Monday, January 24, 2011

A Hot Pink Band-Aid and...a Little Random Rambling...

Today I got a hot pink band-aid. It looks pretty impressive. Especially since I had to get poked by a needle and give away my blood to get it. Ouch! No fun. But...hopefully the doctor will be able to figure out a little more about what has been making me feel more tired and a little sick more often this year. It doesn't seem to be anything major, just checking to be sure, especially with the possibility of moving overseas soon. I'm praying the tests will come back ok. At least I got to sport a super hot pink band-aid all afternoon. Oh, and since my appointment was at Jeff City, of course I convinced my mom the perfect way to recover would be a stop at Central Dairy! Mmmmm...I was willing to ignore the snow on the ground outside and enjoy a little ice cream to go with the cold weather! :)

As for everything else, I guess there isn't a lot to share right now.

*I mentioned in my last post, I'm getting a little too used to these short work weeks, I'm afraid! I will go to school tomorrow, but Wednesday-Friday I will go to my state music teacher conference. I'm really excited to go - I always learn a lot, meet great teachers, and come back with new ideas.

*It is now only 30 days until I leave for my interview conference! I fly there four weeks from Wednesday!

*Seeing the flip flops on the racks at the mall today amidst the super-clearance priced knit scarves gave me that bittersweet hope that Spring might actually be around the corner, but there is still time to enjoy the snow.

*I am actually reading a book for fun right now. It is a Christian novel my sister leant me last year, but I am just now getting around to starting called "Pretense." It has 700 pages which is slightly intimidating to me, only because I know how little free time I have to read during the school year, and I am a naturally slow-reader, unless it is something I am super interested in. far I have gotten to the 140s...which means only about 600 pages more to go. It's actually a really good book, and I'm hoping maybe with airplane time on the way to my conference, I might finish it before Spring time!

*Weight Watchers is.....not going as well as it was last year. When I joined I did so well. I lost 20+ lbs and maintained it in the first five months. I have actually managed to keep the 20 lbs off, which I have never done before, so that is a good thing...but I have not made the effort to keep going and lose the other portion to get to my goal. This makes me feel a little frustrated and discouraged, and I also understand how the women at my meeting with families is hard when you are trying to do this while living with other people. When it was just me, I was able to only think about me, and only have what I wanted to in my apartment. At home, there are other "goodies" around and other cooking (I'm not complaining about my mom's good cooking!), plus I've just been feeling tired in general over the past few months. I've tried to keep my workouts going at Curves, but I'm ready for Spring so I can start walking more again! Anyway, enough about that...I'm just going to give it another try when we start our new series in a couple of weeks and...hopefully get more motivated and determined!

*I'm really thinking and praying about my church situation right now. I just can't seem to figure out where I fit in/need to be and if I should keep commuting to the church I joined in the community where I teach at or spend some time at my church near home, where I grew up. I'm praying and seeking God's direction.

*School is getting a little better this semester, although it could just be that I haven't been there as much! I'm hoping February will feel as ok as January has. I have lots of programs coming up to prepare for, and keep thinking, "This might be my last semester, so I should do this..." I just want to enjoy it as much as I can and be the best teacher I can before I go.

*I was going to make those all short one-lined random things going on lately, but as you can see...I can never seem to keep things at one-line. So...oh well!

I hope your new week is off to a good start!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let it snow, snow, snow...


This picture was really taken a few years ago, just before Christmas, but I thought, in honor of all the snow, I would put it here! :)

Snow days can be a teacher's dream...until they start interfering with Spring Break! But...we still have two more days we can use to make-up before they do,'s hoping we won't be enjoying our Spring Break in January and February instead of March! I must say, though, I'm getting kind of used to these three day work weeks! Two days sick the first week back, two snow days last week, two this week, and my music conference for three days next week...I have not worked a full week this whole month, and will only work two in February due to another meeting and my conference at the end of the month! Seems so crazy...I guess I just thought teaching was a M-F job! haha

My fun boots, which I found out in the last snow...are actually not very practical because they are kind of tight, which makes it hard to keep my toes WARM because they can't move...I guess they are actually more risky for frost bite than my shoes! Oh well! ha

Last week I spent my snow days at home being lazy all day and still kind of recovering from my sick days the week before. But this week I spent them with a very fun family! I've known this family since high school, they were actually teachers of mine, and now we work in the same district as...colleagues! That still seems crazy to me! But, they have been so kind to open their home to me anytime this year while I'm commuting, and I always love playing with their kids, which means that my two snow days this week were still lazy, but.......lots of FUN! :) We played outside, had hot chocolate, watched movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks and SweetPea Beauty, ate fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and just...enjoyed the time off from school! I'm so thankful for the blessing and encouragement they are to me! :) 

This was really from our first snow of the year in December, but this seems to be the "look" we have lately!

I also spent time reading some of my old Xanga blog entries from college. I'm so glad it was "all the rage" to have a blog starting around my freshman seemed like everyone was doing it! And there are some really funny and serious memories I wouldn't even remember if I hadn't done that. I hope I can somehow transfer it to my computer or paper one day, so I can always keep those memories! I would definitely like to keep a journal, but it takes so much time, and it is just easier to record and write through typing and technology these days. I'm a little lazy about writing sometimes because...I'm just not a quick writer. And if that helps me to keep track of things, I guess it's a good thing! So...I'm glad for this blog too because I've already been able to go back over my past year since I started it and see all that God has been doing in this time of my life! 

And, of course my heart and mind have been thinking a lot about my conference next month. It is SO exciting! Yet so overwhelming to think about ALL the many places in the world I might go. I do know that, before my trip to Africa in college, for some reason, God placed that continent on my heart. I really can't remember the exact time or the reason, but I just...knew. Then the trip came up, and I was SO excited. I knew I was supposed to go. And God provided perfectly for that to happen. It was a life-changing trip, and...when I left I cried so much. A piece of my heart was there, and always will be. And I knew I would be going back...someday...for some amount of time. So of course, for these years after the trip, Africa has still been on my heart, but I don't even know where in Africa. It is a big continent, after all! I visited Senegal on the trip and loved it, but I've never even had the opportunity to be in another part of Africa. Recently another country in Africa has come up in different random ways...and I am excited because my heart had not even thought about that area...until now! I honestly didn't even think about the possibility of people being in that country working. It's not that it's an unsafe or unworkable place...I just...hadn't thought about it. I can imagine it will be like that at the conference...all the possibilities my heart has not even thought about! I'm going to begin praying about this country and see if there is a reason it has recently come to mind. Only God knows that, but I am ready and willing to seek and find out. And I will also pray as God leads my heart to other places, if He does. But...I would be REALLY excited if this were the place, now that I am thinking about it! :) 

I found this picture online, and it seems perfect to me right now...It's a little funny looking, I know, but it reminds me, 
God really does have the WHOLE world in HIS hands, and I can only imagine what He has in store for me somewhere...even if it is here!

I don't necessarily know if God is calling me to Africa at all. I also don't want to go to the conference with a certain thing in mind and feel...disappointed. I know saying that might seem a little odd, because where ever I have the opportunity to go, I know God is already working and making the way, but as  humans, sometimes our hearts can get set on what "WE" want or plan, and fail to set our eyes on what God is planning. I do know I am going to pray wholeheartedly the next four and a half weeks that I will have clarity, and that He will place a burden on my heart for a specific part of the world I am to go to. I wish I could be more detailed here, but really there is a lot I just don't even know right now. A lot I won't know until I go, and a lot I probably won't be able to share if/when for security reasons. But...that is all down the road, and for now I simply ask you to be praying with me as well! I'm thankful for the prayers and support of anyone who is reading this, and look forward to sharing more of my journey with you! 

Brazil - Amazon Region Village - Summer 2007

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you have a blessed weekend  and stay warm! Or cool...depending on where in the world you are! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Just a Quote...

My mom was reading a book tonight about a woman who wrote about Jane Austen...or something like that. So, here's a quote she read me from the book! :) 

"If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad." -Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)

And, in honor of needing to have a little adventure in my own "village," here's a picture of me at school today.....holding a raccoon skin! I got it off the side of the road on my way to school one day! It's my new class mascot. 

Uh, no. Definitely not. I was just kidding FOR sure! lol One of our great staff members shared a presentation today for the kids and showed them his collection of Native American artifacts he has hunted, collected, and made. HE was the one who got the raccoon off the side of the road. And I have to say, though I have bravely held an alligator in my lap in a boat on the Amazon River in Brazil...I would probably NOT be brave enough to stop on the side of the road and pick up a dead raccoon! (See, adventures abroad, just like the quote said!) haha I was trying to make a, "Yikes!" face here, but the picture was taken too soon, and I actually look like I'm enjoying the experience! 

Never a dull moment in the music room! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Randomness from a Monday Make-Up Day...

We had to go to school today and make up a snow-day, but oh wasn't so bad. (Other than the getting up at 5 a.m. and leaving at 6 a.m. again part...only four more days 'til I get to sleep in again! ha)

"So bahy, bah, Miss 'Merkin pah, drove my Chev to the lev, but the lever was dry..." If you knew the little boy who came to Kindergarten music class today singing that song, you would know just how funny and random it really was! (And the interesting spelling was an attempt to help you hear the Southern drawl/mumbled/slurred sounds he made with each word! =) I just had to smile and say, "I know that song too." Then he told me it's called, "Bye, Bye Pie."

"Zumba, Zumba...switch!" I exercise at Curves each week, and I really enjoy it, but recently they started something SO fun. Zumba class! It's fun because it combines the regular work-out circuit with Zumba dancing....or.....uhhh, whatever you want to call the "movements" I make when I try to dance! lol Normally at Curves you go around a machine circuit two times, doing each machine for 30 seconds with a recovery board in between where you move to keep your heart rate up. With Zumba, you go around only one time, doing each machine for a whole minute and doing Zumba in between. The "switch" part tells us the minute is up and we need to go to a machine or start doing Zumba. The Zumba instructor comes twice a week, and I love it! Anyway, it's been really fun trying something different! (Just don't tell anyone! I AM Baptist after all...haha)

I got out! Oh man! I lost at my own game I was playing with the fifth graders today. They enjoyed that a little bit! :)

My kids made it through an Orff arrangement including singing, playing three different mallet instrument parts, and playing a temple block part. It was fun!

I got my flight confirmation for the interview conference! I leave in 37 days! (Yep, I'm counting!) I'm SO excited! :)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I haven't had a lot of time or motivation to write recently...I'm working on that! But - I do want to share some exciting news. After ten months, I finally received my e-mail invitation this the interview conference for the Journeyman program! If you've been reading my blog over the past year, you might remember this post where I first shared that my heart had begun thinking again about starting the application process. And...a few days after that post, I did begin the application! Step by step, I worked (with God's help!) to finish each step and all the details involved with each - an extensive health questionnaire, a statement of my beliefs on many specific things, my testimony and calling to serve, and my auto-biography answering very specific questions about my entire life (8 pages long when I finished!). I finished all of these things at the end of July, and it has been a long and hard time waiting to hear the results. But, God has finally allowed me the opportunity to further pursue this desire He placed in my heart! I don't know many details yet, but I will attend a conference Feb. 23-26 where they will fly me to their campus to spend time with other applicants and a leader who already "knows" me from my application materials. I'll interview, spend time in a small group, further prepare my heart to go, and leave knowing for sure if I'll be going and more than likely where in the world it will be! I can't tell you how excited my heart is about this! Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement whether it was while I was waiting to hear, while I was working on the application, or in the past few years as God has placed this desire in my heart and allowed it grow even bigger!

Please continue to pray for me as I wait the five weeks to the conference, and as I seek to have an open heart about where God is leading me. Also pray that I will not be discouraged or doubtful but that I will be completely ready when God sends me, physically, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. I can't believe it has been ten months since I started this process, that I actually finished (glory goes to God!), and He has allowed me to be one of the selected applicants for the interview!

I'll keep you updated as I know more! :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yesterday I went wedding dress shopping with one of my best friends I grew up with! We became friends in junior high, and it's been almost thirteen years crazy! We even kept in touch through college in two different states, a semester on different continents, and then, when I started teaching after I graduated, God put us both back in the same place again! It was pretty fun just getting to sit back and watch! Usually I'm indecisive, so I was surprised I actually had an opinion about most of the dresses. Some were just more....up there than the others! The consultant was so helpful and kept it to a "top three" for her. And......since I can't post any pictures until after June, you'll just have to trust me when I say she picked THE one! :) It was so so so so beautiful! Next up...bridesmaid dress shopping. I get to be the maid of honor! Here's a fun picture of us together from her brother's college graduation this Spring...interestingly though, you can probably see it was FUH-REEEEZING that day, even though it was May! Happy wedding planning, Brandy! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Sometimes I wonder about what makes me who I am. Or I guess...what am I truly passionate about? What could I talk about or read about for hours on end? I guess these things change...obviously they do with different life experiences. 

I'm not that into politics or "important" things going on in the world. Not that I am completely ignorant to what is going on, but I wouldn't choose to, or feel qualified to have a conversation about politics or current events dealing with this. I know my morals and the issues I stand firmly for/against. But I don't desire to have a debate about the "extra" stuff. I guess that's ok. 

I'm not that into reading classic literature or discussing famous authors, and I don't remember all of the math, history, or science I learned in school. 

I enjoy playing games with friends...but I don't spend much time "strategizing" and trying to understand the ones that take a lot of time, or even card games...I, but that's what makes it fun. 

I'm not that into "fashion" or the right and wrong things to buy/wear or how to do my hair/makeup. I do enjoy shopping, dressing up, wearing fun jewelry, and looking nice...but I'm not a fancy or "high maintenance" person. See?...(Ok, so it WAS Tacky Sweater Day in this picture...were you getting worried? haha)

I enjoy music and being a music teacher...but if you asked me to have an in-depth conversation about a piece of classical music, a composer, a music theory example, or even some of the things I teach, I might not be able to explain clearly or even know what to say. Also, if you ask me about current musicians, music shows such as American Idol, etc...I'm at a loss. I obviously love listening to music of many types and when I hear a song, I can usually "name that tune," but that's about it. So...I guess I'm no music scholar. Yes I have a degree in music, so I'm not saying I know "nothing!" I am just not an expert. 

But... ask me to take pictures, and I can find anything to say without using words. I love capturing things that seem ordinary to everyone else...and finding ways to see the "character." (You might say I can thank my mom and my grandad for this, because both have been an example to me in their love for photography!) I love capturing memories...friends, family, people, places...I don't claim to be "good" at this art, but I am passionate about it! 

I get excited about writing. I don't claim to be "good" at this either, though I've been encouraged since childhood to continue writing by teachers and others. I don't really enjoy a certain category of writing, but some of my biggest accomplishments in life have come from this ability - my Missouri State Cadet Teacher of the Year honor my senior year of high school, college scholarships from private organizations at the end of high school, a chance to present my Music History paper at Scholars Day in college, a free trip to locations in Europe I selected and wrote about through Kappa Delta Pi International Teacher Honor Fraternity in college, and now two major grants while teaching music - world drums through American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and a Smart Board through our district technology grant. I've really considered taking a class or two on grant writing, because I get excited about this, and also enjoy writing for the areas I mentioned before. there a category for all that? I don't know!

I love, love, love serving other people. I first began serving when I was a child, through our church missions program - GAs. But, in high school, I really started getting more involved in community service, and in college it was one of my biggest joys. I wouldn't say people remember me a lot on campus as being "well-known" or a super scholar...but I do think a lot of people in my church and the service teams remember me. And I love that. Well, more than remembering ME, I want them to remember this ABOUT me, and above all remember the joy of Christ I had while I was serving. I guess one of my other biggest "accomplishments" was receiving the "Ray of Light" Community Service award from the Sunrise Rotary Club in Arkadelphia while in college. Glory to God for that opportunity, and for the heart He has given me for service! 

Which leads me to....

International service! I am SO in love with meeting people from other cultures here and taught ESL on campus in an evening community outreach program my last two years of college. Specifically, a piece of my heart is in Africa, where I served for three weeks on a mission trip during college and hope to return one day! 

I could talk about THIS all day! I could share the many experiences I had there, how inadequate I was, but how God blessed my life more than I could have ever imagined. I am no theologian, and I don't have have the entire Bible memorized. (That's one of this year's goals, right? Ha...Ok, so that was said in a joking manner, but really, why should I joke about that? I DO have the goal of memorizing more Scripture and hiding it in my heart to meditate on and share with others!) I can't argue my faith in detail or provide answers to every question I encounter. Even I still have questions. But I can love and serve. God has given me a love for the people and children I meet, and sometimes, just showing that love, serving those people, and learning to live their culture...can say more than thousands of words. 

And yes...I do LOVE to play percussion and make noise on some drums! God has given me THAT love and passion...and I believe it is how I "yell!" haha Nobody ever guesses I'm a percussionist the first time they meet me. But that's ok. I know it. And my heart does too! 

So...what makes me, me? Well...I think there are a lot of things. A lot more than I can think of here. But isn't it amazing how God created each of us so differently? We are all his children, created in His image, yet we are all unique in our Spirit, personality, and presence. And I like that. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Goal...

One New Year's Goal...

Be rested. It is hard commuting to work this year - I will be truthful and say there is nothing "fun" about waking up at 5 a.m. every day. But...I will say it is a little less difficult when I have enough rest. (Insert lightbulb here...what an idea! ha) This is no new phenomenon, but something I'm not the best at. I am sometimes (ok a lot of times) a procrastinator and though I hate to admit it - sometimes a time waster. So I have set a time I want to be in be in bed each night, and I've also started reading before I sleep...hey, this being rested thing isn't so bad after all. This does not mean I'm not still counting the days left until Saturday each morning when my alarm goes off, though! After all, the poor clock is so overworked this year, it deserves at least one day, off, right?!

I'm learning more and more that it takes extra effort, consistency, and willingness to continue to succeed at important things, big and small! And how being rested not only affects my day at work, but also my spiritual growth, my attitude, and my physical state.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

I started 2011 with a fun and crazy day with family. My mom's side of the family came over to celebrate Christmas, and there were lots of laughs! When everyone is there, we have 20 just with my parents, brothers, sisters, and their families. Then, with my grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins, and cousin's child, we have 28! Yesterday we were missing my sister-in-law who works weekends as a nurse, and my sister and her family, who live in Texas, making the grand total 23!! are our very most serious pictures of the day! Don't laugh too hard! I hope I won't see any of them copied and pasted onto! haha

Family resemblance? Naaahhhh!

Laura decided to go for the Steve Urkel look with her new pajamas! The polka dots kind of cover it up, but if you look closely, they are pulled up....wayyyy high! 

Granny, Carolyn, and Aunt Patti...wait a minute - how come they look so normal? This is not an accurate family photo...haha

 Grandad decided he wanted a "circle" picture of all the great grandkids - I didn't get one with all the great grand-kids, but here is the first one with my brother's five girls. 

 I did, however, wind up in the "grandkid" photo! haha How come the in-laws didn't have to be in it? Kenny and Kristin had a good time watching all of this going on, and yes, laughing just a little!
Clockwise: Carolyn (cousin in purple stripes), Mark (brother), Bryan (brother), Myrenda (cousin), Me, Carrie (sister)

 Laura and Lane...looks like big sister is thinking about something...mischievous, maybe? Nah!

Present opening time! - Lots of "organized chaos!" :) My cousin Austin's face kind of says it all!

 Finally got Grandad in a picture - he's usually behind the camera! 
Grandad, Kenny (Myrenda's husband), Dad, and Myrenda (cousin)

 Granny and her presents...I guess she was on Santa's good list this year! haha

I told you we only take serious photos in our family, so I thought I'd end with a few year's Christmas card photos? 

 The shower caps were an inside joke! You had to be there. But I do love our whisk and spatula though...again, my sister and I are never crazy when we are together. We always maintain the most serious and proper composure. 

I've been thinking about some of my goals for the year and might post about those eventually, but for now, it's time to get ready for the real world again...tomorrow morning is quickly coming!