Needle in a Haystack

My cousin Jesse is 5 years older than me. I always thought he was the coolest person, and I remember going to my grandparents' house hoping my sisters and I would get to hang out with him. He was always so much fun and one of the most active people I've ever met.

6 years ago today he was in an accident because he and his friends were drinking and driving. It was almost a fatality; he was in a coma for several months, and is now paralyzed from the neck down. It was life changing for him and many people around him. It's tough going to visit my grandparents now because they are worn out from taking care of him, and obviously he's moderately unhappy with his new lifestyle.

Basically, this is one reason I'm adamantly against drinking, especially coupled with driving. There's no reversal. I can't believe it's been that long--it was my senior year of high school--but I know for him the time has passed all but quickly.

Two years ago, I was what I now call "on my death bed." That phrase is absolutely an exaggeration, but this is the month I spent laying in bed, crying because I thought I was either 1) going to die, or 2) have to drop out of college, cancel our wedding, and lay in bed the rest of my life.

My stomach(ish) problems have been much better lately, but I will never in my lifetime forget how I felt. I cannot forget how I came to the realization that life is fleeting, but the quality of life is what matters the most. I now have so much empathy for anyone with any sort of medical condition because it has the potential to destroy your life. Luckily, although mine went on and has gone on for many years, the very serious part was only a few months. I very seriously never thought it would end, but after many scopes, IVs, CT scans, other tests, medicine after medicine, and tons of tears and vomit, I'm doing well. :)

Sometimes finding hope in these situations can be like finding a needle in a haystack. I just think it's amazing that I still love this time of year so much. It could be so dark, but then again, how is that possible? It's Christmas!


'Tis the Season

This is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it: the weather, the shopping, the joyful atmosphere, the decorations. I even had hot chocolate yesterday to celebrate the season, and I don't even like hot chocolate! But for some reason, I'm just not "feelin' it" this year like I usually am. I'm trying everything. I've watched Elf twice. I'm listening to Christmas music. Everything. I think this year, for the first time in my life, I'm annoyed at the way everybody celebrates Christmas and makes a big deal about it without even acknowledging Christ. I love Santa, and I've even contemplated starting a collection of old Santas; I love presents. I'm not saying these things are bad. I love them! But my heart is in a different place than usual at this time of year. It's in the right place, I think.

That being said, I'll give you a glimpse of our little winter wonderland:



I somehow always find time to do what I want to do. I've recently become quite skilled at putting things off that don't matter as much to me. Of course, it's not exactly the best idea, but it sure makes me happy! Last night, instead of grading, I spent my night doing what I wanted to do. Oops.

I stumbled across this blog: http://www.kellehampton.com/. She is a fantastic writer, but the reason I'm giving you this link is because she tells the most beautiful, honest story. It's a beautifully disastrous story. If you have the time, go to her site and click on "Start Here If You're New" (naturally). That is the link to the page I spent my night reading. It's lengthy, but worth it. I smiled and cried, and fear filled my heart.

See for yourself. Grab some tissues and somebody's hand.


When I Grow Up...

When I dream, I am awed by the array of possibilities awaiting me. There are so many things that I want to be when I grow up, and I get overwhelmed when I realize I can't do them all. I mean, how do you choose? It would help if there were a common thread between my many aspirations, but there is not one. In fact, I don't feel more excited about any particular one over the others, which is what makes it difficult.

The good news: Anytime I dream about my future, my heart leaps with joy. Whether I am a stay at home wife, a teacher, a librarian, an academic advisor, a nurse, a celebrity, a business woman, a craft lady, a childless wife, a mom. I am thankful for versatility; it's a blessing to think that I might be happy no matter what.

But I can't believe that we are supposed to know what we want to do with our entire lives when are just babies in college... or even high school. So many people just choose something because they are forced to declare a major halfway through college. My students often ask me why I chose to become a teacher; I usually reply with, "I have no idea." Or sometimes I even say, "umm I still don't know why I want to become a teacher." Ha. They know I love them and I mostly enjoy my job, but I would be lying if I gave any sort of reason at all.

Such a lofty decision at such a vulnerable age. So, I think I'll be a professional student. I seriously see myself being in school my whole life, as a student. I'm okay with that.

I love this quote from a book I recently read and loved, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt:

"But how will I know what my fire is?"
"Oh, you'll know. One day you'll do something, see something, or get an idea that seems to pop up from nowhere. And you'll feel a kind of stirring--like a warm flicker inside your chest. When that happens, whatever you do, don't ignore it. Open your mind and explore the idea. Fan your flame. And when you do, you'll have found it" (102).


Life is Beautiful

I love writing. I enjoy playing with sentence structure. I've always been quite direct with my words, and it happens to be something I enjoy. Today, however, my words nor sentence structure can do my thoughts justice. You see, I'm as equally inquisitive as I am bold. It is hard to satisfy my mind; whether the topic at hand is football or life itself, I have many questions which do not allow me to rest until I have answers. My mind, as does yours, gracefully leaps from thought to thought. Sometimes I feel like I've accomplished a lifetime worth of ideas, memories, and life-changing thoughts, only to realize it's been five minutes and I can't even remember what the orginal thought was that induced that process. This post come from the depths of my soul. Really. A place where even words fail to explain.

Sometimes my commute to work gets on my nerves, but most of the time I love it. Especially in the mornings: it's my time to think, unwind, rewind, clear my head, daydream, reflect. Luckily my commute allows me to drive against the majority of the traffic. I pass by a stalemate westbound interstate each morning, with thousands of cars lining the freeway. It is very common for me to create stories in my head about the people in all of these cars. I wonder who they are, where they are headed, what their lives are like, what kind of people they are. I truly wonder. I drive in awe, just wishing someone else were there to chat with me about this incredible sight. I know that in that rush of traffic are pastors, athiests, teachers, students, prostitutes, waitresses, drug addicts, soccer moms, Wal Mart greeters, professors, high school drop-outs, outgoing people, shy people, family men, lonely people. It's incredible to me. I can't help but think how funny it is that people are so different, yet so alike. There they all are--together--sitting in traffic, just waiting to see what their day holds. Some will make it to work safely, another unfortunate soul may not. I love pondering these thoughts as I drive. It's just... life. And I love it. We are all just people; we're all equal. None is better than another. Each of these people is a treasure. Some know it. Some do not.

As these thoughts fill my soul, I'm always taken aback by creation itself. I've always believed in God and I know He's amazing, but sometimes I sit back and dwell on how truly incredible--jaw droppingly, heart stoppingly incredible--He is. I think about the moon and how it illumines the Earth, controlls the tides, oxygenates the oceans. I think about the sun and how it provides life to our planet, as well as warmth, light, and beautiful images as it rises and sets each day. It's inconceivable how everything simply (complexly) works together. I think about the marvelous minds out there in the world; oh, how my life would be different without these people. I think about he who invented the bridge so that I could cross over bodies of water. He who developed medicine. He who innovates technology. He who penned extraordinary words and wrote my favorite pieces of literature. He who composes music.

And then, of course, my mind leads to the source of it all: He who breathed these ideas into these people and made it all possible to begin with. He who painted this beautiful landscape and chose to breathe life into it. He who created the intricate and the complex.

I dare you to tell me that's an accident.

I'm overwhelmingly blessed to praise the Creator of all things. And to think: He chose me.



I haven't blogged in quite a while. So much to say, so little time! I've read many books since my last book post. None of them is as important as this one: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (Actually, I finished this book in July, and I can't believe I haven't written a post about it until now.) This book is my favorite of all time. It's the only book that I've been sad to end; the only book I've wanted to read again immediately after closing it. The voice in this book is so incredible that I felt as though I was saying goodbye to my three best friends when I finished reading it. Absolutely fantastic. See for yourself. :)

In other news, this school year is ineffably better than last. My students are much better behaved than last year's bunch, although I do love both groups. I'm not sure if I'm in this for the long haul, but I'm content for right now. Either way, I'm excited about the opportunities that may come along with our move to Fayetteville over the summer!
That being said, the better this year goes, the sadder I become about leaving. I find great comfort in the fact that I seem to be content in either place, though. What a huge blessing!
Last night Ryan and I ate in Conway (which I miss so, so much) and then went to the corn maze in Mayflower with some of our friends. It's one of my favorite traditions... 2nd time ever. :)

Somehow my camera lense acquired dust/dirt/water spots which showed up all over most of my pictures from last night-- I don't care. They are still cute. :)



I have a special jewel of a student this year. After the second day of school she began messaging me on Facebook and then writing me notes several times a day. She's crying out for someone to help her and be there for her. I've done everything in my power, but I can't even explain how relieved I am that she and I are meeting with the counselor tomorrow morning. It took unbelievable amounts of begging and coercing to get her permission for me to share the information with the counselor, but she granted that to me and I ran with it.

Here's what she wrote me on Monday. It's unedited. :)
"You have helped me so much. I hope you don't mind me saying, I look up to you. I don't know how to look up to someone, but I want to be somewhat like you, your close to God. I don't know how to explain or detail, I'm just happy your my teacher. I'm sorry if I have been bugging you so much, but your an awesome person and thank you for being there for me when no one else was."
Yes, tears filled my eyes when I first read it. The truth is, I'm just as thankful for her as she is for me. Students like her remind me why I'm here-- why I'm doing what I'm doing.

At the end of another note, she said, "if it weren't for you I never would have prayed last night."

Thank you, Jesus.



Transitioning from summer break to school is like moving from your cozy home to an erupting volcano. Whatever that means, it's all too sudden and discomforting. Having been in school for two weeks now, I can say it's not all that bad. I'd just rather be on summer break. :)

This school year is already better than last. It took me no time at all to stumble upon this realization; we've only been in school with students for two days. But even the eight days of professional development were better than last year. Chalk it up to experience, I'm certain.

While I would never consider myself "experienced" as a second year teacher, the basic fundamentals of each school day are a breeze compared to last year. By this time last year, I had already argued with a girl before the bell ever rang to begin the first day of school, I had been cussed out by a male student who was suspended for three days, and I had been on the receiving end of countless instances of sexual harrassment. I shudder at those memories.

This year-- no similarities. Not one. Praise the Lord. These students are precious and are widely known as being a class that is much better than the last. I have two pre-AP classes this year instead of one, and I can't contain my excitement. I love them! Everything has gone so smoothly. Not one student has asked me my age, not one has made a crude or sexual remark, not one has talked back to me... but many students and parents alike have made sweet comments. Being "not new" makes such a huge difference. I never would have thought it mattered that much.

I have two main dreads about the probable transition to Fayetteville: 1) leaving three of my best friends (though being closer to others) and 2) having to be a "new" teacher again (assuming I continue in this career). I know I'll still have these experiences which will help me, but I'll still be new to whatever district and to all of those students and parents.

I'm also excited about many of my plans for this year, which was definitely not the case last year. Of course, I'll still grumble about not having as much free time as I'd like--did you really think I wouldn't?--but that doesn't mean I hate teaching unless I explicitly say so (and I would).

Also, for anyone who actually understands, we met AYP last year in Literacy, after being in whole-school improvement for three years!! Wahoo!


Simple Pleasures

If you know me in the context of having visited my home or my classroom, you should know how much pleasure and joy it gives me to be clean and organized. If I could get paid to organize things for people, I would. To those of you who have known me for a long time and think I'm lying, I'll admit I haven't always been this way!

Now, I find it difficult to enter a true state of relaxation if there is something that can be cleaned or organized. It all has to be completed before I can find relief, which is challenging in an apartment with little storage space. I can handle the challenge.

Let me share with you my newest undertaking: the cabinets. Not all the cabinets-- the pots and pans. I found it annoying every evening when I had to unload four pans from the cabinet just to get the one that was on the bottom. Need I even mention the lid issue? Anyone with me? So I fixed it. I forgot to take "before" pictures, but here are the "afters!"

*Sing it with me: "Haallllelujah!!"

You can find these slotted organizers at Wal Mart or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. What you see in my cabinets is actually three different kinds. My pans wouldn't fit in the white ones. Also notice the label still on the silver organizer; I wanted to make sure I was pleased with it before taking that off!

Sure, it's a far cry from perfect. But it's a few trillions better than it was before. We also have two extra large plastic tubs full of more kitchen utensils, gadgets, glass pans. I can't wait to get a larger kitchen! In the mean time, you can find me coveting Rachel Ray's kitchen (which is actually quite small... so nevermind).


Ode to the Crazies

In an attempt to psych myself out for the return to school, I present to you some of my favorite quotable memories from last year.

-What is professional development? Is that like architecture?

-You have a husband??!! *this question was posed to me in MAY. Hello!

-Did you know that skinny jeans can give you cancer?

-Jesus Christ!!! (quite angrily)
(I say the student's name and impose upon him an intense stare.)
What? I'm catholic! (In a "no really, it's okay because..." tone.)

-What do you call a person who makes art?

-A girl was showing an ESL student a gap in her teeth from a pulled tooth
 ESL student: Aww, what happened? Did your tooth fell down?

-Me: I can't keep waiting for you to get out a pencil. (Begins teaching)
Kid: Hey, no child left behind! (Huge grin)

-Mrs. Harness, you're my favorite teacher. Just kidding!

*Background information: Kid 3 in this scenario has an unhealthy love affair for Wendy's baconaters. He talked about them every day and finally someone asked him:
Kid 1: What is a baconater?
Kid 2 in an annoyed tone: It's a sandwich.
Kid 3 in a rather defensive tone: A sandwich!? Oh it's no sandwich! It's a masterpiece of meat, cheese, and bacony goodness.

-I just got called a butt muscle! A butt muscle! Who gets called a butt muscle?!

I am very dramatic when the Crazies ask about kids, so this is how they respond:
-You're going to be like the Duggars, but instead of having a new kid every season, you'll have a new kid every episode!
-Yeah, Octomom!!

-Kid 1: What does a-s-s- mean? (Legitimate-- it was in Julius Caesar)
 Kid 2: I don't know, but that's what I call my mom!

-New student: You look young. Like really, really young.
               Me: Take a guess, then.
         student: Like 27!

-I'm going to be in the NBA. (This kid is not on the basketball team...)

While briskly walking through the hall, a student says:
-yeh, I had to have back surgery yesterday because I fell on the ice.

-Kid 1: What is fornication?
 Kid 2: It's when unmarried people have sex.
 Kid 1: Oh. Really? (Looks at me) Is that right?
    Me: Yes.
Kid 1: (Looks around) Raise your hand if you have ever fornicated!?

-In a student's essay, she said castrated instead of concentrated. I don't remember the context, but it was about playing softball.


Wait, what?

I don't typically write in lists. In fact, they sometimes annoy me (imagine that). They don't annoy me as much as excruciatingly long blocks of text with no pictures, though. Since I have no pictures, a list it is!
  • I'll stop being dramatic for a second--it's tough--but I am not "dreading" school as I said in my last post. But I am reveling in these summer months.
  • I've been to the pool three days this week. First time since May. I quickly found myself coveting the tans of the regular pool goers, but then I reminded myself that they will have nasty skin in a few years. It truly is a consolation, since any hint of color from the sun is actually damaged skin-- and your skin is the main part of you that people see. Butyesi'dstillliketohaveatan.
  • On our honeymoon, I purchased a t-shirt from Hard Rock Cafe Cancun, and I haven't been able to find it ever since last August. I found it today!
  • Ryan and I received our letter today regarding the Fayetteville campus. We are in that group, pending its accreditation in the spring. We will not be allowed to change our minds after upcoming days, from what I understand. Please pray, pray, pray because we have no idea what we want or where we are supposed to be. Wait, what? We were so excited to move, but we feel like we're finally adjusting here. He has found his two soccer teams which he loves, I found an awesome pool to which I want to buy a pass next summer, he loves his job here, I love the people with whom I work, we love our church here, and most of our closest friends are in this area. I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up Sunday dinners with Shane and double dates with Luke & Lydia. Even though we will be locked in soon, we fortunately have almost a year before it actually happens. I'm not posting any positives about the potential move, due to the fact that it's our more likely decision. Just let me pout, okay? :)
  • This summer has been nothing but a blessing for Ryan and me. I love him more than ever. Marriage is the best!


Pots, Paintings, and Dread

Last spring I purchased a beautiful red Peace Lily from Home Depot and planted it in a beautiful ceramic pot I bought at Hobby Lobby. It has not grown one flower since I brought it home. It looked awful several months ago, so I set it outside and it began to perk up-- for a very short period of time. This is how it looked earlier today: dead leaves, cramped, awful. It doesn't look that bad, but it has looked like this for a very long time with no progress.

The solution I came up with was to repot it. Ryan took me to a few places in search of a pot, and none of them owned up to my standards. We finally went to K-Mart and I found one I love. It's not anything like I orginally had in mind, but I love it oh-so-much! It's a thousand times better than the other one which caused my Peace Lily to be so cramped up.

I brought it inside because I'm girly and I don't particularly enjoy the outdoors. Really, Ryan and I decided to have a Big Bang Theory marathon and I couldn't wait to begin either activity! I forgot to buy a shovel, but luckily I had these plastic shovels that came with the sandbucket I bought to help with cleaning my aquarium. (Two weeks ago, I set up an aquarium I've had for five years now!)

I think I discovered the issue:

Look at all that water! I knew something was wrong when I went to dig my plant out of the old pot and I could literally just pull it out with two fingers. Not only had it rained several inches this week, but there was no drainage hole in the bottom of that pot. Eek! I'm glad I laid down that trash bag before I began this project.

I love the end result. Hopefully it begins to grow and grow! I trimmed off all of the dead and semi-dead leaves. I was saddened to see it so bare, but it still looks so much better. It's not quite as large as it seems in the pictures.


I also made a painting the other day. I had fun making it, but I don't love the finished product like I thought I would. First, I made a little sketch in my trial version of Adobe Illustrator. It's a neat program, but way too complicated for me. I'll just wing it next time. I was basically able to design my painting on the computer with real measurements, so when it came time to actually begin, I knew exactly where to put each line. Perhaps that didn't make sense. Oh well. :)

I put my canvases together and began taping them off with painter's tape. 


Then I painted it gray and green, to go in our p-l-a-i-n guest bedroom, and then removed the tape.

Ryan insisted that I get in the picture with my painting. Ignore the background mess... I had to put my aquarium on top of my book shelf, so I had to find a new place for what was originally on top. The mess is not there anymore. :) Anyway, I do like my paintings but the green didn't turn out as bright as I had hoped, and the canvases still look too small on the wall I put them on.

I think I might try it again. I'm thinking BIG. And yellow. :) And here's a little secret-- I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say I get nauseous every time I write the date because it's getting too close to August. I can't stand the thought of it. At all. Dread.


Mi Casa

Six months ago, I promised my best friend that I would post pictures of mine and Ryan's apartment. Although I took these pictures a several months ago, I am just now getting around to posting them!

This is our living room. To the right of the curtain (facing the couch) is the front door. To the left of the couch is a small bookshelf!

Our kitchen is not as stark-white as the pictures makes it seem. To the right of the refrigerator is a pantry, which I love... even though I wish it were bigger. The three crosses you see were our unity candles at our wedding last summer!

Look at my man! Normally there is not a laptop on the kitchen counter. But don't worry--the Sonic cup habitually finds its way to our apartment. :) I really just added this picture so you could see how the living room and kitchen connect. I really like it because I can cook dinner and still be around Ryan. Or cook dinner and not miss American Idol when it was still on.

Up next is the hallway! The door your see on the very left of this picture opens up to our washer and dryer. As soon as you enter the hallway, the bathroom is on the left, the guest bedroom/storage room is on the right, and our bedroom is straight ahead.

Close-up of the wall art on the right side of the hallway. It's a little TJ Maxx bargain that I picked up over Christmas break. :)

Looking at these photos, I'm not certain why I didn't get a good picture of the bathroom. I have a few, but they aren't the best. This is in front of you when you walk through the door. The toilet is to the right and the medicine cabinet is above the toilet.

I love my shower curtain. Of course, everything in our apartment looks better in person.

If you sit on the toilet, this will be right in front of you. The shower curtain is on the left.

In our "everything room," or guest bedroom, is this desk. There is also a closet, more bookshelves, and lots of storage items (mainly seasonal decor and crafting supplies). There's also a bed which, for some reason, matches the black and green in the bathroom.

Last up: our bedroom! My pictures of this room didn't turn out very well either. Drats. (I'm obsessed with the sitcom Big Bang Theory, particularly Sheldon. He says "drats," so I do too. Ha!)
Anyway, this is our queen size bed. I want a Cali King.

And above our bed. I have yet to find curtains I like, which is why there are places for a curtain rod, but no curtain. Yes, I found a rod I like and went ahead and bought it... with no curtains. Don't judge me! To the right is a dresser and to the left is a chest of drawers. I don't know the difference so maybe I got the names mixed up.

Here's the view from the bed. I love this closet. I actually get ready in it every morning. Yes. I do my make up and hair in the closet. :)

That's it! Come visit some time! :)


Rude Awakening

Thursday evening I took my friend Liz to dinner to celebrate her graduating from UCA with her degree in Chemistry. She's moving to Atlanta soon to work on her Ph D in Physical Chemistry (sorry if I got that wrong, Liz! But I think that's right...)! We ate at Heaven (which, as you know, is the Cracker Barrel), and then hung out at my apartment for a little while.
She left. I went to bed. I slept well. I got up the next morning (Friday), got ready for school. I was excited about my day because my kids were reading books of their choice and I was anxious to begin reading my new one. I made a lunch I was excited to devour at 10:46 am (which I call "Kindergarten lunch"). Ryan told me how cute I looked, I was happy to go to school... I even said, "what a BEAUTIFUL morning!!!" as I walked down the steps from our apartment. I was excited about my day. I swear my mornings are never that cheesy.

I continue walking to my car, admiring how pretty the day was (it really was perfect!). I unlock my car, and as I'm opening my door, I see that my glove box is open, my center console is open, my bags that were in the back are now in the front, and there are papers everywhere. I had sent Ryan out to my car Thurs. night to get my umbrella because I thought it might be raining, so I was thinking, "hmmm... I don't remember him saying that he went through my glove box, but maybe he did." I know it's already long and drawn out, but these thoughts and observations were all within five seconds. I then see glass. Everywhere. My front passenger window had been busted out by somebody. I didn't bother looking to see what they took. I already knew. But the instant I realized what had happened, I RAN up the stairs and into the apartment. I didn't even shut the door behind me because I was so hysterical. I had several things in my hand (my lunch, my umbrella, a Wal Mart sack) which I dropped in the apartment as I was running. I got to the bedroom where Ryan was sleeping and I said, "Ryan, somebody broke into my car!!!" and then I started crying. Not sure how I held it in for that long... but then again, it was only like 30 seconds. ha. He got dressed really fast and we ran down to my car. I called 911 because I didn't know the number to the NLR police and I wasn't going to take the time to look it up.
I then called my friend Ellen, told her what happened, and asked her to get me a sub for the day because I wasn't sure what all this would entail.

The police came, then I called the insurance company (which seriously made my day much better). The insurance company made an appointment for me to get my car fixed just a couple of hours later. The police man said to us, "your deductible is probably $500 to $1,000," but it actually ended up only being $100! In fact, the place that fixed my car took a little longer than they said they would, so they only charged us $50.00. I was very, very happy.
Before that, though, we had a LOT of glass to clean up. Thank God Ryan had the day off. I totally needed him. The burglar(s) took my Dooney & Bourke wallet (which was a birthday gift), along with all of its contents: my driver's license, debit card, credit card, and various rewards cards. They took my iPod (a birthday gift), my marshmellow ipod headphones and cover (which I bought with birthday money), and they broke Ryan's fm transmitter which was a gift from my mom a couple of years ago... I have been using it. The sad thing is that none of those things were readily visible. They were stowed away in the bag I had been taking to the pool. My wallet probably was visible, which is completely my fault. LUCKILY the idiots didn't see my purse in the backseat. It was untouched. It really doesn't matter because they got my wallet (it's a wristlet) anyway, but my purse is special because I bought it in Mexico on my honeymoon.
I spent the day getting my car fixed, cancelling my cards and going to the bank to order a new one, getting a new driver's license.... AHH!
Rude awakening. That's for dang sure.
In memory of my orange iPod, which I was quite obviously very excited to be getting:

Isn't that SAD?! lol

And in memory of my wallet:

See it in my hands? As for the awkward pose, yes, I was trying to get close to that bird at the zoo.

So there's my rude awakening. :(


"Me" Time

Since my last post:

I read and somewhat enjoyed Push. It's really a disturbing book. I didn't see the movie Precious, which is based off of this novel, but I was told the book is four times more graphic than the movie. Maybe that will mean something to you if you've seen the movie.
Awful, awful, awful. Very disturbing. It's not a book I would recommend, persay, but it contains content that sheltered people like myself should be aware of.

I also read Crank. The majority of my students read and adore these books by Ellen Hopkins. This was only my 2nd book of hers to actually read. They are very, very thick books, but each page is written in what appears to be poem form, but it's not actually very poetic. I like these books a lot, but this one, for example, is about a girl who gets addicted to Meth. I get tired of the "drug books" (as I've been calling them) and disturbing content, but her stories are fantastic and there's always a great lesson learned. They are relevant to my students, sadly.

Glass is the sequel to Crank, and oh my goodness. I loved this book. I loved it much more than I did Crank. It is c-r-a-z-y.

So I've read a little this past month. I also crafted a little:

It's certainly not perfect, but it will do! :) I also rocked my Praxis III and am proud of my scores. Ryan just finished his first year of pharmacy school. Big time around our household!



I'm horrible about updating, but I like waiting until I actually have something to say.

This stretch of 6 days (from last Monday to this coming Monday) should be the most stressful time of the school year. Monday is my Praxis III, but I'm actually completely ready and it's more of an inconvenience than anything. I don't like that I'm having to miss class for the interviews. I've filled out the silly Class Profile and Instructional Profile probably about 20 times between my time at UCA and this year with the mentoring program. It gets old. How many times do I need to prove myself? It almost seems as though it will hurt me to have done it so many times just because I do it less thorough each time-- again, because it's old. I have to try to get in the right mindset by Monday and remember that it's this lady's first time to see me. She hasn't seen the 20 others that I've done!

Tuesday was neat. Let me start with a little background. Every first year teacher is required to have a mentor teacher. The mentor teacher gets paid to be the mentor. There is a time requirement that we have to meet, and there are several required observations, etc. All mentors have to be trained. They go to a training that is put on by the state, and they watch a video in order to learn what to do as a mentor. The video is of a mentor teacher and a first-year teacher doing their thing-- the pre-interview, the observation, and the post-interview. Just like the Praxis.

The state's problem: they only have videos of elementary teachers and mentors. No secondary.
Solution: they select my mentor and me to go through this process so they can make a video for high school teachers.

It was incredibly fun. I got nervous the morning of, but once I got there it was a breeze. It was hilarious, though. We had to wear three different outfits, one for each video segment, to make it seem like it was done on three different days. Apparently most mentor teachers and first-year teachers do the interviews and observations across three days, but we always squeezed it into one.

For the recorded observation, I chose my 4th period class because they are dramatic, outgoing adolescents who love to be seen and heard. They are amazing, but there were incredibly amazing that day. I was so impressed that I had tears in my eyes later. Many of them dressed to the nines for this occasion. They were so proud to do it, and I was so proud of them! And let's be clear: this was no rinky dink video camera. There were three massive ones, along with a sound board and lots of other equipment that I can't name, in my classroom for this lesson. It had the potential to be intimidating, but we all had fun.

The days leading up to it were quite stressful, knowing many people across Arkansas would be watching this video, but really, that's no reason to be nervous. I got over it quickly, especially since I had several weeks to think about it. It's sole purpose is to train mentors on how to go through the whole process and how to be a helpful mentor. Many of them have no idea how the interview process or observation should work, so that's why they need videos.

So now I have my Praxis on Monday, and I've just been chilling all weekend. I've wasted too much time, I'm sure, but this has been one of my most relaxing weekends in a very, very long time. Life is so ironic. I just don't get it... and that's why I love it!


Butts in Heaven

Notice the picture on the left. I have always thought it would be hilarious to see a lady with her dress unknowingly stuck in her tights. And it is, I'm sure.
Ryan and I went to the Cracker Barrel (which I have always referred to as "Heaven") on Sunday after church. "Heaven" on Sunday is always super packed. There is normally at least an hour wait, with little room to move in the Country Store because it's that busy. Ryan was waiting in line to pay for our meal, so I take advantage of the opportunity and skip on over to the bathroom. After I'm finished, I spend a few minutes washing my hands and playing with my hair in the mirror. I walk out of the bathroom, look at a few items in the store, and then weave my way through all the bystanders to try to get closer to my husband. I decide I'm not up for the adventure, so I just stand by and wait for him to come to me. Instead, an employee comes up to me. She says, "honey, your dress is stuck in your tights. I tried to get over here as fast as I could, but it took me a while to get through all the people!" I immediately reached back there to fix it, and sure enough, my dress was all up in my tights. There is no way it went unnoticed by the millions of people at "Heaven" that day. But the cool thing is that I didn't feel embarrassed. In fact, I went right up to Ryan after that and kept saying, "but why am I not embarrassed??? Don't normal people get embarrassed about things like revealing their butts in public?" I guess the difficult-to-embarrass quality is one that comes with teaching.
Oh, and even better... my tights were white.

I have been bad about updating. I have made a few posts without publishing them. It serves as a journal of sorts. I've written about life and love, dreams, homesickness. ;)

Last week, I embraced Spring Break with open arms. It was nice to have a break, but it wasn't the most fun break by any stretch of the imagination. I studied for my GRE, which I took on Thursday, graded a ton of research projects, and worked at school a little bit. I also got an iphone and a hair cut (trim).

Ryan has continued making neat things in his Solutions Lab:
They are all labeled with my name! The long tube on the top left is cuticle ointment. He was allowed the option of choosing one perfume, from many, to lightly scent this ointment. He recognized one of the perfumes as one that I have, so he thoughtfully chose that one.
The three smaller tubes are chapstick!! I haven't tried it yet because I am nervous about the sanitation in the Lab. I will probably give in.
The jar is Benzocaine gel. He tells me it's a "local anesthetic," even though I'm not sure what it's for. :)

46 more school days until the sweet, sweet, yet ephemeral summer.



Everything is so much more fun when you are sharing it with at least 100 others. Seriously! It was so much fun to hear my 10th graders tell me "Happy Birthday" to the point of annoyance. It was so sweet when they came in yesterday morning with cupcakes and fruit punch for their afternoon classes. It was sweet to have my teacher friends celebrate my birthday with me.

It was sweet when Ellen brought me this:

And Stacy brought me this:


And just when I thought it couldn't get any better...

My sissy showed up at my door step!!! I could not believe my eyes. She and Ryan did a great job pulling that one off because it is difficult to surprise me. In fact, I don't think I've ever been surprised before. Being twenty three is fabulous.

Plus, we got to eat lots of ice cream cake:

I forgot to take a picture before we cut the cake, so no close up for you! 

We laughed and laughed. Talked and ate. Laughed some more. Then we all went to bed. Sadly, when I got home today, our little treasure (sister) was gone. But I did come home to this:

It doesn't look fun; I know. It looks like medicine; I know. 
It is. But I don't have to take it! It's the first medicine that Ryan made at school in his Solution Lab. It's actually Calamine lotion. :) I thought it was super neat. He made the label and everything. Now I'm just waiting for chapstick week...