Monday, May 30, 2011


Happy 26th Birthday to me! I only have three more minutes left of my birthday...and I actually don't have a lot to share about the day. I spent most of it in a car driving home from Arkansas. But - I had a great weekend with family and visiting friends there, and I've decided to declare another day this week "celebrating me" day so I can have some fun since I was in the car all day today! lol :) Oh well - thanks to all my friends and family for all the birthday wishes! I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Schoooool's OUT....for SUMMER! :)
I was thinking that song in my head when I typed
It's official. I finished my third year of teaching today!
Which's summertime! And.......maybe there will be more time for blogging!
Happy Summer Vacation!  :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just a few funny quotes to help me remember...

"You just need some Oxiclean, Ms. Whitaker!" - A Kindergartener noticing the wet spot on my shirt after I spilled yogurt on it at lunch...he is always so expressive when he talks, and it was funny how specific he was on insisting I use "Oxiclean" and in an infomercial-enthusiastic voice! :)

While singing a Kindergarten program song "I Can't Spell Hippopotamus" where the kids spell different words - cat, hat, mat, etc...but then sing about how they just can't spell hippopotamus..."I can spell cat, c-a-t, I can spell beautiful music teacher..." I always get a boost of self esteem from those kiddos!

Oh man - as usual I KNOW there was another one...I was trying so hard to keep it in my memory on the way home tonight, but maybe I'll remember it soon!

Today was officially my last day of teaching for the year. Tomorrow the kids go half a day, but there are no specials classes, so I'll get to clean, organize, and check out! I feel like I survived so much more than even my first year of teaching this year. It has been a challenge, a learning experience, good, bad, hard, fun, sad, and much much more. Here's to summer vacation!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I've always been fascinated by clouds. 
Isn't amazing how quickly they change sometimes, and how the different kinds can mix together? 

Waiting. Sometimes God teaches us through times of waiting. I don't understand His ways or His reasons, but I do understand He is in control. Always. He knows the plans He has for me. Even when I have to work hard to "like" them.

I loved looking at the sky the morning I took these pictures. I could have watched all day. 
The mixture of textures was just so beautiful. God is such an artist. 

I'm going to step out on the "honesty platform" and say I've just been through/am going through one of the hardest years of my life. No...I didn't walk through any major tragedies or lose a loved one. I wasn't in the middle of any natural disasters as much of our world has been. I am very blessed. In many ways. Don't get me wrong, or think I'm being unthankful. I have just been challenged to grow in trust through my relationship with God. I have taken so many steps I thought for sure were in His plans and then doors have closed. I have been stuck waiting, waiting, and waiting again. Ok, I know I said "stuck" but that is how it has felt, when really I know it was no "coincidence."

This one is my favorite. 

Maybe one of the best things about God and being in His will though, is that when we are praying and seeking Him, and we need to know if we are going in the right direction, He opens some doors and closes others. He has very clearly done that for me this year many times. Most recently, I applied for a position teaching ELL (English Language Learner) students in our school district. I really wanted the position, though I'm not yet certified. But, again He has closed a door. I will be teaching K-6 music in the same building again next year. There are many positive things about that, and I am blessed to have a job. Most of all I am blessed to get to care for my 550 kids again. I pray I am an example to them every day through my words, actions, and attitude. But my stomach hurts about this, and I'm anxious too. I will be praying hard that God will give me the desire to go back again next year and give it my all. I want to enjoy my work and feel adequate in what I'm doing each day. I don't feel that way this year. I feel like I'm surviving...every day. I pray that I will find my adequacy in Christ and not in myself or my career. I pray that through Him I will find joy and contentment in what I am doing despite any circumstance. 

It's not always easy following God. It's not supposed to be. But looking around, I see His awesome presence surrounding me - in the clouds, in the unique personalities of my kids, in people I meet, places I go, my passions and desires, in my salvation and my life...and I know He is a God who will never leave or forsake me. And I choose to follow matter where He leads. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer News!

There is so much to write about right now...lots going on with the end of school and life in general, but for now, I'm excited to say I'll be working HERE this summer! God is SO good...I applied earlier in the Spring thinking the dates would probably not work out since I am pretty booked until mid-June. I didn't hear from them, so I assumed it was because they realized I couldn't come the whole summer. I prayed so much, with a HUGE desire to go, asking God that if I was supposed to be there, the dates would somehow work out. Then I got a message last week to set up a phone interview - had the interview Friday, and received my job offer today!! The training and job start June 20th, the week AFTER my last summer training at school! And I finish July 30th, which means I'll have a little time to get ready for the new school year too. I am so excited about the chance to work at a camp, fellowship with other young adult Christians, and be a part of a children's ministry even through the summer! I will be helping with preschool childcare for parents while they are at conferences there. I will live in a dorm and be put in a small group to meet and have Bible study and accountability every week. Most of all I am excited for the fellowship of Christian friends I have been missing out on so much lately...I am truly thankful to God for this opportunity! 

Ridgecrest Camp is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina....sooooo pretty!

Here is the small chapel on the campus - also beautiful, and where a wonderful college friend of mine got married after working there for the summer. (She met her husband at Ridgecrest, so hey - maybe that will be an added bonus! lol Just kidding!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Rose...

I got the most beautiful long-stemmed white rose from a first grade girl last week, and it looked SO lovely on my desk...until she asked to have it back! lol That morning she and four other girls came rushing down he hallway urgently and said they'd been searching for me but hadn't found me in my office. I was wondering what might be so urgent when one little girl handed me the beautiful flower in the picture above. They were all so proud to be with her when she gave it to me, and I was thankful and honored she had thought of me to give it to, out of all the other people she could have chosen. 

I carefully put it into a water bottle and placed it on my desk where I could enjoy it all day. She had no idea how full my heart was from her love and choice to share. But, to every story there is a funny side! And...when she came for music class that afternoon, just as I was getting ready to thank her again, she said, "Ms. Whitaker.....I'm really sorry, but............I need my rose back." LOL Thinking in my mind that she may have "borrowed" it from some where and needed to put it back, I agreed and assured her it was ok. Then I asked her why she needed to take it back and she said, "Well, I just saw one of my old teachers I haven't seen in a REALLY long time, and I really want to give it to her. I'm sorry..." I have to admit, it was a little sad, but I was glad I had taken a picture of it that morning so I have the memory! And I think sometimes we can learn from our kiddos - while they don't usually understand it's not polite to take back a gift, she was choosing to share the joy with more than one person. I got to enjoy the beautiful rose for the morning, and another teacher got to enjoy it after that. I was happy she shared the joy, plus...she did pick me first! :) haha Oh well - another teacher memory to put in the books! 

I also received this little flower from one of my second grade boys the same morning. He had picked two or three, so it was nice of him to share with me too! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Might Have Found My Prince Charming...

But I didn't kiss him and find out! You'll find HIS picture later in this post! haha

Today I am thankful for rest - with the chance to sleep in with no alarm clock! I love weekends when I don't have to be anywhere...To celebrate the seventh day of my birthday month, I took some pictures outside. Spring is finally here, and summer isn't too far away! 

Our sweet kitty, Sunshine, knows what Saturdays are for...she spent much of her day lounging on the porch in the sunshine! :) 

I took a minute to stop and admire this beautiful butterfly. I love the bright yellow in its wings and the accents of blue around its head. Isn't it amazing how unique and wonderful God has created things in nature? And he cares even more about us as His children! Of course the butterfly is an excellent reminder of the new life we find in Christ after leaving our old life (like the caterpillar who grows into the butterfly...) I'm glad a friend reminded me of that this weekend too! 

And finally...I couldn't leave this one out. This guy was a little less beautiful than the butterfly. And I have to admit - it did freak me out a little to be so close to him. mom insisted we take a picture. Then I decided that since we were already taking his picture anyway...maybe today would be the day my fairy tale comes true - and, well........

It didn't quite work this time. Oh well! (Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I didn't actually kiss the frog?! haha Ewwww!) I'm sure my prince charming is out there somewhere! 

Yesterday for my birthday celebration, I drove the long way home with the windows down and turned the radio up extra loud so I could sing, sing, sing! :) Yesterday I was thankful for Fridays! And Thursday, I think I forgot to post much going on this week at school! I was thankful for wonderful co-workers, and I celebrated by picking out my birthday gift that I "don't know about" at Wal-Mart with my mom. :) But the pictures of that will have to wait until I unwrap it and see my not so surprising surprise on my birthday! 

Happy Weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The dogwoods were so beautiful this year...everywhere I looked it seemed like the white popped out among the green so brilliantly! This one was in our backyard. It has nothing to do with what I'm thankful for today, but I just wanted to bring a little "Spring" to my post! :) 

Today I officially made my last payment on my computer! I've been working toward this for 18 months, and feel really proud to officially own it now. It is the first major item I've ever purchased! So...that is definitely the highlight of Day #4 in my birthday month! And I'm also thankful today to have one less payment to worry about each month! Yesterday I forgot to post what I was thankful for, but of course I would have said for my mom! I'm also thankful for my precious Kindergarten kiddos. I love all of the groups for different reasons, but these little ones can brighten a day with such simple words....and they can make me laugh! Today we were singing a song for their program called "I Can't Spell Hippopotamus." Throughout the song, they spell different rhyming words, and I heard two little boys giggling as one said, "I can spell Beautiful Music Teacher..." lol - They're always good for boosting the self-esteem, that's for sure! :)

Happy Wednesday! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today I'm counting the walk I took when I got home from my day at work and an appointment as my "me" celebration for Birthday Month Day #2. And I curled up next to my mom on the couch (and had a good cry before that...just lots of frustrations/tiredness/anxiety built up and needing a good cry to release it was just one of THOSE days) because sometimes, even when you're almost 26 and on your still need your mama to hold you. And it's the best feeling in the world. My mom is the greatest! (You might think your mom is, but this is some SERIOUS competition! haha)

Edit: See, it was such a long day that I totally forgot today was Day THREE not two! I spend the whole day thinking it was May 2. Oh well...tomorrow is a new day!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week...

I don't think I ever really knew about this week until I was in high school. That was when I was in Student Council, and we started getting out of class to make and deliver gifts to the teachers! :) And who doesn't love a week-long reason to get out of class-time in high school? Ok, so I really did appreciate the teachers we were honoring...I still do! I have some teachers who will forever hold a place in my heart for the influence they were in my life.

But...I still forget about the week until I see it in an e-mail every year and the PTO begins giving special gifts and treats to the teachers in our building. It's still weird for me to think...oh yeah - I'm being honored now! I really do have a career, and I'm a grown-up, and I have my own classroom, and I teach students every day! Not that it takes a week of recognition to know these things, but it's just a funny feeling - I feel like I should still be the one making cards and baking cookies! :)

Today is Birthday Celebration #2. I'm writing a couple of cards to friends who have been on my heart, and I've thought about but haven't made the time to write to. I think I did this last year too...I need some new fun and creative ideas too! Suggestions?

Sunday, May 1, 2011


"Students want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know."

I am thankful for this quote our principal shared in our weekly e-mail today. I have struggled more than ever this year with feeling like I'm not "doing all I'm supposed to" in my job. I try hard to teach everything I can and meet the standards. I try hard to make it through all the common assessment benchmarks with the kids and record the data. I know they aren't learning everything they could from another music teacher.

But...I care about them. So much. I love to talk to them. I love that all 540 of them come through my classroom every week. I love knowing who they are and their smiles and their hugs. I love seeing them succeed in all kinds of different ways, whether it is in school or out. I love finding ways to make music fun or different for them and not doing things the same way every day. And I always tell them if they are bored, I probably am too, so we need to change something...

I think they know I care. And when it comes down to it, I agree so fully with that statement. To me, I can try and try and try to feel successful at teaching. But at the end of the day, if I've shown my kids how much they matter to me...I've been successful. I so needed to read that today and to know it was shared by the administrator who leads us.

Today I'm also thankful for the opportunity to care for 540 K-6 kiddos each day.

Happy Birthday Month to Me!!

May is one of my favorite months of the year!!

Here are some reasons why -
-My birthday is in May!!
-School gets out for summer (at least my school does!)
-Warmer weather is here to settle in (but not super hot summer weather yet...)
-Flowers and trees are in full bloom!
I know there are lots more, but these are just a few of my favorites!

Last year I decided I would do something fun every day to celebrate my 25th birthday! This year I'm going to do the same thing, but I'm also going to find one thing to be thankful for every day! I can't believe I'm going to be 26!

So - today I am thankful for all the sunshine after the rain recently, and the beautiful weather and temperature outside! To celebrate day #1, I bought some Diet Snapple. It was just a little splurge to celebrate May coming! The funny thing is, I think I bought Diet Cherry Pepsi as my first fun thing last year. Oh well...simple treats can make an average day a little sweeter! :)

Have a joyful Sunday!