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?