Monday, December 27, 2010

My Heart

Zaccheus Marquez
September 10, 2007 - December 27, 2010

Zacc lived only three short years. I expected to grow old with him and have him go deaf and blind before I had to say good bye. But alas, life is often full of detours. I had to say good-bye this morning and my heart is pretty achey.


He stole my heart with his "milk-it-for-what-it's-worth" eyes. I had a written and well developed plan on how I was going to get a Westie and ended up meeting Zacc, the runt of the miniature poodle litter. He was a timid little thing with the perfectly crooked teeth and an eye that would sometimes float the opposite direction he wanted it to. I couldn't walk away from him. I literally teared up and said - "I can't leave him there. I want to make him happy."

From the time we was itty bitty, he would say hello belly up...begging to be loved on. I loved that about him. You couldn't sit down without him sitting beside you and rolling over. He wanted for you to pet him - even with your foot.

I'm seriously so sad. I cannot believe how short his life was. I can't believe that he was healthy one day and completely helpless the next. There's nothing that I could've done differently....

So - the story begins sort how it started. I cry wanting what is best for my little Zaccheus. What was best this time was saying good-bye.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Or Something...

I had a break down last night. It was an all time low. The kind where you just throw yourself on the floor...flat on your back, cover your eyes with one hand and slap the floor with the other and let all your frustrations come out in the form of a waterfall we call tears.

Yes. It was a pathetic...and I mean, a PATHETIC sight. If I would have made any decisions last night I'd probably regret them in the morning. (Or would I? I still don't know.)

My parents suggested I get on my knees and pray, but at that very moment...I just needed to let it all out and have a pity party!!!!

And guess what folks. Today was an EPIC FAIL! Imagine if I hadn't let it all out last night? I think I'd be on the breaking news. Instead, I felt like I was walking through a field of wild flowers...or something.

I think this is what you call denial.

So - this is where I am in my life. I finally have the job of my dreams....And I'm beginning to wonder if I dreamed a little TOO dreamy. This is the HARDEST job I've EVER had in my life!

All I know for sure right now is that I will crawl to the end if I have to...but I will make it to the end...and I am SUPER EXCITED about my Christmas, Spring and Summer breaks! WOOO-HOOO!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BBC Book List - Everyone Who is Cool is READING!

• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.
• Underline the ones currently in your read pile (you've bought then and plan to read them 'one day')

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (1 of 7)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (I read East of Eden instead)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

18 of 100. I love reading, but this list makes it seem like I'm an amateur. Anyway - I'm curious what you've read.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

COFFEE FOR CHRISTMAS!!


Hi friends!!

Have I told you guys that my Uncle Ashely Anderson sells coffee? I don't think I have!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!


Well, I just wanted to let you know that this coffee would make a great stocking stuffer or you could even get purchase this coffee before all your out of town guests come for a visit. You'll have awesome coffee waiting for their arrival!!

For every cup that you purchase you can know that not only are you enjoying a good cup of coffee, but you are affecting the lives of some great people around the world.

Get more info at www.elcampocoffee.com!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't Miss Out, SPEAK LOUD NOW!

When you purchase this single, all the proceeds will help my friends at His Voice For Sudan build an orphanage in Sudan. Buy the song...Spread the word...Help orphans!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving

For the last month or so, I've been whining nonstop about the demands of my job and how I think they are unsustainable. Unsustainable because if I were to actually get everything done when I want/need them done...I wouldn't sleep.

I have heard so many people say that they are going into teaching because they can't find a job as though it's a piece of cake with extra icing and sprinkles on top. Well, I LOVE my job...and yet I CAN'T STAND IT! I love the teaching my kids, but there are so many things coming at you as though there is a "ball launcher" of assessments, new expectations and so many freakin' deadlines. And sometimes even your good kids are your worst terrors.

You begin to think that a larger paycheck and an endless supply of mojitos will help console you! (But you think about it and realistically it's not enough - you go back to ponder why it is you came in the first place...you remember and keep truckin.')

I've whined so MUCH, I am currently getting on my OWN NERVES. Which in my world happens a bit more often than I'd like to admit. It's not like whining actually helps....or gets the job done.

SO-------Thanksgiving. I'm going to focus on the things I'm thankful for:

  1. Jesus loves me and although He doesn't take me out of situations I'd rather not endure - He sustains me. He strengthens me. He loves me.
  2. I am alive and healthy.
  3. My family is awesome! (They help me so much to get stuff done for my students. Not only that - They make me laugh. They encourage. They get on me when I'm being ridic. They remind me that life is short - enjoy it! I will never be old enough to stop needing my parents/family!!)
  4. I have amazing friends! (It's a rarity to have friends this good and I don't take for granted on this jackpot I've hit.)
  5. I have a job. (One I wanted for so long! And I get summers off so I can go to Casa Bernabe!!)
  6. My students are good. We have our moments, but I'm really thankful for the parent support I DO have. Though sometimes it doesn't seem like much - one helping hand is worth a million dollars!!
  7. I got to back to CB this summer and it looks like I'll be going again.
  8. I have a car that I just finished paying off. (HAVE I MENTIONED HOW EXCITED I AM!!!)
  9. My closet is full. I know this sounds so stinken shallow...I grew up with a really bare closet. I sometimes just stare at it in amazement that I could have this much clothes. (And FYI - it's not a walk-in closet...It's pretty dang small.)
  10. I'm thankful that the star of the week's parents brought lunch for me one day this week!

I'll add more. Ten is a good number for now.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Memory of Jonathan A. Harris

Job 19:25-26
"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." God, help me to keep my priorities straight. I will see You one day, and how much money I had or lost won't matter, only how I used what You gave me, and how I acted in the trial. God, give me grace.

-Excerpt from Jonathan's Journal, January 13, 2007

**********
Jonathan was born April 15,1980 in Morrilton, AR to David and Yolenda Daniels Harris and died November 3, 2010 in Bossier City, LA after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a member of Shady Grove Baptist Church and sent from the church as a missionary to Spain.

Jonathan Andrew Harris came into the presence of his Lord. As most of you know, Jonathan had been battling cancer for many years, and as testimony to God's immeasurable grace, Jonathan continued to serve his Saviour in every way he could. He was a gentle husband who strove to love his wife Melissa as Christ loved the church. He was a careful father who sought to bring up his two little girls in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He was a humble son who honored his father and mother in all things. He was a treasured friend and brother whose communication was free from corruption and edified everyone around him.

Jonathan taught at Helmers Street Christian School for several years while going through intensive cancer treatments, making a lasting impact for the Gospel on all his coworkers and students. From a very early age, Jonathan had a burden to minister on a foreign field, and in 2009 he made the step of faith to begin full-time deputation as a missionary to Spain. The Lord, however, has seen fit to get more glory from Jonathan by taking him home, and transforming Jonathan perfectly into the image of Christ His Son. As Jonathan would want, let's honor his memory by honoring his Saviour, and striving to serve Him no matter what obstacles we may face in our lives.

*********

So, much could be said about Jonathan. He was faithful to the end. Spending the weekend with his family and friends makes me want to do so much better. To love the Lord more...To tell/show those special people in my life that I love them so much...to prioritize....

Please keep Melissa and her girls, Katie (8) and Emma(3) in your prayers.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Costume

I have really liked this company for a long time and to promote it I decided I'd be:Blake Mycoskie

I wore these!

Here's the picture of what I was after:


Too bad I didn't get the wig I wanted (I waited too long). I ended up looking like Annie! LOL!!

Go get a pair of TOMS! When you purchase a pair of shoes you're actually giving another pair to a kid who needs them. Learn more on www.toms.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thirty Minutes

People are hilarious. I've been spending my Saturdays taking a professional development course about teaching GT students. The age range among the teachers is pretty vast. Personalities are all over the board. In two weekends and as a first year teacher, I've looked around and thought - Cool and Uncool. I want to be like her when I get older. And I definitely hope not to be anywhere near her.

Do you guys do this? I do this....a lot. I don't know that it's good or bad but I do it.

Today - I had to laugh at this older lady. It sounds mean, but this is our situation: We made a commitment to attend this course for 4 consecutive Saturdays. It's scheduled from 8 - 4. The option we've been given is to have a working lunch and get out THIRTY minutes early OR go out and spend those THIRTY minutes to eat.

Well, this lady's face contorted and she was VISIBLY upset when there was argument to eat out because the Quilt Show only comes around once a year and she NEEDS to go!! Folks, it's THIRTY minutes and she nearly had a cow. I just had to LAUGH!! I mean - there were other options to take this course online or on different dates. If she really wanted to go this quilt show, couldn't she have considered other options? Is THIRTY MINUTES really going to give her the time she wanted at the quilt show? LOL!!!

I am praying tonight that I am not like this when I grow up....and that I could extend grace and be kind.

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Too Shall Pass

This is one of my favorite proverbs (not Proverbs but proverbs) EVER! I love it because it's so stinken true!!

In the movie my best friend's wedding, Julia Roberts' character sent an email that she later regretted. She was was in hysterics over it. It created a big riff between her best friend and his fiancee. They called off the wedding because of this email (or was it when she kissed her best friend?). To console herself, she stepped out of the hotel room where her best friend was staying and had a smoke. The bellman comes by and tells her that it's a no smoking area. She explains to him how she screwed everything up. He responds with my favorite line in the movie: "You know, my grandmother once told me...This too shall pass." He said it with so much conviction, it makes me laugh!

Well - it's true. I was FREAKING out about this week. I was coming to school fairly early and going to sleep at ridiculous times in the morning to wake up a couple hours later to go back to school and do it all over again. One day this week, I forced myself to be social just so I don't feel like a madwoman. I made it. It's Friday!

(Then it starts over again next week! I'll make it then too.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eat, Drink & Be Merry?

I have found that I'm am stress eating and drinking Coca-cola as though it is going to save my life. There are a lot of changes at school and a lot of deadlines. Change, whether good or bad, is change and something to get used to. Deadlines are not really an option. As a result, my my social life is becoming slimmer and close to nonexistant, I'm eating myself to being happy. Or at least for the moment I'm eating.

I was telling my mom that I'm not sure why I'm eating JUNK and why I'm drinking Coke, because even though it makes me feel so comfy and safe at the moment, I end up hating myself for it...Or at least being upset because I can't run like I did 2 weeks prior. The amount of energy I have changes too - and my ability to sleep well. Everything is screwed up because I am stressed and feel the need to eat and drink things I know have a negative effect on me.

Yes - everything in moderation....but when it's a daily thing...it's a problem.

This cycle sucks and I need to figure out how to break it before I can't fit into my clothes and go into a long term funk!!

I need to stop whining - and make it happen!! I have the priviledge of having a career that I longed for way back when... I have to take the days as they come and plan ahead!! :o)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Psalm 37:3

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hill Training Day 1

Well, earlier this week I was so excited because I had a super good run (for me) with my running buddy Lara. And I thought that since that run was great I was going to be great at my first day of hill training. YEAH - NO! Turns out that most of these people have already been training for an entire month - they are training for the marathon. Training started today for me since I'm training for a HALF marathon. I was glad that I wasn't the only newbie - I ended up teaming up with a girl who was willing to run at my turtle pace. Two is better than one, especially when it's starting to get dark in the city of Houston.

The warm up was 5 minutes of going in a circle up and down this hill. If you ask me that warm up was enough for me to say, "I DID IT!" :o) Well, after the warm up we did this 2 mile cross country type run that was very hilly for Houston.

On the trail we ran under this bridge that is home for bats. OMG!! It STUNK so bad! My gag reflexes kicked in high gear and I tried so hard to get it together. I held my breath and picked up the pace to pass up the stink...but when I got to the other side - aka fresh air - I puked! My new friend watched as I puked up the water and gatorade I drank prior to the run.

SO NICE TO MEET YOU! GLAD YOU COULD SEE ME PUKE ON THE FIRST DAY OF MEETING YOU! IT'S MY FAVORITE THING TO DO FOR FRIENDS!!

Thankfully there was a water fountain and I got some water and was able to finish the run. And my new friend and I high fived. We finished. LOL!

I had to remind myself that today was my FIRST hill day and it'll get better. I mean - it has to right?

So bottom line: Bats Stink and Hills Kill!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

College Days Remembered

My friends made this video of them sneaking into my room on a Friday night. It was pay back for breaking into her room and waking her up one night. As abnormal as it may seem, it was normal for me to go to bed anywhere from 7 to 8 on a FRIDAY night! I know...RIDICULOUS!

The deal was that every day (even on the weekends) I would wake up at 6 a.m. no matter what time I went to bed. Some friends would say, "Call me when you wake up." I'd call and they & their roommates would be ticked because I woke them up on a Saturday!! LOL! I'd work my tail and then PLAY hard. By Friday I was done. DONE!

Such is the case as a teacher. I haven't been this tired in such a long time! At least, since MAY!! It's crazy to think that I am ready for bed and it's only 7:20. CRAZY!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An Excerpt

...from a book I'm reading.

"It is worth considering, as we look at repentance and restoration, that although Jesus knew Judas would betray him, Peter would deny him, and the others would desert him, he still washed their feet (John 13:3-5), then shared the bread and wine with them - bread that represented his body and wine that represented his blood. Despite knowing what they would do, he said to them, "I do not call you servants any longer...but I have called you friends" (John 15:15). He did that for all of them, including Judas. Jesus looked past their betrayal, their sins, and their failures and called them his friends. We take comfort in the knowledge that he will do that for us as well."

-Adam Hamilton, 24 Hours That Changed the World, 1. The Last Supper, p. 23

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

He did this for you. He did it for me. And to think...that He...gave His life knowing full well we'd be unfaithful friends - WHOA! He loves us SO much that He gave His life so that our sins would be forgiven.

It goes against the grain. I'll only be your friend if you're nice to me. And if you laugh at my jokes. If you let me know how cool I am and what kinds of things you like about me. I'll only be your friend if you look like me and if you wear similar clothes as me. I'll only be your friend if your aren't embarrassing and if you never offend me. And if you do all of this for me, I'll do the same for you. Because, really, it's all about me...and in your case you! Right? We aren't in the habit of befriending people who are going to betray us.

Not Jesus. He knew....He knew betrayal was coming from ME! But He still called me His friend.

It is truly astounding!

And just so you know - He really is the greatest friend you could ever have. Not only did He give His life, but Jesus considered you the joy that got him through it (Hebrews 12) - because He did it specifically for YOU.

I've been on a journey with Him since a young age and it's been a good one. I could go on forever about Jesus, but really you should get to know Him.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

School Funnies

It is true that kids say the darnedest things!

I've been coming home every night writing down all the hilarious things the kids say and do.

1. One of my kids hears me say something to a Spanish speaking student in Spanish. He says, "Ms. Marquez if you can speak English and Spanish, How do you say my name in Chinese?"

2. I call my students to come sit on the floor to go over the safety rules for Science. I say, "We are going to talk about Science..." A student interrupts and says, "Ms. Marquez, can we talk about God instead. You know He made EVERYTHING!"

3. For the weekly spelling test one of our words was "fat." I read off: "Fat. My aunt has a fat cat." During the time I'm giving them to write the word a student says: "Ms. Marquez does it make you sad that you have a big belly and everyone thinks you're fat?" (HOLY WHAT!?!?! hahahaha!)

4. Our school has breakfast in the classroom. I set a timer so they are busy eating and not busy playing with their food, but sometimes it's inevitable. They had bananas as part of their breakfast one morning and when I turn around one of the girls is using this banana as a phone. She asked her friend on the "phone" to please run some errands for her because she's busy at school and won't get out until it's too late. Girls will be girls!

*****************************

Running front:

Running has not happened since last Wednesday. That means it's been a week and three days. :O( It's not like last Wednesday's run was great either....it honestly sucked. But saying hello to first graders, loads of "unexpected" stress, and some really late nights, also means saying hello to germs and a weaker immune system.

I'm using this Labor Day weekend to get myself better.

*****************************

Autumn is around the corner and it makes me so.....DREAMY!! I love this season - it's seriously my favorite of all time! It's perfect season to re-read Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time and of course to watch YOU'VE GOT MAIL while doing chores or working on stuff for school. Oh - and of course having that Louis Armstrong Pandora station is a MUST!!

I found this song several years ago, when I used to surf MySpace specifically to find music that made my heart skip a beat. This one is perfect for the season.


Enjoy the summer heat - what's left of it! I hope to be wearing layered apparel soon!! :O)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy 200!

This is the 200th post on Delightful Surprises! Should I bake a chocolate cake and make it a party?

School:
First week was good! All my students are getting home to their respective families without any problems which is VERY successful! I had one student throw up and my gag reflexes kicked in, but I made it without following suit! Also successful! I'm getting this question asked by only one student: "Teacher, what's your name again?" It makes me want to laugh every time!

The only thing that was not fun AT ALL this week was having swollen feet at the end of the day. I mean - I'm not even pregnant!! :o)

Running:
Since I've started school. Running has not been as great. Yes, I'm still going out and making an effort. I'm having to adjust to a new schedule and I also have to figure out how much I should eat and when. It's not necessarily been a breeze and it's frustrating, but this too shall pass.

I've registered for two half marathons. One in January and the other in February. Excitement abounds!!

That's all for now. I have to manage my time very wisely these days.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

After

This took TWO WEEKS! Are you ready to see it? I'm so excited to share this with you!

Okay - and before I show you the pictures....I have one more thing to share. This past Friday we had meet the teacher. And I wasn't sure what all I was supposed to do or say because it's my first one, but it went over SOOOO well.

So here are the after pictures:

This is to the right of the door when you walk in. I still need to get some fabric to cover up the storage space under these desks.
Bulletin Boards: Expectations and Star of the Week
Things on the table: Dry erase markers, Pencil holders, Trays to turn in their work, restroom baskets that will hold paper towels, soap and hand sanitizer, and other trays for misc. supplies
.

The same wall on the other side of the white board.
The Word Wall and the Computer Center
There's also a shelf that stores the work we'll do the upcoming week(s), the casitas, etc.

This is entire wall on the right when you walk in.

This is the wall parallel to the door.
This is my favorite spot. The 'Read'wood forest and the R/LA, Science and Math Centers
I got the tree at a Hallmark that was closing down at College Station.


Inspiration Station (where inspiration quotations and art will be displayed)
Stellar Work! (where the kid's stellar work will be displayed!)The yellow table is where we will have small group instruction once it's cleared off. :o)
My desk. The one and only time it will be this orderly!

This picture isn't letting me move it so it's out of order...It's the wall parallel to the windows. It's the calendar wall.

The big picture of the back wall.

There you have it! That's the tour of my classroom. I'm ready for Monday - I think... :O)
I'd appreciate your prayers for the upcoming year!!
Excitement abounds!

During

It's true that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to get a teacher ready for school. I don't know that what I would have done without my family and friends!

I want to be sure to let everyone know that my favorite thing about my classroom is not necessarily the fact that it looks AWESOME (oh - and it does!). My favorite thing about my classroom is that when I walk in I think of my family and friends who helped me put it together! I'm INCREDIBLY BLESSED!

First, my mom and younger brother came. Mom cleaned EVERYTHING - even the unifix cubes that my students will use for math and science. My brother Tim helped me put the bulletin boards together and he also hung up all the posters that are out of my reach - which is practically every poster. HAHAHA!! My brother Aser came by one day and helped me punch out the pre-cut letters for the bulletin boards. He also had fun writing funny things on my white board.

Look at the difference in the WINDOWS (top right clean!)!!

On this day, I had promised we'd leave early and I didn't follow through.
BUT we had a delicious lunch! The room by this time was lookin' pretty good.


Aser had a lot of fun writing on the white board.
Ask him to read what he wrote to you! You'll laugh because his accent is HILARIOUS!

Another day, Angela was SUPER sweet to come help me with what Tim and I hadn't finished. We got 3M strips and covered up a chalkboard that I don't use. Now I have more "bulletin board" space and everything looks more uniform.

I didn't get a picture of Angela...but this is a cute one of us at a friends wedding.

And finally, this past Thursday I sent a picture text saying: "Are you good with scissors?!? This is how I'll be spending my time tonight. :o)" Look at that! It's a never ending roll of laminated stuff and I was going to do it BY MYSELF!

Looking at the amount of laminated stuff made me want to cry! (not really - I just whined about it until I got help)

It would've taken me all night and I still wouldn't have finished. Luckily, one of my friends - Ryan - said that I should go over to his work place and bring scissors. OMG! I jumped on that! I brought 5 pairs of scissors and put them to work double time!!

Ryan is THE super star for offering the much needed help!

Corey was either cutting out stars or showing off his guns...still haven't figured out which!

Chad was multi-tasking!

Jeremy said he wouldn't help unless he got to use the Christmas Tree scissors. haha!

Real men help first grade teachers cut out stars and such!

There were other people that work with Ryan that helped & aren't pictured.

I feel like saying THANK YOU isn't sufficient. The work EVERYONE did is seriously priceless!!


Before

August 9 was the first day back to school for us teachers. We did have five days off after the 9th but having looked at my room and feeling completely overwhelmed, I took those five days and used them to get my room in order.

I called my mom because I felt COMPLETELY overwhelmed and begged for her to come help! It didn't take much convincing - she agreed.

These are the before pictures...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gearin' Up

Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am to have a job? And not just ANY job, but one that I really want? I'm a first grade teacher. I...AM...A...FIRST...GRADE...TEACHER! :o)
The only thing that would put sprinkles on this cake is if we added "bilingual" before "first grade teacher" - but I'll wait. I can wait.

I've spent the past week cleaning, organizing, and preparing my classroom. I have before pictures and haven't taken after pictures yet...because it's not ready!! AAAAHHH!! It's almost there. I think I need one more day and I'll be set.

Have I mentioned how it takes a village? I couldn't have done this on my own. I've had the AMAZING help of my mom, my brother Tim and my childhood friend Angela. I'm SO incredibly thankful to have the most incredible people in my life! (of course, this is the SHORT list)

More to come later!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

THE 5k

Hi.
I just wanted to report that I ran a 5k today with my friend Regina. It's the one that benefits the World Parrot Trust! :o)

Our goal was to RUN the entire thing. While the time did matter, I really wanted to RUN the whole thing. This did not happen! Why? Well, there was a hill (bridge) at the very beginning. The first ten minutes of any run are hard for me. Add a hill and you finish me! haha!

So, instead, we ran 1.55 and then went into 2-1 intervals.

Towards the middle of mile 2, I started panicking during the run because I couldn't seem to get a deep breath in. Thankfully, I got myself calm and all everything was fine.

Then we got closer to the end and we saw some girls with really fun shirts. One said: I GOT THIS! And the other said: I may be slow, but you're still behind me. Regina & I both agreed that while they are way cute shirts we had to beat them to the finish line!! HAHAHA!

And at the end, the hill that we had to climb at the beginning, helped us gain momentum on the way down for the finish. The girls with the cute shirts were behind us officially. I saw my family and heard them cheering us on. At that point I was SUPER close to crying! But I held it together.

We sprinted to the finish line and then Regina tells me our time: 37.07.

Enter Mimi's excited tears here! :o) I was really happy with the time! Even during our practice runs we run 3.1 miles at 39 minutes. The 5k in April I finished in 47 minutes.

I'm very VERY happy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Next to the Bible...

I wrote this January 2009. I remember the context well and I laugh a bit when I read this. I'm thankful that I'm a teacher now. And I'm very thankful those winds of change brought some needed fresh air!

******************

Next to the Bible, if you look a little to your left there's "You've Got Mail."

Mr. Joe Fox tells my hero Kathleen Kelly:

"You're at war. 'It's not personal, it's business. It's not personal it's business.' Recite that to yourself every time you feel you're losing your nerve. I know you worry about being brave, this is your chance. Fight. Fight to the death."

So inspirational! Don't you think? Because really...we recite that to ourselves knowing full well that when people are involved it's personal. Business doesn't grow without personal investment.

When life gives you limes you make limeade. If these people don't like your limeade - make some popsicles and take them to someone new!

2009 has the winds of change blowing through the corridors.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This Week Is Exciting!

Among other things, what I'm looking forward to the most is attending the Global Leadership Summit. I really wish I was going to Chicago and then accidentally bumping into Blake Mycoskie, the Founder and "Chief Shoe Giver" of TOMS Shoes, Inc. Since that isn't going to happen, I'll enjoy what I get in the Houston Satellite location.

I'm excited because I know that the GLS was one of the main components of giving me a kick in the pants to get in gear for getting back on the teaching train. And this time I'm taking my brother Tim along with me!

I signed up before school was out last spring and I seriously can't believe that it's THIS week!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I promise!

I promise to write about more things than JUST running, but I just wanted to tell the WHOLE WORLD that I'm officially signed up for the 5K August 7. The race is called the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer and I'm still laughing at the fact that this race benefits the world Parrot Trust which is dedicated to the survival of parrot species in the wild, and the welfare of captive birds everywhere.

Just to be clear, I'm not doing this for the birds. I'd prefer to run for people, but for now I'm doing this one for ME!

Today, I ran 2 miles without stopping...and actually completed the 5k distance in a decent time. It was the hardest run I've had in a while. I'm not sure why my legs felt like lead, but they did. It's interesting how you have to train your mind to say, "I CAN!" because your whole body is saying - "PLEASE STOP!" And once you finish you feel like you can conquer all beasts!

My friend Regina and I ran the 2.88 miles just under 36 minutes and ran the 3.1 miles in 39. She can do better than I can - so really this is my time with a friend cheering me on. Her patience and encouragement is PRICELESS! And I'm wishing my friend Lara was here running with us. She'll be back soon, but the three of us are running this 5k together. I'm dubbing us the DREAM TEAM! They don't know that yet, but they'll find out soon enough. ;O)

************

I mentioned before that I'd share the scripture that comes to mind when I run so here they are:
Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

The infamous Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
And my theme verse Romans 8:37
...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
There is also a song that in my head I'm belting out (I think I'd pass out if I was ACTUALLY singing it)! The chorus says:
I will not be moved, and I'll say of the Lord:
You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer,
My Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update on the Running Front

Well, I spent three weeks in Guatemala and was unable to run as well as I would have liked. The altitude really got the best of me...so I ran ONCE! Sad day! But I did go up and down these never ending steps every day that really do take your breath away. I wish I had a picture of them. They are steep and the steps are a bit awkward. I also did a bit of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, which I've carried over to the States for "cross-training."

As I suspected, I indeed gained weight. I should stay away from RICE and the rest of the amazing food they serve there. But even if I had, this is what happens. The GOOD news is that I didn't lose momentum on running. I think the thing that was hurt was my confidence in how far I've come. My first run back here was Saturday morning and it was NOT bad at all.

Today was my second run since I've been home and my brother Tim came along with me and Regina. He kept up with us!! Well, he also has a bigger stride...So he could leave me in the dust. But I just wanted to say, in case I hadn't mentioned it before: I LIKE RUNNING! :o)

I'm about 3 weeks from running my next 5k! I'm very excited!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pick Up Lines

Usually, you get to meet some of the coolest people on the planet working at this orphanage. Sometimes, you also meet the most awkward individuals...

During the second week of my stay here in Guate I met this dude who was REALLY smooth. Thankfully his stay was ONLY one week! Here are his lines:

  1. You speak really good English!
  2. I like your headband...And your shirt...You look really good in it.
  3. So, do you have a green card?
  4. You should look me up on Facebook. You can't have too many friends you know!
  5. Come sit down with me. Let's talk.
He won me over with "Do you have a green card"!!

Bless his heart.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Who Knew?!?!

Okay, think you get the picture that I've never been a runner, nor have I EVER particularly enjoyed it. I've talked about running for a while and made mention of it in two blogs:
  1. Here: this is when I went to my first Houston Marathon as a spectator and actually wanted to try it!
  2. Here: this is when I gave up on my training.
Since then, I got into an argument with a friend over running v. not running. It was RIDICULOUS! I've gone to cheer more friends at the Chevron Houston Marathon. I actually WALKED 5k in April in less time than I expected. And I've been training...like seriously training to RUN a 5k in August.

Ironically enough, I've gotten past the stage of dreading it. Okay, honestly the first 5 minutes when I get out there really suck but I LOVE IT and I wish I had started this sooner!

I'm so thankful for my friend Regina who jogged the last I don't know how many yards of the 5k in April. I told her then that I LOVED the atmosphere of a 5k, I loved how the self competition kicked in full gear when I was there, and I loved the challenge. I told her that if I could do a 5k I could do a half marathon. While I was mostly joking, she took me seriously and she said - Okay, let's train to actually run a 5k and we will go from there.

So here's the progress. In April I did the 5k in 47 minutes! Not too shabby for someone who didn't train. Okay - so I train on a track that's 2.88 miles and on June 1 I went around in 43 minutes and it was more walking than running. On June 18th, I did the loop in 40 minutes 6 seconds. 24 minutes of jogging and 16 minutes walking.

I write this not to boast and say LOOK AT ME! I write this because I didn't know I had it in me. And the things that have really helped are the following:
  1. Accountability (insert Regina and this blog post)
  2. SCRIPTURE starts flowing in my head. I wish I could quote it right now, but I've gone blank...I'm not running right now. I'll post in a future blog the scripture I use.
  3. Prayer! OMG! Regina knows when I start getting tired or when I'm about to and she tells me - Okay, Mimi this is when you should start praying if you haven't already started!
  4. Subscribing to Runner's World! TIPS GALORE!
I'm actually going to RUN a 5k August 7!

This is a bit of a selfish prayer request and a bit more personal than I like to get on a blog, but I'm going on a mission trip to Guatemala for three weeks. When I travel, I tend to gain weight which tends to make me blue. So, please pray that I can keep this up while I'm away. I really don't want to lose this progress. It really makes me happy and I actually DO enjoy this!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mona Lisa Smile

There's a scene from the movie Mona Lisa Smile that I often think about. In fact, I thought of it today. If you haven't seen it, it's about an art teacher who comes into a SUPER traditional and extremely conservative 1950's private girls school and challenges their way of doing things. This stirs up a lot of talk and trouble.

Well, this scene in this movie reminds me of something Jesus would do. No, this isn't a Christian movie, nor does it teach biblical roles of men and women, but this one scene...I tell you what! The scene is when the perfect little Betty Warren (who married this "perfect" man) comes into the dorm with a chip on her shoulder. She is cruel to one of her classmates to the point of making her cry. A mutual friend looks beyond it and just embraces Betty. She saw that Betty came in with a wounded heart. Betty falls apart and starts weeping! Turns out her husband was having an affair and she was taking it out on anyone she could.

I think of it mostly when people say things with every intention of HURTING me. I honestly want to hug them (just like this girl did in this movie) and tell them that they really aren't upset with me and that Jesus loves them!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Copperish Brown

Against popular belief, not all Mexicans have a natural tan. My legs are WHITE when they say hello for the summer. But now summer is here and I've been walk/jogging at the park and I spent all weekend outdoors and I can say now that I'm tan. I have a ridiculous watch tan line to show the contrast.

Anyway, I'm not on here to talk about my tan, per se. I remembered a story from a couple years ago when I went to a ball game with my brother, Tim. We sat directly behind the cutest little boy and his dad. Well, this kid turns around and points at me and says: IT'S HER, DAD! It's HER!

The dad was embarrassed and says: I'm sorry about that ma'am. My son and I were playing I spy and he spotted something copperish brown. It happens to be you!

HAHAHA! That story makes me laugh. Kids are fun!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Quotation Promised

I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap and then you grow wings.
- William Sloane Coffin

For some time, a friend of mine has reminded me that God is pursuing me. He desires me to trust him 100% and he desires to have my heart. As a christian, a follower of Jesus, I think "He already has my heart. I trust him." But, at some point something happened to make me doubt...Life. It never goes just how we plan. And I hit some big bumps during and right out of college. And yeah, college was 6 years ago. But the problem is that I stopped trusting.

As a result, I was afraid of taking any risks. I think I've always taken some sort of risk - going skydiving for my 18th birthday and H.S. graduation, moving far away for college, flying on my own to foreign places, eating food I wasn't sure was legit, paragliding, etc.

Once I got back home it all stopped...and I became fearful. I was no longer doing anything that wasn't "safe." If I noticed something was just a tad bit off, I stepped away. My life was being sucked right out of me.

But in the last two years (and maybe even longer), I've had a mother load of people praying for me (it takes a village). God's faithfulness in pursuing me has been incredible! And even that is an understatement.

I'm thankful that I went to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit in August 2008. I'm thankful that my job search lasted over a year. I'm thankful that even when things don't make sense at all there is an affirmation of the spirit that lets you know you are doing the right thing - I resigned from a decent job without having secured a new one. I'm thankful that for five months, I had uninterrupted HOURS with my Bible. I'm thankful that I met the principal of my school so randomly and that she liked me enough to hire me mid-year. I'm thankful that my kids took well to me. I'm thankful that I made it through my first semester as a teacher successfully. I'm thankful that all of this has not been easy. I'm thankful that I have summer!

You have no idea what this means to me. And I have no idea how to let you know what this journey does to me! :o) I'm so happy! Like so happy that I feel it to my inner core.

I had dreams as a kid...and they grew as I did. The dream: To become a teacher. To help children who need it. To be a summer missionary. To meet missionaries and provide them fellowship and American goods they may be missing. To love recklessly.

As all of this is falling into place, I have to have some Kleenex's with me because I'm overwhelmed at how the desires of my heart are being answered.

So, I'm saying this to you - TRUST HIM! He's asking you to trust him...and when you take that step He will give you wings!

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, May 27, 2010

School is Out for the Summer

Hey! I made it. From February 10, 2010 t0 May 27, 2010. Time flew right by! So fast that I have about three entries in my journal since I was hired. I'm a little sad about that because there is soooo much that happened - to backtrack would just be a bit tedious.

Anyway, yesterday we had our end of the year party and it was soooo much fun! Next year, I'm going to recruit more parent volunteers because they are sent straight from HEAVEN! They were so very helpful and I was VERY happy to have them there! We had pizza, a movie (A Goofy Movie), paper bag puppets, face painting, etc. If you want to help me next year - I'll recruit you too!

And the last day (today)...well, my kiddos were OFF THE CHAIN! OFF THE CHAIN!! We watched the Lion King. I returned a bunch of their old work for them to take home to play school with and also gave them worksheets that they could do while they are home for the summer. I remember liking that when I was kid. I always played school! But unfortunately, the last hour was not as fun as I would have hoped. I'm going to have to figure out how to keep my students a bit more calm next year cause I lost my cool the last hour...or maybe we could just have extended recess?!?

I thought I'd tear up because it was my first class and my teacher's always did when I was a kid...and because I'll admit - I'm a crier! And I didn't. :D

I'm proud of myself this semester. I cried only one time! ONE TIME! One time...and that was because one of my students cut another students ear. I didn't cry in front of them, but I took them to the lunch room and when I went to the teacher's lounge I let go of a few tears. The more experienced teachers said I'd be okay - and they were right! I was!

And so there it is...My first semester! I made it!

P.S. I told my class that we were having an end of the year test...Which was a joke and they thought I was clever. However, I really think I'll do a "test" next year. I think that they'll take it seriously and that will keep them occupied for quite a while!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a WHOLE month?

What in the world!! Where does time go?

I've been thinking up a post...inspired by a quotation that made me very happy. I'll share it with you very soon, but for now I just wanted to say HI! I'm alive and well (except for one of my little toes).

I have SEVEN more days with my first ever first grade class! Eight days of work. YEAH!

Excitement about summer abounds!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel

Here's an interview of Richard Stearns who wrote the book I'm currently reading. I highly recommend it!








Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Free Saturday

Today I had nothing planned, except to get my inspection sticker that was four months overdue. I know...embarrassing! But I've gotta say that my car, Pearl, although I love her...I can't stand her. She is expensive!! And I can't stand the dealership either. I didn't go there today, but finding out that I have no other choice but to go very soon makes me want to punch them (the VW dealership) in the face!! I think I've mentioned all this before.

So I say this with all sincerity - Say HECK NO to Volkswagen!
But I do encourage you to say yes to other things like:
  • Super cute Poodles that get so hyped when they get to go for a ride!! (notice they aren't in the ridiculous booster seat I bought last year for safety! ;o) )
  • Say YES when your friend, who is practically your sister, invites you to Crave & Starbucks!
  • Then move the party to the Apple store where you get "Macs"! ;o)
  • And finally, say yes looking for the lost opportunities left at the Apple store!
I love days like today! They are RE-energizing!

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 - The Year of Conquering Continued

At the end of every year, I like to set goals for the next and LOOOOOVE to pick out a theme scripture, song, and a sorta cheesy picture that all go along with what I hope the year will bring.

I just wanted to come back and say that I've picked a theme song for 2010, practically 4 months into the year. It hasn't been too terribly long ago that I've shared this song with you, but when I sing it...I SING MY HEART OUT!! Because it reminds me of how much grace has been extended to us by the One who loves more than we could ever comprehend. And it's Easter...and there was a great sacrifice that has allowed my soul to feel its worth!

My ultimate goal in life is to share beauty, even in the midst of ashes, that only God Himself brings to such a messy time on earth.

So here again is the song:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Rewards

When I was in college, I idealized my class. How all my students would listen when I said listen, sit when I said sit, walk in a perfect little line, and get perfect grades because they already know everything. I'm there to help them review to not forget.

But, the truth is that school doesn't work like that. And I like that isn't like that!

Today, I got the best note I have ever, EVER received from the students I've had/met. Remember my little buddy that gave me the warmest welcome on my first day? The one who got suspended before the day even started? And since then, I've been reasoning with him. On one of those occasions, I asked, "Do you understand why I'm saying this to you?" He replies, "Yes, sir!" To which I responded, "It's, 'Yes, ma'am." And his witty self said, "Well, you look like a man!" Hahaha! Okay, truth is I didn't laugh. I said to him that if he continues to be rude, he will end up a lonely man.

Well, the week before last, I was as sick as a dog. I woke up completely sick on Monday morning. I called in and slept the entire day. Hating to miss school, I woke up the next morning and braved it. I went to school...which only made it worse. I lost my voice completely. I didn't go to school the rest of the week. The week after that was Spring Break (which was AWESOME!) and so it was 2 weeks since I had seen my students. I missed them, but was scared of the unknown. What the heck will they be like when I get back?

They were ECSTATIC to see me. I didn't realize the extent of the excitement until I received this note from my little buddy.
You are the best and I like you and when you was sick I missed you and I thought you will never come back

but when you came in this morning I was so happy.

I showed some teachers and they asked how in the world I got it out of this kid? And I just smiled. They have no idea how much I pray for him specifically and how much I actually care!

This is a happy day! Very happy day!