Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Back

I can definitely say that 2010 was a CRAZY year for me! I learned a lot, had some interesting experiences, made a lot of new friends, started a career, and fell in love all over again. Here are some things that I learned this year:

-Trust God no matter what. He knows what He's doing, and in the end He's going to make things work out for you.
-Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
-Don't be afraid to tell someone how you feel, good or bad, because in the end you have to do what's best for you.
-Love freely. Love who you love, when you love them, for whatever reason you love them. And if you can't stop loving someone, trust that God's got a reason for that.
-Apply for a million jobs until you land the right one.
-Have faith.
-Hold tight to your family, through good and bad. A wise woman once said "We'll get through this. We're a family, and that's what families do."
-Look for the little joys. They are what make life worth living.
-Yell when you need to. Cry if you have to. But don't ever go to bed angry.
-Forgive. Simple to say, hard to do, but essential to getting through life.
-Listen to your instincts/heart/conscience. Chances are they probably know what's going on.
-Say "I'm sorry."
-Find something to be thankful for every single day, even if it's something trivial. You'll be more aware of your blessings if you do this.
-Reconnect with old friends. It's worth it.
-Don't let the little bothers bring you down. It's not worth it.

I love this verse, and I think it completely summarizes 2010 for me:
"When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other."
-Ecclesiastes 7:14-17

And now it's on to 2011! God's got BIG things in store for us, and I'm so excited to see what's going to happen.
Also, H and I have started a new blog for 2011. It's mostly me doing the updating, but it's to chronicle everything we have going on this coming year. This blog will obviously still be my priority; the other blog is a photo blog--1 picture a day for 365 days.

I pray that God blesses you and your family this coming year! See you in 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well, Christmas was simply perfect this year. H came home and stayed at my parents' house and got to experience all of our Christmas traditions. We went to church Christmas Eve to hear Mindy and my mom sing in the choir, opened presents together Christmas morning, and spend a lot of quality family time together. Christmas day we went to H's mom's house to do presents with her and have dinner. It was a wonderful Christmas-- there was snow, traditions, and family time! My sister didn't go into labor like we'd hoped, but there's still time before New Years! All in all, probably one of the best Christmases I've had.

Got some pretty sweet stuff, too. Mom and Dad got us new knives, a hand mixer, and a rolling pin for our kitchen, among a bunch of other stuff. Mindy got H a wine kit and got me a bunch of cute decorative stuff for the apartment, H's mom got us some body products (Olay for me and Axe for him) and gift cards, and my best friend and her boyfriend got us amazing candles from Bath and Body Works for the apartment. Christmas is definitely not about the gifts for us, but I LOVE to see people's faces when they open the presents that I got them! :) It just makes me happy to see people enjoy what I get for them. Hahaha it's one of my favorite parts of Christmas get-togethers!

So now I get to enjoy having no work all week. Thank gosh, too, because I desperately needed a break. This year is so incredibly overwhelming with work and all the "experiences" I'm having there, and we're only halfway through with it. I thought I was desperate for summer vacation when I was a student, but being a teacher and craving summer vacation is way more intense!!! So tonight I'm enjoying staying up late on a Monday night since I don't have to be up tomorrow. I just have this horrible feeling that this week is going to go by way too fast, though.

Less than 100 teaching days left this year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

365 Days Ago

One year ago today, I was receiving my bachelor's degree from BGSU.

One year ago today, I was convinced that I would never be in a relationship with H again.

One year ago today, I had no idea what God's plan for the next year of my life would be, and I was terrified about what would happen.

In 365 days, I have begun my career. I am with H, and we are planning our future family together. I am expecting my first nephew. I have seen what trusting God with your life can do. And I am not disappointed in the least by how amazing He has been to me!

I'm excited to see what the next 365 days will bring! God is so good!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why I hate being sick

I'm stuck sitting/laying on the couch surrounded by used kleenex and bottles of medicine, and from my couch I can see the laundry that needs put away, the dishes that need done, the trash that needs to go out, and all the little things that need to be put away. And I don't have the energy or desire to do any of it.

I hate this.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow day!

Presents all wrapped and under the tree!

Got my first official teacher snowday today, so I spent it wrapping the last of the presents and making cookies (those pics will be posted in a bit). Now if only it could blizzards for just ONE more day...!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas shopping...

is done 3 weeks before Christmas! Here's hoping it all ships in time for Christmas!

Christmas Prepping!

Spent the day doing Christmas prep: buying gifts, wrapping presents, and making/decorating cookies! It was perfect :)

Making cookies

Being silly while we decorate  :) (He makes me smile)

Decorated cookies!

Presents!  Love my penguin wrapping paper

Our family Christmas picture <3


Thursday, December 2, 2010


I feel ridiculously exhausted today. I'm hoping that I'm not coming down with something, but I've got a headache, I'm phlemmy, I'm feeling a little achy, and even after a night full of sleep I'm absolutely fatigued and exhausted.

I don't have the time (or desire) to be sick right now. First, it's only 1pm and I still have another 6 hours of work to get through. Second, I'm saving my PTO days for Carter's birth next month. And finally, I've got too much to do right now with curriculum stuff due to actually spend time resting and getting better.

I desperately need:
-hot tea
-my jammies
-a warm blanket
-tonight and tomorrow to go quickly
-a hug

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Time

The apartment is looking very festive, and it makes me super happy. The lights from the tree and the windows gives the house a warm glow, and it's very much putting me even more into the Christmas spirit! I love it--it's such a great feeling, and H and I are having such a great time decorating and starting our own Christmas traditions.

Our homemade stockings from 2008--still using them, only this time they are hung up together!

The wreath my mom gave us. It's perfect---it's the right size for our door, and it matches our tree perfectly.

Our beautiful tree! You can see the window lights/decorations in the background, too. It all makes me so happy :)

I bought cookie ingredients tonight, too. I'm making 5 different Christmas cookies to share and gift, plus gingerbread cookies--H and I have a tradition of making gingerbread cookies and decorating them together. It's one of our favorite traditions together.

Oh, and it snowed today! :) I'm absolutely feeling the Christmas spirit this year, and I love it!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

-An amazing family who is supportive and loving
-A future husband who loves me more than words can express
-A soon-to-be-born nephew/Godson who will grow up knowing how strong his mother is and how much he is loved
-A job (even if it's not perfect)
-A working car
-An apartment that is nice with cheap rent and free utilities/cable/internet

(I'll keep adding to the list as the week goes on)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Spirit

The perfect relaxation...curled up on the couch under a comfy blanket enjoying the soft glow of the Christmas tree.  I love the holidays!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Family traditions are something that have always been very important to me. I don't know why---maybe because I'm so close to my family? For whatever reason, I like the idea of traditions. I like the emotional appeal to them, and I like that it's something that I can continue to pass down to my children one day.

I like that I have used the same stocking (It's an original Rainbow Bright...hehe) since I was a toddler.
I like the recipes for Grandma Bread and Grammy's pumpkin pie are only used for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, and that they are passed down through the generations.
I like that my family would go out and cut down our own tree every year.
I like getting up at 8am on Thanksgiving morning to watch the parade with my sister and help my mom cook dinner.
I like all of these little things that to other people might seem like no big deal, because these are the little things that bring my family together every holiday season, no matter how far apart we are the rest of the year. I don't expect other people to really understand why they mean so much, but I hope they can at least realize that no matter how silly they might seem they are the things that I look forward to every year; without these little traditions, it just doesn't feel like the holidays to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is this what being an adult is supposed to feel like?

I honestly feel like I'm living for the weekend/summer. Most days, I don't look forward to work. In fact, I feel like work is just a thorn in my life right now, which is something that I'm not used to. I've disliked jobs in the past, but I've never had a teaching job that makes me really feel this way. It's not because I hate teaching, it's because I'm discontent with the structure of the type of school I'm teaching at. It's not at all what I had dreamed of, and I feel like maybe the charter-school setting just isn't for me. I like the structure of a traditonal school setting: after school programs, sports, music and art programs, set discipline procedures, Friday night football games where I watch my students perform, and so much more. Trust me, this has absolutely nothing to do with my current students, the staff, the curriculum, or anything else--I just feel like maybe the charter-school setting isn't for me at this point in my life.

On the bright side, I'm learning a lot about teaching and curriculum, which are things that I will be able to take with me through the rest of my career. And while this isn't my ideal first-year teaching experience, it's definitely not the worst it could be. Just praying for God to keep leading me through this and keep me focused on the positive aspects of it all.

And thank goodness for my family and H, who absolutely support me through all of the hardships, even when all I want to do/can do is cry! Seriously don't think I could do this all without them!

So maybe this isn't exactly what being an adult is supposed to feel like... but maybe it's feeling like this and learning from it that is what being an adult is all about.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Christmas was always a very big thing with my family. We would go out and cut down a tree together, bake cookies, and the house was full of so much Christmas spirit and love. None of that has changed, but over the past 5 years my Christmas spirit has slowly dwindled away. When my Grammy passed away in January 2006, it was like Christmas was no longer the same. Our family still went about doing things the same, but some little part of my Christmas spirit was gone.

This year, I feel my Christmas spirit coming back. This is H's and my first Christmas in our own home. And for some reason, this has really put both of us into the Holiday mood. I've been baking more and we've been working on Christmas presents already, this weekend we went to Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland with our friends and got some great ornaments, and today we put up our tree. Yes, it's a bit early to set up our tree, but ya know what? We are both feeling the Christmas spirit for the first time in years and we're so excited to be celebrating Christmas as our own family this year that we decided to go with it and let the Christmas spirit take over. Plus, it makes us happy! :)

This is our first Christmas as our own family, and is the first of many Keith family Christmases to come. We are so excited to be celebrating together and to be celebrating next Christmas as a (hopefully) married couple--God is truly blessing us! I really hope that the fact that our Christmas spirit is back this year that it only stays and keeps getting stronger for every year from now on.

Here are a few pics from this weekend around Frankenmuth, Michigan and in Bronners. It was seriously so great to have Rob and Teresa up here to spend time together and it was the best mini-vacation we've had in a while!

The 4 of us (Rob, Teresa, me, H) in front of a tree at Bronners

H and I in front of the tree at Bronners


H found one of those fun German "oompa" hats and had to embrace his German heritage


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quick Rambles

There are days when I am so thankful for my students and feel like maybe I'm making a difference. And then there are days like today, where I feel like I'm just a glorified babysitter to a bunch of teenagers who have no aspirations or determination. Feeling slightly let down by this, and wondering if I can change this. It's like what I say goes in one ear and immediately out the other...

On another note, I've decided I'm very excited for what 2011 is going to bring our way. I'll be finishing up my first year of teaching and enjoying my first summer off (and starting my 2nd year of teaching--yay me!), H will be graduating from BGSU, we'll be enjoying 2011 as our last Army-free year for who-knows-how-long, and we'll be getting engaged! Plus, depending on when H is set to leave for Basic Training, we might just be getting married in 2011, too! It's going to be a very exciting year for us, and I can't wait to see everything that God brings our way!!


Monday, November 8, 2010

My Sister's Babyshower

This weekend was my sister's baby shower for my little soon-to-be nephew! It was so much fun and it was great to see her surrounded by family and friends who support and love her. Here are just a few pictures:


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prayer works!

I have been incredibly overwhelmed due to teaching day school AND night school. Being at work from 7:15am to 6:30pm 5 days a week is so exhausting, both mentally and physically, especially with the group of kids I have at night school. It's like every kid with a behavior problem comes to night school and I spend most of my time "babysitting" instead of actually teaching. And after 5 days of that, I feel so mentally exhausted...actually, usually after 2 or 3 days of that, I feel mentally exhausted...

But it's come to a point where it was either figure out a different schedule for night school or I would have to stop teaching both day and night and just teach day school. The first year of teaching is so hard and overwhelming in the first place, but to add to it teaching for 11 hours a day and teaching kids who are so hard to teach in the first place, it was making me have breakdowns about once a week. I know my limitations, and I know that teaching day and night school 5 days a week was just too much.

I had been avoiding talking to my bosses about it, just out of fear of "rocking the boat" and the concern of losing my job if I did. But my bosses were amazing about it, and even came up with a great schedule for everyone in night school. We're switching over to block scheduling, so I'll actually only be teaching night school 2 nights a week. That means 3 nights a week (including Fridays) I get to come home at 4pm! I feel so thankful and so blessed that this all worked out, because I have been praying about for the past month--waiting for God to take care of me and help me get through this. And today He came through and provided for me (like He always does!) and I am beyond thankful. Feeling so blessed.

And now, on to my truths:
Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
I can honestly say there are a lot of people in my life that this has happened with. Nikie from high school is probably one of the biggest ones. We were inseparable my junior and senior years, and my freshman year of college, but then she moved to North Carolina and I got busy with college, and we just drifted. We still talk via Facebook once in a while, but it's not like we were before and I regret that. Also, the ladies that I lived with at my sorority house: Kimmie, Ellie, Jess, and Sarah. We were so incredibly close and after graduation we all went our separate ways. Jess got married, Sarah and I are teaching, Ellie is a nanny in central Ohio, and Kimmie moved back to Maryland; we don't keep in touch like I wish we would have. These girls were my best friends in college, and now I talk to them about once a month and see them a few times a year. It's sad, and I wish it was different.

Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
There is one person who I have spent the past year-and-a-half letting go of. We still talk once in a while, but not like we used to. She was a toxic personality who did nothing but bring me down and suck the joy out of me. I realized this sometime last spring and have distanced myself. I can't let other people bring me down, and I refuse to let someone else take my joy away. It's just better this way, as sad as it is, and I've felt myself change and become a much more pleasant person because of it.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

I love college.

I realized tonight that there were a lot of things in college that I took advantage of, that I now would KILL to get back. So here's my list:

-Sunday night sorority chapter meetings. I hated these, because I had to get dressed up, walk across campus in the cold, and sit through a business meeting. Now, I wish that my Sunday evenings were spent talking to my sisters and best friends, and that it was the only day during the week that I had to actually get dressed up. As much as the business aspect of it sucked, seeing groups of girls laughing while walking to Olscamp for chapter makes a little part of me jealous.

-9am classes. Another thing that I hated at the time, but if I could sleep in until 830 and get away with going to work in my sweats like I did for 9am classes, I would be in heaven. And along those lines...

-Living on campus. Okay, so living in the dorms legitimately sucks and I DO NOT miss that, I do miss living at the sorority house. Yes, sharing a bathroom with 7 other girls is rough at times, and the quiet hours were a pain in the butt, but having your best friends right there all the time, having 12 other closets to share, waking up to homecooked meals every day, and being literally a 5 minute walk away from class every day was like a perfect life.

-Only having to go to class/work for like 4 hours a day. Does this one really need an explanation?

-Being able to procrastinate until Sunday afternoon and still being able to get things done. I half-butted (for lack of a better term...) my way through most of my college classes and always had A's and B's. In the real world, they tend to notice that kind of stuff when they are paying your salary. So procrastinating till the day before and only giving 50% effort doesn't really cut it anymore.

-Sweatpants Monday through Friday. I literally lived in sweatpants/athletic shorts and hoodies/t-shirts all the way through college. I would wear them to class basically every day. Now I have to put on dress clothes and look nice Monday through Friday--which is totally over-rated. I wish I could totally show up to teach in sweats everyday; sometimes I feel like being an adult makes me neglect my comfy clothes, and they miss me. Being an adult makes me a neglectful sweatpants owner.

I was so eager to get out of college and start my adult life.
Now I wish I could be in college for a little longer...

Kiddies and Costumes

I'm having major baby-fever. Between my sister having a baby, and a lot of my friends and their husbands having babies, it's throwing my motherly-drive into high gear. And it's terrible, because H and I aren't financially ready to have a baby yet. We've talked about it, and we don't plan to start our family until we're married and he's got a steady income from the Army; it's just makes sense to do it that way. But every time I see a baby at the store, or look through a friend's baby photos on Facebook, or read a friend's baby blog, it makes me wish that we could start now. I'm 24 and in a stable job, I'm with the man I'm going to marry and we already know we want children together. I'm at a place in my life where I'm ready--but it's just going to have to hold off for a couple of years. I know that I'm born to be a mother; it's in my genes, and even H can see it. Which is probably why I've got major baby-fever right now. For now, I'll just have to suffice by babysitting my soon-to-be-born nephew! Can't wait to be an aunt!

Halloween for us was a lot of fun! Friday night, H and I went as Peter Griffin and Lois Griffin. H's costume turned out great, and mine was good except for the hair. I bought a cheap orange wig from Walmart, but it looked awful and totally ruined the costume. I ended up getting the orange hair spray stuff, but with my hair being so dark, it didn't show up very well unless I was in direct light. Overall, though, it was a very cute couples costume. Last night, we went in our legit costumes: H was a lumberjack (he's been growing out his beard and hair for 2 months to prepare for the costume) and I went as a ladybug. H even had an axe that I made out of a real axe handle and some aluminum foil. Our costumes turned out really good, and we both got a lot of compliments on them. Plus, it was nice to go hang our with our friends and have a good time. We haven't gone out to see them very much lately, just because of me being exhausted from work and H being busy with school stuff. But last night we got to see them and catch up and just enjoy having a fun Saturday night out. Hopefully we can do that more often!

Truth Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like poopy.
See Day 4 Truth: Someone you need to forgive.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Catching up on truths

Sorry, this week has been HECTIC--must be a full moon or something, because my students have been outrageous! So I'm using this post to catch up on my missed "truth" posts.

Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
I can think of a few things that I need to forgive myself for, things that I think about once in a while and get down about. I think the number one thing I need to forgive myself for is how I treated my family when I was younger, especially in middle school and high school. I am so close to my parents and my sister now, but that wasn't always the case. I still have so many regrets about how I acted and how I mistreated them, and I know that I can never make up for that. It breaks my heart that I behaved that way, and I honestly don't know if I will ever be able to truly forgive myself for that.

Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.
I still have so much hurt from my previous long-term relationship. I'm hurt that I was talked down to and often made to feel unimportant. I'm hurt that he never really showed his affection or care for me. And I'm hurt that he ever thought it would be okay to do that to me.

Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.
I hope that one day I can be an amazing mother and wife. I know that probably makes a lot of feminists upset--that I'm hoping to be a stereotypical version of what society has always wanted women to do. But I don't care. I know that I was born to be a wife and mother, and I can not wait until the day that I get to sit with my husband and hold our brand new baby. I can't wait to raise that baby, to go on field trips and play dates and go to their games (you know my kids will play sports! lol). And I can't wait to fall asleep next to the man I love and wake up next to him every day (okay, so I'm already blessed enough to get to do that!) and to make millions of memories together. I hope that I can be as amazing a mom and wife as my mom has been.

Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
I hope that I never have to experience the pain of burying my child. I can't even begin to imagine what that would feel like, I hope and pray that I never have to deal with that.

Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Just one person? Impossible. Off the top of my head, I can immediately think of 6 people who have made my life worth living for (and the 7th will be added in January when my nephew is born). My mom and dad (who I loving call Momma and Fashja) have made my life worth living for because I can't imagine who I would be without their love and support as I was growing up. My sister is worth living for because she is my sister and my best friend, and while she has made my life crazy at times, I can't imagine growing up without her. My 2 best friends, who I grew up with, have been there for me through so many things, and without them I don't know how I would have survived so many different experiences! And of course H... <3Photobucket

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Isn't What I'd Expected

My first year of teaching isn't quite turning out the way I had expected. I don't want to say it's ruining my first year of teaching, but it's been quite a learning experience and I think it's taught me a lot about what I'm looking for in a school district for next year. I'm continuing to trust God that He has a reason for me to be here, but every day it's so much harder to actually get out of my car once I'm in the school parking lot. I love my career, just not my job right now. God will get me through it, though, and I'll be a better teacher because of it.

On to day 2 of truth.
{2. Something you love about yourself}
I don't have the highest self-esteem, so sometimes finding something I love about myself can be hard. But I love my personality. I love that no matter how old I get, I'm still a kid at heart. I look for the fun and excitement in even the smallest places, and I love to laugh and enjoy life. I honestly hope that I never lose that ability, because life is too short and harsh in the first place than to take it seriously all the time. My youth pastor once told me "just because you have to get old doesn't mean you have to grow up" and I've taken that statement to heart. I hope to always have a child-like point of view (and faith!) no matter how old I am! (And I love that I have a future husband who has the same personality as me!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day 1

So apparently there is a thing going around the blogosphere to have people posting 30 different truths about themselves, one each day. I think I'm going to try it. I'll only post the full list once, but each day I'll start my post with the specific truth. Here's the full list:

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 2: Something you love about yourself.
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 5: Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 8: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like poopy.
Day 9: Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12: Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter.)
Day 14: A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15: Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16: Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18: Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19: What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20: Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21: (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22: Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24: Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25: The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27: What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28: What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30: A letter to yourself: tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

Something I hate about myself (although I prefer the term "don't like" instead of hate, because I'd love to believe that there's nothing about myself that I truly hate) would be my need to question and worry about things. I'm not a pessimistic person, and that's not what I mean by this. However, I usually feel the need to play out every possible scenario, good or bad, and worry about all the "what-ifs." There are times when doing that makes me feel more prepared for what could happen, and times when it drives me crazy because it's like I can't shut my mind down. I know it drives the people around me crazy (H especially!) but it's how I handle situations. I'm a worrier, and I'll probably always be one. I just wish sometimes I didn't have to do it for every little thing...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Autumn blessings

I love this time of year for so many reasons, but especially the weather and the colors. It's beautiful outside, it's perfect sweater weather, and there are so many fun fall activities to go do! H and I have been enjoying spending our weekends together, going out and having Fall fun. A few weekends ago we went to the Grand Rapids Applebutter Fest with a few of my friends from work. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (but a little warmer than we expected for October) and it definitely put us in the Fall mood! Last weekend we went to watch JJ and Jaxson play soccer and it was gorgeous--the drive there was out in the country and the leaves were so colorful. It's been great to enjoy the weather, spend time with friends, and to just enjoy being together.

Work has been a little rough. I'm finally adjusted to working such long days, but the kids have been absolutely chaotic lately (it's like there's a permanent full moon!) and my patience is wearing thin. I'm so discouraged by their lack of respect, not only for me but for each other and for their own education, and some days it's so hard to be excited about working. I've been listening to KLOVE radio on the way to work to put me in a positive mood and to spend some time with God to start my day. I can definitely feel Him working in my spirit and making me feel more uplifted when I get to work. Everyone around me seems to be so negative about things all the time, and I can't bear it; I need God's positive spirit and encouragement to withstand it all and to keep me going every day. Thankfully, my work BFF, Alysia, has been so wonderful to talk to and to be a true confidant at work. Some days, I honestly don't know what I'd do without her! I've also started praying in my classroom in the morning, not just for me but also for the kids and for God's spirit to be in my classroom all day. I can feel things changing, and I am so thankful to have God's presence in my life to get me through things.

The family is doing well. Mindy and Carter are both healthy and growing strong. She hasn't put on as much weight with him as I would have expected, but she definitely has a cute belly that I love to talk to. I'm so excited to be an aunt! Mom and Dad are both doing well, too. They are going to make the most amazing grandparents, and I can't wait to see how much Dad's heart melts when he first holds Carter! (Although if he cries, I know I will too lol) Her baby shower is coming up, and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things that she gets---Carter is going to be one lucky little boy to be surrounded by so many people who love him! It makes me feel so good to know that H and I will have that same kind of love and support when we start our own family (well a family that consists of more than a few lizards, a snake, and a fish).

Speaking of our own family, I can honestly say that H and I have grown so much closer since moving in together. We talk more, we pray together, and I have learned to appreciate him for so many little things that he does to take care of me. It is such a blessing to have him in my life, and I'm so happy this is the man God has chosen for me to spend my life with. I am also so incredibly proud to be marrying a man who is going to honor our country by serving in the United States Army. I don't care how crazy it's going to make our lives, I wouldn't dream of changing that plan in a heartbeat. I am absolutely willing to sacrifice my own desires to follow the path that God is leading us down, even if that means PCSing every 3 years to a new base, spending more time away from my husband than with him, and moving hundreds of miles away from my family. I truly believe that this is God's plan for us, and I'm willing to follow it--mainly because He definitely knows what's best for us, but also because that's what you do for love. I can't wait to marry this man and start our family!

So overall, life is good. This Autumn has brought about so many blessings and so many things to be thankful for, and it's been wonderful. And while I've been super exhausted from work, I can honestly say that this is an amazing time in my life. Maybe being an adult isn't so bad, especially when you have God's blessings to look forward to!


What has happened...

To our children?

I remember a time when bullying was fairly harmless and didn't make kids feel like their lives aren't worth it. I remember when kids passed notes and didn't have to use technology to talk to their friend who is sitting 10 feet away. I remember when kids were respectful and it was an oddity for a kid to be super disrespectful to an authority figure, not the norm.

Every day I'm even more amazed at the students I interact with. I realize that it's a completely different demographic than what I grew up with. But that shouldn't be an excuse for kids to say the things they say or act the way they act. I'm disheartened by what I see, and I am praying every day for restored faith in humanity and our future generations.

Pray with me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our hearts desires (even if we avoid them!)

Every morning on my way to work, I listen to KLove Radio (a fabulous Christian station we get in Toledo--but it's actually a national station. Check it out here) which puts me in a very positive and spirit-filled place. I love this station, and often God speaks to me by what the DJ's are talking about or the songs they play (always seem to come at just the right time...)

On Wednesday, one of the DJ's said something about how God knows the desires of our hearts, even if we don't want to admit that's our desire. Oh how true that is!! I spent months trying to tell myself that I didn't love H and that I didn't want to be with him anymore. I pushed him as far out of my mind (and my heart, so I thought) as I possibly could just so that I could try to move on with my life and see what God had in store for me. But He knew the desires of my heart, even when I didn't want to admit them or tried to push them away from me, and His plan was to bring us back together when the timing was perfect.

It makes me laugh when I think about it. I mean, I honestly can not imagine my life with anyone else. As silly and cheesy as it sounds, it's very true. And no matter how complicated the Army may make our future together, I will never give up our relationship or love for him because God never gave up on it. He truly has blessed us and brought us together, and why should I ever worry or want to give that up? If God is for us, who/what do we need to fear? Nothing, not even the Army or deployment or long periods apart. God is so amazing!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweatpant Saturdays/Sundays

I love love LOVE lazy weekends at home! I mean, anymore with how crazy work is, I tend to live for the weekends anyway. I need the weekends to recoup and actually remember that life can be totally enjoyable. So this weekend, H and I decided to spend Saturday laying around the apartment spending time together, watching our favorite show on DVD (to catch up on past episodes), and cooking an amazing dinner together. It was so relaxing and such a great bonding time for us--something that we've needed! Today, we slept in, made breakfast together, watched a little How I Met Your Mother (our fave show right now!), and we're spending the rest of the day going apple picking and then studying/doing lesson plans. It's really nice to just spend some quality time together and relax while doing things that we enjoy.

It's like the blessings just keep coming!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes I forget...

Just how blessed I am. After what could have been an argument that ended pretty rough, H and I actually had a chance to talk things out and work on our communication. I honestly feel like this is the first time we've come out of an argument or situation like this and have truly been stronger because of it. I am so blessed to have this wonderful man in my life, and I thank God for that every day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting the Hang of It

For the first time in 3 weeks, I actually feel like maybe I'm getting into a routine with work and starting to get the hang of things. It feels good, and I wish it could happen more often. I think it's because I'm prepping for classes more.

I had one goal this week (okay, two if you count "survive"): get next week planned out, copies made, and ready to go by Friday afternoon so I don't have to worry about anything this weekend--Mom, Dad, and Mindy are coming to visit and I don't want to have to worry about any of my school stuff while they're here. So I kicked major curriculum butt this week and accomplished my goal by Thursday afternoon. I'm not worried about next week, because everything is not only planned, but all of the copies are made and taken care of so I don't have to worry, especially if the copier goes down again (it was like a national disaster at school on Wednesday when it happened...). It feels great! Lets just hope that this keeps going!

The first year is always the hardest. Always. But I'm asking God every day for strength and patience, and relying on Him to get me through. I just hope next year doesn't feel as stressed or overwhelming as this year does.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Today was a very important day. It's not a birthday or an anniversary, or a national holiday. It was "To Write Love On Her Arms" Day. Never heard of it? Well take notice, because it's kind of a big deal.

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a national organization who's vision says that: "To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery." (from TWLOHA) It's such an amazing organization, and it's one that I have supported every year for the past 3 by participating in TWLOHA day.

The purpose of TWLOHA day is to promote discussion about the organization and its cause by writing "love" on your arm:

The idea is that when people ask about it, you have the chance to talk about something that is such an important issue to girls in society today. So many girls are going through depression, self-mutilation, and addiction, and it's often considered such a taboo subject to talk about. But that's not going to help anyone get over it or stop feeling so alone in their problem.

I knew girls in high school who dealt with all three of these issues. I have girls in my family who have. And I currently have students who do. It's a huge issue that is taking away the innocence and happiness of so many beautiful young girls, and it's something that we as a culture need to face head-on. Please, take a chance to go to and check out this amazing cause.

And say a prayer for all the girls (and boys) who are out there dealing with so many of these issues. They deserve nothing less than knowing the beauty of God's love for them and how beautiful they are in His eyes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grown ups?

I'm starting to realize that it's happening... I'm growing up and maturing. ::gasp:: I know, I never thought it would happen. But today I caught myself changing the radio station because I was tired of listening to random rap guys sing about sex and drop God's name every 5 words. Okay, so maybe that's not growing up, that's just my desire to live a more Godly life. I also realized this past weekend that I was excited to come home after doing some shopping and update my budget--seriously? Who does that? It's weird, because every once in a while I realize that I'm not the little girl who still is just going through life and waiting for everything to work itself out. I'm actually stepping into (and even embracing!) adulthood. And you know what? I don't hate it.

I feel like God is truly blessing me. I have a real salary job, a wonderful relationship that is heading towards the big M, an apartment with H, and I'm finally paying my own bills without overdrawing my account or letting bills go to collections. I feel like life has fallen into place, and it's such a wonderful feeling!

And for those of you who are worried about me being all mature and adulty: don't. Pastor Aaron Peternel taught me a very important lesson when I was a freshman in high school. "Being an adult in age doesn't mean you can't be a kid at heart." I will always have a kid-like mentality in my heart, and nothing can ever take that away! :)


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life Update

Okay, so while it sometimes feels like my life is solely consumed by teaching now, it's not. I've had a lot of other great things going on outside of work, and life is truly great right now!

I got into grad school! I will be starting my masters degree program in January at The University of Toledo. I'll have a Masters of Arts and Education in English and Education with a focus in English as a Second Language. Whew, that's a mouthful! Basically, it just means that I'll be licensed to teach students whose first language is not English. I had a great experience with it during my student teaching, and I want to follow that and see where it will take me. It's a great endorsement to have, and I want to explore the influence of incorporating all cultures into an educational environment on a student's academic and social success. I'm applying for the TEACH grant, which will pay for my tuition if I qualify, so fingers crossed for that! So I start in January and will just take one or two classes at a time for now.

Things with H are great, too. I was a little worried because of everything that had happened when Mike and I moved in together, but so far things have been wonderful! There are still times that we have to learn how to live together (ah, the great dishwasher debate...haha) but we seem to have a good balance of things. I feel awful about the fact that I'm gone all day and don't have the energy to clean or do dishes when I get home in the evening, which leaves a lot of it up to him to do, but I do as much as I can and he's very understanding of my work situation. We've found a nice church here in BG that we like, and we've been going to that (well, when we can) which has been great. God is really blessing our relationship, and I a so thankful for having hi in my life.

We had a talk yesterday at dinner about the whole Army thing and whether or not it's fair for me to be giving up so much to follow him as he moves around to follow his dream in the Army. He feels like it's not fair to me. I tried to explain (without crying, because Lord knows I always cry when we talk about this kind of stuff lol) that I can't imagine my life with anyone else and that I would follow him just about anywhere. Also, I can follow my dream of being a teacher just about anywhere we go for the Army; he can't follow his dream of being in the Army if he stays here in Ohio so that I can stay here to teach. I know it sounds crazy, and I'm sure there are feminists everywhere who are cringing at this idea, but I know that I can find a teaching job just about anywhere we go, so why wouldn't I follow him to an Army base so that we can have a future together? It's going to be a crazy ride, but at least I'm doing it with the most supportive and amazing guy God could have blessed me with.

The most awful thing that has happened in the past month? Our DVD player broke! :( Okay, okay--I guess that's not a big deal. But JP had just given us seasons 2, 3, and 4 of How I Met Your Mother to borrow, and now we can't even watch them! I keep pricing out DVD players, but the cheapest I can find them is like $30 and I just don't want to spend $30 on a DVD player right now. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and buy it anyway, but geesh---couldn't there be a cheaper one somewhere out there? Lol!

So, as of right now life is wonderful. Adjusting to work is taking some time but I love the kids and my coworkers. I'm excited to start grad school. And things with H are pretty fabulous right now. God is truly blessing me!


Teaching Update--Week 2

As promised, here is a real post updating on my teaching life. I'll post another update later about my life aside from work.

The first two weeks of school are over, and it has been a rollercoaster ride for sure! There are days that I'm absolutely loving my job, the kids, my coworkers, and life in general. And then there are days when I question what I'm doing here and if I can actually make it through the next 9 months. This year will truly be me relying on God for strength, patience, and support every single day to actually get through it all.

*The Kids*
First of all, my students are wonderful. Some of them are pretty rough around the edges, and a few of them have told me stories about their lives that make my heart break for what they have been through, but all of them have so much potential to be amazing as long as they actually stay focused on having a positive future. My classes are smaller than I had anticipated, firstly because I'm a Title 1 teacher (so all of my students have to have already attempted to pass the class in the past and have failed) and secondly because attendance and enrollment are low right now. On average for my day school, I have about 10 kids on my roster per class and about 4 that show up (some classes only have 1 or 2 that are there on a regular basis). The only class that isn't like that is my 6th period class, which is almost full every day. During night school, I usually have between 5 and 10 students who show up per period, but that's pretty normal for nigh school.

On the one hand, that can make planning for group projects and things hard because I never know how many kids to expect, and if it's a class that is usually only 2 or 3 students, then I can't do group projects at all. It's also hard because students who are only there a few days a week always want me to help the catch up on missing work. After spending Friday as a professional development day and talking with the head of my department, I think I've got a plan worked out for the latter issue. On the other hand, having small classes is great; I can spend more time really working one-on-one with students and giving the the focus that they need to really comprehend the material.

I've got students who I'm already building a great rapport with, and some students who are still trying to push the boundaries and see how far they can take it/how much they can get away with. Some of these kids really have no concept of basic ideas and principals behind the material that we're covering, and I'm having a hard time with that because I have to figure out new ways to approach and present material so they can grasp it. But they're generally good kids who just need someone who truly cares about being with them and who isn't going to just write the off or give up on them. I hope I can be that.

*The Coworkers*
My coworkers are phenomenal. It's a great group of people who are all around my age, who have the same sense of humor that I have, and who make working 11 1/2 hours a day somewhat bearable. Even after only a month of being with these people, I would already consider a few of them to be friends outside of the workplace. It's also nice that the head of my department has taken me in to be a kind of mentor to me in more ways than one: not only is she giving me so many useful resources and helping me figure out ways to balance day school and night school, she's also acting as my mentor to get me through the residence program so that I can apply for my 5-year license at the end of this year. It's great to be working with these people, not just because they are fun but because they are feeling as frustrated about some particular things within the school as I am.

*The Frustrations*
Okay, at this point there are a few things that I could put into this category. But we'll try to keep it short.

First of all, when I was offered the position I was painted a much different picture than what's actually going on. I was told that since I was teaching night school I could come in around 7:45am instead of 7:15am and that night school would be over around 5:30pm. In reality, I'm expected to be there at 7:15am and I don't get out of night school until 6:30pm. So I'm doing 11 1/2 hours of work each day. That's a lot more than I was anticipating, and it's an extremely long and exhausting day. By the time I get home at 7pm, I basically have no energy left to do anything--clean, do laundry, cook dinner, even grade papers and prepare for the next day of teaching. If it wasn't for the fact that I need the extra money for loans, I probably would have quit teaching night school and just moved back to day school only. But since I owe the banks the equivalent of a large luxury car in loan repayments, I continue to teach night school too.

I also feel like the motive behind some of the people who work there is totally off. I know I'm there 70% because I love teaching, 20% because I want to be in an inner-city school, and 10% because I need the money. My number one motivation for being there is because I truly have a heart for working in this particular setting with this demographic of students. However, this isn't the case with some people, which is heartbreaking--this is the kind of situation where you need to truly have a heart for these kids if you are going to be there, otherwise all you are doing is hurting the kids and their potential to grow. It's so aggravating when you know you're there because you genuinely care about these kids and other people are there solely to get data for a report or for the money; it's doing nothing but an injustice to these kids and their future. I guess that just means I need to step up my own game and really focus on making sure my heart is in the right place with this job to make up for where others aren't.

Overall, while I've got my frustrations and the days are so long that I can barely get anything done during the week, this is going to be a good first year of teaching. I need to figure out how to balance my work life and my social life right now, and I need to make sure that I'm organized and focused to help me get through the week. And most importantly, I need to remember that God put me here for a reason, and I need to see what He has in store for me and trust His plan.

As Mrs. Rose Brown (my favorite English teacher in high school, and the true inspiration for what I want to be as a teacher) told me: "remember your passion"


Pretty New Look

Obviously I've had some fun this weekend playing around with the look of things around here. I wanted something that better represented my personal style, and after a lot of looking I found this layout.

I also learned how to create a signature at the bottom of my posts. So now it's time to test it out. I'll post an actual update on life later this afternoon. :)