Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In 2011...

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
-G.K. Chesterton

In 2011, I will bask in gratitude. Gratitude... that's my word of 2011.

Flickr photo from Bahman Farzad.

Why gratitude?
Over Thanksgiving Break I was blessed by reading
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Happiness is my lifetime goal (and always has been!). And, her journey to find happiness was eye-opening for me. One of the most important ah-ha moments I had was in Chapter ??, when she focuses on gratitude as an alternative to negativity.

I consider myself a rather optimistic person; however, lately with the stress and constant presence of schoolwork, I have found myself slipping into the "glass-half-empty" mindset more often. And, I'm just not ok with that. Even if there is just one drop left in the glass, my goal for this year is to think, "I'm thankful that there's one more sip that I get to enjoy!"

How gratitude?
Inspired by Gretchen's action plans and Christine Kane's "Do-Have-Be" model, I have brainstormed a few ideas to keep "gratitude" at the top of my mind.

  1. Think "gratitude." When I sad/angry/mad/frustrated/[fill-in-the-blank-negative], my goal is to think of something to be thankful for.
  2. Wear "gratitude." I will be designing a bracelet to wear everyday to remind to fall back on my word when I feel myself moving in the wrong direction.
  3. Share "gratitude." I will be sending notes or letters to two people every month to tell how they have inspired me.
  4. "Gratitude" marathon. The month of March--a difficult month in the life of a teacher-- (and maybe again in the fall) is designated as 31 days of gratitude. I'll photograph something everyday that makes me smile. [Inspired by this.]
When I told Rob about my resolution, he asked, "is this for when you get mad at me?" I answered truthfully, "Really it's easy to be thankful when it's you. And, it works, too. I'm hoping it works in other situations, too."

Sure, there are plenty of other little things that I want to do this year... simplify, organize, learn to work the manual settings on the camera, make friends, re-find joy in my job, host a party, be creative, and more. But, I'll be content just to be grateful for what I have, and what I am able to do. In my book, gratitude leads to happiness.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter wonderland...

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"
-J.B. Priestley

One of the greatest highlights of the weekend was waking up to a snow-covered yard on Sunday. These South Georgia and Florida kids haven't seen much snow, so we quickly put on all of our many layers of clothes and headed out the door.

And, because I'm totally enthralled by the discovery of Animoto... here's another video montage of the memories.

Christmas Wrap-up...

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words."
-Harlan Miller

A little bit of drama, a little bit of love. Mix it up and you get the average holiday celebration at my in-laws. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Joy...

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." -Harlan Miller

'Tis the season of peace. 'Tis the season of hope. 'Tis the season of love.
Merry Christmas to all of you from the two of us!
Wish we were celebrating with you!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let there be peace on earth...

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time."
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

We've been in South Carolina for three and a half days, and finally this afternoon it started to feel like Christmas. Up to now there's been a lot of complaining, negativity, and just being annoying for the hell of it.
But this afternoon while Rob and his grandpa were out on the golf course, the merriment, sounds and smells of Christmas finally arrived at my in-laws' house. I was kneading dough for our homemade rolls tomorrow. My mother-in-law was cutting out sugar cookies for baking. And, my father-in-laws' baritone "How Great Thou Art" could be heard from the living room.It may not last long, so I'm going to cherish these few moments of peace on earth.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

the 6th of december...

“Christmas is here: Winds whistle shrill, Icy and chill, Little care we; Little we fear Weather without, Sheltered about The Mahogany Tree.”
-William Makepeace Thackeray

woke up to a blustery, wintery day... enjoyed warm toasted bagels at einstein's... planned lessons for the second-to-last week of school in 2010... lunch at zaxby's... spiced sugar cookie blast at sonic... went on a somewhat successful christmas shopping trip... still stumped on my mother-in-law and my secret santa... brought down the christmas decorations... put up the tree this evening... decorated the dining table... hung the wreath on the front door... set out the nativity... made a christmas list for ourselves... christmas is coming.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The most wonderful time of year...

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale

Today is the first day of December. My December favorites include:

  • Christmas trees: I have a mini-collection of modern tree statues, and I'm a sucker for an exquisite tree. Despite the fact that we've decided to go back to our faux tree this year, and as usual, our tree will sport a mismatch of ornaments, a part of me wishes for a tree like these. Green & Gold Christmas :: White-flocked trees :: Young House Love tree
  • Shopping for gifts: This year, thanks to "A Better Christmas Tree" app, I'm been shopping all year, and just have a couple of extras left to get. Some of my favorite gifts this year. Handmade scarves for my friends:: "A Year of Teeth" calendar for my uncle :: something special for my mom and sister
  • Christmas cards: Some say that the tradition of sending cards is outdated, but I still look forward to the cards, the photos, and the letters. I've got something up my sleeve for our family as well, but here are some designs that have inspired me. Return Address Luxury :: Dotted Frame Holiday :: Peace and Love :: Christmas Overlays
  • Sweets: The holiday season doesn't seem complete without a baking day! Also, makes a great gift for those hard-to-gift male colleagues. Some favorite recipes include Best Toffee Ever :: Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Sprinkles :: Peppermint Bark :: Our traditional sugar cookies with magical icing!
  • Counting down the days: The anticipation is always so much better than the actual day. And, this year I have a whole week out of school to anticipate before the holiday actually arrives. Count down with Burlap Sack Advent Calendar :: Advent Re-Invent :: Felt Advent Calendar :: Paper Holiday Advent Calendar

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

As luck would have it...

"I am what I am and, you know, I'm a very lucky guy."
-Michael Bloomberg

What a crazy afternoon! The power went out at school, and was out for about 45 minutes. Luckily, it was my planning period, and I had no kids around. And, then to round things out, just as the buses were being loaded, we went into an official tornado warning. I grabbed about ten sixth graders who were leaving for the bus and had them crouched in the stairwell. They were scared, but luckily we only had to be there for 30 minutes.

Afterward, the teachers who were close to the weather radio were talking about how a tornado had been located at the intersection nearest to our neighborhood. And, then had been spotted on the street behind our neighborhood. Of course, I panicked a little bit, but thought even if half my house is gone, it's already been raining for half an hour... better not rush off too quickly.

As I drove through the pelting rain, all traffic was being rerouted around our neighborhood, and I had to ask a police officer to let me through. As I drove through the subdivision, I couldn't really see any damage in the dark. Luckily, I arrived to find our house was fine, and the power was even on!

But when I searched for the local news, I was unnerved again, just seeing how close it really came. The neighborhood right next to ours was hit pretty hard. Just across the field. Not 2500 ft away.

We are so lucky. And, I'm not taking that for granted tonight!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A written reminder...

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
-William James

Today was the first day back to school after a long break. I lost my voice during first period. I lost my patience during second period. And after school, when the school lost power, I decided to call it a day.

But because I have a new resolution to think positively, I want to share a note that I received from a student last week. She's a really low-level, ELL (English Language Learner), so I haven't made any changes to her grammar. And, even though I'm still a little unclear of whether she is actually leaving our school (she was at school today)... this is a reminder of why I teach.

"Dear Mrs. B--,
You are very nice when I first meet you. Mrs. B-- I am telling you all about me and my heart because I am smart because of you who has been trying hard to get me through all the works or all the troubles that I don't know. You are the BEST Mrs. B--, I um I just want to tell you that whenever I say good bye then that's my last day of school. I was wishing that one day I could stay at this school forever but I guess my wish didn't come truth. Mrs. B-- thank you for everything. I hope that God will guide all of the teachers that have been trying there best to help me out. Thank you so much to all of the teachers who have been trying there best to help and support me. Thank you so much.
S-- T--"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finally I hear him snoring...

"I learned a long time ago that minor surgery is when they do the operation on someone else, not you." -Bill Walton

I've been eager for these days of vacation from school, but today in the pre-op room, reality finally struck. This was going to be no picnic. Today Rob had surgery on his nose to correct his deviated septum and remove excess polyps...aka to help him breathe correctly.

I was a little bit nervous, afraid I was going to cry when they wheeled him away to surgery. Sometimes I'm just too sappy for my own good. This was just day surgery after all. Rob, too, was a little bit nervous. But, mostly he was just hungry. He couldn't eat or drink ANYTHING for the last 12 hours.

As soon as they took him away, I hurried downstairs to the food court to fill my own belly. And, then I sat in the waiting room. And, sat. And, sat. They messed my name up every time they called it over the loudspeaker. Each time, I cautiously crept towards the desk... "did you mean me?"

Finally the doctor called the lobby to tell me it would be about an hour more. However, he meant an hour until I could see my husband. He didn't mention the two hours we would spend in the recovery room, with a dumb nurse, an obnoxious conversation behind the next curtain, and another patient who seemed to be coughing up a lung. From Rob's last surgery, I most remember his flirtatious and boisterous nature in the recovery room... this time he was just ornery, and getting crabbier by the minute.

By the time they finally pushed his wheelchair to the car it was 6:00. We had a thirty minute drive back home and arrived at the Target pharmacy just moments before it closed. When the pharmacist replied, "Don't go far. We close at 7." I replied, "I'm running out to the car to change his bandages, but don't worry, I don't want to be here any longer than I have to."

We got Rob settled in the bed upstairs (his choice, and I wasn't going to argue), propped up on old pillows (he refused to dirty the new ones), wearing fleece pj pants, two shirts and a load of blankets (he was cold), gave him a couple of slices of bread (his first food of the day), popped a pain pill (he's too manly to ask for two), and waited for sleep to come.

Finally I hear him snoring...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Week in the Life...

"Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us."
-Oscar Wilde

Inspired by Ali Edwards' "Week in the Life" project, my mom invited me to join her last week in documenting my week with words and pictures. The ultimate goal is to create a scrapbook/mini-book to remember the daily grind. However, who knows when that will actually happen, so here's my week in review. I've also written a daily journal as a Google document to remind me of the details of each day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"
-Dr. Seuss

Our hike through the woods left me with the desire to create. The school year kind of zaps that kind of energy out of my reach. And, sure enough, by the time we got back to Georgia, it was school, school, school again.

But I was able to capture some images that I'll be able to save for later. When the creative mood strikes again. Maybe you'll be inspired as well...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Familiar faces...

"A man finds room in the few square inches of his face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see traces of the beautiful people who created me. And, the Faces feature of iPhoto agrees sometimes.

Even I looked at this photo and thought, I look like my mama.
And, my dad's eyes seem to stare back at me from this photo.You may not see the resemblance, but I'm sure glad that I do.

Friday, October 22, 2010

So I'm a week behind... big whoop...

"Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today's world it has become a necessity."
-Author Unknown

Thursday night late week: I was packing for a trip which I knew little about. All I had been told was to pack walking/hiking shoes, and that the temperature would range from 40-70 degrees. Despite the fact I was in the dark about where we were going and what we were doing, Rob kept asking me if he had packed the right clothes. Considering he packed four jackets, four shirts and three pairs of pants for a weekend away, I kept telling him that he probably had his bases covered.

Friday night last week: The secret destination was plugged into the gps. Given the direction we were headed and the estimated time of arrival, I was able to decipher the clues to learn we were headed to Chattanooga.

Saturday morning last week: We woke up early and headed back into Georgia to Cloudland Canyon State Park, the last hike to join Canyon Climbers Club. The park is in a drought so the waterfalls were measly, but it was quite a hike, or should I say "climb."Saturday afternoon last week: After billboards directed us to Rock City and Ruby Falls the whole way to Chattanooga, we decided to give Ruby Falls a try. While the cave tour was less than impressive, the glorious waterfall at the end made it worth it.Saturday evening last week: The one thing I asked for while in Chattanooga was a barbecue dinner. You just can't go there without relishing in a little Sticky Fingers. We felt pretty hip, hanging out downtown after dark. And even treated ourselves to some Ben & Jerry's.

Sunday morning last week:
Although we had plans of hitting the corn maze, we ended up at the riverfront park instead. What a cool place! We spent the whole day walking around, admiring the greenscapes, the riverboats, and the second longest pedestrian-only bridge in the nation. And, it made a great location for a photoshoot. I'm always willing to be the model, just as long as Rob's always willing to be the photographer!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Evolution of A Bedroom, part 2...

"O bed! O bed! delicious bed!
That heaven upon earth to the weary head."
-Thomas Hood

When we moved in to our house...
When we started decorating...When we brought my grandparents' dresser...
When outfitted in the summer linens...When we splurged on a new Tempurpedic mattress last weekend...
When we had our new bedroom furniture delivered...Coming soon... when the rest of the furniture is no longer on back-order... expected late November!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

File Folder games

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

As daughter of a preschool teacher, I've colored and cut out my fair share of file folder games. As we are being encouraged to organize our class in the centers-model, as well as to differentiate our lessons to reach learners with multiple intelligences, I got the bright idea to adapt pre-algebra concepts to the file folder game.

I liked this idea. It's creative. It's hand-on. It's kind of "graphic-designy." However, I've learned some things that I will definitely do differently next time.

  1. Don't make lots of multiples of the exact same game. And, all in one day! However, this time I was glad that I did because I was able to teach the expectations for file folder games in a whole-group setting. Next time, I'll just make one or two for a single concept, so that a small group can work with in during a centers station.
  2. Don't cut out the pictures that get attached to the file folder. This time I taped down each and every question to the file folder. 10 times 6 sets times 2 different games means lots of tape and lots of time. I should have just printed them on an 8.5x11 page layout that could get taped down once!
  3. Don't print in black and white. Although I used some cute graphics, I didn't think about using color to spice it up even more. It will look a lot more fun if it's colorful and has another fun theme.
  4. Buy stock in VELCRO. I went through two packages of this stuff. I just probably just buy it in bulk!

In a heartbeat...

"No man should escape our universities without knowing how little he knows." -J. Robert Oppenheimer

Every Sunday for the last six weeks (minus one in the middle when it was raining) Rob and I have trekked down to Tech to watch Rob's old residents play their last season of intramurals flag football. We've been cheering on this team for four years, and we've watched them become pretty darn good. They even made us shirts to match the team's--(the name on Rob's back is "Coach"). Feeling guilty about missing their last game, Rob ran down to watch the second half of their final playoff game. Boys... it's been a great 4 seasons!

Now for the ooshy, gooshy stuff...
Walking around campus each week makes me long to be back in college. I stayed up late and got up early, but I really didn't know tired yet. It was the most social time of my life. There was always someone around to hang out with, talk with, study with. I didn't worry about things like paying bills or making dinner. I went to class and even held a part-time job, but everything just fell into place.
I used to think it was weird when people would say they'd love to go back to high school. But, now I understand... I'd do college over again in a heartbeat.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Our journey continues...

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” -Ursula K. LeGuin

In keeping with tradition (here and here), I wanted to give Rob something leather to celebrate our third anniversary. I found this great leather-bound national park atlas from Orvis and had it monogrammed for him. To personalize the book to represent us, I recreated national park stamps to match the places we've been together. I used PhotoShop and rscottjones' photostream to copy and paste the correct dates to the stamp image. Then I printed them and stapled them to the appropriate pages of the atlas. We haven't been collectors of national park stamps thus far, but I imagine we will be from now on.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I love how...

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday was our third wedding anniversary. I can't believe we
've been official that long. And together for 8 years...crazy!I love how predictable my husband is. And how non-pretentious. Yesterday morning I couldn't wait to jump out of the shower and run to the kitchen table, knowing exactly what I would find. Three glass bottles of Coca-Cola and three bags of Reese's Pieces... I mean, it is our third anniversary!!

I love how resourceful my husband is. And creative, in his own way. When he couldn't find a vase (they were "hidden" in the cabinet!), he opted to place the bouquet of sunflowers (again, three of them) on the table in our blender. The only thing heavy enough to support the long stems.

I love how flexible my husband is. I had to attend a seminar on classroom management at the county office from 5:15-9:00 last night. We were on our own for dinner, and it was basically bedtime when I got home. Guess that's to be expected though... he left for three weeks of training in South Carolina the day after our wedding.

I love how sneaky my husband is. Apparently he's planning a surprise for next weekend. He's been searching on Hotwire for something. I know there are secret emails in his inbox, but so far I've been able to keep myself from peeking.

I love how wonderful my husband is. And how wonderful we are together. Three year later and stronger than ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthdays and babies...

"Who is getting more pleasure from the rocking, baby or me?" -Nancy Thayer

We spent the weekend in South Carolina, surprising Rob's mom for her 50th birthday. She didn't know we were coming, and we were able to decorate the house before she came home from her birthday getaway.
Streamers, balloons, posters, photos and even two cakes... we had it all. But just so you know... "next time we try to surprise her... she prefers chocolate cake with white icing." :)
But despite that, we got to spend the weekend with this little guy. He's nine months old and has the sweetest disposition.
I like the feel of a sleepy baby in my arms. And a wiggly baby in my lap. And squeezing those chunky legs. And watching Rob hold and play with him. I already miss that baby.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"Our faith in the present dies out long before our faith in the future."
-Ruth Benedict

Yesterday... after a bummer of a day where nothing seemed to go right, I had a visit from two of my students from last year. I know that you're not supposed to pick favorites, but one of these girls I felt a special connection to. She wasn't the most diligent student... in fact, she had to go to summer school for the first semester. But she kicked it into gear second semester, and she came back to tell me that she currently has an A in 9th grade math (a class which kicks many students' butts!). I'm so proud of her!

Today... I'm feeling like a really naive teacher, thinking that when you teach a concept for two weeks the students should actually learn it. I'm also feeling like I've spent all week running behind the bus, trying to catch up. Deadlines are upon me. The stack of papers to grade is growing. Meetings are scheduled. I haven't even started to think about my certification assignments. Aaahhh!!

Tomorrow... is Friday! Thank goodness for short weeks! I tutor Saturday morning, and of course have to plan lessons for the week. But, I'm also looking forward to football games, dinners out, and maybe even a bike ride! And, sleeping in... oh the joy!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Shoot for the moon...

"If we can send a man to the moon, then why don't we send a woman?"
-Kylie Bax

At the MoonPie General Store in Charleston, SC. Maybe the best store we see on this vacation.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hooked on wheels...

"It never gets easier, you just go faster."
-Greg LeMond

We may not have cable television, but we have found our new favorite station. Believe it or not, our eyes have been glued to Universal Sports lately. Saturday was the start of the Vuelta a EspaƱa, the last of the three Grand Tours of cycling. And, we've been hooked. Obviously Rob, but me, too. I'm a sucker for odd sports like this. We almost stayed up really late to watch the end of the stage. Tonight they were nice enough to start the coverage earlier. They are currently flying down the mountain. It's amazing!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sacred places...

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”
-Joseph Campbell

Image by Gerard DuBois published in Time magazine, August 30, 2010.

Every morning I read a couple articles from Time magazine, hoping to get through the whole issue before the next one arrives on Friday. This is my connection to the outside world. I don't read the paper, I rarely even have time to scan the headlines at

As with many magazines I always look forward to the last article, the one in the awkward spot, neighboring the back cover. It's often a witty piece with a slightly different perspective than the rest of the magazine. Last week's Time concluded with an essay from Nancy Gibbs (whose work I sometimes grimace through...a couple of weeks ago she wrote how her family dog had helped raise her girls...gag me...) explored the idea of sacred spaces. See it here.

The essay was written in response to the NYC mosque controversy, an issue which I've been somewhat following. I find the issue interesting because I can't decide on which side I stand. It does seem a little insensitive to the victims' families, and yet I wholeheartedly believe in religious freedom and am against persecution in all aspects.

But I think Nancy Gibbs' article is particularly interesting because it asks the question, does a place become less sacred when someone else of differing or opposing views also recognizes it as sacred?

The article also made me stop and think about what places I consider sacred. And, in true Listography fashion (Callie, I'm loving my birthday gift!), here's my list:

  • The sanctuary at my home church, Noel UMC in Shreveport
  • The altar at Epworth UMC in Atlanta
  • My bedroom in my childhood house
  • My father's grave
  • My grandparents' house
  • Bobby Dodd stadium at Georgia Tech
  • Basil Garden at the Georgia Tech Alumni House, where Rob and I were married
  • Little Mulberry Park
  • Rialto Beach, Washington
  • the top of Bell Rock in Sedona, AZ
  • Each of the houses I've helped repair on mission trips
  • the Statue of Liberty
  • Vietnam Memorial in D.C.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I refuse...

“No matter how discouraged we get, God has not asked us to do the impossible.”
-George Grace

I refuse to do any school work tonight. I refuse!

I gave my first test today. I put up with 20 accelerated kids arguing that they weren't ready for their test. (Yet when asked what they did to study, they said nothing.) I sat through another awful math meeting.

The one thing that I dislike about seventh grade is our math meetings. It's brutal. The people are so negative and so inflexible. They argue with the administration's suggestions. They take everything personally, and by the time our hour-long meeting was over, you could cut the tension with a knife. These were teachers who I once admired, but now I'm having a hard time even respecting them.
I feel like I'm going to explode, sitting there listening to them. (I've been known to do such in similar situations...) I'm not sure I can work in such circumstances.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday Night Fever...

"Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing from something."
-Wilson Mizner

Dave and Busters... the only place in the world that adults go bonkers over tickets. Felt kind of silly throwing our money into these arcade machines. Come on, I know this is going to be the one!!! But we had fun out on the town with B and K. And, of course, we were sure to trade in our 1257 tickets for a singing football and an acrylic juice glass. Well earned, I might say.

You might also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...