Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cozy Crochet Baby Blanket

Over the past year and a half, all three of my sisters have had their first babies. Three perfect little boys who are hands-down THE most adorable little pumpkins I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have adored all of my auntie duties thus far, although it is hard to maintain the "awesome aunt" persona when I live so far from all of them.

I worked up these cozy little blankets for each of my nephews as I anxiously awaited their arrival.There wasn't much of a break for a while soon as I would finish one blanket, I would hear the news that another baby was on the way. And now it has been several months, and I'm itching to start making these bad boys again. And since it's not likely that I'll hear of another niece or nephew entering the scene just yet, I've put up a listing on Etsy so I can spread the love (and the warm, wonderful cuddliness) with you all.

Click HERE to order, and enjoy! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And the answer is...YES!

I was flipping through one of my notebooks that is a mishmash of grocery lists, lesson plans, and random journal entries and I came across something I wrote as last semester was coming to an end and I was desperately trying to muster up some strength and motivation to start all over again...

 Too many thoughts and feelings are coursing through my mind right now. I am struggling to find a purpose, some sense of reason that explains why I am attempting what seems to be an impossible task.

  I go back and forth between these three overarching thoughts:
      "It's the kids I teach and their lack of interest that make this whole thing pointless."
      "It's the logistics of it all--rules, policies, etc.--that make it impossible to accomplish anything of any real value."

      "I just don't know what I'm doing. Somewhere along the line, I chose the wrong profession."

Such negativity, such hopelessness and cynicism...and yet, they share equal space in my brain. As soon as I work hard to defeat one of these life-draining, motivation-sucking statements, another one looms, eager to take its rightful place at the forefront of my mind. It sometimes makes me wonder, what right do I have to progress, impact, victories, lasting change? The whole world has been hemming and hawing about the failures of public education for decades; why should I think that I can "defeat the system"? 

So maybe I can't inspire a revolution in the education world. What if I never have that "breakthrough moment" with a class (scenes from Freedom Writers are coming to mind)? What if the only thing that ever goes right is one kid opening themselves up to "the light" so to speak...learning responsibility, discovering a book they love, writing a poem they are proud of...

One student.
Is it worth it? 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Makes me Smile :)'s been a long time. I got some "teacher evaluations" back from my kids today. The last few days have just been random filler activities as we await the official end of Fall semester. That being said, some of them took this little evaluation seriously, some did not, and a few chose to add their own comments. These are the ones that made me smile and gave me just the tiniest bit of affirmation.

"Your enthusiasm is awesome and not only do you have concerns about our everyday school work, you help us with everyday problems...thanks."

"I believe you try hard to be a good teacher."

"I learned how to express myself in my writing." (I almost jumped up and down when I read this one!)

"I love how your sense of humor mixes in with the lessons everyday!"

"I have enjoyed being in your class and will miss you and your warm heart and attitude."

And finally a simple...

"I have enjoyed your class this semester and have learned a lot!"

So maybe this semester wasn't what I imagined it would be. Maybe the level of chaos surpassed any that I could have imagined. And maybe I didn't handle any of the stress or disappointment like I thought I would. Perhaps I wasn't the "model teacher" every day, and maybe there were a few times when I let my unadulterated frustration, anger, and annoyance come through...just a little. ;-) But there were good moments. too. Having a kid tell me that she learned how to express her feelings in writing is a pretty huge victory in my eyes. Watching my sophomores experience books in a way that they had never experienced before (like--gasp!--actually enjoying a novel so much that they read the whole thing!) wasn't too bad either. And maybe having that one-on-one conversation with a kid when he finally starts to believe me when I say "You can do more because you're better than that" was a high point too.

It wasn't perfect. In fact, I think this is the farthest I have EVER been from perfect. But it's funny how my eyes are just now being opened to some of those "small victories" that I wasn't capable of seeing while I was living in the midst of the craziness. I'm just praying that Jesus keeps giving me eyes to see, because come next Tuesday, I'm headed for another semester of craziness. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 1

What can you accomplish when you're not constantly on the computer? Turns out a lot, actually. No facebook = finishing two books, starting another, getting in touch with apartment properties about moving in August, washing windows, initiating an all out war against accumulating dog hair, doing laundry, cooking dinner, exercising, etc.  More importantly, I feel SO much better today--not nearly as tired and lethargic as I am after spending so many hours behind the computer screen. 

Something I'm starting to notice is how very little self-control I have, whether it's concerning how I use my time, what I eat, what I spend, etc, and I think that's something God is really working on at the moment. We know all too well that He only trusts us with the big things if we can be faithful with the little things, so why would this be any different? Maybe it's just the fear of losing some of my "power" that is, the nice little rush that I get when I tell myself that it's my life, my body, my money, my time...blah blah blah that causes me to lack so much follow through. If I can't keep up with something when it gets hard (can anyone say diet plan??), then I just mask that failure with an air of self-confidence: "I don't need to be a size ___ to be happy." And that statement in and of itself might be true, but the motivation behind it is far from liberating. goal at a time, I'm working through it. This week it's facebook. Next week it might be diet and exercise, and--let's face it--I'm always being forced to work on controlling my finances. So far, so good...we'll see how the rest of the week goes! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Facebook Vacation

Yep. Just a short one, though. I don't think I could commit to any longer than a week. Here's the thing: I think so many hours of staring at the facebook homepage has been seriously detrimental to my motivation. Facebook isn't the only culprit, but it's certainly the biggest. I don't read because my multi-tasking skills are not sophisticated enough to include reading and actively checking FB at the same time. I don't write because I can only make it through a paragraph before making my way to a computer to check for updates. I can't even have some quite prayer time without checking my email. The first thing I do when I  walk through the door after work is grab my computer and get online. And that's where I stay. What I had originally considered to be a "down time"...something that's supposed to be relaxing, is making me irritable, impatient, and even more inactive than I already am. While I can't give up the internet all together (like it or not, email has become the prevalent form of communication for me), I'll say goodbye to facebook for a little while and see what it feels like. It's kind of like detox go on some crazy restrictive diet to jump start weight loss, and by the time you go off it, you no longer crave the junk as often. That is, if you can follow through. So here's to getting off the couch and doing something productive with the remainder of my summer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Never Say Never

...because it will come back to bite you. I've recently been recalling conversations I had with others (or sometimes with myself) in which I've adamantly claimed that I will never....(fill in the blank).

"I wouldn't ever want to be an English teacher because then I'd have to learn all that grammar and stuff, and I hate that!"--Age 13

"This is sooo stupid! Why do I have to learn math?! I'll never need it!"--Age...well...probably from 10-17

In response to hearing Heather's passionate philosophies of education: "I'm never going to be quite as crazy as she is..." Age 14-18

And most recently: "I am NEVER going back to the lowcountry...I've had enough of that part of the state, and I want nothing more to do with it." Age 21

These statements came flooding back to my mind one-by-one yesterday afternoon as I made my way home from a day of tutoring elementary students in the math I was always so desperate to avoid. They continued to assault me as I chatted with a friend about the upcoming school year and how I'm planning for my first year as an English teacher, what literature I'm going to cover and how I'll fit in that grammar instruction that I've come to love so much. They stayed close by while I wrote out my own philosophies and beliefs about my classroom which are strangely close to my sister's...and they hit me full force as I searched for apartments in Charleston, aka: the Lowcountry. 

Never say never. It gives God an opportunity to see how serious you are.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My God SHALL supply!

I'm tempted to write an extremely long narrative about this one, but here's the long and short of it:

I'm unemployed...have been for a while now, and job prospects have been looking pretty bleak. After playing the waiting game for several long weeks, it looks like I'm going to have the opportunity to go back to Bloomington for the summer doing something I LOVE that will also be a fantastic resume booster (and pay pretty well too) while giving me the flexibility to take last minute trips to SC if a school district calls for an interview. Not long after making up my mind that this is where God wants me for the summer, my car (I should have been expecting this) dies yet again. I won't lie. I had a period of brief hysteria there for a little while when I looked at my upcoming bills--along with the car repair--and looked at the amount in my checking account and saw a sizable gap between the two. At that point, I realized that the only thing I could do, my one and only option, was to cry out to my Father and ask for His help. I had no back up plan, no resources, no alternative options in case He didn't come through...this was my chance to see Him provide for my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19), and provide He did!

Long story short, my car's bad alternator was still covered under warranty, the towing expenses were covered under our insurance, the mechanic threw in the 2 hours of labor for free, AND a rather large tax refund came in the mail...all within a few hours of each other. What could have been a huge road block and source of stress was resolved within hours. Not only does Jesus love me enough to care for the details of my life, but His plans for me are big enough that He wants nothing to stand in their way! Thank You, Father for providing supernaturally for my needs!