Friday, August 31, 2012

Lots of Letters

 I've never written "Friday Letters", but blogs I follow have occasionally.  After this crazy week, all I could think about regarding a blog post were Friday Letters.

  • Dear September, Welcome.  Late August was great, but I have been ready for you.
  • Dear New Work Schedule (which begins at 5:30am), You and I still have some adjusting to do.
  • Dear Coffee, I ignore you for months at a time, but I needed you this week.
  • Dear Quesadilla, Thank you for being my go-to meal this week.  I had no energy for any other thinking or cooking.
  • Dear Our Little Home, I have neglected you horribly as of late.  I promise you will be sparkling in ten days when I host a baby-shower.  Thank you for bearing with me. 
  • Dear Sarah Palin, I'm really enjoying your book, Going Rogue, and happy anniversary a few days ago.  I think you and I (or maybe your girls) could be friends.
  • Dear Pioneer Woman, I picked up your audiobook at the library today and I'm excited to start it soon.
  • Dear Act of Valor, You were SUCH an awesome movie.  I still cannot stop thinking about you.  You will have your own blog post soon.
  • Dear Naval Seal Who Authored No Easy Day, What I understand is you broke the Seal code of silence.  If this book in any way compromises our national security, or reveals military secrets to our enemies, or puts active service men and women in harm's way, in my opinion, you will be liable for treason.
  • Dear Lloyd, I'm sorry you have not gotten as much exercise this week as you usually do.  Thank you for being understanding and always so loveable.  You will have a lot of fun this weekend, I promise.
  • Dear Lexie, Thank you for being your sweet, purring self.  Please don't stress yourself out too much this weekend.
  • Dear Sweet Friends Who Are Animal-Sitting for us This Weekend, THANK YOU so much.  We are so grateful for your kindness.
  • Dear Blue Moon, I'm hoping to spot you tonight.
  • Dear Dress I Want to Wear This Weekend, Please fit!
  • Dear Michigan Football, Welcome back.  BEAT BAMA!!!!  GO BLUE!
  • Dear Hubby, I love you more every day.  Thank you for figuring out this new work schedule with me.  We can do anything together.  I'm so excited to spend this weekend with you.

Those are probably too many Friday Letters... I guess that's why you're supposed to write them every week instead of once in a Blue Moon.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

1000 Words

1000 Words

Braille Math lesson on Graphing Coordinates

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sometimes and Always

Sometimes and Always -- a little angry
I'm sorry, but we all have those days.

Sometimes: I have really bad days
Always: I consume more junk food on those days than the average day

Sometimes:  I get really angry (at any number of things) and stay fuming for hours
Always: It takes a couple of stupid jokes, but my hubby can always, eventually, get me to laugh
Sometimes: I feel like my hubby and I have no money
Always: We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and happy, healthy animals, so things really are not too bad
Sometimes: I disagree with the political posts people put on facebook
Always: I "Hide this post"
Sometimes: I get tired of driving half of my work day
Always: Anne of Green Gables and other characters make the drive go by more quickly

Sometimes:  I get incredibly frustrated with the public education system
Always: I am grateful for the paycheck.
Sometimes: I crave a really specific meal or snack
Always: Once that craving gets into my system, I will likely continue to crave it for the next 3-5 days -- my hubby doesn't understand, he doesn't even like leftovers  :-D

Sometimes: After a full day of work, I continue to work long into the evening at home
Always: I eventually have a day when I just CAN'T keep working and I need an 10-12 hour break!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Treasuring the Present: Lexie and Lloyd

I have been trying to capture cute moments with my animals, and I just love them to bits.

These animals crack me up... and they are hanging out closer and closer to each other with less hissing and chasing.  Keep praying for these siblings.  I still hold a hope that someday I will walk into a room and they will be curled up together sound asleep.

So far, this is the closest the animals have come to being curled up asleep together.
"I need to get every last lick of peanut butter from this container!"
So pretty!
"I hear, Lloyd..."
For a cat who doesn't like water, Lexie loves to play with it...
She's never fallen in the tub, but she's gotten really close
"I almost have all the peanut butter..."
In addition to running water, Lexie loves printers and embossers (braille printers).
Sizing each other up...
For about 90 seconds on afternoon, Lloyd was trying to play with Lexie, and Lexie wasn't running away.  I snapped quite a few pictures.
This one was probably the best.

These critters add so much joy to our lives.  We love you guys!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Story of Jonah

Last night while I was in the kitchen,  I stumbled upon a game show called, "The Great American Bible Challenge" hosted by Jeff Foxworthy.  It was really entertaining.

During one of the breaks, they showed a clip of a little girl telling the story of Jonah.  To be honest, she reminds me of my grandmother, Nangie.  Nangie had such a gift of drama and told wonderful stories.  She even used to tell a monologue about the story of the life of Jesus.  She would perform it at many churches in her town.

Hey my grandmother would say, "And the crowd shouted, 'CRUCIFY HIM!  CRUCIFY HIM!", listeners would get goose bumps.  I thought of Nangie when the little girl got to the part when Jonah insisted on being sent overboard, "LISTEN!  LISTEN! God has sent this storm to punish me!"  It gave me goosebumps.

This clip is over seven minutes... but the little girl is very entertaining.  What a gift this little girl has for sharing the Bible.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cost of Living

The cost of living has increased in my lifetime.  I'm told this is normal, but I really do hope, pray, and look forward to a day when the booming '80s economy resurfaces in America.  (I miss Ronald Reagan!)

That being said, I heard a quote on my audio book, Anne of the Island, the other day that I just had to share.  For the eternal optimist Anne Shirley is, the first part of the quote was actually said by an older woman, a widow (not especially known for her optimism) talking to Anne.

"Air and salvation are still free...and so is laughter!"

What a wonderful thought on which to focus.  Now, you know as well as I do, that salvation is not free, the price for all humans' salvation was paid by the blood of a flawless lamb, the Son of God, who was without sin.  The cost of salvation was Jesus' death on the cross.

But salvation is free to you and me, all these years later.  All we have to do is accept the sacrifice that was already made and welcome Jesus into our heart and life.

Air, salvation, and laughter are still free... so let's take advantage of the bargain and make a point to enjoy all three.

Thank you, Lord for air, salvation, and laughter.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012


We are ONE WEEK away from another season of Michigan Football!

I am so excited!  Autumn hasn't arrived until the opening season kickoff.

These first few weeks back to work have been HARD.  The first few weeks when the students are back will also be hard... it always is.  But the truth is, the weekends with Michigan football leave me more refreshed and better ready for my next week to start on Monday.

I am SO excited for another season of Michigan Football!!!





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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Peace of God

 Thought for the day:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
 Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,
or seen in me—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9

Please pray for me today.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Prayer Walk

I love to go on walks.

I don't think about walking as exercise because its just so darn enjoyable.  Walking in the woods, walking in a city, walking the dog, walking with friends, walking with music, walking with an audio book, walking on a cool morning or in the heat of the day, I LOVE walking.

This past weekend I took a different kind of walk than my usual talking on the phone or listening to music walk.  This past weekend, I was upset, and I took a prayer walk.
 This past weekend, I was feeling upset, overwhelmed, angry, discouraged, blind-sided, etc.  I knew I needed to take all of my hurt before God and if I stayed home, on my knees, I was going to cry and cry and cry -- it was just one of those days, and one of those situations.

I didn't want to cry and cry and cry, but I knew I had to take my feelings before the Lord.

On a prayer walk, my heart rate increases, and I get out-of-breath, like when I cry, but I don't have the breath or the energy to cry, because I'm working up a sweat.  I find the same release through walking as I would get crying, but I feel much better walking than I do crying.

And... since my walk is 3 miles (with Lloyd), a beautiful thing happens during that hour walk.

Lloyd and I were not half way through our route when I had all my pain and discouragement off my chest, and my heart began to change.  I began to thank God for his challenges.  I thanked Him for the chance to face this challenge with my husband.  I thanked Him for the time to correct the situation.  I thanked Him for standing with us in this situation and leading us through the days to come.

As I thanked Him, near the middle of my walk, I really was grateful for the challenge ahead.  I wasn't just offering empty thanks, but I really had a new perspective on this, previously upsetting, situation.

By the time I got home, I was pretty excited to see what the upcoming weeks would bring and how God was going to lead Hubby and me through this challenge.

When I'm upset, I need to remember how beautiful a Prayer Walk is.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Word-Filled Wednesday: Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28


This is my prayer today for all who read this.
What a beautiful verse to focus on all day.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Treasuring the Present: Late August

Today, I want to take a minute to treasure Late August.

Late August has never been my favorite time of the year, but today, I really want to treasure this unique middle ground between summer and autumn.  Late August is still summer, but here in Colorado, the kiddos are back in school and teachers are back to work so its not really summer anymore.

Today, I noticed some beauty of late August:
  • Beautiful afternoon walks with my puppy -- the days will be getting shorter soon, but in late August, afternoons are still hot and summery
Lloyd in the evening sunlight
  • Michigan football season is JUST around the corner -- excitement and anticipation is at an ALL-TIME high, and the entire season is still ahead of us
  • Beginning of the school year dramas and successes -- Hubby and I are into the full swing of teaching, but the challenges that we face are beginning-of-the-year challenges... the real challenges, the burn-out are all ahead.  We are fresh and excited for another school year
My handsome hubby off to his first day of school!
  • Flowers still in bloom
This picture really doesn't do these blossoms justice
  • We have had our puppy 10 months -- and every day he and Lexie tolerate each other better than the day before
She got closer, but I wasn't fast enough with the camera
  • The hope and optimism that by September we will have a routine with work and students... and maybe I won't back my husband a sandwich with cheese paper in it, like I did yesterday morning :-(
Paper = Healthy, right?
What is your favorite thing about late August?

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Prayers for a New School Year

Dear Lord,

Today begins a new school year for my husband's district, and several of my districts.  By the end of the week, all of my districts will be back in session.  Thank you for a new school year.

Thank you for the children at each and every school where my husband and I teach.  Thank you for the students we will see every day and get to know very well, and thank you for the students who we will go through the entire year never meeting.  Thank you for hand-picking each individual student at every school.

Thank you for the teachers with whom my husband and I get to work.  Thank you for teachers who have taught many years, from whom we have so much to learn, and thank you for new teachers with new ideas and fresh, optimistic outlooks.  Thank you for the team of teachers with whom my husband works closely and please create in them a wonderful sense of support and teamwork.  Thank you for the teachers with whom I get to work this year, and please help us to find patterns that work for us, and help us maintain strong lines of communication despite my traveling so much.

Lord, I pray for the students starting a new school today.  I pray for strong, solid friendships to be discovered and created.  I pray for students to minister to students this year and I pray for the students who will come to know You this year.  I pray against cliches, bullying, gangs, drugs, bitterness, and discouragement.  I pray for teachers and parents to use their influence to strengthen and encourage students this year.

I pray with expectancy for all the great friendships that will be made, teams that will be formed, hobbies that will be found, subjects that will inspire, and accomplishments that will be delighted in.  I pray for the students getting braces, glasses, new haircuts, new sneakers, contacts, and pierced ears.  I pray that students will learn quickly that beauty is an inner-quality.

I pray for the challenges ahead, for there will be challenges, but I pray that the students and teachers will face them with a positive attitude.  I pray that students and teachers will rejoice in the opportunity to learn instead of groan at the requirement to learn.

I pray for parents as they send their most precious children out into another school year -- or maybe a first school year.  I pray comfort for the parents and great comforting words to speak to their child.  I pray that parents will tell their children how much they will get to learn this year, and how smart they are for working so hard and learning so much.  I pray over homework time in each of their houses, and I pray that it would not be a nightly struggle.  I pray for a spirit of helpfulness and encouragement over houses that have previously held feelings of anger and frustration.

I pray for collaboration between parents and teachers, and teachers and teachers, and teachers and administrators, and parents and administrators.  I pray for ears to listen before reacting, for all parties.  I pray that students will come to see their parents and their teachers are on the same team -- we all want engaged, happy, hard-working students who are challenged and excited about learning.

Lord, Thank you that You are everywhere.
The United States government doesn't have to recognize Your presence in schools -- You are there.  The students do not have to pray at the start of each day for You to lovingly watch over every interaction and conversation they will have each and every day -- You are there.  The teachers don't have to be wearing a cross around their necks for you to be present in their classroom -- You are there.
You created every human being in each and every school.  You know the number of hairs on every student and teacher's heads.  You hear every whispered plea and desperate prayer from every mouth and every heart.

Lord, as teachers, my husband and I have such a long list of things we are hoping and planning to teach our students this year.  Father, please let this be a year they learn more about You.  However You can reach them this year, through friends, family, circumstances, music, stories, examples... Their relationship with You is the only Eternal lesson there is.  Let this be the year so many students, teachers, parents come to know You and Your beautiful sacrifice for them.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Momma!

I absolutely LOVE my mom!

She is truly my best friend in the world, and I cannot imagine my life without her.  Here are a few (very few) of the reasons I love my momma:
  • We talk on the phone almost every day... it is a very rare day that we don't talk (Thank you, Lord for cell phones, and free mobile-to-mobile minutes)
  •  She knows how to get me out of a bad mood
  • She is my shoulder to cry on
  • She is my ear to complain to
  • She is a vault of information - when I tell her a secret, she is good at keeping it a secret
  • She's a great cook and baker
  • She never takes a day off -- her full-time job is wife and mother, and she never takes a day off -- the vacation time she has stored up has to be nearing a decade-worth of vacation
  • She is full of wisdom
  • She is great at giving advice
  • She is great at listening when I don't want advice
  • She and I have the same sense of humor
  • We understand each other
  • We enjoy of the same movies
  • We share book recommendations
  • We both cry at the drop of a hat
  • We have both experienced heartache, heart break, brokenness... which is a big reason we both cry at the drop of a hat
  • She is such a strong woman of faith
  • She is a prayer warrior
  • We share a love of junk-food (for better or worse)
  • She is a wonderful animal grammy
For all her wonderful qualities, she has a hard time taking a good picture.  :-D  She takes a great picture when she's not thinking about it, but when she's told "SMILE, I'm taking your picture", the result is not great.  :-D

Fortunately, beauty is not what a camera captures, beauty is captured through action, word, lifestyle, service, body, and heart.  And my mom is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met.

I've reached into the archives and tried to find some pictures that capture mom's beauty over the years:

 Happy Birthday, to the best Momma in the world!

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