Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"It's Been A Real Slice."

We are studying myths and legends in my Literature class.  We pay special attention to the Greeks during this unit and talk about Perseus and Medusa, Demeter and Persephone, and of course, Ulysses.  And I say all that to say this:  Hercules (the Disney movie) is really funny!  It had been years since I had seen it and  it just cracks me up.  It's a great movie to discuss the gods and goddesses with and a pretty great way to end the last couple days before break too.  I'm surprised with all the connections that the kids are already making.  It should make The Odyssey even more interesting to them when we get back.  Just wanted to share how much I love the old Disney movies--this one in particular.

I'm Walking On Sunshine!

Today it's absolutely beautiful outside!  And warm on top of that!  I always feel so much better when it's nice outside.  Which is pretty great because we have our first non-practice track meet this afternoon.  I absolutely love track despite the fact that I'm never really sure what I am doing as a coach.  It's a definite practice in humility.  I don't know all the technical jargon, I don't make our kids run with weighted parachutes, and most of our kids don't even have real track shoes.  But they have a good time and we have a good time and that's all that really matters.  And most of the other coaches are really nice, and more than willing to help us with minimal mocking.  Today will be a good test for my kids because we will be going against schools who are a lot bigger than us, which means they have more to pick from.  Small schools are always at a disadvantage in those situations.  But we have a few kids who can really go after it, so we'll see.  At the very least we will have a beautiful day for it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waiting Stinks...

The week before a long break just isn't any fun.  I know that I should be thankful that in three days I will have ten (count 'em, T-E-N!) days off.  And I am!  It's just that this week just crawls by, and the children (and I) have more than a little trouble focusing on civil rights or Greek mythology because all we can think about is how nice it's going to be to be away.  For that matter, how nice it would be to be outside right now.  The weather this week is gorgeous!  (Hopefully this means that my friend over at  A Life In Ordinary can get started on her long awaited house!  Thinking positive and dry thoughts for you, friend!)

Other than all that fun waiting, there isn't all that much going on.  I feel like I should mention that I am very near my 100th post.  If it times out right, the 100th one will have a little something special in it for you, so be on the lookout for that.  (see now you have to wait for something too, oh three people who read my blog!)  I got called for federal jury duty yesterday.  Now, I'm all about civic duty and whatnot, but having jury duty in May just isn't going to work with my really tight schedule.  So, I'm asking that you join me in prayer for an excuse from this particular round of duty.  I'm praying that they have mercy on this poor teacher and let her go.  I believe that it's what Jesus would want too.  (hopefully.  I mean, I don't think He would want me to miss the last two major track meets of the season.)  I'm sure you can look forward to seven more posts between now and next week, now that 100 is so close.  Maybe I'll throw a party.  Maybe I already am...

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Dirty Secret

I have a secret, and my very public blog seems like a good place to air it out.  I am sickly addicted to Dancing With The Stars.  It's a trainwreck, and I know it, but I just can't look away.  I know that it's not good for me.  I can't stand how Brooke Burke can't read a teleprompter and Tom Burgeron laughs at his own cheesy scripted jokes.  The clips gets on my nerves because it's blatant that they set up who fits all the usual reality TV roles.  But I LOVE it!  I will watch every minute of the darn thing, judging and talking to no one but the cat about the moves and costumes.  It's a sickness, but I don't think I really want to get well. 

The Post That Ends My Potential Political Career

I want to begin this by saying that while I teach government, I dislike politics in general.  The whole thing is just kind of disgusting.  (However, I was in the Capitol once and John McCain said "Hi" to me, but that's another story entirely.)  Anyway, consider that my disclaimer as I begin what will probably be the one and only post political in nature on this blog.

I am a conservative for the most part.  I believe that we have to use common sense instead of deficit spending to fix the nation's problems.  However, I also find that politics and common sense don't really go together.  I think women in politics is great and necessary.  We make up half the country's population, ours is a representative government, so of course there should be women holding seats, all the way up to the presidency if the nation so chooses.  I find, though, that there are very few women in politics that I actually like.  Maybe it's the "evil" mainstream media creating a bias, maybe it's some deep-seeded issue I have with women in power, but I think the real problem I have is with the women I see advancing. 

Sarah Palin makes me cringe.  And I know that as a girl from a small midwestern town with a conservative Christian background, I'm supposed to want to be just like her.  I should want to wear glasses like hers, and spin my own line of cutesy sayings about farm animals and cosmetics.  I should be clapping every time she starts talking about shooting something and I should pre-Tivo her upcoming reality show.  (Disclaimer:  I don't actually have a Tivo. Opinion regarding disclaimer:  I don't think serious politicians should have reality shows.)  But I just can't bring myself to do it.  I know that politics is one big dog and pony show.  I know that, just like in enterainment, "you gotta have a gimmick."  But her faux-folksy gimmick just doesn't work for me.  People want to elect her president and she couldn't even finish her governorship!  This is not what America needs, even if she is good for ratings.  But it's not just her.  I'm equal opportunity.  There are women on the other side of the politcal spectrum that bug me too (Nancy Pelosi, I'm looking at you!).  I just had to get this off my chest as the media spectacle seems to be reaching a fever pitch again.

And I don't really care if people agree with me on this or not.  This is not a feminist rant.  It's just one more thing in a long list of absolutely crazy things that bug me, and maybe only me.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Versatile Vocalists. How may I direct your call?"

Sheena's going to have a vocal studio soon.  I have deemed myself her gratis assistant (hey, you can't beat the price).

This is the before picture.  The nicest thing I can say is that she has plenty of space to work with.  (And that we have a lot of work to do!)

This is my favorite sign.  I couldn't convince her to keep it up in the studio as an ecclectic decoration, sadly.

Our first job was to take down this wall of shelves.

But mostly, we just made a mess.  Trying counts though.

This is Sheena putting up the mailbox.  You can tell I was a lot of help.  Example: "Yeah, that looks right. I think."

Success!  Now all we need is drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet, paint, a studio room, a couch....

Good thing she has such a great assistant, huh?  All that work will give me plenty of time to practice all my secretarial skills!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Trouble With Time

This week has been crazy!  Absolutely non-stop with Sr. Beta Club convention and our first track meet and a million other things.  That's how I like my life.  REALLY busy.  If things are busy, I don't have time to think. 

Thinking is dangerous for me.  Not in general, but in very specific ways.  I think about things that I don't have yet at 28.  Material things, yes, and those things that aren't.  Like love.  Even though I am so serious about being okay with singleness, that doesn't mean that it doesn't suck sometimes.  And it doesn't mean that I don't think about what it would be like to be in love, to have a family.  So's a dangerous sport.  And Friday's too happy of a day to be that kind of sad.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Missions International Night In Pictures

Wednesday night was International night, were we celebrated the mission areas of the world.  Sheena and I were in charge of Africa.  One of the women I work with was nice enough to loan me some of her goodies from her trip to Kenya last summer (Thanks, Michelle!).  I also had a couple things from Liberia, where cousins were missionaries for many years.  Sheena borrowed some items from the girls in Cairo from Mozambique, too.  It made for quite a display.

Each continent was to serve food representative of that country.  We were stumped but came up with a couple of things that were actually pretty tasty!

But were weren't the only show in town.  We had representatives from all the other service areas too... 

China and Japan...

Eurasia...look, guys, pierogies!

 The Caribbean...(some of us were more enthusiastic than others)

even the U.S.A!  (apple pie and homemade ice cream!)

Some of my favorite people were there, like this guy who was doing a little modeling for his sister's presentation on China.

and this truck!  I promised I would tell you that she doesn't normally dress like this (it was a costume for her South America display), but this is totally the biggest truck I have ever seen that wasn't ramping over cars in the center ring!  Tammy's a little shorter than me and I didn't even come up to the door handles!  It was so cool!

This night was a lot of fun, but also shed some light on the work of missionaries around the world!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And Deliver Me, Oh Lord, From The Elliptical...

I've prayed a lot of prayers this week.  Some of them funny (see title, and no, I'm not kidding) and some of them not nearly so.  I've seen the devastation when He says "no" or "wait" and felt such victory when He said "YES!"  But, no matter what, I can't think of another time when I have prayed with more consistency than I have in the last couple of weeks.  And even when God has not given me the kind of answer I want to hear, I've never felt abandoned.  Even in sadness, there has been peace.  Because the thing that I love most about God is that I feel like He hears the prayers we know are silly (see title), the ones that are silly in the scheme of things, and the ones that are very serious and closest to our heart with the same ear.  I compare it with talking to a little kid.  Sometimes they say things that don't make much sense, but you listen to them because you love them and you certainly don't want to miss something really important.  I would never pretend to know the mind of God, but I imagine that's more or less how He feels about us.  And I am so thankful that I know and serve a God like that.  And, Lord, now a minute about that blasted machine....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Things are rough all over..."

This is a line from the YA Lit classic, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  But it just seems appropriate for what is going on in Southern Illinois schools right now.  Massive lay-offs and cutbacks because essentially the state can't pay its bills.  Why can't we pay?  Now that's a whole different question.  I would say that our first problem is that we can't seem to elect a governor that doesn't end up on trial.  But if we continue to let public education wither on the vine, everyone is going to suffer the consequences in the long term.  *steps off soapbox*

In other news, Kelly Beth had her surgery and is doing well.  Praise God!  I love that even when we don't know people, we can be connected as brothers and sisters in Christ!  The next couple of days are going to be pretty busy for me, but I am so looking forward to this weekend.  I am off work starting at noon on Friday and I have plans to go exercise for a couple of hours, then spend the rest of my Friday and Saturday cleaning my house.  And those of you that know me are reading this and laughing, but I need to you stop!  I am really feeling the spring cleaning (and I need to play the time-honored game of "What spring/summer clothes fit?" and I am going to get it done this weekend.  That way I know what I still need to purchase for vacation and I have a nice clean house to come home to!  (And I need to be able to move my old bed out of the house and my new bed in.)  It's long over due plus, that much work can count as my workout for Saturday.

Oh and they are saying it might be stormy and 60 on Saturday and freezing with flurries on Sunday...Way to go, Spring.  Way to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

He Has A Purpose

There are so many things that I just don't understand.  Today has been a hard day for a lot of people.  And while I am thankful that I am one of the lucky ones, I am heartbroken for those that aren't.  I stood in the bathroom this morning, and all I could say was "Why, God?  This isn't right!  There has to be something else, more to the story."  Then I was reminded of our Bible study, which couldn't be more about this season of my life if Beth Moore was living in my house and writing about me.  I know that God is good and that He is here even when we don't feel Him or see His active hand.  He has not left us.  He has not forgotten His people.  He is the God who sees.  He is the God who knows.  And because of this, we have to just keep putting one faithful foot in front of the next until He reveals Himself.  Because He will.  I am claiming this for myself and believing it for those who may not have the strength to right now.

Monday, March 15, 2010


There is a woman named Kelly Beth.  And in the morning she will have open heart surgery on a tumor in her heart.  She's 22 years old, and has survived more than anyone should have to in those years.  I don't know her personally, but her faith has touched my heart and changed my perspective about things in my life.  I ask that you pray for her and that if you have a little time, you check out her blog.  It will be worth your time, I promise.

An Ode To Pierogies or Trying To Keep My Mind Off Things

I love pierogies.  Love them!  If you haven't ever had one, they are potatoes, onions, and cheese inside a pasta shell.  I boil mine because I am a mediocre cook at best.  But apparently you can serve them all kinds of ways.  They look like this if you pan fry them:

This picture makes me SO hungry!  Amber said that she had actually made them before, but that seems like a lot of work.  Instead, I buy them frozen from WalMart. (I'm sure they'll be calling me for my own show any day now.  Look out Rachel Ray!)  I just wanted to share one of the little things that bring me joy because today in general is kinda crappy for a lot of people.

If you haven't heard, Illinois is in a budget crisis.  Schools aren't getting the funding that they really need to function.  And that translates to cuts.  It makes for a very tense workplace today because tonight is the board meeting here and in several other districts where really not-great things are potentially taking place tonight.  I don't know what our board will decide, and we are in better shape than some.  But it's not fun to think about in any way, shape or form.  It stresses me out to even go there!

Which explains the pierogies...mmmm...pierogies...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No Bounds?

I'm sure that I've mention this before, but sometimes people just astound me.  And not in the good way.  I think everyone can come up with one or two people in your life whose poor choices just seem to know no bounds. What bugs me is when others are completely blind to this.  I just want to scream, "Are you paying attention?  Did you not just see (hear, witness) that?  Am I the only one?"  I'm not saying this to be mean, because I don't want to disappoint Beth Moore.  I am just overwhelmingly frustrated by these sorts of people and well, it's my blog so what are you going to do about it?  Ha!

Anyway, let me get off my soapbox and discuss why I've been not blogging this week.  It's been another week full of stuff.  My allergies are in full swing and the weather can't quite decide if it feels like being winter or being spring.  The kids did finally finish state testing which was a big blessing! The gym was closed because the college was on Spring Break.  (And I am dying to get back!)   This weekend was a pretty good time too.  I was able to get a haircut, so I'm much better on that front!  I had dinner with Amber on Friday night, which is always a good time.  And I got to hang out with my sister for a Glee-marathon last night.  Sadly, now it's time for me to stop putting off all the real work I need to do and get to work!  Grades are due, homework is due, Bible study to do....I promise to try a little harder to blog this week too!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Weekend In Pictures...

First things first...this is my spring purse. Yes, it's fabulous! (And it matches my blog!)

But let's talk about the rest of last weekend in pictures....

Friday night, Sheena and I went to dinner and then to No Compromise's CD release party.  One of the guys in the band is a guy I went to college with.  Billy (on the left) was one of the quietest guys I knew.  Now he's a rock star.  No seriously, he has a great stage presence and a great voice.  God is awesome!

Saturday, I went out on my photo adventure with Dad and Libbie. This is Dale, my parent's outside cat who only has one lung and spends most of his time trying to avoid Lib's dog, Tucker (who you will see in a minute).

We went to an auction first.  There wasn't much to see so we didn't stay, but I wish that I could have bought these really cool, old bottlecaps.

Then we stopped to take some barn pictures.  And pick up Tucker at my grandma's house.  He really wanted to sit with his mama, but he was stinky, so he was denied.

After that, we decided to go with my dad on his new mission.  He has decided to document where all of my family is buried because he realized that my grandma is probably the last one with that information.  This meant that we spent the rest of the morning walking through cemeteries.  (Which was cooler than you might think, actually.)  Lib found another angel to pose with.  And while we didn't find who we were originally looking for, we did find the headstone of my great-great grandparents.

Sunday, I went for a walk around town and took a few shots.  I am always amazed with what I can find just a couple of blocks from my house.  It was another beautiful day and a great way to end the weekend!

Hearts, Stars, Rainbows, Clovers and Blue Moons

Perhaps the subtitle of this post should be "Why I Shouldn't Be Allowed To Have Lucky Charms For Breakfast."  I'm a little hyper, but they used to be my favorite cereal and my students had a packet they didn't want and I just couldn't resist.  Check back with me in a hour when I could fly to the moon without a rocket.

Anyway, that's not at all related to anything I intended this post for.  What I intended to talk about is how much I am learning from the people around me these days.  Some of the lessons are in obvious places, like Bible study.  I have sung the praises of these women before, and Crys did it so much more eloquently last night in her post, but I just can't say it enough.  I didn't used to take Bible study seriously.  It was something that I did because I felt like I should and that was that.  But the older I get, the more I see that these times are invaluable to me.  Even if the only thing I was to take home with me was that someone feels the same way I do about a subject, that would be enough.  But it's so much more. 

Bible study isn't the only place where I'm seeing beautiful things however.  I see them in a friend who is determined to find a forgiving heart when it would be easier not to and in another who shares her story when she didn't have to.  I've also been reminded that when you stand up for what is right, even when no one did that for you, it does wonders for your spirit.  Recently, I've done a lot of learning from those I am supposed to be instructing.  I've learned that honesty and humor can unlock doors I thought were closed and that circumstances that were overwhelmingly difficult in my life might have played out so that I can help others.  I'm reminded that sometimes you just need to have a good cry, but that a good laugh can also do the trick. 

Truth be told, the lessons were always there.  But I think that God has really opened my eyes to just how much there is to learn from all kinds of relationships in my life, if I will just stop and pay attention.  And I'll take that over Lucky Charms any day of the week. 

P.S. - My weekend in pictures will be coming at ya tonight...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Thoughts

I realize that I haven't exactly been the queen of deep and thoughtful posts this week.  (or most weeks!)  If you are looking for deep and thoughtful, you've come to the wrong place again today...

Happy Thoughts:
  • My sister rocked her first try at her nursing exam!  She still gets a second one, but suddenly she's feeling pretty good about where her future is headed.  And that makes a big sister awfully proud!
  • I'm hanging out with Sheena tonight.  We are going to go out to SCC for a CD release party of a local Christian band.  I'm more jazzed about getting to see my friend though.
  • I'm going on a Saturday photo adventure with my daddy tomorrow.  And then I am going to buy new tennis shoes (if they have the ones I want).  And then there's a Chrysalis Hoot.  So big day.
  • Bible study Sunday night!
  • Wedding planning!  We had a very sucessful meeting last night!  Blushing Bride (aka Lauren) didn't even pout when I gave them a little homework to do.  Once a teacher, always a teacher. 
Have a great weekend!  Maybe I will even post some pics!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday Morning Isn't Close Enough To Friday Afternoon

It seems like this week has gone on forever!  And I'm a little tired of the whole ordeal.  The good news is, that as a reward for not completely procrastinating and getting my homework done tonight (probably...hopefully...surely), I have planned a wedding meeting for later in the evening!  I'm sure I've never mentioned this before, but I love wedding planning and I especially love planning this wedding!  I've never known a sweeter couple, however, her sweetness is spoiling all the years of work we did hassling DM!  Ha!

I also got my daddy to agree to go out adventuring with me on Saturday for at least part of the day!  I love the farm and photography and I like adventuring (even though I don't do it nearly enough), so it should be pretty interesting.  Other than that, I'm pretty boring today.  Maybe Friday will bring more fun?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Want To Be The Pioneer Woman and Other Ramblings

I realize that I just haven't been paying attention.  That people have been talking about how wonderful Ree Drummond (better known as the Pioneer Woman) and her awesome world of cooking and photography and general blogging is.  And that I, self-appointed pop culture maven, just dismissed it.  I figured that she would be all camp-outs and crafts or something.  And we all know my people don't camp.  Readers, prejudice is indeed an ugly thing.  I would like to take this opportunity to express how wrong I was about the Pioneer Woman.  She is amazing.  And funny.  And a heck of a photographer.  And apparently a pretty darn good cook.  I want to be her when I grow up.  Who else gets to marry cowboy, live on a ranch, and raise children while cooking, taking pictures and blogging?  It's like my dream life!  Well, plus or minus the ranch.  Simply put I love her. 

In other news, I may have a new favorite show.  Parenthood was really good last night, but I am biased of course, because I love Lauren Graham.  It made me laugh and tear up in all the right places, and I can't wait for the next episode.  If this is the kind of show that NBC is putting on instead of Jay Leno, then all I can say is I wish they would have pulled the plug sooner (or not have tried that little experiment at all). 

Completely unrelated (I always was the queen of transitions), I rolled my ankle last night at track practice because I am a klutz and I forget sometimes that I am not a junior high track runner (nor was I when I was actually in junior high).  It's a little sore this morning, but it's hard to tell what is rolled ankle and what is workout sore.  I am in an almost constant state of workout sore these days.  I'm hoping that I will be able to get outside some this weekend instead of subjecting myself to yet another segment of Walk Away The Pounds in my living room.  I would love to be able to take some pictures, but I need an armed escort because it's supposed to be sunny and in 50s and I am scared to death of snakes, and by several laws of God and man, not allowed to carry a firearm.  And this is the kind of adventure that might find me where those slithery little sunbathers want to be.  So, I'm hoping to convince my daddy to go an adventure with me...but we'll see I suppose.

That's all for now.  I need to eat my pizza before the kids come back!  (And before that cowboy shows up to wisk me away to his ranch!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So I have been exercising for a week.  And I have been working really hard.  And this morning, I got on my scale for my first self-imposed "weigh-in" to find...(drumroll, please)...I weigh exactly what I did last week.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not discouraged.  I know that I have lost inches because my pants are fitting better and I have started to get these cute indentations in my calves and whatnot.  But that didn't mean that I didn't stand around muttering "Seriously" to the walls in my bathroom and reassuring myself that muscle is heavier than fat.  Oh well. 

The thing is, I love exercising.  I don't feel right when I don't go and I find myself looking ahead in my schedule trying to find ways to make sure I can carve out even a little time.  I am in a bit of a dilemma because I need a haircut, but scheduling one would mean I would have to miss time in the gym.  (And if you know me, you know how I feel about my hair!)  But what I know about myself is this:  I am terrible with self-discipline.  If I am exercising on my own, I just won't do it if I don't feel like it.  I've found that going out to the gym is a different animal though.  My competitive nature takes over and I want to do more time on the eliptical because I know someone else did.  If you did 10 reps at 40 lbs., I'm going to do 20.  Childish, yes.  But it's working.  And I will take what I can get at this point. 

If I count correctly, it's just over 16 weeks until Matt and Mel's wedding, 109 days to be exact.  This means that if I get in a minimum of 4 hours of exercise per week (though I would like to start moving that towards 6 p/wk), I would be looking at least 64 more hours of exercise.  Surely, somewhere in  that 64 hours, I will see some real progress.   (Where were these math skills when I was in school, by the way?)  I am choosing to be positive this week.  And if that scale doesn't show me some results next week, I may be choosing to throw it out the window...

Monday, March 1, 2010


We interupt your Internet surfing for a very special (if somewhat overly excited) announcement:

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!  This makes me wonder if I shouldn't be heading to Chicago in May!  Have I mentioned my abiding love for Glee?  It's my very favorite show!  (I mean seriously.  They sing, they dance, they say really hilarious things.  How could you not love this show?!?!)  But a live tour!  I can hardly stand it!  Wonder if the Easter Bunny could fit that in his basket (and in his budget)?

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet surfing...

Whoo-hoo, March!

Let me just start off by saying "Happy March" everyone.  You have almost survived another winter and just over the horizon looms spring! May I suggest celebrating by breaking out your spring purse.  (I'll try to remember to post a pic of mine this week!)

I had a great weekend!  Saturday I got up early, met my mama and the women from church and went to Carbondale for the GAM Women's Conference.  The praise and worship was awesome (I really wish I had picked up her CD), but I totally want to steal her "old man band" (as phrased by Crys)!  Kendra Smiley was our featured speaker and she was the right mix of funny and straightforward.  Her session after lunch was about guilt, and I really took it to heart!  I will certainly be thinking about who packed my bags the next time I find myself on a gulit trip.  The breakout session Crys and I went to was on hospitality, and this wonderful woman bought everyone in the session Victoria's Secret body wash and spray.  If she was looking for my attention, I can be bought!  But in all seriousness, she made some excellent points.  Even when we find ourselves in a position we don't want to be in, dealing with something we don't want to deal with, we have to remember that God wants us to be encouragers.  That's an area where I struggle sometimes, so she had a lot of food for thought. 

After the conference, Mama and I did a little shopping (Target!) and I bought some exercise clothes, because I have survived and made it to Week 2 and that means I should be rewarded!  When we got back, I ended up hanging out at with my family on Saturday night because my brother was home.  (And who would pass up free pizza and brownies?)

And Sunday was the best kind of Sunday--Chicken and Dumplings at Reichert Farms!  I rushed out of church and through the door of the homestead just in time (they were blessing the meal).  It was awesome and I ate entirely too much and didn't even care.  I finished off the night with the second meeting of our Spring Bible study.  We are working through Beth Moore's study on Esther and I am already fascinated by her story.  I can't wait until next week!  We have a slightly bigger group of women than we had in the fall, and already the discussion is just blessing my heart.  Definitely one of the best parts of my week!

This week will be filled with ISATs for the kids at school.  We are also starting track practice tomorrow.  I am so excited about getting started on a new track season!  Nothing says spring better! (Except for a turquoise, faux ostrich purse!)