he isn’t even official yet. I have been part of multiple weddings, but never in the planning of a proposal.
Table set-up with hand painted 'love' sign
The proposal was perfectly them. No other couple would do it quite the same way. It was wonderfully sweet and they were precious to watch as they retold the story to friend after friend. Annie was extremely pleased with the ring Bo selected and his decision to go with rose gold. It looks stunning on her delicate fingers.

Annie and Bo have an unusual relationship. Though they have been in a long distance relationship for two years, in many ways, they are closer than other couples I know. I couldn't put any two better together more perfectly. They encourage each other and support each other in ways no one else can. Bo treats Annie as a gentleman should. His affection for her is proof that Godly men do exist and a man like that is worth the wait.

I didn’t think plans for a wedding would come together so quickly, but she has frugally amazed me thus far. In less than a week, the biggest details are settled. Dress shopping has commenced and it was so much fun to see her dressed up in gown after gown. I wait with anticipation for May 24, a day I will always remember as a special day for our family.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cease To Speak

At some point, we all learned the art of storytelling. We share the details of our life in vivid color, over and over, for listening ears to hear. There is so much to be heard; the rhythm in a song, the laughter of a child, the crying of a soul, the longing of a heart. 

I don't doubt that we all have intriguing stories to tell, but we didn't weave these stories together by ourselves. We needed an author. The Author of all our stories is the same, we just experience Him in different ways. 

There are common themes in our stories; ones of happiness and hurt, success and failure, companionship and loneliness, courage and weakness. Sometimes we know what comes next in our storyboard, and sometimes it comes as a total shock. Our lives are full of cliff hangers and twists. After all, isn't that the best part?

Unfortunately, there is a point we come to, when we think we are qualified to be the author. We take the pages of our lives into our own hands and try to craft a "perfect" story with all the elements we love most. Yet, somehow, we are never quite satisfied with the book we put together. There is something missing. The ending just doesn't seem right. 

We gaze upon the story of other's and wonder why there story is better than our own. We promote our book like it's better than it really is and can't understand why no one else wants to read it. We seek inspiration to improve our story, and end up coming back to The Author. 

The secret is in The Author's whisper. He knows a better ending of which we could never even dream.  He knows how to inspire the audience and has a way of letting our story speak for itself. So, why try and take over a perfectly good story when our own would be mediocre at best?

I'm letting The Author write, edit, and illustrate my story. It will be just as much a surprise to me as it is to everyone else. But, I have no doubt it will be the best book I have ever read. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ahh, Rejuvination...

My goodness, this three day weekend was uneventful, relaxing, and fabulous! I think it may have been more rejuvenating than the Christmas break I had from school. Though I wish it would last longer, I'm glad it was short and sweet.

Sisssykins and I got to see each other Friday, after work. We went to a couple vintage boutiques and discovered a new gluten free bakery. I can't even begin to explain what a treat it is to eat something safe I didn't have to bake myself! The only problem, it's reeeaaally close to work...DANGER! 

Saturday morning was our last breakfast together before Annie left to go back to college. I forget how much I enjoy those moments of family time. The weather was beautiful and made for a great afternoon run. 

I went to see Joyful Noise, which was phenomenal. Not to be misconstrued, but sometimes I think I am tri-racial. I LOVE seeing movies with a multicultural audience. They say out-loud all the things I'm thinking in my head...and I love it! In fact, just this week I had a student ask me, "Ms., can I calls yuz peanut butta?" I asked, "Why?" He replied, "Cuz, you not really daak chocolate (black), you not really caramel (mexican), and you certainly ain't just white chocolate (white), so I think yuz should be peanut butta!" Haha, gotta love the thought process of middle schoolers.

Sunday was church and I made it to the Bus Station for Sunday morning this week. I miss getting to go with my friends and it was a treat to be there together. I deep cleaned all afternoon, did my juicing for the week and cooked dinner. I even had time to paint my nails! Best part, I didn't have to get up for work on Monday!

Instead of going to CrossFit at 5:30am, I mosied in at 9:00. I did some unexpected shopping and had a relaxing afternoon catching up with a friend. Now, it's back to the normal routine of preparing for the week. My lunch is made, my clothes ready to go, my lessons semi-planned...ok, still have yet to do that part :)

I've done a lot of thinking this weekend. I've been seeking clarity in some areas of my life, and found that which I was seeking. I have a peace of mind for which I have been waiting. Therefore, I've moved onto other thoughts. 

According to Martin Luther King Jr...
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

I've been pondering this. It's so easy to look around at all that is going on around us, and turn the other way. We get caught up in our own needs and wants. We forget how much we already have in comparison to over 50% of the world. We have been blessed with so much for a greater purpose. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of our wealth, in all aspects of life, and share it with others. 

I have been rejuvenated. I needed it, but others do too. I am committing to invest more of my time in others, to serve more diligently, and give with a cheerful heart. It may not be the New Year anymore, but anytime is a good time to start being more conscientious. You don't have to look that far to find need.  

If you're looking for a good place to start, visit

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Closing Out the Old, Bringing In the New

I cannot believe I have completed a full semester of my first year of teaching. I can honestly say I love my job, even on the days I think it's ridiculous. I've learned so much from these children, and have seen the fruits of my efforts. For those of you who like to see updates, here are a few...

Spooky Science Lab Day on Halloween.
The students all got a baggy of oobleck to take home.
We explored a non-newtonian fluid...FUN!
I had to cut the kids out, but their reaction
was truly heart-warming.

My homeroom class made the wreath and enjoyed helping with the door.
All my classes made snowflakes and other decorations for the classroom.

My favorite thing about this semester was watching my students transform. I watched them learn to work together, and appreciate each other for their strengths. I witnessed them become more interested and aware of their future career options. I encouraged them to think critically, and many complied. I see their potential each day, even when I'm losing my mind, and that makes it all worth it. 

Jena and I presented at the Conference for the Advancement
of Science Teaching in Dallas, TX. We have been accepted
to present at the National Science Teachers Association
Conference in Indianapolis, IN in March!!
This job has not been a walk in the park. I have definitely had my share of stress and bad days, but I would do it all again for the successes I've seen, small and large. 
Student pictures are on the door.
We are "Having a Rockin' Time in Science"
to go with  the theme for Magnet recruitment.

The holidays have come and gone, and it's like they never happened. Everyone knows I absolutely LOVE everything about the holidays. I collect three things in my life...Christmas decor, crosses, and mugs...I may or may not have an extensive Christmas mug collection in addition to the rest of my Christmas decor. I did quite a bit of entertaining at my house this year during the holidays. I really enjoy having people around, and my house has been perfect for that. 

Stockings we grew up using. Each year, we added a piece that described us. 

Decorative stockings and mantle decor
The infamous bear and his friends. 

Frame I made to display the annual card.

Christmas Card 2011. Each year, we put things in the picture that are
relevant to what we are doing this year. 

We took the Christmas card at my house this year. My family has a Christmas card tradition. The year I was born, my parents bought a big, white bear. Every year since, we have taken our Christmas card picture with that bear.

The poor bear is starting to sag a bit these days. Who knows how many more years he will last. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours! The New Year has brought with it many opportunities to spend time together as a family. I spent most of this weekend with my family. It is so nice to have the 4 of us together. 

My mom asked us over dinner the other night if we made New Year's Resolutions. I quickly admitted that I hadn't as I prefer not to do so. My reasoning was that it just gives us one more opportunity to make a commitment that we, most likely, will fail to keep. Quite frankly,  I don't need to feel failure anymore than necessary. I don't think they really liked that answer. I admit, it might be a smidge bit negative. 

To me, the New Year is the sad realization that the holidays have come to an end and mushy gushy February is on it's way. The joys of winter aren't as exciting when Christmas spice tea is out of style and coffee can't be drunk in a Christmas mug. It's the time I have to box up all my Christmas loves and deep clean. It means the big breaks from school have passed and the next relief isn't until spring break, my least favorite season. 

However, there is beauty in the newness. It is time to reevaluate where we stand spiritually, physically, mentally, and relationally. It is a chance to put our priorities in perspective and make necessary changes. It is a chance to find balance and refocus our hearts. This new year has brought more excitement than years past. I am excited about new possibilities. I am exploring life outside my comfort zone and trying new things. I still have yet to declare a New Year's resolution, but maybe it's because I have too many thoughts to put my finger on just one?