Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

Sitting here tonight reflecting on 2011 I am content.  I haven't been able to use that word a lot, but lately I have really been making the effort to be content in the moment.  We are not out living it up tonight, instead are spending a quiet evening at home together.  I could give a lot of excuses for why we aren't out ringing in the new year, but the true reason is that it just isn't our style.

I'm excited about 2012!  It has taken us a lot to get to this point, but we are finally almost at the place we have been trying to be: settled.  Just one more semester and then hubby will graduate with his master's and his teaching license!  Hopefully, just one more semester and we will be living and working in the same area again!  There is light at the end of this tunnel of hard work and sacrifice.

While I am excited about 2012, 2011 wasn't all that shabby.  We got to do a lot of traveling and spending time together as a family.  We have been to Dallas, Chicago, Savannah/Tybee Island, and just got home today from a week at Disney World.  We have been to lots of Razorback sporting events and other sights around Arkansas.  We really have experienced a lot over this past year in spite of work and school commitments.

I have truly been more blessed than I have any right to be so I am enjoying the calm pace of this New Year's Eve and am enjoying reflecting on this past and am looking forward with anticipation with what 2012 holds for our family!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bittersweet Blessing

This past month has been very busy with a lot of changes.  The huge blessing in our lives was that hubby got a job.  Well, he already had a job, but he got a real teaching job that almost doubles his salary.  Wow!  Talk about an answer to our prayers.  Starting in January, he has to start his internship so that he can graduate with his Master's in May.  We had been praying over what we were going to do next semester.  He couldn't keep his current job as an instructional assistant because he had to be in the classroom.  We had resigned ourselves to the fact that he would have to do his internship during the day and get a night/weekend job.  We had come to peace with that after he was unable to find a teaching job.  It is very hard to get a school to hire you before you have completed your degree and have a standard license.

First and foremost, we consider this a blessing, but it does come at a price.  What price?  The new teaching job is 2 1/2 hours from my job.  I am staying in NWA and hubby has gone back to Central Arkansas to work at this small charter school.  This job came out of nowhere and so we saw it as a sign from God that this is what we should be doing now.  Hopefully, next year he can find a job back up here with me.  We are apart during the week, but we spend every weekend together.  We had Thanksgiving break together and will have Christmas together, too.

We know we can make this work, but would appreciate prayers that these next few months will go smoothly.  I am constantly giving thanks for the lessons that will be learned from this experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Still Here

I know you all must be thinking that I have fallen off the face of the planet, but I'm still here.  There have been some major changes in our lives over the past several weeks.  I hope to have several posts soon letting you in on everything that's been happening.  Tomorrow is my final class of the semester and I am so excited to have a few weeks from having to worry about class.  Welcome to the Christmas season!

I hope you all are enjoying this special season with your loved ones!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On the To-Do List

Sometimes I get into a rut and can't really find anything new I want to make for dinner.  Sometimes I just want to try new things.  We don't always eat super healthy, but for the most part I feel it's healthier to cook at home than to grab take-out or eat out.  It's also a heck of a lot cheaper.  I have been inspired lately by all the meal plans I have been seeing on blogs.  While I haven't made it to the monthly meal planning stage yet, I have found a few things I can't wait to try.

I have found several new things I want to try over on Mindee's blog at Our Front Door.

One thing I want to try is this Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon. I know hubby will love; it has lots of cheese and meat candy (aka bacon).

Photo from Our Front Door

Another of Mindee's recipes that I can't wait to try is Pumpkin Crunch.  This just looks and sounds like it will be so delicious.  It's there perfect side dish or dessert for this time of year.  I am really getting on a pumpkin kick and know this will be perfect for Thanksgiving, although I doubt I can wait that long to try it.

Photo from Our Front Door

These Circle Fries are on my list as a substitute for French Fries.  That are baked, not fried, so I can feel a little less guilty about eating them.

Photo from Our Front Door

The other day I was reading Kelly's Corner and she posted about making this fabulous Chocolate Cookie Dough Dip.  She found this recipe at What Megan's Making.  I can't wait to make this during the upcoming Holiday season.  I hope that it is a big hit.

Photo from What Megan's Making
I am excited about trying out these recipes!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Race For the Cure in Pictures

This past weekend I participated in the Arkansas Race For the Cure for the third time.  This is something that I always enjoy doing.  I also really believe in the cause.  Breast cancer strikes so many, but seeing all the hope and perseverance is really inspiring.   For the second year in a row mom and I walked together.

It was a beautiful fall day and we were ready to go!

Start of the race

We were there with about 47,000 other people who came out to support the cause.

The crowd

There were lots of interesting sight along the route, including this pink firetruck,

Pink fire truck

These cyclists,


And these dancers.

Belly Dancers

There were local TV and radio personalities cheering everyone on.


Dogs even got into the spirit, too.


Local firemen provided entertainment to get us through to the end.


This pink taxi was quite interesting,

Pink taxi

But not as interesting as this guy!

Pink guy

After more than three miles and countless interesting sights and sounds, we made it to the finish line!

Finish line

We made it

Can't wait until next year!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wishing Away Time

I'm doing it again.  I'm wishing away weeks and months of my life.  I don't know why I torture myself like this.  Oh wait!  I know why; I do it because I have so much to look forward to.  We have two exciting trips coming up and I just get so excited about traveling.  Traveling is nourishment for my soul and for my brain.  Traveling is a way for us to get away from the routine of our everyday lives.  We can reconnect and talk about things other than work.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job and my students, but I also enjoy spending time with my family and learning.  You see, we don't just travel or go on vacation to relax.  We like to go and do new things.  We like to learn about the places we are.  We like to experience the culture of the area.

We choose to spend our money on traveling.  We don't have a fancy house or a new car, but we get out and about quite frequently.  In November, we are going to Chicago for Thanksgiving.  We get to visit and spend the holiday with our extended family that we only see once or twice a year.  We know we will be seeing Fiddler on the Roof, which is one of hubby's favorites.  We will also probably go to the zoo and a museum or two.  Hopefully, we can also catch up with some friends that we haven't seen in a while.

In December, we will be spending Christmas at Disney World.  While this will be a lot of fun, we also make a point to go on tours to learn about the workings of the park.  This year we will be learning about Animal Kingdom and some of the animals that call it home.

While I can't wait for these trips to get here, I also know that I need to slow down and enjoy this fall.  There is a lot going on and I need to take time to enjoy it.  My studnets need me and I need to be my best for them so I'll try to stop wishing away time because I know with how busy things are it will fly by.

Monday, September 26, 2011

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore

This past Saturday Mom, hubby, and I went and saw the week's number 1 movie.  We saw The Lion King.  I love that movie so much.  It has all the elemens that make for a good movie in my opinion.  I laughed, I cried, and I got the chills all in a span of 89 minutes.  It also has great music and a message of loyalty, love, and family.  This movie makes me so nostalgic.  I first saw it when it was released 17 years ago.  I was almost grown then, but still in high.  I was at the end of my childhood and looking forward to the future.  Now, I am far removed from my childhood and sometimes wish I could go back to that simpler time.  I've seen this movie multiple times since, have seen the Broadway play, and mini-productions of it at Disney World, but nothing brings back the memories like sitting in a movie theater with popcorn.  There are very few movies that have that same effect on my today.  I don't know if it's the quality of movies has gone down or the fact that I have grown up and see things through different eyes.

In other weekend happenings, I watched my beloved Hogs lose to Alabama.  I saw lots of negative feedback on Facebook, which makes me sad.  If we had won these same people would have been singing the team's praises.  The truth is that Alabama was a better team than us on Saturday for a variety of reasons and I love my team just the same.   

We were also busy scheduling a weekend trip to Branson at the end of October and our annual Thanksgiving trip to Chicago.  We have a lot of fun and exciting things coming up this fall including much more Razorback football.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Glowing and Growing

In education, when providing feedback we often use Glows and Grows.  Glows are things that are good and Grows are things you want to improve on.  Well, I am going to give a couple Glows and a Grow about this past week.


Razorback Football is finally here!   I love the whole atmosphere of the football games.  We took a family picture, which I think turned out pretty good.  Then, we headed to the stadium and got there in plenty of time to enjoy all the pre-game festivities including our mascot, Tusk, arriving, the band forming the "A" on the field, and the players running through the "A" before kick-off.  There were tons of people there (The Razorbacks truly are our pro team!) and we won 51-7!  Can't wait until the next game!

Gameday Family

Football time


A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway on The Glamorous Life of a Housewife.  And I actually won!  I won this beautiful set of measuring cups from Anthropologie.  They are too pretty to use, but I love them so.  Right now they are just sitting on my counter so I can admire them whenever I am in the kitchen.  Thanks Whitney!

Anthropologie measuring cups


I am currently taking a class on Educational Research.  This class is killing me.  I feel like I am studying a foreign language.  I don't know the terminology or have the smallest clue about what most of it means. The sad thing is, I have taken basically the same class before.  Granted, it was nine years ago, but still, it is seriously like I have never heard any of this stuff before.  Research is definitely not like riding a bike.  You don't just get back on and remember how to do it or read it.  I know I will understand this stuff; I just hope it's sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

That Was Embarrassing

Little, potentially embarrassing things seem to happen to me quite often like tripping over my own feet, slipping on wet floors, and the like.  Thankfully, this seems to happen most of the time when either no one is around or I am surrounded by complete strangers.  Hopefully, these strangers just have a quick laugh to themselves and move on with their own busy lives.

Yesterday an embarrassing thing happened.  But, it happened when I was in a room of 4th and 5th grade boys.  They were sitting at this table in my classroom.


I had given them something to work on.  I was going to sit in the chair with the wheels to be able to help them.  I tried to sit down and apparently sat too close to the edge of the chair.  Instead of letting me sit down, the chair rolled right out from under me at warp speed and stopped only when it hit the wall.  I fell smack dab on my rear end.  To make matters worse, I was wearing a skirt.  I did manage to land fairly lady-like and therefore avoided showing anything inappropriate for young boys to see.  One of them was even sweet enough to ask if I was ok.  I was so embarrassed and slightly sore from hitting a concrete floor.

Slightly embarrassing moment #2 of the week happened today.  I was dressed and walked down to the car.  As I was getting things in the car, my pants reached their breaking point.  They were a little thread-bare and decided they were done.  The thread-bare spot turned into a huge hole.  So I had to run back upstairs and change.  The only person I caught a peek of was a random guy that lives in our building.  Hopefully, he didn't notice.  At least this happened before I got to work.

Maybe I can avoid any further embarrassing incidents this week!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Doing My Best

You know sometimes you try and you try, but your best just doesn't seem good enough.  I've kinda felt like that these past couple of days.  Work has been a little tough, but I just keep telling myself it's because it's the beginning of the year.  Once everything settles down, it will get better and we all will get in a little bit of a routine.  I won't go into all the details, but I will keep telling myself to just keep doing the best that I can.  I will in no way be able to keep everyone around me 100% happy, but I will keep trying.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been going to exercise in the afternoons after school.  Today I didn't do that.  I was feeling tired and run down so I came home and took a nap instead.  I haven't given up on exercising and hope to go tomorrow.  I'm just going to keep doing the best that I can.

I have been trying to make a better effort with meal planning.  I hate having to figure out what we are gong to do for any particular meal on the spot so I have been making an effort to plan ahead.  This saves me from getting stressed out and making grocery store runs at the last minute (or worse, going through the drive-through).  I am cooking at home more which gives us leftovers for lunch.  Granted, I'm not doing fancy meals, but rather stuff that is quick and easy.  I'm doing my best and it seems to be getting the job done for now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Things I Love Right Now

This past week I have found three things I love. I find things I really like all the time, but I just wanted to get a few of them down so that when I look back over this blog in the future I can reminisce about what I enjoyed in August of 2011.

1. Aqua-aerobics

Source: Google Images

I have really been trying to make an effort to get in more exercise. I know that I need to get into better shape so when the time comes for us to start a family I won't have that going against me. I have tried all kinds of exercise, but this is one I truly enjoy. We bought bikes last spring and while I do love riding my bike with my hubby, the weather isn't always cooperative. Now I can do a combination of both, but always have something I can do no matter what the weather is.

2. The Help

Source: Google Images

We went and saw this movie last weekend and can I just say I loved it. There is a group from my school going this weekend and I am debating about seeing it again in the theater. I know we will buy the Blu-Ray when it comes out. While the movie can in no way compare to the book, it is still amazing. I think there was perfect casting in it. What an inspiration!

3. The Last Lecture

Source: Google Images
 I have had this book for a while, but have kept putting off reading it.  This book is so inspiration and to the point.  We need to enjoy and appreciate what we have.  I don't mark in book very often, besides textbooks, but I have highlghted things in the book that I want to be sure to remember and to take to heart.  Randy Pausch worked on this book while he was dying from pancreatic cancer.  However, the tone of this book isn't about dying, it's about living life to its fullest.  I know that is something I need to do better at and this book has motivated me to do so.

On a completely unrelated note, I start class tonight and it's on reasearch.  Not my favorite subject by far, but I will make the best of it and hopefully come to appreciate the necessity of reasearch, too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back in the Groove

Today was officially the 4th day of school. We teachers, however, worked 5 day previous to that. Hubby and I are trying to get back in thee routine of life after the less-scheduled, less-hectic days of summer. We are working to become more active in our church in Northwest Arkansas and are exploring/praying about becoming members there. We don't want to be just bodies in the pews on Sunday morning, but want to know those that we worship with and give back. We also want our children to grow up with a loving church family.

Besides church we are getting in the routine of exercising 3-4 days a week. We have been going to the HPER Center at the University. There are amazing facilities there and it's free for me and only $18 a semester for hubby. The group exercise classes start tonight and I am excited to try Aqua-Aerobics. Let's just hope I don't fall off the wagon, so to speak. I really do want to get in better shape. I really feel better when I exercise regularly. I am hoping that motivation doesn't become a problem as the days get shorter!

Night classes are also getting ready to start up. Hubby and I each have to go one night a week. But, we are both almost done. Next semester we don't have actual classes to go to. We will be doing our internships. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially for hubby. I know he is ready to be finished and to get a classroom of his own. It will be exciting to see what all God has in store for us!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul

After a long summer of not really being able to say that phrase, I now whole-heartedly believe it. Don't get me wrong, it has been a great summer and I have enjoyed my time off of work, but in the back of my mind there was always worry nestled there. This worry would peek his head out and I would let it bring me down.

Not anymore! I have made the conscious decision to work on the worry and not let it take a front seat in my life. This summer, we have a a series of messages in church about joy; finding your joy, not let anxiousness and worry steal your joy, etc. I have really taken these messages to heart and am working on not losing my joy.

Is life perfect? No, but as I look at my life I am realizing I have much to be thankful and joyous about. I let the worry of hubby finding a teaching job control me. That may not be a reality for us this year, but will be much more possible after he graduates next year. I have faith that we will be taken care of and will survive with him keeping the same job we had last year. I am not going to the worry and anxiousness about job situations (finances) keep me from being happy. We survived before with this job and we can do it again. God is not going to put us in a situation that we can't handle. I keep thinking of the Lord's Prayer and the phrase, "thy will be done." This is my mantra and it is bringing me peace. This peace is making it all well with my soul.

Monday, July 4, 2011

It Was All About Food and Family

Thursday afternoon we left for our big summer vacation. The first part of our trip was to go to the Chicago area for a big family picnic on Saturday. That night we made it up to St. Louis just in time for dinner. We ate at a neat place called Fitz's Grill and Bottleworks. They have really good burgers, root beer, and cream soda. The root beer and cream soda are made on the premesis. It you get there earlier in the day than we did you can actually see the bottling process in action.

Fitz's Grill and Bottleworks

This restaurant is in a really neat part of town near George Washington University.

Toasted Ravioli

This is our toasted ravioli appetizer.

Pepper Jack Burger

I had this really yummy Pepper Jack Burger. Those onion tanglers on the top were amazing.

Bottler's Burger

Mom has their classic Bottler's Burger.

BBQ Burger

Mike got this BBQ Burgers with onion rings.

After dinner, we headed to our hotel so we could get up the next morning and head on toward Chicago. We stopped for lunch in Springfield, Illinois at Cozy Dog. This restaurant along historic Route 66 is known as the home of the corn dogs. I don't know for sure about all the history, but I do know I sure enjoy eating Cozy Dogs. We make a point to stop here anytime we are in the area.

Cozy Dog Sign

Cozy Dog

Cozy Dog food

This was the lunch we all shared. Yum!

Enjoying Cozy Dog

Mike and I really enjoyed it. I even had to wear a bib to prevent mustard spillage.

After enjoying lunch, we headed the rest of the way to Chicago. That night we had a nice dinner and visit with some extended family, including my Uncle Floy. He was hosting the picnic the next day, which would also serve as a memorial to my aunt, who passed away a couple months ago. Uncle Floy is my grandfather's brother. Every time I see him it's like stepping back in time and being around my granddad again. At the picnic we got to spend time with a lot of our extended family, which is always nice. Hubby's brother, Matt, who lives in Chicago, also came to the picnic. Saturday was all about spending time with family.

Uncle Floy

Mom and I with Uncle Floy.

The Brothers

The two brothers enjoying some time together.

The 3 of us + Matt

After family time, we enjoyed one last meal in the Chicago area at Al's Beef and then went to see Cars 2.

Al's Beef

Out dinner of Italian Beef sandwiches and BBQ fries.

The next day we woke up early and headed out for the next part of our vacation.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today Is the Day

We are leaving on vacation. I can't wait! I love to travel and we began to plan this trip back in February. This trip is going to mean many hours in the car, but it will all be worth it. We are heading out this afternoon and will be spending the night in St. Louis. In the morning, we will head to Chicago for a couple of days. My extended family has a tradition of having a picnic around the 4th of July at my great-uncle's house. So we will be spending Saturday catching up with family that we see once or twice a year. Hubby's brother, who lives in Chicago, will be joining us for this. This will be our last time to see him for a while since he is getting ready to move.

Sunday morning we are heading out bright and early for our final destination, Tybee Island, Georgia, which is near Savannah. We will be spending the next week in this small little beach town. I hope that we have a nice relaxing week and also get some together time. I hope to blog a little along the way, but if not I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th of July! I love travelling, so let the adventure begin. I will leave you with a couple of images of my scenery next week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Can Choose My Own Attitude

I know I haven't blogged a lot recently, but my summer has been full of not much to blog about. I am thoroughly enjoying myself, just haven't done a lot that is worthy of writing about.

I mentioned not long ago that the church where hubby and I got married and where we attend when we are in Central Arkansas, got a new pastor. Sunday was his first service and I have to admit, I really was moved by his message. He wasn't trying to replace the old pastor, he was just being himself and his sermon could not have been more timely, both for me personally and for the church as a whole.

The title was "Some Truths About Change." If I'm being honest, I don't do well with change; it's a big stressor for me. However, I do realize that things are always changing and I am working on trying to be more accepting of it and even welcoming to it. People's lives are always in flux and there are times when we are begging for change, whether it be jobs, housing, having kids, relationships, etc. I realize I'm pretty good with change that I want, it's those unexpected changes that throw me for a loop.

I also know that I am not very patient. When I want something to happen, I want it to happen immediately. Like with hubby's job situation. I want to him to get a teaching position and I want to know about it now. This attitude reminds me of a child and their need for instant gratification. That kind of attitude really isn't appropriate for an adult like me. I know everything will work out in God's time, not mine. This change will occur when it is supposed to, not necessarily when I want it to. I meed to quit avoiding the change I don't want as well as trying to rush the changes I do want.

Back to the sermon, one of the biggest ideas I got was that I can choose MY attitude. Rick Warren has the following idea about change:
There is no growth without change.
There is no change without loss.
There is no loss without grief.
There can be grief without despair.

I will not despair about change or the lack of it. I will choose my attitude!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is my new mantra. I choose to be joyful! I choose to be prayerful! I choose to be thankful! There is one thing I know will never change and that is God and His love for me. Thanks Brother Kevin for this most timely reminder.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Just the Way It Is

It seems that now I am out of school and have more time on my hands I have nothing to blog about. Life has slowed down dramatically for me and I love it. Hubby, on the other hand, has been doing school work like crazy. He is taking two classes and has to work about 8 hours each day to stay on top of all the reading, assignments, and tests he has to do. I do not envy him!!

I have spent this week reading, talking, relaxing, swimming (a little), and just taking life easy. I have been cleaning and doing some laundry, too. I have been exercising once and even sometimes twice a day. Yesterday, I was a cooking fool! But, now I don't have to cook for a few days. I had forgotten how much I enjoy cooking when I have time and a real kitchen that actually has room to work in.

Next week, I have to go back to NWA for a few days to go to a Literacy Symposium. I am kinda excited about that because I really enjoyed it last year. I'll get to see some of my friends and hopefully learn a little, too. It falls over our anniversary so hubby and I will go out for a nice dinner.

The only other thing going on right now is we are desperately trying to get hubby a teaching job. He can keep the same job he had last year a my school, but a teaching job would be such a blessing to us, financially and professionally for him. The bad side of this is the potential that we would have to live apart during the week. But, that is a step we are willing to take to get his teaching career jumpstarted. We have spent time in prayer over this and know that God will lead us to the path He wants us to take.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye... a hard thing to do. It seems I am having to do it a lot lately. First, there are some teachers leaving our school. They are moving in different directions and won't have their smiling faces at school next year. I know we will still stay in contact through Facebook and they will make the occasional visit to school, but it won't be the same. I have made some good friends in my time and school and seeing them leave is sad. At the end of every year I worry about who won't be returning. Instead I should enjoy the time we do get to share.

Second, the pastor at our church in Greenbrier is retiring. He has been here for 9 years. He was a welcoming face and a super encourager. But, most importantly to me, he was the one that joined hubby and I in holy matrimony. We attended pre-marital counseling sessions with him and really forged a bond. It was comforting knowing that he was there and always wished the best for us. Again, I know we will still have contact with him and his wife. They are actually moving closer to us in Northwest Arkansas. However, it will be difficult to know that he won't be leading the church anymore. That church has meant so much to me. I was baptized there and married there, but now it will just be a little different.

I know that change is part of life and life will continue to go on despite the changes. It just seem that there is so much change going on around me, but I'm not really changing. I have never been good at change. It always seems to take me a while to accept it and adjust to it. I am working on being more flexible and to bend with the changes and not break in change. I know that with a little effort I can still maintain the relationships with the people I have had to say goodbye to. I want to view it as saying goodbye to the circumstances, but not to the people.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer To-Do List

Well, summer vacation is finally here and I couldn't even sleep in. I guess that is what happens when you get up at the same time for 9 months straight. We only have about 8 weeks off this year thanks to the 10 snow days we had. I am going to enjoy this time off and get a few things accomplished. I am listing some things I want to get done on here to hold myself accountable.

1. Help mom get the yard cleaned up. We will need hubby's help for this because he can manage the chainsaw.

2. Get our pool swimmable again. We have a lot of iron in our water, which when mixed with chlorine turned the water brown. Yuck!

3. Do some heavy-duty summer cleaning in our house. This doesn't get done in spring, so I want to do in the summer.

4. Read my Bible faithfully every day. I want to become closer to God and really listen to the direction he wants us to head in.

5. Exercise!!! The end. I have gotten out of this habit, but my body and mind need me to get back in.

6. Read at least 5 books. I love to read and need to make time to do it. It's my great escape!!

7. Do my book study for work. We have a flex-day during the year, where if we already have acquired 6-hours of pre-approved professional development we get the day off of work. I chose to read a book and summarize it and the implications it has for my teaching. The books sounds really interesting so I will have to get in the school mode and make myself get it done. This does not count toward the five books I want to read.

8. Tend to my garden. We have planted a small garden and a small salsa garden. I hope we get some yummy vegetables from it. We have cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini squash, eggplant, beans, and some other things. Can't wait until we can actually eat some of these.

I'm sure there are plenty of other things to get accomplished, but this list is a start. I have until about August 10 to get this list accomplished. Let's see how I do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost There

Tomorrow starts summer vacation. I am so excited to have a few weeks off to rest, relax, and regroup. The students' last day was yesterday and today we go back for a couple of hours of inservice and to close down our classrooms. We will be spending most of the break down in Central Arkansas. Hubby is taking two summer classes the first term and then will have a little break, too. We will also have about a 10-day vacation thrown in there.

These past several weeks have been such a whirlwind. The end of school is crazy for anybody, but particularly so for a special education teacher. In my district, we have to have a conference with every student's family to discuss their progress over the past year and to make a plan for the upcoming year between Spring Break and the end of the year. Throw in the state testing, the testing for students that are English Language Learners, and testing the incoming kindergartners that may need special education services and that makes us very busy people. But, that is all done! Hubby and I also made it through our graduate classes for the semester with 2 A's each!

I'm looking forward to spending hours in the pool, reading some books, and catching up with friends. I hope everyone has a peaceful summer!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Great News

I know some of you will remember my friend Jenny that I wrote about here and here.  Her family has been on an adoption journey for a little girl from Ethiopia.  They have worked long and hard to jump through all the hoops and raise all the money necessary.

I have some exciting news for you:  She is in Ethiopia right now picking up her daughter, Joleigh!  That is some fabulous news!  I am so happy for her and her entire family.  Please continue to pray for their safe arrival back home later this week and that there will be immediate bonding for Joleigh and her brothers and sister that are waiting for her at home.  Here are some pictures that Jenny has taken of the newest addition to the family.

What a lucky girl that Joleigh Bereket is!  Welcome to your family.  May you be blessed like you have blessed them!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Question Friday

It's been a little while since I have participated in Five Question Friday, but I'm working on getting back on track with my blogging.

1. What is your favorite sign of spring?  I love when the temperatures start to warm up.  To me, that is a sign that winter is leaving us.  However, my favorite sign of spring has to be when I start seeing the daffodils blooming.  They can be pretty much anywhere: in flowerbeds, along driveways, wild ones in the middle of yards, along the side of the road, even whole fields full of them.  The daffodils are a sure sign that spring is on the way in Arkansas.

2. What was your best birthday ever?  I always have great birthdays.  My birthdays are in early May so there is always so much going on and there is usually nice, spring weather.  My most memorable birthday was probably five years ago when I got engaged.  The very next birthday we mailed our wedding invitations!  Those were definitely very exciting.

3. What is your favorite dessert?  I LOVE dessert and so I'm not very picky about it.  I don't know that I have a favorite, but I love cheesecake of just about any variety from traditional to no-so-traditional.  I love cheesecake so much I have even ordered it from a bakery in New York City a couple of times.  I'm craving some now just thinking about it.  I also love my chocolate, too.  Chocolate desserts are always very tempting to me.  I think I like dessert just a little too much.  If I would stay away from it maybe I could drop a few pounds.  Ha!  I don't see that happening!

4. What is the best excuse you've ever used to get out of a ticket?  I have never had to use an excuse because I have never had a ticket.  I have had two written warning, but those were back in college.  I would have to say I am just lucky because I have been known to speed.  Now, I need to go knock on every wooden object I find so I don't get a ticket.  I hope my luck doesn't run out!

5. Do you wake up before your alarm, with your alarm, or after hitting snooze several times?  I usually wake up a little before my alarm.  My internal alarm clock works very well.  I think it's a safety mechanism for me.  I am always worrying that my alarm won't go off and I will oversleep.  Talk about a panic attack.  That would cause a big one for me.  However,  I don't usually get out off bed until the alarm goes off and I have hit the snooze button once.  Wow, when I reread this, I sounded a little OCD.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blog Friends

In the past couple weeks I have really begun to realize how supportive the blogging community really is.  While they aren't all "in the flesh" friends, you can bond and grow with these people.  I read several blogs and they each add something to my life, whether it be humor, inspiration, or just practical advice.  Many of these people I have never me. Some live thousands of miles away.  Some are people I know and don't live near anymore.  It's a nice way to keep up with each other.  Some are former classmates that I haven't seen in years.

One nice thing about blogging is getting other people's perspective on life.  I can honestly say I have learned so much about faith, family, and what is really important in life from reading blogs.  It's also nice to get the encouragement and feedback from blog readers.  I get so excited when I get comments because it's a chance to connect to people.

I am so thankful for all of my blog friends.  I'm thankful for those that write daily words of wisdom, encouragement, and even their daily happenings.  I am also thankful to those friends that read this blog and leave sweet comments with encouraging words.  The blogging community lets readers know they are not alone in the world and that someone somewhere has been in a similar situation.  If your curious my favorite blogs to read are listed over to the left.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Letting Go

I look at the title of my blog, "Journal of Our Blessed Life" and I am really disappointed in myself.  Even though I know I am blessed and I can verbalize it, I don't always live like I believe it.  One of those times would be right now.

I look at the time on the computer and it says 12:32 AM.  I am still up working/playing on the computer instead of being in bed with hubby asleep.  Why?  I'm not really sure.  I know we were kind of upset irritated with each other.  The irritation stemmed from us being stubborn with each other.  Instead of letting go of the irritation, I dwelled on it and in my mind made it something much worse than it is.

I pouted, wouldn't speak, and went to another room.  Real adult-like, I know!  This was almost 3 hours ago.  Now I must pay the consequences of my decision.  Those consequences include: a bad mood, a lack of sleep, and complete frustration with myself.  I will continue to deal with these consequences throughout the day.

Things would have been much simpler if I had just let go.  Hubby would have/was willing to let go so that we could have a good night, but I wanted no part of the compromise.  I'm not sure why.  This is not the kind of person I want to be.  I don't enjoy being stubborn and rigid, so why do I do it.  It is a definite weakness I have.  I need to make the choice to stop.

Hubby and I together have been making an effort to read the Bible more, attend church regularly, and grow deeper in our faith in preparation of growing our family.  I do these things and yet I seem to forget the kind of person I want to be the minute things don't go my way.

Wow!  That was a big realization for me.  I am still selfish and child-like in so many ways.  I pray that God will help to overcome the type of person I am and help me in my journey to becoming the type of person I want to be.  I need to start with the ability to let go of the small, inconsequential things.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

I know it has been awhile since I last posted.  We have been pretty busy and yet I haven't been inspired to post anything.  We had a wonderful trip to Dallas over Spring Break, which was kind of unexpected.  I didn't know there was so much to see and do there.  I still hope to do a post or two about our trip.  But, today I am going to give a little update of what is going on.

*  This week is Benchmark testing week, what this whole school year has been building up to.  I am testing a small group of 5th graders.  They get as long as they need to take the test, which can make the day seem a little long.  On the positive side, though, I am having a lot of quiet time to think.

*  I have hit the time of year at work where I am extremely busy!  It is easy to become overwhelmed.  I have to conferencce with all 25 families of the children I provide special education services to, some more than once.  I also have to conference with the incoming kindergarteners that may need special education services.  I love having the chance to visit with the families, but there is also A LOT of paperwork to prepare before each conference.  The good news is by the time I'm done with all the conferences, Summer Vacation will be here.

*   We finally got our new bicycles in and have been able to ride several times.  April 1st was the first chance we had to ride.  Since then we have ridden about 37 miles.  I really enjoy it and the exercise is good for us.  Plus, Fayetteville has some really nice trails that let us mix up our route!

*  The last thing I have is some really good news: hubby passed the first section of his Praxis test!!!  The Praxis is the test that Arkansas requires everyone to take to get a teaching license.  Hubby passed the part that is required for him to get his license for next year.   We are still waiting on the results of the other Praxis test he took, but he doesn't have to have that part passed until after next year.  Now, we just have to find a job.

I hope everyone is having a great Spring so far!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Blog Address

Well, I changed the address to our blog.  The new direct link is:

I will be back to soon with new posts.  Excuse my absence while the most crazy time (aka testing time) is going on at work right now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where are you, Spring Break?

Thank goodness, you are only two days away!  Even though our school is going two days over Spring Break to make up a couple snow days, hubby and I will not be there.  We are Dallas bound on Saturday!  Yay!  I'm really excited because I haven't ever really spent time there.  Just gone though it on the way to San Antonio.

We have a lot of fun things planned to do and hopefully will have a little time to relax.  Our hotel has an indoor/outdoor pool so I plan on spending some time there.  I'm also hoping to have a little time to read for fun, not just for class.

But, first I have to make it though this class that I am sitting in, which at times can border on torture.  I also have to make it through the next two days of school.  That is a big task considering I have only worked one day this week so far.  I can't wait to get over this sinus infection.  I has been a bad one!  I also have to pack for the trip for hubby and I and get the cat ready for her stay at the vet.  My goal for tomorrow is to get my lesson plans ready for my sub for next Monday and Tuesday.

I know I can make it so that I can spend next week enjoying some beautiful spring weather in Dallas!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Early Birthday

I know it's been awhile since I have posted, but to be honest, I just haven't felt like writing a post.  I just haven't had that many interesting things to write about.  I've just been feeling a little down and out.  Come to find out for the past couple of weeks I have been fighting another sinus infection.  I seem to get those about 3-4 times a year.  They are a bummer and just hang around a lot!  Saturday morning I had finally had and went to the walk-in clinic.  Now I am feeling better on my antibiotics.  The only problem is I can't talk very well.  So I am spending my Monday home from work.

Yesterday hubby and I went to church, went to lunch, and were on our way to do some grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.  I think I mentioned something about how the weather was nice and it would be a good day to go riding bikes.  The problem is we don't have bikes. I have never had a nice adult bike and hubby's was run over several years ago and is beyond the point of repair.  I have been talking about wanting a bike since our super scary bike ride down the side of a volcano on our honeymoon in Hawaii.


Once we made it down the mountain and were cruising around the village, I really enjoyed it.  After we moved to Northwest Arkansas and saw all the really nice bike trails around here, I really wanted one.  There was a bike shop near Wal-Mart so we went there to look at what they had.  I tried out a couple different ones on the trail right behind the shop and found the one I like so hubby bought it for me for an early birthday gift.  We also got one for him, too.

new bike

This is my new bike.  I know how clumsy I am so I also got a matching helmet so hopefully I won't get hurt too seriously!


This is hubby's new bike.

Hopefully, we can pick them up later this week and get started on our new adventure together and enjoy spending time outside getting fresh air.  I realized that I am not much of a runner/jogger.  I just don't enjoy it, but hopefully I will continue to enjoy my new bike as a way to get exercise and spend time with my hubby.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This N' That

Well, it's Monday already.  I seriously can't believe the weekend goes by so fast.  I don't know that 2 schools days pass as quickly.  I am just going to have a bulleted list because I have a little of this n' that to share.

*  I got my three days of exercise in last week!  That makes me happy.  Here's what I did: Wednesday- walk 1.8 miles outside;  Thursday-  it was raining so I did 30 minutes on the Wii fit (step aerobics and rhythm boxing); Saturday-did yard work with mom for about 2 1/2 hours.  Hopefully, I can do it again this week.

*  I spent the weekend in Central Arkansas with mom while hubby went on a photo shoot to a ghost town in Oklahoma.  While there, I got to meet up with some friends for lunch that I don't get to see very often.  It sure is good for the soul to see people who mean so much to you.

*  When I came home yesterday hubby had totally cleaned the house and done laundry.  That was so unexpected and so nice to not have to come home to a mess.  I appreciate him doing that more than he will probably ever understand.  He is really good about helping, but I usually have to ask him to do things.  This time he just did it on his own.

*  When I came home, hubby had bought me a gorgeous bouquet to put on the table.  So sweet!

*  We missed 10 snow days this year and now our district is conisdering having us go to school on 2 Saturdays and 2 days on Spring Break.  The faculty gets to vote so we'll see what happens.  We already have plans for Spring Break, but I still have 2 personal days I can take so I don't have to change our plans.  I know everyone is just trying to get our kids prepared for the state test that's coming up in April.

*  We booked our summer vacation to Tybee Island, Georgia, this week and I am so excited!!  The cottage we are going to stay in is close to beach and looks so cute. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I know I have so much to be thankful for in my life and today I had a couple of things on my mind that I am particularly thankful for.

1.  I am thankful for my hubby and my mom.  Without them to keep me grounded I am sure I would go over the edge.  Lately, I have begun to realize that I am a little high-strung and my emotions totally run the gamut.  I like to think about it a little differently, that I just feel everything really deeply.  These two people give me some perspective and to live in the here and now, not in the past or the future.

2.  I am thankful that I had two days of workshops this week.  This gave me a chance to just be and not have to worry as much about getting my students ready for the test and to put my teaching and my students learning back into perspective.  Yes, I want my students to do well on the test, but there is more to getting an education than testing.  Being around teachers from other schools also helped me realize that we are all in the same boat.  I still really appreciate my job and know I am lucky to work where I do.

3.  I am thankful I was able to go outside and exercise yesterday.  I walked 1.8 miles until it was time for me to get ready to go to class.  I feel better knowing I am trying to get healthier.  I probably won't be able to go out side today because we are expecting some rain and storms, but I can do something inside.

4.  I am thankful we are still getting Spring Break.  A lot of districts in our areas are using at least 2 days of Spring Break to make up some snow days that were missed.  I am glad that we will still be able to go on our trip to Dallas. 

Sometimes it's good to stop and think about what you are thankful for.  I have come to realize that you can be just as thankful for the small things in your life as the big things.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting Back Out There

Spring is almost here.  Thank goodness!!!  The long, cold, snowy (for Arkansas) winter we have had has turned me into someone I don't want to be.  I am now way too lazy even for my comfort.  I have added a few pounds to some unwanted areas and all the motivation has been sucked out of me.

It's time to change!  I do not want to be like this anymore so I am going to take charge and get myself back outside and doing some type of physical activity.  There can be no more excuses.  It's not that cold and I can't be too busy to take care of myself.  I should be taking care of the body and health that God has given me, not trying to destroy it.  I have been so blessed to be as healthy as I have been.  I know things won't stay that way for long unless I take action now.

So that's what I'm going to do!  I have a tool in this blog to hold myself accountable.  If I put it on here, I most definitely can't turn back.  So, here are some goals I have set for myself to help me get started.  I know they are small, but hopefully that will inspire to get started and meet these goals so that I can set bigger ones for myself.


1.  Do some form of exercise at least 3 times a week.

2.  When I am able to walk outside, walk 1.5- 2 miles.

3.  When I can't go outside, do 30 minutes of exercise ( I have a Dancing with the Stars DVD and a Wii Fit).

4.  Lose 5 pounds by Spring Break (3 1/2 weeks away).

I hope that by starting with these small goals I can stick with the plan and start seeing some results.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Birthday Cake and Valentine Flowers

Last week I was so busy with class and Parent Conferences that I never posted pictures of hubby's birthday celebration. The first thing I want to show is his cake. It was so amazing!!

birthday cake copy

I could not get over how real it looks! Hubby thought it was perfect. He loves going to the theater to see movies and the experience isn't complete without a bucket of popcorn. The cake tasted really good, too. It was Italian cream cake with Italian Cream filling. Yum! I have definitely found the cake shop for all special occasions in our family! For anyone living in NWA, I definitely recommend Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe in Springdale!

mike-cake copy

Hubby couldn't resist being silly! Too bad the icing didn't taste like popcorn!

mike-lens copy

Really excited about getting the fisheye lens he wanted for his camera from mom and me. A pretty perfect birthday party in his opinion.

Monday when I got home from class, hubby had two arrangements of flowers waiting for me! He was so sweet. I got a dozen red roses and a bouquet of pink carnations (my favorite). Somehow we don't have any pictures of the carnations except for the blurry one on my phone.

Here are my roses.

roses copy

The next two pictures are actually the same picture, but with some photo editing by the hubby, which I thought was beautiful. He is turning into a really good photographer and I can't wait to see what all he does in the future!

Here is the Before picture.

Lorrie Roses 2

Here is the After picture.

Lorrie Roses 3