Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reading Recap {July}

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Book: Front of the Class
Brad Cohen relates what it was like to grow up with Tourette Syndrome during a time when most people weren't familiar with it. He was bullied and mocked by other kids and even his own family was unsure how to act around him. At the time, people didn't understand that he had no control over the tics and twitches that he made. These "disruptions" made school a constant struggle for him and his outbursts frustrated teachers. In middle school, he was given the opportunity to teach his classmates about Tourette Syndrome and realized the power of education. He decided he wanted to become a teacher to provide his students with the encouragement and acceptance he failed to receive from his teachers. I loved this book from the very start! Cohen's passion for teaching is evident and was an inspiration. I would recommend this memoir...especially if you're in the education field.

They made a Hallmark movie about Brad Cohen's life that was phenomenal! It's apart of the Hallmark Hall of Fame and I highly recommend it.

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Book: Mama's Bank Account
This a tale of a Norwegian immigrant family living in San Francisco at the beginning of the 20th century. The story is centered around "mama" as her character is developed through family anecdotes. It's difficult to describe "mama" to someone who hasn't read the book, but you'll grow to love this resourceful matriarch. She raises her family with love and wisdom and the book is an ode to old-fashioned family values. The book is reminiscent of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which may be why I enjoyed it so much. It's a quick read and I would recommend it.

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Book: Mentor Texts
If you're a teacher or a future teacher this book is a must read! The premise of this book is to utilize classic children's literature as mentor texts to teach students how to write. In order for students to develop their writing they need to be immersed in children's literature that models the strategies you want them to grasp.  Each chapter contains plenty of strategies and ideas on how to implement them. I know that I'll refer to this book many times in the future! I would highly recommend this one to elementary school teachers.

Any book suggestions for August?

Monday, July 30, 2012

I’m a Dreamer.

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I believe there is something powerful about putting pen to paper to write our dreams down. Often times a dream may pass away if it's not recorded. I never want to let my dreams slip away because I know that God has placed them in my heart for a purpose. I want my dreams to become visions...
 
I dream of being an elementary school teacher.
It energizes me so much to think about the day that I'll have my own classroom. I have no idea what grade I'll end up teaching because I have such a love for each grade. Although, I'm especially fond of the primary grades (K-2). I want my passion for teaching to translate into a love of learning that is tangible in my classroom. I want my kids to know that when they walk into my classroom they walk into my heart as well.
 
I dream of being a leader to other teachers.
I want to combine my love of public speaking and passion for education by working with other teachers. I'm not sure how this one will come to pass...maybe I'll lead a workshop on curriculum or work with other teachers on improving a certain aspect of our school. This is a dream that will be many years in the making, but I know that I want to encourage teachers to love and find joy in teaching.
 
I dream of being a mama.
I realize that this is a dream ingrained in the heart of most women, but it's a dream of mine none the less. When I take a moment to think about the day I'll become a mama, I'm already overwhelmed with love for my future children. I can only imagine how much my heart will expand on that day. 
 
I dream of being an encourager.
I want to invest in people...specifically I want to invest in high school girls. I remember how much it meant and influenced me when "older" women invested in me during that time. I want for young women to know that God has beautifully gifted and that there is great value in being a woman. I want for them to know that God wants to script their love stories, and even more so wants them to have a love story with HIM.
 
I dream of marrying my best friend.
I desire for my marriage to be a testimony to God and that people will see Him through our relationship. There will be plenty of bumps on the road, but I want to grow in love as our lives intertwine in a way only a husband and wife can.
 
What are your dreams? I would love to know what's in your heart.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

You’re Gonna Make It After All

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It was this time a year ago that the reality of my moving away to college started to become a reality. I started to get emails from my school about confirming enrollment and housing assignments. I spent way too much money at Target and Walmart. I was slowly starting to pack up my room. My emotions were similar to many other college freshmen…a mixture of anxiousness and excitement. However, I wasn't staying in the comfort of my hometown, but moving to a small town in Tennessee where I didn't know a soul. I was going to Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Most people had never heard of this place where I would spend the next four years. But, I knew that God had called me to Lee and I was secure in that.

As summer began to wind down, my excitement nearly doubled, but so did my nervousness. I didn't know what to expect as I transitioned from the familiarity of Tallahassee to the unknown of Cleveland. The morning came when it was time to leave. My bedroom was stripped and every square inch of my car was packed. My mom was a teacher and couldn’t come because move-in weekend coincided with orientation and the first day of school in our county (she couldn’t miss those). It nearly ripped my heart to leave without her. I was thankful my dad and I were in separate cars on the way up because I cried for the first 15 miles. Slowly, the tears were replaced by a smile. I was overwhelmed with joy for my journey...God was with me.

We arrived at school and parked our cars in order to get in the line to check in at my residence hall. There were dozens of girls in line with their parents and we all empathized with each other. It was in that moment, that I felt a part of a community. Time passed so quickly that day and surely enough I had to say another “goodbye.” This time I kissed my dad on the cheek as tears welled in his eyes and told him I’d call him the next day. I felt my heart beat faster as I watched his car pull out of the parking lot…I was officially on my own.

The few days before classes started were filled with adjusting to campus life and getting to know the girls on my hall. Although, those days were overflowing with life, I wasn’t quite at home in my new place. Here’s an excerpt from my journal…

{August 23, 2011}

“Homesickness is hitting me hard tonight. I miss being in a place that is familiar and where I’m known in a sense. I just feel out of place right now. When I called mom tonight I just broke down…the tears started to pour out. Oh Lord, You brought me to Lee and You will be faithful to provide a “place” for me. But, it’s hard not knowing while I wait…”So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. {Hebrews 10:35}”

I can't help but smile when I think about how faithful the Lord has been over the past year. Many of the expectations I had were surpassed, some unfulfilled, and others transpired differently. I can truthfully say that I've grown to love this school and I can see His hand on every part.  Here's one of my journal excerpts from the end of the year...

{April 14, 2012}

“I have so many words I want to fill this page with. I’m sitting in Alumni Park on this gorgeous afternoon. It’s Lee Day weekend and prospective students and parents have taken the campus over. You have been so faithful over this past year. I remember crying the first week here because I felt so out of place. You have provided and far exceeded my expectations. The people You have placed in my life and the passions You have stirred in my heart are astounding…Your love for me is beyond my comprehension.”

Once again I'm filled with emotions as I get ready to go back in a few weeks. But, my feelings are different this year. There isn't an ounce of nervousness in me. I'm just eager and excited for this second year. I know that I'm going to make it after all.

Side note: I listened to this song and this song on repeat while I wrote this post. They both make me get up and dance before the Lord with so much joy in my soul. {2 Samuel 6:14} Just wanted to share so you could dance too! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Evening Walk

My mom and I have spent the past two days in Waynesville, North Carolina visiting her sister and mom. I’ve fallen in love with this town that’s surrounded with mountains over the short time that we’ve been here. On Wednesday evening, we set out on a walk at dusk. We walked through the small mountain community and soaked in the sights. There were rows upon rows of corn and sweeping pastures and mountains on the other. We stopped at a river before turning around to walk back. I was in awe of my Creator and the photos from my phone don’t do the scenes justice, but I wanted to share anyway...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Currently

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{Spending my afternoon at Lake Blue Ridge}
Reading Mentor Texts and using too many post-it notes to mark the multitude of fabulous ideas. The fact that this is one of my “fun reads” shows that I’m a (future) teacher nerd.

Writing…this post.

Listening to my Brooke Fraser Pandora station. She’s one of my favorites.

Thinking about how sweet this proposal was (read #2). I would love to be proposed to in my future classroom one day.

Wishing I could order all the books I have on my Amazon wish list. At least my library card will get lots of use this fall.

Hoping for a road trip full of adventures and laughter with my mom. We’re going on a girls trip to Waynesville, North Carolina to see her sister and mom this week.

Watching reruns of The Cosby Show. Gosh, I love this family.

Loving being able to sleep in. These mornings will end as soon as my 7:45 and 8:00 classes start.

Wanting a second cup of coffee. My almond joy creamer is just too good.

Needing to get back into the groove of eating breakfast instead of just having coffee.

Feeling excited and expectant for this school year.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm a Bridesmaid.

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My heart is dancing with happiness because of this sweet card I received in the mail over the weekend. I’m going to have the privilege to stand beside one of my best friends on her wedding day! Janice and I met in our sixth grade gym class and our friendship was meant to be. I remember sitting on the bleachers and starting a conversation about our matching cell phone cases {we were cool like that}. We became fast friends and grew together throughout those awkward years. We made it through braces, crushes, and funny clothes. Nearly all of my middle school memories involve Janice!

As we started high school together, God got a hold of our hearts at the same time. We both started to hunger for intimacy and relationship with the Father. We were able to encourage each other to pursue Him like we never had before. I can honestly say that God used our friendship to change my heart. We had a strong friendship before, but it became so much sweeter as the Lord became the center of it.

Not long after, the two of us started to learn about God scripted love stories. The thought that God wanted to script our love stories was revolutionary to us! Eric and Leslie Ludy’s When God Writes Your Love Story completely transformed our outlooks on romance. We started to talk about surrendering our future love stories to the Lord as we dreamed about the mighty men of God that would one day win our hearts. Together, we decided to trust God to script our love stories in His timing and His way. It’s a decision neither of us will ever regret!

Although, I’m still waiting for the Lord to script mine, I’ve had the joy of watching Janice grow in love. I remember going on a LONG walk with her before she started dating her guy and talking about her growing feelings. I’m so proud that she guarded her heart and waited on him to initiate the relationship. He has pursued and won her heart ever since! I know that the Lord is the center of their sweet relationship and that He will use them to impact the Kingdom together.

My heart topples over with joy when I think back to that decision we made to surrender our love stories to God! She assures me that it’s worth the wait and SO much more beautiful than she imagined.

Our friendship has withstood time and distance and I’m grateful for her faithfulness in my life. Janice is a red-headed beauty with such a tender heart for God. She has the kindest heart and an infectious laugh. We truly are kindred spirits and I can’t wait to stand by my sweet sister in Christ as she transitions into the newest season of her life!

Here are a few photos from a road trip we took together two summers ago...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Letter Day

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Goodness, it’s Friday again and I’m sitting here wondering where this week as gone. These summer days are breezing by and it’s time to write a few letters again. I’m linking up with Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds

Dear Cara Carroll,

I want to be you when I grow up. They creativity that you pour into your classroom is such an inspiration to this future teacher!

Dear You’ve Got Mail,

You’re still one of my favorite movies. What’s not to love about New York City, small bookstores, and Tom Hanks?

Dear Amazon,

I love opening my mailbox to see a package from you. The joy that comes with those brown boxes is too fun! Tell me I’m not the only one…

Dear storm clouds,

Please stay all day! Rainy days spent at home are the best.

Dear summer tunes,

You make ordinary moments so much better! How mundane would certain moments be if there wasn’t music to dance or sing along to? Here are a few of the songs that I’ve listened to consistently:


Have a joy-filled Friday, girls!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Warrior-Poet

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As I was sorting through various documents I have on my computer, I stumbled upon a powerful quote I saved a while back. It came from an article in the Set Apart Girl Online Magazine…although I’m not sure which issue. In the article, godly men with hearts after the Lord shared their advice about waiting for God to script your love story. Here is one that stood out to me:

“Do not focus on the warrior-poet, but rather THE Warrior-Poet (Jesus). Make Him the big deal of your life. Get away from the nonsense of looking for the “right guy” and lose yourself in Jesus. It is when you are completely obsessed, lost in, consumed with Him, that He will orchestrate, in His perfect timing, an encounter with a true warrior poet. I know we warrior-poets are seen as a rare treasure, but so is a true Christ-built woman of God. I am not interested in a “religious” girl, not even one who is radical – I want a woman of God who is grounded in the Word, who delights in Jesus alone, who cares not what the world thinks, dresses and behaves with the highest standard of modesty, dignity, and honor. It is far more appealing, enchanting, and romantic to find a Godly woman who is lost in Jesus than one who is worried about finding the right guy to marry. But remember, our precious Jesus IS faithful, good, and overflowing with love. Trust Him.” –Anonymous warrior-poet

The truth of his words makes my heart pound now just as much as when I first read them. They stuck a chord within me and made me wonder about my life. Does it reflect that of the woman he described? Is Jesus my deepest joy and delight? Am I wholly grounded in the Word? Etc.

In so many of these areas I fall short, but I rest in the fact that I'm able to start fresh each day. Each morning I'm able to give the Lord my heart and pursue Him again.

However, as a young woman, I also wonder about when "my guy" will enter my life. I wonder about when and where it will be. I dream about those details. Sometimes I just wish he would come into my life out of thin air, but where is the worth and excitement in that. In my heart I know that God is using this time to prepare us as individuals. I can feel that the Lord is preparing my heart for him to be brought into my life whenever that time may be (hopefully sooner than later).

But, I have no desire to search for a man because I know that God is more than capable of bringing one into my life. My future husband will be a great blessing to my life, but he will not complete me. My identity is only found in Christ and I want to be wrapped up in Him. When the Lord does begin to script my love story, I'll look back on this time with thankfulness. I'll be glad I spent this time building a foundation of finding my deepest joy in my First Love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

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Here are a few of my gifts recently...

Birds chirping…creating their own symphony

Hearing a live blues/jazz band play at a local coffee shop

Seeing an older couple dance to said music

Blossoming friendships with other bloggers

Dancing to music while doing chores

Falling asleep to the soft and steady sound of rain

Creativity that comes with writing

The sound of the coffee pot brewing

Exploring new places after getting lost

What has filled YOU with joy recently?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Me, Myself, and I {Link Up}

Today, I’m linking up with Breanna, Kristen, Amanda, Shane, Danielle, and Jenna to participate in the “Me, Myself, and I” link up.

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Time to tackle those questions…

1. What is your biggest phobia?

I’m not sure if it’s a phobia, but I hate swimming in water where I can’t see what’s beneath me. I grew up in Florida where most of the beaches along the panhandle have crystal clear blue water. So, I don’t like swimming in murky water. Eeeek! It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about what I may be swimming on top of…

2. If you could relive any day of your life, what would it be and why?

Oh goodness, this is the toughest question in my opinion. There isn’t one day that stands out in my mind…I have many days that bring sweet memories. But, I would like to go back a relive a day in fifth grade. There are so many things I loved about that year!

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what would it be?

I’m only 19 now, so I have lots of living to do. But, my mom always says that each year gets better and better! If I could choose an age to stay, I would pick 30. By then I’ll be in my 8th or 9th year teaching, probably married to my best friend, and getting ready to have (or adopt) a child. What’s not to love about that?!?

4. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

I haven’t been mistaken for a celebrity before! But, I would love to be mistaken for Kate Middleton. I can’t think of one woman who would be opposed to that.

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5. What songs are included on the soundtrack of your life?

-"To Whom It May Concern" by The Civil Wars
-"Dance With Me Baby" by Ben Rector
-"Dreams" by The Cranberries
-"Liberty" by Shane & Shane
-"Seeds" by Brooke Fraser
-"Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison

Now, it's your turn to link up! I would love to see how you'd answer the questions. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Writer’s Notebook

If you spend time around me, you’ll discover that I think about my future classroom a lot. I’m always collecting ideas to use during field experiences, student teaching, and eventually in my own classroom. I read tons of teacher blogs and I’m constantly inspired by these educators with such a passion for teaching. I’ve also discovered countless ideas through Pinterest…more than half of my boards are geared toward my future classroom.

In addition to these great resources, I keep an idea notebook. I love having something tangible to jot down ideas in. Over the weekend, I started my own writer’s notebook. I was inspired by Jordon from Life Is Better Messy Anyway. She recently shared about using her writer's notebook as a writing journal in her fifth grade classroom. The notebook is full of various ideas and mini lessons to use with her kids.

I want my future students to not only become strong writers, but to enjoy creating stories. In order to foster the love of writing, you need to encourage creativity! I enjoy writing the most when I'm able to choose the subject and I know it will be the same with my future kiddos. Therefore, I'm starting to fill my writer's notebook in a way that is unique to me. These ideas are not my own, but borrowed from other teachers.

Here are a few pages of writing inspiration so far:

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Heart maps serve as a visual reminder of what a student loves and cares about.

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As readers, we can easily become attached to the books that we love. Why not write about those books?

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Instead of writing about a broad topic, you can narrow it down to a particular aspect of that topic.

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I snagged this idea of writing about an artifact from Jordon who snagged it from Ralph Fletcher. During my senior year of high school, I completed an externship in a second grade class. I was able to leave early every day to go to the elementary school. I received this sweet note on the last day of school and it meant a lot to me. So, I decided to use it as my artifact and write about it!

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You can jot down topics that might "blossom" into stories later. When you're having a writer's block, turn to your list and choose a topic to write about.

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Students are able to connect with their writing if given the freedom to write about what they know well. I made a few lists of what I could write with lots of detail about...

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This is one of my favorite ideas! Pictures carry so much emotion and have the ability to take you back to that moment. I wrote about a picture that was taken when I was in first grade. When I look at this picture my mind flashes back to that time!

{Be sure to check out Jordon's blog! Many of these ideas came from her.}

Saturday, July 14, 2012

When a Passion Becomes a Calling

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

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 As I was having my quiet time yesterday, I kept coming back to the thought that God uses our passions to fulfill His purposes. It is an incredible truth to me that God places individual callings on our lives. Even more so, that our calling is much greater than just a culmination of our strengths.

I was thinking about the conversations I’ve had with friends recently. One of the topics that always comes up is what we’re passionate about. I treasure getting to hear about the passions that are deeply ingrained into who they are. These passions fuel them. Energize them. It’s the neatest thing to watch their eyes light up as they share their dreams and visions.

My friends have such unique passions. One has the biggest heart to work with women and to have them know their immense worth in Christ. One loves art history and dreams of working at a fine art museum one day. One has a passion for health care and medical missions. One has an eye for clothing design and a desire to see the fashion industry changed. One has a deep love for the Spanish language. One wants to be a business woman that uses her management to glorify God. One dreams of the day when she’ll be called “mama” for the first time. The list goes on…

My mind races back and forth with excitement as I think about my own passion{s}. My heart is to be in the classroom. I want to be a teacher that is marked with Christ’s love for my students and I know that God placed this passion on my heart.

We are all wired uniquely by God in such a creative way. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many believers discredit their God-given passions. They make the mistake of believing that you have to be called into missions or ministry in the traditional sense for your passion to have value in the Kingdom. This is not how it should be!

Whatever passion you have stirring in your heart, I believe God is saying “go for it!” Pursue that wholeheartedly. When you do what you’re passionate about with excellence you reflect the holy God of heaven.

If you’re a writer…write pieces that you’ll still be proud of in the future.

If you’re a nurse…treat your patients with gentleness and tenderness.

If you’re a photographer…invest in your clients as you capture those moments.

If you’re a musician…create music that has meaning.

If you’re a coach…teach your kids about leadership and integrity.

Etc.

You don’t have to separate your passions from how you serve God. It is not as much about what you are doing, but WHO is in your heart as you do it.

I will end with the same scripture I started with…

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Things

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These are a few of the little things that brought me joy yesterday…

Sitting in the rocking chairs on the front porch. I poured myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my Bible and journal, then headed to the front porch. I cherish these summer mornings.

Starting a new book that immediately captured my attention. It was overcast and drizzly outside, so I curled up underneath a throw blanket to read my latest memoir.

Listening to one of my favorite Pandora stations. The Civil Wars blended perfectly with a rainy afternoon.

Venturing outside after the rain passed. The air was damp and slightly chilly…a welcomed change from the heat and humidity.

Walking up the road a little ways to admire the beauty of this place I call home. Windy roads and lush greenery.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I Wish I’d Known From Year One


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{First grade...1996-1997}
My mom just completed her 30th year teaching and I want to brag on her a little bit. Anyone who has spent time around a teacher knows how hard and long they work. There is so much more to the job than just spending your days with kids. My mom has poured herself  into her students over the past 30 years and I admire her more than she knows. I’ve grown up in her classroom and spent countless hours in the place that has been her home away from home. I've also had the joy of watching her in action many times where she transforms from "mama" to "Mrs. Shepherd." She has such a calm and loving presence as a teacher while maintaining a firm grasp on behavior management. There is no doubt that she was meant to be a teacher.

She spent the majority of her 30 years in the primary grades until she decided to take on middle school the last four years.

She has taught:
3 years of pre-k {2 of which were ESE}
5 years of kindergarten
15 years of first grade
3 years of second grade
2 years of 6th, 7th, 8th grade reading {ESE}
2 years of 6th grade language arts

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{Second grade...she was pregnant with me here!}
I find myself going to her all the time for advice and questions about teaching. I love hearing her stories and soaking up the wisdom she has. I asked her to share what she wish she had known from year one. Here is what she said:

1. Keep a journal of all the funny things your students say and do.  You can pull this out when you're having a stressful or rough day to remind you why you went into teaching...the kids.

2. Have a set time for schoolwork each day (you NEED a personal life).  This becomes even more important when you're married and/or have children! It's okay to stay late one or two days a week, but have a set time to leave the other days and stick to it.

3. Be open to teaching a different grade level (you may love it!). I spent many years in the primary grades and was hesitant to teach the upper grades. When I moved to middle school, I discovered that I loved the older kids just as much as the little ones. I wish I had tried 3rd, 4th, or 5th...I would have loved it.

4. Understand that even the best teachers will occasionally be criticized by a parent. There will be many parents that encourage you, but you won't always "jive" with every single one. Know that this happens to the best of teachers!

5. Know that God gave you that challenging student to teach you something. They will stretch you and test you, but you will also learn from them.

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{Second grade...I absolutely adore this picture.}
I can't wait until my mom can help me in my classroom! I'm sure she will see many of her strategies utilized in my classroom that I've learned from her over the years. After all, they do say "like mother, like daughter."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scones on Sunday

On Sunday night, I decided to make samoa scones for an extra birthday treat. As I was baking in the kitchen, my mom grabbed my camera and started snapping photos. She exclaimed that I needed to have pictures to remember how I spent the night of my 19th birthday. It wasn't anything grand, but I love nights spent at home. I watched Sabrina while the scones baked. It doesn’t take much to make this girl happy.

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 So, there you have it...pajamas, no make up, and cozy nights at home.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dear Samantha…

Hey you! You’re now 35…what a great age. Your mom always said that each year gets better and better. :)

I know it seems as if your first year teaching was ages ago, but I hope you haven’t forgotten the passion that you had for education. Teaching brings you so much more joy than you could have imagined. Know that you will have days where you’re completely overwhelmed and stressed. But don’t let those days steal your love of being in the classroom. Remember in college when you dreamed of the day that you would have your very own classroom full of munchkins? Remember that passion always! Never stop learning. Laugh with your kids. Be their biggest encourager. But most of all, love on your kids. Invest your time in each child…even the ones that challenge you the most. You may be their only example of Jesus.

Be sure to love on your own kids every single day! Remember that you don’t want to just be a mother, but a mama. There’s big difference. Rock them to sleep when they’re little and cover them with kisses. Notice how they change and grow. Play with your kids. Dance in the living room. Run around the backyard. Tell them every day that you love them more than they’ll ever know. Tuck them in at night and pray over them. Discipline them. Know that they’ll frustrate you and make life messy, but you wouldn’t want it any other way. Be an example of a woman that seeks the Lord…they will learn from you. May they see a vibrant relationship and not a pious religion.

Whenever your husband gets home, greet him with a kiss that makes your kids embarrassed! Remember how you longed for the day that he would enter your life? Remember how you so longed to know his heart? To know his passions. To know his voice and his laugh. To know the light in his eyes as he talked about the Lord. Well, don’t take any of that for granted now that he is a part of your everyday life! Pray for him…that he continues to love the Lord more than he loves you. Pray for him as he leads your family. Oh, may you still be giddy when he kisses your forehead and feel so secure when he wraps his hand around yours. Let him hold you always. Kiss him lots! Be silly with him. Remember how he made your stomach do somersaults (in the best way possible)?  Tell him that you respect him. Remember how important your words are! Know that you won’t always agree...you will have arguments. He will make you mad and disappoint you, but you will do the same to him. Set aside time for just the two of you…have date nights. May you cherish and honor this man that holds your heart.

Be sure to call your parents often! They mean the absolute world to you, and love you more than you could ever know. Spend time with just your mom. She is one of your best friends and you’ve always had a special relationship with her. She has always been your biggest supporter!. Be sure to go on daddy-daughter dates. Your dad loves you so much more than you realize…cherish the relationship you have with him. I can only imagine the proud grandparents they’ve become!

Most important of all, may you seek the Lord each day! Remember that you’re the bride pursued and get to live daily in the greatest romance of all. Pursue intimacy with Him. He will be found when you seek Him wholeheartedly. Read through some of your old journals to be reminded of His faithfulness in your life. Know that the Word is your lifeline. Spend time in His presence. Remember you can’t give out what you don’t have yourself. Remember that He isn’t a stoic God that is far off, but a God of intimacy that is present at all times.

Be intentional about the relationships God has placed in your life. Be the best teacher you can be. Love your own kids fiercely. Grow more and more in love with your best friend. Seek to live with the attitude that all glory belongs to Him. Don’t rush away your days.

Update: I'm using this post I wrote over a month ago to link up with Harley & Jane for their journal prompt series.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Coffee Date


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Today I'm linking up with Allissa from Rags to Stitches to share what it would be like if we were to have a coffee date. Whether it be at Starbucks or a local shop, I'm always up for a coffee date. So if we met for coffee, here's what I imagine would happen...

...we would first scout out a cozy corner table to put our bags down before getting in line to order.

...I would order a grande white mocha americano, how about you?

...we would start talking while waiting for our drinks, but nothing too serious.

...we would make our way back to the table and dive right into the conversation. We would probably start out by talking about the books we've read recently and then move on to talk about the blogs we have a mutual love for. We talk as if these girls are our best friends...

...I would tell you of my summer adventures so far. Nothing grand, but adventures none the less.

...then I would tell you about my birthday and how excited I am for this next year.

...I would gush about how excited I am to be one year closer to having a classroom full of kiddos (I'm a teacher nerd...). I would tell you that I can't wait to go back to school because I truly love being there. 

...I would want to know all about your life lately and what you've been learning. I would treasure getting to hear about the passions on your heart and what you've learned from the Word recently.

...I would share with you what I've struggled with lately, but also what I've learned from the Lord.

...I'm sure we would talk about our dreams for the future and our excitement would spur one another along. I would push you to keep chasing your dream{s} and tell you that you're closer than you've ever been to achieving it.

...we would check the time and realize we'd been talking for two hours already and realize the sun was quickly setting.

...then we would get ready to go and I would tell you how I enjoyed every second of our date. We'd walk out together and make plans to meet again soon.

...I would get in my car with a huge smile on my face and reflect on how much I cherish our friendship as I pull away.

So, join me for coffee sometime?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Letter Day

fridaysletters

We made it through another week which means it’s time to write a few letters again! I’m linking up with Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds to participate…

Dear Janice (one of my best friends),

You’re engaged and my heart is bursting with happiness for you! I’m so thankful that we met during those awkward middle school days and forged a friendship that has been such a blessing to me ever since. Now, you’re getting to marry the man you love with all your heart!

Side note: She was proposed to on top of a waterfall…how romantic is that?!

Dear Ben Rector,

I just adore your music. I don't think I will ever get tired of your voice. I can't wait to dance to this in my kitchen with my {future} hubby one day.

Dear snail mail,

You are one of my favorite ways to communicate! I've especially loved the unexpected letters and packages you've brought lately. Keep 'em coming.

Dear Liz from explore. dream. discover,

Your photos make me want to move to Europe right this minute! You travel all over and capture some of the most breathtaking shots. Someday I'll visit these places too...

Dear summer days,

Despite the heat wave, you've been so very good to me. As much as I love school, I'm soaking up this time free of obligations. Please take your time in coming to an end.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Little List of Happiness

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{photos by Philippe Halsman}

Happiness is...

-laughing so hard that you're hunched over and red in the face

-seeing dads playing with their kids in the yard

-having sweet dreams that you don't want to wake up from

-the soft and feminine scent of perfume

-homemade chai tea lattes

-knowing that the Lord delights in me {Zephaniah 3:17}

-my dad's facial hair that tickles when I kiss him on the cheek

-reading a book under a warm blanket

-dancing to a favorite song

-conversations with your best friend

-hearing testimonies of God scripted love stories

-morning cups of coffee in my favorite mug

How would you describe happiness?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Music You’ll Love…

Some #throwbackthursday #ish. #FNO2011 at a lil boutique. (Taken with instagram)
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Johnnyswim is a singer-songwriter duo consisting of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano (the daughter of Donna Summer). They also happen to be married! I would describe their music as a mix of folk, soul, and pop. Their voices blend so perfectly together and I can't get enough. I've listened to them continuously over the past month or so and I couldn't recommend them more!

You can download their album HERE for free. Go check them out and let me know what you think!
Fun times #MarcCarthwright #photography (Taken with Instagram)
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They are just so so good. I hope you love their music as much as I do!
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