Friday, May 25, 2012


Let the "do it yourself" summer projects begin!!
I live for projects that are inexpensive, simple, and make a big change.  Here are three I've done this week.
This trash can was blue.  With a little spray paint, it's now a beautiful chocolate brown.  I was surprised at how much this little change did for my kitchen.
(Thanks, Mom, for your help with this!!!)
I always used these cute little baskets for storage in my bathroom, but it wasn't very user friendly.  I could never remember what was in each basket.  Because of this, I haven't really been using them.  But, I remembered the cute labels at Staples (from their Martha Stewart collection).  Now I have a system that I use every day!
I bought a new bedspread!  It was inexpensive and GRAY!!  Here's the before...
and the after...
I LOVE it!!  You can't tell from the picture, but it has accents of yellow that coordinates perfectly with the other colors in the room.  I didn't have to change any decorations or paint color!!
That's it!  Three quick, easy, inexpensive projects I completed this week!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shaking Off the Chains

It's the fourth day of summer, and I was at the gym at 5:15!  Can't begin to tell you how the devil fought me on it.  I missed yesterday because of a sleepless night filled with fear and nerves, but I wasn't going to miss today.  I told myself that God must have something really good in store for me.  Why else would the devil fight me this hard?

I took the plunge step and just like always - HE was there!  The longer I was there, the more empowered and hopeful I felt.  You see, God has blessed me with such a unique opportunity for such a time as this.  He's put this amazing gal in my life - so uplifting and encouraging!!  Whenever I've been with her I leave feeling like I've been loved on by God.  She's an expert in the field of nutrition and fitness and is setting me up with a regimen for these 10 weeks of summer.  I'm going to go back to school my best self! 

For far too long the devil has used weight (and the insecurity from it) to keep me chained down.  This summer I'm going to chip way at this bondage.  God is already strengthening and for the first time I know I can do this!  Every mile I run and every weight I lift will reveal a little more of the girl God created me to be - confident, strong, and fearless in Him!!      

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Vacation - Here at last!

Summer officially started at 1:35 p.m. on Friday when we pulled out of the school parking lot.  Good-byes said, paperwork finished, books put away, cabinets locked, computers checked out, carpets rolled up, and desks stacked.  Freedom was ours and the first place we headed was D'Arpino's!
 It was delicious and the company was spectacular!
When I got home, I discovered that my mom had surprised me by mowing my yard!  And, come to find out, she was going to clean my house (YIKES!) but, thankfully, my dad came and took her to lunch!
That evening I went to watch some of my favorite ball players!
 On Saturday I spent some much needed time clearing my mind while horseback riding.  It was a gorgeous day!  Then, that afternoon I worked in the yard a couple of hours.

Because my house IS SUCH A MESS and I knew I couldn't stay there without cleaning, I spent Sunday at Mom and Dad's relaxing and resting.  Look at the beautiful steak mom fixed for lunch!!  It tasted even better than it looks!
 After a nap, I did work on some assessments for next year for just a bit.
 Today I met Kayla in Branson!!  She's going to work summer school, so we had to get together while we could.  I must say, our time together was unlike any other.  We're both so wiped from the school year, we moved pretty slowly and sometimes just looked at one another.  Lunch seemed to revive us some.  I loved just getting to visit with her!!  Some big things are happening in her life right now.  I can't wait to share them and give God all the praise for the mountains He's moved!
I love these purchases I made today:
Ahh....yellow and gray!!
I closed on my home refinance at 4:00, then Sara called and asked if I could get together later for dessert!!  We kept it simple and met in Ozark at Orange Leaf.  This was my first time, and I LOVED it!  The birthday cake was amazing!!!
We had such a great time talking about everything!
Tomorrow it will be time to get down to work on this MESSY house!!  You can tell that all I did the last week of school was come home and drop things.
I can't stand it any longer!!!
It will feel so good to have a clean, straightened house!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Words of Inspiration

"Words cannot express how much we love you and appreciate your faithful ministry to Gracie.  We hope and pray that as your rose bush grows you will be reminded of all those live you've touched - even the thorny and crooked ones - and see the beauty they become when pruned and watered, and grown in the sunshine.  You pouring out your love, encouraging them with kindness and guiding them with your gentle discipline will help to shape some of the best people of the world.  Words are not enough to express our love and gratitude for you!  Thanks for helping to grow Gracie in Grace."

I received these beautiful words in a thank you note a few years ago along with this rose bush.
Words of thanks have become words of inspiration for me.  When I'm dealing with difficult students God uses these words to encourage me to keep trying. 

I love the beginning and end of each school year.
I love the excitement, endless possibilities, and hope that fill the first days.
And I love the reflection and celebrations of growth that fill the last days.

I can't believe that today is the last day of school and that another year has come and gone.  Being a public school teacher can be a tiring, draining, difficult job at times, but I love it and don't take the opportunities I'm given to teach and share the love of God lightly.
It's more than a job.  It's a training ground for the future.  It's a mission field.
It's my passion!!   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fourth Grade Celebration

Fourth Grade Celebration is coming up on Wednesday.  I LOVE spending this time with my kiddos, just hanging out and having fun while we celebrate the end of their time at High Pointe.  We always end with a slide show featuring pictures from the year and some pictures of when the kids were younger. 

Someone suggested that the teachers should include a younger picture of themselves.  In my hunt to find the right one I came across these:
 Still have this t-shirt!  It was my Aunt Carole's professional softball team.  This actually the same shirt in the history museum in St. Louis, next to the zoo.  :)
 LOVE this picture!!
 Still have this bear too!  His name was Cuddles.
 I have such wonderful childhood memories!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Weekend Whirlwind

This weekend went by in a blur, but then don't they all?

It started with a perfect evening horseback ride as soon as I got out of school Friday.  I was excited that Tonya was able to go too.  It was so much fun!!  It really was just a perfect evening!!

Saturday we watched Chase play some basketball.
 Tournament champs!
 Mid-afternoon he had a break in games, so Mom and I went to school to get some much needed organizing and packing done.  While I worked on purging some things in the filing cabinet, Mom packed up my entire library.  Then, she helped me reorganize my tall cabinet.  Look how user friendly this will be!!
After working for a couple of hours, we rushed to catch a little of Jacob's baseball game (no picture because it was rainy!) and then headed back for more basketball.

After church today we went to watch Garrett's baseball tournament.
 I'm bummed I didn't take pictures, but after the game Mom, Grana, and I went to lunch.  We plenty of time for catching up while we had a long wait on a table!

This is my last Sunday night before school is out.  I'm looking around at my messy house, reminding myself that in one week I'll have all the time in the world to pick up, clean, and organize.  For now, I'm going to write an end of the year letter to my class, get pictures ready for a slide show, and write comments for grade cards!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

It's Teacher Appreciation week at school.  Our PTA has students wear our favorite color(s), bring in our favorite snack and drink, gift cards to our favorite restaurants and places to shop, and some wish list items for our classroom.

I have been SO incredibly blessed this week!  This is just some of the many things I've received.  My cup runneth over!!!  I loved seeing all the kids wear yellow and grey.  All the extra hugs and "I love you's" have been wonderful too! 
There's no way someone could deserve all this lovin'!  In the middle of the long to-do lists, behavior managing, and extra time spent at school this is a much needed reminder that what I do matters!

**I have to point this out.  I'm not sure it will show up in the picture, but that basket has a yellow and grey liner.  SO cute!  It's full of fun post-its, magnetic list pads, Expo markers, yellow candy, and a peaceful CD to play during writing.  I've had the privilege to teach three amazing boys from this family!!  While I certainly don't talk about the things I love, this mom has taken an interest in noticing these things and has me totally figured out!!  Nothing says love and appreciation like that!

Getting to the Bottom of Things

The bottom of my desk, anyway! In the craziness of the last few days of school, I have so many piles on my desks.  Projects that are not quite finished and can't be put away.  Piles that I have to just drop and go because so much management is required at this time.

Here's my desk after school.   (This picture just does not do it justice!)
 I stayed late tonight to finish up some things and to get rid of those piles.  My brain is so much clearer when my desk is organized!  Although, to be totally honest, some piles still exist.  I just relocated them!  :)
Also, I HAVE to say a big THANK YOU to a special lady.  I'm so thankful for my dear friend, Leslie, who has given her time to take down my Word Wall, hall display, and Social Studies wall.  I'm beginning to catch my breath!  Thank you, Les!!  I SO appreciate it!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Many More Days?

I can't sleep.  This and the fact that I wasn't asleep until well after 2:00 last night leads me to believe that I have too much on my mind.  Are the last 6 1/2 days always this crazy?  They must be.  I must block them out.

In an attempt to sleep peacefully, I'm going to write down all the things running through my mind over and over and over.  Then, maybe, my brain can shut down and rest.  :)

Things to do in the next 6 1/2 school days:
  • finish classroom projects (picturing writing, memory book, class compliments)
  • grade the last of the quizzes
  • take pictures of Field Day and make CD's for each student
  • write thank you note to Adopt-a-Class partner
  • finish grade cards and write comments
  • clean out filing cabinet
  • reorganize tall cabinet
  • finalize summer list of school project to complete
  • go over parent orientation packet for next year (get it ready for mom to copy)
  • take down Social Studies wall
  • take down Word Wall and alphabetize
  • take down outside hall display
  • pack up classroom library
  • get parent and student letters ready for August
  • pick up gifts for parent volunteers
I'm confident I will have to make a couple of trips to school "after hours" to get everything done, but it's worth it to leave for summer knowing everything is just right.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Because of baseball and basketball tournaments next weekend, we celebrated Mother's Day early this year.  The whole weekend was exactly what I needed.  It started out with a beautiful horseback ride Saturday morning, and then I got to come home and catch up on things at home.

I've been so behind in my writing birthday cards.  (I like to give handwritten cards with notes about special things from their life at this moment.)  April hit pretty fast and furious and I never got a chance to sit down and really think about what I wanted to write in Abby, Chase, and Garrett's cards.  Saturday I had time to do it!  I also wrote out Mom's Mother's Day card and a little to Dr. Kopp (my principal).  Can you tell that words of affirmation/encouragement is one of my love languages?  :)
 I got my dish ready to take mom's, too.
 Finally, I mowed the yard.  While the weather may not always cooperate, I really like to get this done on the weekend.
For Mother's Day this year I wanted to take a picture with each mom and her kids.
Here's my beautiful momma and sisters!
 Funny story...while we were trying to take the picture, Chloe climbed up.
We moved her out, but...
 she weaseled her way back in under my mom's legs.  Can we say persistent?
 Tonya, Jacob, Abby
 Tina, Chase, Garrett, Ethan
Grana, Mom
(We still miss Debbie.)
 Grandma, Dad, GayeAnn
(We still miss Carole, too.)
GayeAnn, Hannah
 Hannah, Kenley
 Brenda, Matt
It was a great day of sharing and catching up!

I'm so thankful for my precious mom.  She is such a selfless woman, always doing for others and putting her family first.  She's my biggest encourager and prayer warrior.  She's the first one I call with news to celebrate or cry about.  When I'm feeling lonely, discouraged, or impatient she always reminds me that God has a plan for me and that His timing is perfect.

I love you, Mom, and am so thankful for you!