Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Excitement

All I have to say is that today, my favorite number is 12! Usually it's the number four....but today it's twelve. Why?




It's the 12 days of CHRISTMAS!! 12 days before I get to celebrate it with NO SCHOOL for 2 weeks! SO EXCITED!! WOO! 12 DRUMMER'S DRUMMING! I've always loved drum lines!



12...it has a nice ring to it!




WAIT!! HOLD UP!!




It's 11. Today's school day is OVER! SO exciting!! ELEVEN! Eleven Piper's Piping!!




Chika, chicka.....OH YEAH!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Plain and Simple

So - this week is Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a whole lot. I don't have to post it anywhere to prove it. Although, if I come up with a list I'll post it. (After all - I do LOVE lists!)

I just wanted to say on this hot and humid week of Thanksgiving...some things in life are plain STUPID! That's my bottom line today. Some things are just STUPID!

What can you do about stupid? NOTHING! Absolutely, positively NOTHING! Just smile.

Pretend you LOVE the stupid things in life! Pretend that this STUPID thing makes you're heart skip a beat! Pretend that STUPID is your new mantra! Pretend that STUPID is your slice of pie! Pretend that your flavor of STUPID is the new pumpkin spice!

YEAH! Let me hear it! STUPID! I love STUPID! STUPID makes coffee nervous!

(No, but for real - whatever this is on my to-do list is STUPID...or I'm taking CRAZY pills! I'm okay. I promise. See....:)....I'm smiling!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving #8-12

So...This is where I can't keep up. This isn't date accurate anymore, but I'm still thankful for this stuff:

8. I'm thankful for my Tia RosaMaria's visit to Houston. Not only have I gotten to see her cheery self, she also made us the most delicious enchiladas!

9. I'm thankful for unexpected surprises. The good kind. (I mean - really - who likes a bad surprise?!?!?) I'm talking like a visit from someone you weren't expecting to come. Yes. It makes me happy!! My brother came to church with me. :o)

10. I'm thankful for the perfect amount of events in a weekend. After having a full October, it's SO stinken' nice to CHILL and have no good excuse to go to bed at 8 pm on a Saturday. Lame...you say? I think NOT! I think an 8 o'clock bed time is a DREAM COME TRUE! It doesn't happen often.

11. I'm thankful for being able to be technologically literate. One of my biggest fears - okay so "FEAR" is too strong of a word - but I'm really afraid of being the one person in a room that doesn't understand how to do a simple activity on a phone, a computer or something techy.

12. I'm thankful for design. It is amazing how something people create take your breath away or makes you think of how you can improve you're own work. Personally - I love creating stuff for school in word.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanks for noticing...

Up until I was 23, I had beautiful skin. No spots. No blemishes. Clean. Beautiful. Like really, super nice, skin. It was nice while it lasted...Wish it had lasted a bit longer, but my inner teenager decided to come out and my face broke out not quite to pizza face, but close.

I'll have mountain ranges on my face for months at a time. They'll go away for a short time and then come back like the revenge of the HIMALAYAS!

Today, I woke up with Mount Everest on the bridge of my nose and various other majestic mountaintops on my face. On top of that - I chose not to wear make-up. (Something I don't do anymore. My students haven't seen me without it.)

Well, I have really inquisitive students...One in particular who doesn't seem to have many reservations:

"Ms. Marquez, what happened to your face? Did a ball hit you on your nose?"

My response: "Thanks for noticing what's different on my face this morning. Let's focus on our work."

So there you have it...I have a PIMPLE face.

And thankfully - I don't struggle with insecurity on that front...or else...I would've never told you this incident and how much this made me laugh (on the inside!).

Thanksgiving, Nov. 7

After having an achy back and really lousy sleep, I decided it was time to go ahead and purchase a new mattress on Halloween night. I was waiting for the right time, the right mattress, and the right set of NEW furniture, my own place...But it had been YEARS and nearly an entire decade that I had this thing. It was ridiculous and if I waited any longer - circumstances would never be quite right. Really - it's a wonder why I waited so long!

On my way to the store to purchase the new mattress, I asked my mom what I should do with the old one. I was embarrassed to even put it out on the curb for heavy trash pickup the it was so OLD! I told her that I would prefer to burn it.

And then it dawned on me...if I put that ratty old thing out on the curb someone who actually NEEDS a mattress will be SO HAPPY to come pick it up.

I'm not kidding when I say this: I started to cry!

I just don't understand how this works....How some have and others don't.

And even then - How in the world did I end up as one who has and sometimes feel like I don't have enough? How am I not one who is happy to finally have somewhere to layer my precious blankets instead of a dusty floor?

It reminds me of this:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom
they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. -Luke 12:48


So - today, I am thankful that God has entrusted with a very explicit responsibility: To be a good steward of the things I have, and to share with those who are in need.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanksgiving

Count your blessings...You'll realize you have more than you could ever ask for. Then, praise the name of Jesus. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

November 1-6 Thanksgivings:
  1. I'm thankful for the Love of Jesus. He's lavished His Love on me so that I could be a Daughter of the Most High King.
  2. I'm thankful for my parents. They keep it real. My parents aren't just parents anymore...they are my friends. I'm beyond thankful to call them MY parents.
  3. I'm thankful for my brothers. I want to see them be successful in life. And I would like their love for Jesus to be inspiring to those around them. They have the ability to make me laugh like no one else can. :o)
  4. I'm thankful for my health. I can see God's beautiful creation...I can see hearts that He's placed around for us to find! I can hear incredible music and the sounds of children laughing. I can hear my mom when she's cheering for a team. I can feel the different textures of the things around me. I can taste the most incredible food on the planet! I love food! I can smell when the rain is coming...it's the best smell ever - especially when you haven't gotten much of it.
  5. I'm thankful for my job. I could whine if I wanted to about this...but I'm blessed. I teach the best set of kids a teacher could ask for. I get paid to work with KIDS! :o) I get to use my talents...
  6. I'm thankful for Casa Bernabe. Life is not the same because I've been there.... Life is not the same because my heart is still there. I love that place. I love the kids. I love the people that work there. I just love it there. You can pray for me on that front.
More to come next week.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Inventive speaking

In order to have my kids retain what is cause and effect, I had them do skits. After the skits they had to point out the cause and effects that occurred in their little skit...

So - of course, one skit is how a girl falls when she's playing tag and her mom put "oxygen water" to clean up her scraped knee.

Not only do they now know how to identify cause and effect, but they aslo know that agua oxigenada is not oxygen water, but hydrogen peroxide!

I thought that was super, super cute!! :o)

Monday, October 31, 2011

My first ever Haiku

SHORT

Too fast for comfort
are the autumn days this year
Faster they will be

**Thanks to @ChaiJen I learned the mechanics of a Haiku today.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the D word...at it's finest

There was a time in my life that I wanted to be "White." Blond hair, blue eyes, tall and skinny. It started in 2nd grade. Up until then, I was a happy little Mexican girl who loved learning English and loved reading Dick and Jane books. I would constantly write - "I can run. Can you run?" Sure, I didn't speak the language well, but I tried my damnedest. I would speak Spanish words pretending they were English, just like Americans add "-so" to English words to make them sound like it's Spanish.

Well - I transitioned out of bilingual/ESL earlier than most of my classmates. They put me in a mainstream class and I'd say that is when my crisis began. The bilingual students thought of me as a traitor (it was made very clear on field day) and the white kids were probably wondering what I was doing there. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere.

It got to the point that I told my mom I was no longer speaking Spanish because I was going to be white. She said it was fine with her as long as I understood that I would no longer be able to communicate with her, my father, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, and my favorite cousin in Mexico. So - I kept speaking Spanish.

It wasn't until I got older that I understood it wasn't just the Spanish language I almost gave up, but also my culture.

The culture where family is NUMBER ONE! Where what you feel - you feel it intesely! Where food is an invitation for friendship! Where having family in the same part of Mexico makes you have an instant connection with a complete stranger! Where music is more than JUST stuff you listen to! Where it's not JUST you...but those around you, and if you want to play the selfish game everyone around has no shame in letting you know how ridiculous you are! Where parents give up just about anything if it means their kids have a better opportunity! Where everyone works hard to make sure everyone has what they need and if anything is left over we'll make a party of it! Where gifts mean more than something you give, but you're actually giving a part of your heart!

My culture is BEAUTIFUL! I wouldn't give it up if you paid me a million dollars. I was young, naive, and felt completely out of place.

For the first time ever, this year, I get to see as a bilingual teacher what it was like for me as a bilingual student. The parent support is incredible. All the moms know each other and I'm sure have each other on speed dial. If I needed help tomorrow, I could count on them to come help me because I am their child's teacher. They know what's going on with each others kids and encourage the kids to keep each other accountable and to take care of each other.

I LOVE THAT.

But, I'm noticing my students are going through the same crisis I did and I want to make a big poster that says, "BE PROUD! YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER!!"

For me, today was especially rough. I don't know if my student's caught on but I sure did and I was ready to pounce! We were on a field trip and my class was split into two different groups. My group got to see the sparkly jewels and learned about geology. It was interesting, but not as great as it could've been if we had a more engaging and respectful tour guide.

He was too smart for his own good. My kids even used the word they learned earlier that morning to say: "Ms. Marquez, do you think he's a good example of 'brag'?" My answer was an honest: "Yes."

He began his little speech and began to ask questions in a way even I wasn't sure how to answer. He kept repeating his questions and pointing to different things and making hand gestures. He was looking specifically for the words: FLAT and SMOOTH! He pointed to a piece of wood, so the kids answered: WOOD! And then to a piece of padded velvet and they answered: FLUFFY! He was clearly not meeting them on their level.

His next question was the one that got my fire burning: Who of you were born in America?

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?! Really - my students are really bright and know they words FLAT and SMOOTH!

When we got back I had a student tell me he didn't want to be Mexican. I'm not entirely sure what triggered that comment since he wasn't in my group...but he continued. That white people got the better jobs. How they look better so people treat them nicely. How others believe them before they would a Mexican.

So - I told them my story. I told them that the opportunities they have is up to how hard they study and how bad they want it. How being Mexican (or hispanic) isn't a drawback, but a more flavorful life. It means they get to have the BEST of BOTH worlds!

These kids want to be teachers and police officers. I have some who want to be doctors, lawyers, presidents of a banks, and even the President of the United States. Others want to be famous musicians to help fundraise for orphans!

My students have HUGE - I mean...LARGER THAN LIFE dreams! Please. I beg you. Don't have them tripping up on your discrimination.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Cool Feeling

The past two weeks have been a bit of a blur due to the Hispanic Heritage Program all bilingual teachers are highly encouraged to help with. It turned out really well. All the kids were happy and they did great.

What stood out for me was a small quick moment when everyone was rushing to get out.

One of my third grade boys rushes up to me and gives me a HUGE hug. I say, "Hello So & so! It's so great to see you here!" Without hesitation he says, "THAT'S NOT MY NAME!" To give myself time to think I say, "HAHAHA! I know - I'm testing you!..."

...THINK MIMI! THINK!!...

"See you're name is CORRECT NAME!"

OMG - THAT'S A COOL FEELING! I don't my student's names out of the classroom context! I'm gonna have to work on that!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Favorite Commercials

I haven't been able to find it...or more like haven't had a chance to look online to find it...BUT there is a commercial that I've quoted for YEARS since hearing it the first time. It's VW commercial advertising their full size spare tires.

The phrase: GREAT DAY IN THE MORNIN'! WHAT ONCE WAS LOST NOW IS FOUND!!

It celebrates the fact that your car doesn't have to look gimpy because you had a flat. It is, for some people worried with appearances, a cause for celebration.

This phrase makes me happy!

For example...

I've had "great day in the mornin'" moments lately. Specifically with technology. You know those really amazing and convenient thumb drives and external hard drives? Well - One of them I thought had erased all the pictures I took in Guatemala. You all know those are near and dear to my heart. The other had me thinking I thought lost all my lesson plans! BUT THEN - I realized that they weren't lost... I'm not sure how the "almost lost" happens with these things...

It's not it's like life or death - but it's the thought of the TIME and MEMORIES! Losing both can suck. But DO NOT FEAR!! I have backed these items up TWICE OVER!

So I celebrate saying: GREAT DAY IN THE MORNIN'! WHAT ONCE WAS LOST NOW IS FOUND!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

ROCKTOBER!!

When a new year approaches (like in October), I purchase a calendar. I haven't done it yet...because it's usually in later October that I get it. But anyway the point is not that I get a new calendar, but moreso that when I look through it the October of the following year always seems so much further away than it actually is. I've been looking at this years October with so much excitement and yet with slight weariness.

October always seems to be packed in tight. This year will be no exception.

It's already started with a BANG! My friend Valerie married the man of her dreams October 1. I spent the beginning part of the weekend hanging with friends and celebrating Val & Josh. The latter part of the weekend was spent with my aunt and uncle. They are on my top 5 most hospitable people list! :O) It's a serious gifting my aunt has. That I would have a pinch of what she has would be like hitting the jackpot for me.

Anyway - I'm going to make it a point to update this blog with the exciting escapades of this month's weekends!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My New Boyfriend

I broke up with my long time boyfriend. I know. I know.







But don't be too sad, because I've found someone else. He's awesome. You'll love him too!






His name is David Muir. He's kind of a big deal. He hosts his own show...WORLD NEWS. And he really enjoys traveling. He covers really important stories all over the world.




So anyway...I thought I'd let you know that I bought tickets to this gun show. :o)

COKE & CHOCOLATE

I've noticed there have been some addictions that I've completely lost without even noticing. And picked up some just the same...

The one I've lost is one I've been trying to kick forever!! Can you guess? Drinking COKE like it's my life. I think it's easy when it's sooooo terribly hot and you become dehydrated to actually be in want of the most refreshing drink on the planet - WATER!

Which reminds me of a side story.



In college, some friends of mine asked me to go on a bike ride with them to the park that wasn't too far away from our campus. BEAUTIFUL PARK! Anyway, they had access to 10 speeds, while I...ended up with a rusted Wal-mart bike that had no gears. And the dumbest thing I chose to do was to NOT bring water with me.

As I was huffing and puffing, my friends were enjoying their leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. I literally got to the point that I thought I would pass out if I didn't have something to drink! I was so desperate I was willing to start knocking door to door until someone gave me a glass of water.


Luckily, there was a woman watering her lawn. I went up to her looking like a Mexican gone through a drive through car wash (without the car) and asked to please have a glass of water. She looked at me and didn't say a word - she was extremely apprehensive about a stranger approaching her. With all the desperation in the world, I said, "Ma'am, I don't want to go into your home. I just want water. I'm willing to drink it from your hose."


So, she handed me the hose (I KNOW!!) and I DRANK the most life enhancing
WATER I've ever had in my life.

No longer a wilted flower, I got back on the bike and somehow managed to
get through the bike ride thinking how accurate scripture is when refering to Jesus as the Living Water....and of course - I was also amazed the woman only offered me her water hose.


Anyway - Something I picked up. CHOCOLATE!

It's horrible. What is the point of dropping COKE when you're going to start up on CHOCOLATE!?!?! I don't get it... If it's around I can't say no. I have to practice SELF-CONTROL!!


One thing that I think will help is knowing that CHOCOLATE can trigger migraines. I wouldn't touch a migraine with a ten foot pole...so why would I touch the chocolate that triggers it?

So if you're my friend you won't bring it around me. (Just kidding. You can have it, I just have to CUT BACK on the KISSES!)

If this story had a moral - I think it would be: There's nothing new under the sun. Chocolate and Coke, I've always struggled with them both!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer in the City

The heat is unbearable. There are water restrictions, of course. After school dismissal is complete torture! My clothes is practically wet when I get back to get my things after school.

Pure misery. I'm ready for the changing of the seasons. I'm ready for RAIN!

Please, Lord, send the RAIN!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School

I was nervous about teaching older kids (3rd and 4th graders). I mean, I liked my first graders. I found out quickly there was nothing to be nervous about. Instead there's lots to get excited over. Like the fact that there was no crying at all. There's lots of independent, self-motivated students (not true for all). And their humor is SO stinken fun!!

I don't know if they'd never read Miss Nelson is Missing, but they giggled so much when I read it to them. I loved that! I was telling them that I could be either Miss Nelson or Miss Viola Swamp. They for sure have tested it and I am proud to announce that my teacher look was perfected yesterday. It received an AMAZING response! YES!

When I got home, I received a phone call from one of my sweet friends. I was in the middle of finishing up a small project and I told her I'd call her back. Well, I didn't. Why? I had fallen asleep around 9:30 pm on my work and slept so hard that I actually DROOLED all over my arm and my work. Thankfully it was laminated!! Whew!

So - that was my first day. It was super duper! And super exhausting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Classroom - Before and After

{BEFORE} Honestly, I didn't know where to start. The good thing was that the teacher there before me was AMAZING at getting her stuff and moving it to her room. She's been really helpful.
How did I get through this? Well, I made a plan. I mapped out my room and started working from one area to the next - throwing things away or organizing them and putting them away as I went through the room.

{AFTER}
I started by putting all the tables in the middle and hiding the chairs behind a wall - just so that I could SEE what I wanted to look like without the stack of chairs. Then, I decided what work stations I'd have in the future: whole group, small group, computer station, library, writing station and listening station. I designated the areas and then went to town.
My favorite spot is the library!! Are you surprised? I still have to work on it to get it sorted by genre.
I can't wait for the room to be "ACTIVE"!!

My Dad is the MAN!

I seriously wonder how I'd make it every year without the help of my family. They help me SOOO very much to get ready for school. Well, more than what I should ask of them. My mom comes to clean every crevace...and makes a sour smelling room smell like fresh laundry!

My dad - well, he helps me with lifting boxes, etc. This year, he takes the cake!! My kids didn't have a place to store their backpacks and I didn't really know what I was going to do about it - except for having them hang the packs on the backs of the chairs (not my favorite). So - what does my dad do? He put together some hooks to hang in my classroom and they worked like a charm!

Kuddos to my dad! I wouldn't be me without him!

Mission Statement

There are MANY times that I feel inspired to write a mission statement much like Jerry McGuire's. This week would be all about the hoarding problem school teachers have. It's disgusting!! A classroom should be asthetic!

But in all reality, what would I accomplish in writing said mission statement? NOTHING!

Rant concluded.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Books of 2011 - Part 1

So, as you know, I love lists. One of the lists I keep, as of 2009, is Books I've Read. If you want you can check out the 2009 list and the 2010 list. I usually post this at the end of the year, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to do it now and then do a part 2 later in the year....since I have the time to do it. Anyway, I digress. Without further ado, here are the books I've read so far this year:


  1. A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
    I cried most of the way through. I think it was my way of grieving the death of some friends. I'm thankful for Lewis's eloquence in the midst of grief. My words fail me all too often.

  2. The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua
    This woman is nuts. I have no idea how her pace is sustainable. I would like to know if she takes meds to regulate her blood pressure. One thing is for sure - it worked for her kids. Kuddos to her!

  3. Choosing to See, Mary Beth Chapman
    Wow. Kleenex please. Mary Beth Chapman is brave to tell the story of losing her precious Maria. She continues the story with God's faithfulness in bringing them through the hard times.

  4. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
    Had I not been reading this while school was in session, I would have read it in a day. I wanted to read it every waking moment...I couldn't wait to know what was going to happen next. Seriously kept me on the edge of my seat!
    One of my friends has always mentioned how stupid women can be when they decide to tear each other apart rather than come together - seriously, girls can be so MEAN!! The Help would be an example of both sides - encourage/tear down. I hope we're wise enough to rise above...
    "Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought."

  5. Something Borrowed, Emily Griffin
    Mindless reading. Sometimes we need it. Cheesy.

  6. Something Blue, Emily Griffin
    See #5

  7. Leota's Garden, Francine Rivers
    CHEESY!! It has a good message of forgiving and reconciling relationships, but I say it was a big piece of cheese! I still think Redeeming Love is her best book! I also heard that the Mark of the Lion series is really good too. I'll get to it eventually.

  8. Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, Kimberly L. Smith
    Wow. This makes me question how much I'm willing to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. Serving Christ is not cookie cutter or safe, per se.

  9. This Time Together: Laughter & Reflection, Carol Burnett
    HILARIOUS! She makes me want to find the humor in the simple things in life. Laughing is good medicine after all. If you decide to read it, when you get to the chapter "Fans" imagine me laughing out loud.

  10. How to Get a Date Worth Keeping, Henry Cloud
    I was intrigued by the title, so I read it. The advice I've taken has provided fun times...and great discussions with friends.

  11. Beauty and the Beast, Marie Le Prince De Beaumont
    Free book on the kindle so I read it. And there you have it.

  12. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, Rhoda Janzen
    Hmmm...I found this book depressing. I think some of her tragedy was supposed to be somewhat comedic, but I honestly felt sad for her.

  13. When Cows Fly, Tom Watson
    Free kid book on the Kindle. It's all about being green.

  14. The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
    Such a fun book of friendship and how this society came together to survive the awful times of WWII. I loved the character development and to think it was done in the form of LETTERS! I heart snail mail!! :o)

  15. The Pastor's Wife, Jennifer Allen
    CHEESY! Okay - so I can totally relate to some of the feelings described in this book since my dad is a pastor. However, it's like the cheesy christianese type stuff. As if life were wrapped in pretty paper and finished off with a perfect bow. Whatever - it's a book. I'll let it go.

  16. Spaces and Places: Designing Classrooms for Literacy, Debbie Diller
    I got to work alongside Debbie for a day earlier in the year. It was fun to go through her book and think through things in my classroom. By the way, I think I already have mad organization skills in a classroom setting, so some of it was like - DUH! But it's a great teacher resource if you need it!!

  17. Tiger, Tiger: A Memoir, Margaux Fragaso
    Not going to lie - it was very DIFFICULT for me to get through this book. It is soooo WRONG! It makes me cringe/sickens me/disturbs me...and it makes me want to take someone out! Unfortunately, it is the truth some children are faced with. I wonder if we're willing to see it in order to protect them.
    "One thing I've learned through my writing is that because my grandparents didn't openly deal with the sexual assaults of my mom and aunt as children, the trauma was passed down unchecked. My mother had no idea how to recognize trouble, or to shield me from it. But insisting on silence and forgetting, my grandparents were probably trying to protect their daughters from more harm, but my own story is proof that they were tragically mistaken."

  18. Relentless Hope: Extracting the Precious from the Worthless, Beth Guckenburger
    One of my friends said that it was a book of one sad story after the other. Really - what it is, is finding hope where you think there is none. How God takes the beauty from the ashes. How when you think life is most hopeless - and it can be very dark time - you don't give up. God, Emmanuel, is with us!

  19. Castaway Kid: One Man's Search for Hope and a Home, R. B. Mitchell
    I cried. Laughed. Hurt. Became angry...He not only has an incredibly story of redemption, but an amazing ability to tell it. This book goes on my favorites list. If you want to work with children who have lost their parents or are forced to live without their parents, I suggest you read this book. This gives you perspective on their behavior/emotions and while you read it you pray with all your heart that you would be someone who makes a difference in this child's life.
    "...even at age seven I could see that kids preferred poverty if they were loved, rags if they were cared for, and homelessness if someone wanted them. We were willing to suffer much if w could only be part of our own families."

  20. Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience & Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand
    One word: FASCINATING!!! Seriously. Seriously, fascinating.

  21. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, David Platt
    I read a similar book last year called the HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL. It is a reminder not miss what is radical about our faith and replace it with what is comfortable. To never settle for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.
    It's a challenge to live a life of significance! Sign me up!!

  22. The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis
    In all honesty, I'd forgotten the significance of the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series. It was fun to read about how Narnia and the magical wardrobe came to be. I love that from the beginning Aslan says: "Do not be cast down. Evil will come of that evil, but it is still a long way off, and I will see to it that the worst falls upon myself."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The A-Team Missions Blog


Last year my friend Ashley and I took a 3 week mission trip to Casa Bernabe in Guatemala. This year we are going to be there for a little under 5 weeks. It's crazy how time is flying!! There's lots to get done here at home until June 26, but regardless we are excited to say the least.

We are going to share our highlights and experiences as best we can through our blog. Will you follow our blog and commit to praying for us?! PLEASE!? Yes! Perfect.

It's good...it's real good!


Hey there. This past weekend I went to a beautiful lakehouse on Lake Conroe with some friends from church. We all signed up to bring something...so, I signed up to bring a Whole Bean Black Bean Dip. My friends loved it!! (Thank you Tia Elma for the recipe!!)

I told them I'd share it as long as I'm the one to bring this to the parties! :o) haha!!Anyway, they want the recipe and and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share it with the rest of you.

So, get yourself a serving bowl and hop to it!!


1 can whole bean Black Beans
1 small can of whole kernel corn
1 medium sized green bell pepper
1 medium sized red bell pepper
1/2 medium red onion
CILANTRO - how do you measure cilantro? I just take half of the bunch
1 lime squeeze the ever living juice out of it.
dashes of Tabasco to taste.
Italian dressing to taste.

So, open the cans of black beans and corn....drain and put it in the mixing bowl. Chop all the vegetables. And then put that all in your mixing bowl. Add Tabasco and Italian dressing. Once it's mixed it's ready to eat with some Tostitos Scoops.

ENJOY!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

30 Before 30 - Update

Hi! I wanted to let you in on what I've done so far:

Goal #3. Spontaneous Roadtrip.
The weekend of my birthday, I took a random unplanned trip to Matagorda, TX. My original plan was to go to Galveston for the day, instead we met up with some family and had an AWESOME TIME! We are definitely going to do it again!!


I also took a short trip to visit Susanne's Family to celebrate Lindsey's 4th birthday. I shouldn't have it count because I didn't get to stay long! :o(

And I just got back from a road trip with MIS AMIGAS! Sure, this wasn't spontaneous per se. But we were pretty spontaneous while we were there, so it counts!! We went to Fort Worth to visit our friend Valerie who recently got engaged. I am so excited for her and Josh - I mean he has to be amazing to have won Val's heart!! (They have the cutest story ever!!)

Goal #5. Write HANDWRITTEN letters to VIP's in my life.
I've written 2 of 15. They take a lot of thought!! :o)


Goal #19. Write and illustrate a kids book - homemade books are so fun!
Originally, I was going to write a little random story and illustrate it. I actually have a little poem that I'd like to add to to make a book out of...but anyway - I digress.

Some of my friends became foster parents not too long ago. When I met their little baby, my heart literally melted!! Not long after they welcomed the baby home, she ended up in the hospital. I was sad and scared. I prayed for her and wanted to do SOMETHING!! ANYTHING!! So, I stayed up one night and wrote it in about thirty minutes with an idea of what I wanted the illustrations to look like.

Thankfully, the baby is health and at home! Once she was okay, these same friends go out of town for two weeks asking me to house sit for them. I found that not being at home helped me focus on some projects I wanted to get done including this one. In one night, I got illustrations done. Another night, I did the detailing. And on another night I added the carefully written text.

Unfortunately, I am not going to share this book with you here...except for the cover. Just trust me when I say, that it is a sweet and special book.

Goal #20. Lose at least 10 pounds (no, i don't ALWAYS think I'm fat - yes, running is easier when you're lighter)
HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!!! I'm going backwards! In the last month I've packed on extra pounds. I'll blame it on stress and lack of meal prep and some health issues I hope straighten out soon. Summer break is one week away and I will work extra hard in the month of June to do something about this!!

As a launch to this MONUMENTAL endeavor (yes - monumental...it's HARD!), I am doing an at home Biggest Loser Challenge by myself. I have some friends to keep me accountable. Every time I weigh in, I will take a full length picture of myself in the same work out clothes...and also one of my face. Will I post these pictures online, you ask? Well, I'll post the ones of my face! :o) I'm not as brave as the people on the Biggest Loser. And, my face does show change...

Here is day one (May 29) after a sweaty work out:
Welp, that's all for now folks! More to come later!! :o)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A World of Wonder

Today, I laughed with a lady who mistakenly came into my classroom twice! She's not usually "zoned" to my classroom. The mistake reminded her of one of her dreams coming true.

She lived in a garage apartment with her daughter. It was small and cramped. They shared a small bed that she pushed up against the wall to make sure both of them fit without falling out. She prayed over and over for a house....

Finally she got it. It was a 3 bedroom, one bathroom home. She said that when they first got there, she and her daughter would fall over laughing because they'd get LOST in the house!

I tell my mom often, while I am thankful that I have what I have, I miss the newness of things. Not that things grow stale, but that the sense of WONDER sort of fades. That is unless you take time observe the things God has created or help someone else experience new amazing things! That is probably better than having that feeling yourself. (This is very true!)

Do you have a WONDER Story? Here's mine:

I grew up with very little. However, my brother(s) and I never felt like we went without - thanks to my wonderful parents who made stuff grand for us.

So, anyway, my parents decided to splurge one year and take us to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo! We had never ever been and didn't really know what to expect. The Astrodome was humungous and I remember feeling pretty cool about the whole thing. We watched all the Rodeo stuff and then it was time for the concert part of the event....and the dome started to RUMBLE! All of a sudden we heard: "Ladies and Gentlemen, We present to you.....*rumble, rumble*....WILLYYYYYY NELSOOOOON!!" Fireworks went off everywhere!! My brother and I got out of our chairs hugged each other and cried the happiest tears any kid could cry. We had no idea who Willy Nelson was or whether we'd actually like his music, but nonetheless we were very happy! We leaned over to our parents and told them how happy we were and how much we loved them.

It's so funny to think back and see how excited we were to see Willy. I'm happy to have that experience and many other like it. I'd have to say that this is one of my favorites.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fight For Air Climb - May 21

Today, with two friends, I climbed 48 flights of stairs. Using the First City Tower fire escape, the American Lung Association set up a race that was harder on the lungs than it is on the legs.

My first mistake was starting off too fast (ok - if we back track a little more, I didn't train very well at all...). So, yes, I started off too fast. By the 5th floor I was not only out of air - I was becoming desperate for fresh air. The desperation was making me feel as though I just might pass out!! This fire escape doesn't have circulated air so you're breathing the stank of the people that have gone before you and those who are quickly passing by you!! There are also no windows so you really feel like there is no escaping this...

From then on, I stopped for water at every rest stop which was every 10 floors. I stopped one more time that wasn't a rest area...

Mistake number 2 - I don't know how y'all do with races and stuff like this...but I usually don't eat all the energy stuff that everyone talks about. From what I hear, people love that stuff...and fruit too...and whatever else. For me, if I eat during a work out, it'll come back to say hello. I ate one slice of an orange, because I was desperate for fresh AIR and an orange looked as fresh as anything I could get. I was feeling queasy afterwards though - it really sucked!

Then I finally made it to the top!! And I was surprised that it did go by faster than I imagined...and that my legs could've done more...

Breathing though - that's what makes this climb such a fight!

Would I do it again? Hmmm....I'm not sure. I think I like running outside more than I liked the enclosed space... I'm glad I did it. It was a good experience.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

19 Days and counting...

WOW!

All I can do right now is keep breathing! There is A BUTT LOAD to do before the year ends! You're wondering what - well let me tell you:

1. Stanford Testing
2. Field Trip
3. G/T Expo
4. Science Fair

Yes - You're wondering what the heck we're doing waiting until the end of the year for the Science Fair...I'm wondering the same thing myself. But I'm excited about it since my class is going to explore in greater detail the world of BUTTERFLIES!! (ok - i'll be honest and say that I'm just barely getting excited about it as I was typing this...)

Today, I'm still at school at 7:30 pm on one of the most festive days in the state of TEXAS!! Why? Well, I'd rather be here covering up everything for the Stanford Test we have next week and start putting things away during the week than having to do it on a festive FRIDAY and restful SATURDAY!

I started by feeling overwhelmed and I freaked out and honestly got mad about something stupid...seriously stupid...but I channeled it and I see progress!! YES! I love it!!

Thank you Pandora Radio's Quick Mix of my stations for giving the perfect soundtrack to a working night!

With that my friends I say good night! This teach is goin home to a tastey dinner and a good book. There was enough work done today!

(This post seems like I have the case of logorrhea. I'm sorry - wait - no I'm not!)

Whew!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Birthday Wish

Good morning, friends!

Thank you SOOOO very much for making me feel extra special on my birthday through Facebook, phone calls, texts and cards!

Growing up, my family has never made a big fuss about birthdays. And thankfully as a result, I'm pretty low maintenance. A hug and a happy birthday is enough really. It's always been pretty simple - grill some good food and blow out the candles on a cake. Sometimes, it's the morning wake up call with the traditional Mexican birthday song Las Mañanitas! I love it!

This year though - I do have a wish and it's to go back to Guatemala for 5 weeks this summer. I'm paying for most of the trip, but I need help raising $500.

If you'd like to help me, HERE is the link. Another way to help is honestly to pray! It doesn't sound like much - but praying is a big deal and because of requests made to the Lord much is accomplished!

This orphanage in Guatemala is one place that makes my heart skip a beat! I haven't been able to shut up about it lately - especially since going back is a REALITY! The plane tickets are going to be purchased THIS WEEK!

AGAIN - A MILLION THANKS FOR MAKING ME FEEL SPECIAL!

P.S. I've lost the fear of turning 30 on my 29th birthday!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For the Love...

...OF LISTS!! Starting April 19, 2011 - my 29th birthday - I will begin checking things off my 30 before 30 list! 30 things to check of a list before the big Thirty, Flirty and Thriving Birthday!! (I can't believe it's a year from now! I hear 30 is the new 20!!)

  1. Prepare a 3 course meal and make it a party!

  2. Read my Bible from cover to cover

  3. Spontaneous Roadtrip

  4. Run a full marathon (please let it be the Houston Chevron Marathon!!)

  5. Write HANDWRITTEN letters to VIP's in my life

  6. Camp out on the beach

  7. Ride a tandem bike

  8. Paint Something(s) with purpose (like something someone would want to hang in their house)

  9. More Picnics Please

  10. Play in the rain

  11. Get a gym membership and use it (complete as of 4.4.11 - a head start)

  12. Get out of debt and stay out FOREVER AND EVER!! soooo close!

  13. Take family pictures

  14. Braces

  15. Submit cards to Hallmark (I've gotta figure out how)

  16. Begin learning about graphic design

  17. Attend a professional football game

  18. FINISH the DANG Christmas QUILT!!

  19. Write and illustrate a kids book - homemade books are so fun!

  20. Lose at least 10 pounds (no, i don't ALWAYS think I'm fat - yes, running is easier when you're lighter)

  21. facebook less - JOURNAL MORE! (not sure how to measure this)

  22. Parasailing! (been skydiving and paragliding...now I need to add water!)

  23. Run the San Antonio Half

  24. BUY A CAMERA AND GO PICTURE CRAZY! (yeah - I don't have one!)

  25. Take a trip to someplace where I can HIKE at an incline rather than flatness (most likely Guate!)

  26. Go to the Texas State Fair

  27. ZIP LINING!! (if I can manage jumping off the platform!)



  28. Plan and execute a FUN 30th Birthday Bash!

Okay - You noticed it's not finished. Maybe I'll do something cool, crazy or meaningful, add it to the list and then check it off! Does that count? Or maybe you could suggest something that is relatively inexpensive. 2 slots.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ezra 2 - Places and People

I'll be the first to admit that I did not expect to get so much out of a list of names! There was an awesome girl who read through these names in chapter 2 as though she were reading simple names like John, Sam, Phillip, etc. Seriously. I was impressed and tried doing it myself, but - if I'm honest - I need loads more practice.

Anyway - yes, when we get to scripture like Ezra 2, we have a tendency to skip over it...okay, I HAVE THE TENDENCY TO SKIP OVER IT. But as my teacher mentioned - don't neglect their importance.

And seriously - I love this. Yes - after 70 years of captivity, God sent a ton of people to go back home to rebuild the temple. And not just people - He sent individuals and named them one by one to their HOME!! It was a promise kept from long before!!

In class, we discussed how places are where redemption happens. God meets us where we are. That is what distinguishes JESUS from any other god around. When God meets us in a certain place, it becomes sacred. Not for the place itself to become an idol but for it to provide a marker...or a stone.

He also calls us individually to the place where we are!! YOU! ME! My Neighbor!! Examples of that are all over scripture, but we stuck with John 20 when Mary is looking for Jesus at the tomb. She was desperate to find Him... The conversation looks like this:

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, Mary.”

Acts 9 shows how God called Paul (then Saul) by name:

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

He called Mary and Saul BY NAME! He did the same for every individual going back home to rebuild their place! He has called you and me INDIVIDUALLY! And the question stands - are we listening??

I don't know if it's true for you, but I have a place(s). And if you do PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT IT in the comments!! I love listening to stories like this.

My Places:

  1. Bolivar, MO! Funny how I always say that I don't really want to go back - and maybe it's because it's the people who made it (most of whom I keep in touch with). But it is a very special place. It is where my faith grew exponentially and I saw my God do a great work in the most obvious ways in my life. He hit me with a ton of bricks there! And within Bolivar there are places - like Dunnegan Park, Woody-Gott Hall, Beasley Hall, the cross in the middle of campus, Brenda's Cafe! :O)
  2. Guatemala! Where do I even begin with this one? My heart truly longs for this place. And sometimes aches. (tears...) Here is a place that was introduced to me while I was in college. I've had the privilege of going back since and will hopefully will continue to go as much as I possibly can! My joy in finding hearts EVERYWHERE began in Guatemala, on one of those days that I was desperate for confirmation on something. The confirmation came through a heart shaped leaf flapping in the wind! I still have that leaf! And I've found many more hearts since reminding me of God's faithfulness in the midst of struggle. Within this place are individuals that I love VERY much! I love their hugs, their laughter, their personalities, their struggles, their JOY...Hearing their stories and their strength through Christ alone and their resilience to endure what life has thrown at them...I could go on forever! Driving into the campus makes my heart skip a beat!!
  3. The mountains in Korea! Gyeryongsan
  4. PRISON! They call me "Trouble" there (at least a couple classes did). I haven't been since becoming a teacher... Anyway, there are AMAZING stories of redemption! Even now, that I'm not so involved, I still hear stories of redemption from both the brothers and the leaders and I praise the Lord for using this brokenness to bring this incredible beauty!
  5. And most recently Austin, TX during the LiveSTRONG Half Marathon. Sharing it with Adela Cordova - someone I don't know if I'll ever see again in my life, and the Van Zandt's was truly special! He seriously MET me there on SOOOO many levels. I've been telling my family that I feel like I now have an emotional attachment to that race.
The coolest part about all this is that it really isn't about US!! When we are called to GO to the place where are called we are more than likely to come BACK home. And when we do we tell of the glory of God. The work that He does when He meets us where we are is something to be shouted from roof-tops!!

Even now, I have to remind myself that where I am is where God has me and He longs to bring redemption to individual people there right now! I want it too!!

So it's your turn! Share! Please!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ezra 1 - History

(Pardon me - I've had the flu all week and this is an attempt to do something to work myself out of it if that's possible. I know that it's not. But anyway...)


Okay so before you go on and read what's on this blog, you should read Ezra 1.


The overly simplified version:

The Jews were in captivity. The King Persia - King Cyrus - was not a believer, however he was charged with rebuilding the temple of Jerusalem. Not only does King Cyrus lets the Jews go, but he provides the materials necessary for them to rebuild the temple. However, not all of them decide they want to return.


This is a reminder to the Jews that God fulfills his promises (Gen. 50:24).


Questions I have:
1. What is this scripture showing us about God?
2. Why didn't everyone go back? Would it be considered disobedience if they didn't? Can this/should this cause tension within the people?
3. What are the different viewpoints affecting the decisions being made? (King Cyrus, The Persians, The Jews who went home, The Jews who stayed behind)
4. How does this story in history parallel to what is going on today in our world? How are we supposed to respond?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

EZRA - An Introduction

So - I started going to a brand spanking new bible study class at my church (in December) and we're going to be studying the book of Ezra for the coming weeks - okay - months. I volunteered to blog through the study...which I'm beginning to wonder what I've gotten myself into.

While the enthusiasm of blogging my way through the book of Ezra is there, it is slightly overshadowed by the fact that I don't really know about Ezra (perhaps that's the whole point) and that there isn't much exposure to it like let's say Philipians or something. The cool thing about this study is the structure the teacher implemented.

We are going to take each chapter and we are going to look at the history and look for current events that relate. And secondly, we're going to look at the theology, and look at how it's played out in church history.

I may be in over my head. But here it goes...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon and Half Marathon

Before I forget any details about a race that is already a blur, I want to write it all down! It's going to be in list form because seriously this mile by mile thing isn't going to happen this time around. The race was hard from the start!!

  1. All of my plans prior to the actually race were falling through, I was really tempted to stay home. My very dear friend, my sistah Ang, was unable to come with me. I have taken many trips alone, but for not being prepared to be alone, I was in a bit of a crisis before leaving to Austin. During my drive, I prayed for consolation, for a new friend, to run into someone, for someone to somehow figure out a way to meet me in Austin...

    And lo and behold, driving down I-10 to Austin, the Van Zandt's honk and wave! I was SO HAPPY!! VERY HAPPY! My friend David Van Zandt passed away recently and I've known his family for a while, but never had much interaction with them as much as I did with David, except for his mom Patti. Anyway - it was really sweet how it was a divine dinner plan!

    The Van Zandt's are LOADS of fun! Their high pitch brother/sister banter and the teasing of their mom had me smiling the rest of the night while I prepared for the race.

  2. I woke up at 3:45. Why? I have no idea. It was way before my alarm went off...okay, only 30 minutes, but still. I was out of the door by 4:30, ready to encounter serious traffic!! I mean, there were only 20,000 people running. Well, there was no traffic...and I was the first at the bag check...and probably one of four runners taking pictures at the Capitol Building at 5:30 in the morning. The good thing about this is that I got the BEST free parking spot EVER!!

  3. There was a woman from Monterrey, Mexico that I ran into while we waited for the race to start. It started at 7. We didn't cross the starting line until 7:20. Conversation with her was awesome - we had a lot in common. That was the last I saw of her.

  4. For the life of me, I cannot remember if we had just crossed or were about to cross the start line...This woman tripped and fell. She was going to get up and start back up, but her knee cap was off to the side. She cried for both the pain and the disappointment of not running this race. I felt so bad for her, and hope her recovery will allow her to run again!

  5. A few minutes into mile one, I heard THE SONG! The song that makes me feel like I'm in a movie with me skipping around and doing twirls. Are you ready? ..........DANCING QUEEN! :o)

  6. From here on out, I have no idea how each mile went. It's really all a blur. The hills are brutal! BRUTAL!!

  7. Mile 9 is the only one I can remember! There were loads of people in the yellow LIVESTRONG shirts and yellow banners with a bold black font with words like: Strength! Courage! Finish! And the roads were written all over using chalk with stuff like: You're Stronger than You think! You can do this! Finish strong!

    At this point I thought, I can't believe I'm running another half. I was really close to doing a beauty queen cry!! The kind where you flap your hand and tears start welling up in your eyes.

    Races are amazing! (Which reminds me that there are a lot of people out there with amazing stories! This man wore a shirt that said: "One day I will not be able to run, but today I CAN!" He's been diagnosed with a muscle something or other and in a few years he'll be in a wheel chair.)

  8. I ran into another lady from Monterrey! She was running the full marathon! We gave each other pep talks and got to talk a picture together before our courses split. I can't wait to see if they post it on the website!! She was a gem!

  9. At mile 11, I think, there is a NASTY...I mean - NASTY incline! I didn't train very well for hills, so I wasn't going to fool myself into running this. I walked it. An older lady had her husband give her a piggy back ride. It was kinda funny because she was holding her boobs in place the whole time until she got on her husbands back...hahaha! Anyway - on that hill, I prayed for God to please help me get through this. I was ready to sit it out. I started singing Star Smith's Song - I am Strong in the Lord. When I got to the top, I did a little skip and started running! It was AMAZING to conquer that beast!

  10. When I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I think I was in shock. I did a SPRINT for what it was worth! Where that energy comes from I have NO idea! But it's amazing!

  11. Word of advice: If you ever run a race like this, take cash and wait for a massage! HEAVEN! I actually drooled!! HAHAHA!!

  12. My car was only a few steps from the massage tent. PRAISE GOD! If you know me at all, you know very well, I'm directionally challenged! This was seriously the perfect parking spot!! I pulled out all of my food from my trunk to the passengers seat and headed for home.

  13. The official finishing time for me was: 3:08:24. Sure, it was slower than my last half (Jan. 17 - 2.45), but I am seriously not at all upset by it! I am SOOOO very proud and thankful that I was able to finish.
    a. I didn't train as much for this one because I was recovering from my ever aching feet from the last race.
    b. HILLS KILL!
    c. The wind will slow you down.
    d. I FINISHED!


    AND - I have officially accomplished on of my 2011 goals!! YESSSS! I think I'll do another one in the fall. I'll stick with 5 and 10k's until then. :o)

    Running is seriously amazing! I encourage you to do it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

He called me FAT!

This morning, I had an activity for my students to practice their spelling words one more time before taking the spelling test. When we were finished, I asked them to go back to their seats. In the middle of it all, an uproar began and this what took over my classroom...

Girl: OH MY GOD! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT!? (immediate downpour of tears)
Boy 1: blank stare
Girl: MS. MARQUEZ, HE CALLED ME FAT!
Boy 1: No, I didn't.
Girl: YES YOU DID!! DON'T LIE!!

Ms. Marquez walks toward the girl to calm her down.

Girl: MS. MARQUEZ, HE CALLED ME FAT! (she stomps her foot on every syllable for emphasis)
Boy 2: Why are you so upset? You're so skinny!
Girl: BOYS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO CALL GIRLS FAT! IT'S SO...RUDE!

Ms. Marquez pulls her aside and tells her she's right. That it is rude for someone to say mean things, but she needs to SIMMER. (okay, I didn't say simmer...but I almost did.) Ms. Marquez patted her on the back and asked her to go to the CHAIR (the one Ms. Marquez sends her students to cool down - it needs a name). And so, I get everyone back in their seats ready and situated for the spelling test. Once everyone is set, Ms. Marquez walks up to both the girl and boy 1 asking for an apology and forgiveness conversation.

Girl: Ms. Marquez, everything is okay. While you and the other students were getting ready he apologized.

Welp, there you have it. Don't call girls fat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wow, February! Wow!

Who would have thought that February would start with such a bang!?

I'm currently praying for a 3.5 day weekend. Shhh...don't tell anyone - the prayer consists of steady drizzle in freezing temperatures....and safety for the "I don't know how to drive in freezing temperatures" Houston drivers.

And let the record also show, I'm expecting to build a snowman this Friday! I don't care how big (or SMALL) it turns out as long as I get snow....mmmmk. Thanks!!

*******
My not so selfish thoughts have me wondering what in the world homeless people are doing to keep themselves warm. I remember hearing at the beginning of the school year of how some students in the district I work in are HOMELESS! Can you imagine being an elementary school student without having the security of a nice warm place to sleep? OMG! I can't!

So, along with my selfish prayers, I also pray that these little ones are shielded from the unforgiving gusts of pure COLD! That they and their parents wouldn't lose hope...

Friday, January 28, 2011

What goes around, Comes around...Part 2

Approximately 20 years ago, as fourth grader, I beat up a boy. Yes. It's true. I'm not proud of it, but it does make for a hilarious story.

We were on the school bus on our way home, and this kid named Chad (poor, poor Chad) wanted to have a friendly chat. I was in no mood for his antics and asked him to please be quiet. And then, I wasn't so nice and said that if he didn't shut up I'd beat him up.

He didn't believe me and he continued to talk. So, when we got off the bus, I made sure the bus turned the corner and then I charged him. I ran up to him, pushed him to the ground, and started punching him as if he were a lifeless flour sack. I went to town until his glasses flew off...

I know - it's AWFUL! I was a coward and ran off for fear that he'd hit me back or worse - I'd get caught fighting!!

Anyway, poor Chad wanted to make amends by giving me one of his mother's rings. I accepted.

The only problem was how in the world I was going to present this to my MOTHER!! A boy gave me a ring, because he's really sorry he annoyed me so much I beat him up!? No. Absolutely not. No, I chose this story instead:

Mom, look at what I found on the playground!! Isn't it pretty? I was on the swings and I saw something shimmer, so I jumped off and found this.

Well - I should have checked in with my older brother before telling this tall tale because just as my mom is gushing over this beauty, he waltzes in blowing my poorly executed cover: MOM - DID YOU SEE WHAT CHAD GAVE MY SISTER?

hahahahaha!! OMG - I had dug my own grave. I had to spill the beans - How I beat him up. How he felt sorry. How he gave me his mom's ring! And then on top of that, I was escorted by my mom to return the ring and apologize to him and his mother!


Fast forward to TODAY:

I walk into class today and I'm so excited to see that my students have worked on their 100 day projects (posters they work on that show 100 somethings). I notice that one particular poster is creating quite a buzz, but didn't really make out what anyone was saying. So I take a closer look and realize that my Curious George puzzle is on this kid's poster!!

Once his sister finished helping him settle in with this gigantic poster, she leaves and I begin to probe.

Even the other students, when they saw this poster, began wondering with quizzical expressions - Ms. Marquez, isn't this YOUR puzzle?

Me: Oh, look! How interesting! I had a puzzle like that. I can't seem to find it.
Student: Oh really?
Me: Yes, don't you remember it? I usually have it right here and look - it's missing.
Student: Well, I found this one outside.
Me: Really? Where exactly?
Student: You know...I was outside playing and then I see these puzzle pieces all spread out in the grass. So I picked them up and took them home.
Me: Wow - what are the chances?

I step away and continued on with the morning routines like nothing had happened. I asked the kids to line up to go to the restroom and just BURST into laughter!! I told my kids: Life is HILARIOUS! It's so interesting how things come full circle. You remember that! They all begin to laugh only to ask: What's so funny?

He had no idea that while he was enjoying his time in P.E., I was calling his grandmother to "check in" on things. How this will be handled from here, I'm not quite sure.

But just know...that everything I ever did as a child is coming back to haunt me. It makes LAUGH!

********
For Part 1, click here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My FEET!


So after the half-marathon, my feet felt a little like this. I tried running today in my "old" shoes and my feet were like - Uhm, NO!
Not even two minutes into what was supposed to be a short liesurely run, I turned around and drove to the nearest shoe store.

And there you have it....my feet feel better already with the support given by these Brooks. I strayed from my adidas. Sure, they are UGLY. But guess what I LOVE THEM! They feel great and can't wait to run my way to happiness tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January's Wonder

The picture does this happy little tree absolutely no justice. Located right outside of the school gym, it brings a joy to my heart every time I see it. I breath in deep and thank the Lord for bright colors in places like this tree when the sun is refusing to show his face behind the dreary gray clouds (with the exception of today of course). The red berries are happy little things. Happy is contagious! :o)

***********************
*On a totally different subject: boys at school are tough. Any reading suggestions for the teacher out there? Any methods that I should adopt? I would really, Really, REALLY appreciate the feedback on this one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Runner's High



So - I ran my first half-marathon (13.1 miles) ever!! I'm very VERY excited about it. It wasn't necessarily easy but I would do it again with ALL MY HEART AND SOUL!!!!

If you want to see pictures click here!

Here's the break down of the race:

We were told that we had to be parked no later than 5:30 a.m. and that roads were closing at 6. The race was supposed to start at 7:00. My friend Ashley, who went to Guatemala with me, woke up at the crack of dawn to take me to the race only to find out it was postponed until 7:45!! It was RAINY, WINDY and COOOOOOOOLD!!

I had my favorite breakfast: Ice Cold Milk and Bananas. And like 2 bottles of water. And in my fuel belt I had water (Gatorade during runs makes me puke) and M&M's!

Mile 1-3: I run this distance often so this part was the easiest (which I'm proud to say practice has paid off). I had to tell myself to chill and to take it easy because it was just the beginning. At the beginning of races, you're adrenaline is on HIGH you want to take off like Speedy Gonzalez. I stop to take off my long sleeve shirt because it get's really hot when you run! I think I was running at an ~11 minute pace here.

Mile 4-5: I ran most of this but I told myself it was okay to walk. My 3-1 fartleks began. It's my favorite way to run. 12 min pace.

Mile 6: PAINFUL. Like excruciatingly painful. I got the worst stitch of all time! I was talking to a lady about how it's my first half and she asked it if was okay if she ran with me (she is a lot older and has several under her belt). As soon as I agreed, this pain came in directly under the right side of rib cage and I wanted to curl over into a fetal position and cry. She left me saying, "Breath deep...I promise it will pass!" It was seriously like my insides were being split open. (I'm not exaggerating...it was painful.) It lasted a full minute...
12 min pace

Mile 7-9: A complete blur. Except that here the 1-1 fartleks began. I was happy.

Mile 10: I remember celebrating the fact that I had kept a pretty consistent pace. They pace person said: 12.23! I replied back: ARE YOU SERIOUS? Pace person: Yes, keep it up!
I told everyone around me that we should be soooo proud!! They sorta looked at me like I was crazy. I was really HAPPY!!

Mile 11: I prayed aloud: "DEAR GOD - HELP ME! BE WITH ME NOW!"
People asked if I was okay. My response: "My toe really hurts."
My index toe on my left foot usually hurts when I run, but the pain was a bit exaggerated since my feet were cold and wet and I also tend to be slightly dramatic. I started counting to a 100 over and over to get my mind off my hurting toe. That is until I remembered a chant I learned at a VBS 2 years ago. It goes like this:
RUN, RUN, RUN the RACE!
KEEP, KEEP, KEEP the PACE!
RUN THE RACE! KEEP THE PACE!
KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!
I was still at a ~12.23 pace

Mile 12-13: I slowed down to a 12.40 pace. I walked a lot more, but still managed to run most of it. I saw a girl who had been running really well the whole time look like she was throwing in the towel. I ran up to her and said - COME ON! WE CAN DO THIS! WE GOT THIS!! KEEP GOING!! We ran/walked together until the very end. She runs better than I do, so she said see you at the finish line and she took off, but not before giving me a pep talk!

In the middle of all this, I was soooooo incredibly encouraged to see one of my students and her mom under HWY 59. They had a poster that said: YOU CAN DO IT, MS. MARQUEZ! I almost cried, but instead I stopped to give them both a hug. They handed me a bag of snickers!! :o)

The last bit
: The finish line was after you turn a corner...I would have loved to have sprinted from the corner...but I waited until I got a little closer. I started yelling - I FINISHED before even crossing the finish line! The clock read 2.47...my watch said 2.45. I'm waiting on the official results to know what my time was. But the bottom line I FINISHED!! AND I DID IT UNDER 3 HOURS!

This is really one of the most incredible feelings I've ever experienced. After saying my whole life that I would never ever in a million years like running, I have developed a love for it! Crossing the finish line was pretty emotional for me. I couldn't do it alone - Christ is my strength and thank you Regina White for crossing the 5k finish line with me in April 2010 and assuring me that if I could run/walk my first 5k, I could run a half!!