Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I ran across this today on Pinterest, and thought it summed me up nicely.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Church


Church

I went to church for the first time in a long time Sunday.  I can count on one hand how many times I attended church in 2014. 

I have been taking care of everyone else and attempting to make his or her lives better that I have been neglecting myself and taking care of myself.  I used to be so involved in my church.  I taught Sunday school and Wednesday night classes, was involved in United Methodist Women and was in church virtually every Sunday.  I don’t know what happened.  I have a plethora of excuses, but that is exactly what they are, excuses.  I simply got lazy.  Saturday night I made the decision that I was going to start taking care of my spiritual health that God would guide me, and everything else would hopefully fall into place.  I have always felt so at home at my church.  It is such a warm and welcoming environment, from the sanctuary to my wonderful Sunday school class.  I have attended another church in 2014, simply because that is where my boys go with their father.  I didn’t like it there at all. 

When the boys and I walked into church Sunday, the warm feeling of home filled me.  All of my senses were engaged and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I saw an old friend of mine sitting in one of the pews, so I decided to sit down next to her.  She was busy writing something down when I sat down next to her.  I simply touched her arm and said “Hello”.  She briefly looked up and said hello back, and went back to what she was doing.  Two seconds later, she looked up with her beautiful smile and told me that her and her husband has just been discussing me last night and how they wished I would come back to church.  I am convinced that it was her prayers that put it into my heart to make some positive changes for ME.  It felt so good to be back in one of my favorite places.  During the greeting, my friend and advisor asked me if this was my New Year’s Resolution.  I told her no, I don’t ever keep my resolutions; this was me taking care of myself.  This is a promise I want to keep.  My boys enjoyed being back in this church and my Justin sang all the songs at the top of his lungs, feeling the music.  After communion, we were sitting in the pew and he turned to me and asked me if I was going to start going to church regularly again, I told him yes.  His response filled my heart with joy and broke it all at the same time.  He told me that he was so happy that I said that, he had be praying for me to go back to church for a long time.  This from a 10-year old.  I could barely hold back the tears during the service and the warmth I felt in my Sunday school class was overwhelming.  It even seemed like our lesson was tailor made for me.  It was about how we can reach our goals concerning our relationship with God and what are obstacles are.

I had lost my way for a while, but I  am home again.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Teacher of the Year Essay

I had to write an essay for the teacher of the year award, even though I wasn't chosen as Secondary Teacher of the Year, I am very, very proud of my essay. The most rewarding part of this whole process is how proud I made my Mother. She has been my role model and inspiration my whole life.

Love you Mom.

Teaching is hard. Anyone who tells you any different is either lying, fooling themselves or simply not doing it right. I could write about how technology is constantly changing, how teachers need to keep up with the changes, and how we are teaching to a more diverse student population. These things are all true, but I think most teachers try to do them either on their own, with their own money or through professional development. The message I would like to stress to teachers, both present and future is not to give up, be there and learn to forgive. Most teachers come to the profession because they are “called”. Sure there is a small percentage that want holidays, weekends, and my personal favorite, “summers off”, but these few rarely make it a couple of years. The commitment and emotional energy is simply too much for them to handle. Teacher turn-over is at an all-time high all over the country. You and I both know that our students are more “diverse”, this means not only culturally but, in my opinion more importantly, socio-economically. As teacher we may be the only people in that student’s life that truly believes in them. When we come into the profession, fresh-faced and eager, we have it in our heads how our classrooms are going to be perfect, all our students are going be anxious to learn and constantly engaged, be polite and always exceed our expectations. Then reality slaps us in the face and everything we learned in college goes straight out the window. Been there, done that, I even have the T-shirt. We can be up on the latest technology and have all the coolest gadgets, but if we don’t form relationships and don’t give up on our students, it means little. I teach high school students, at an alternative high school. I have the students that just about everyone in their lives has given up on. These students have walls so high and so thick it would take a jackhammer a week to knock them down. So, how do I manage to get many of them to be successful? I don’t give up. So many of our students have defense mechanisms built up in them almost since birth. They are not going to let down the shields because some woman is nice to them. They will test you by doing and saying things to try to hurt you. Why? What did I do to deserve this? Nothing. They are not doing this because they hate you. They do these things to see if you are going to turn your back on them like almost everyone else in their lives. Prove them wrong, keep trying to chisel away, although some days it may feel like you are doing it with a plastic spoon. You must have your rules, boundaries and expectations, but temper it with kindness. Sometimes the kind word of encouragement from you may be the only one they will get all day, week or month. Most of us have no idea what kind of lives many of our students are born into. I know I didn’t. The first time I did a home visit to one of my new mothers, I was shocked. The conditions and environment she lived in was horrible. It was in a neighborhood that my principal wouldn’t let me go to alone. It wasn’t her fault she had to live like this, she was born into poverty, and her mother was just a child when she had her. This life was all she knew. Don’t give up on your students, you may be the one person that believes in them enough to turn their lives around and be successful. Being there goes hand in hand with not giving up. One year Krissy came to my school, she had transferred from Houston and thought she was really, really tough. When she came in my room she tried to disregard any and all rules and guidelines I had set. But I was firm and she soon realized she wasn’t going to get away with anything. One day she plopped herself into the chair next to my desk and opened-up. Her mom was, for lack of a better word, a crack head. Krissy had moved up here to get away from her mother and her boyfriends. Krissy and I would sit and talk when she was done with her work and I taught her how to sew. That summer, Krissy got pregnant. She was terrified to tell me because she didn’t want me to be mad at her. I told her I wasn’t mad, I was disappointed but that didn’t mean that she still couldn’t graduate high school and go to college. She was crying when she told me that I was the only one that believed in her. Fast-forward nine months. When it came time for the baby to come, Krissy’s mom was “too busy” to be there. I was the one that was in the delivery room with her. The nurse had called me at school and told me it was time. Someone covered my class, and I ran to the hospital, when I came through the door, Krissy looked at me and said, “You made it, I’m ready now.” Five minutes later, my God-daughter was there. When it came time for Krissy to graduate, once again, her mom was too strung-out to get there to graduation, telling Krissy was on her way, but never leaving. . I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like for some of these students who have no support system, just like Krissy. Most of the time we never know. They just duck their heads and go on about their day trying to stay under the radar. I am not implying that you need to go to the birth of your students children or become parents to them, but being there when they need you can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes being there may just mean taking five minutes to listen to their problems, give them some advice or just listen to them vent. I know you may have been planning to go to get some coffee or have a few seconds to yourself, but sometimes, in the life of your students, those few minutes could be the turning point in that child’s life. “There is no future without forgiveness”- Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Learn how to forgive. As I said earlier, 50% of the time when a student lashes out at you, it’s not because they dislike you or are “bad kids”. They may have had a bad morning, didn’t know where they were going to sleep the night before, maybe their parents were fighting again, or perhaps they hadn’t eaten since they had lunch at school the day before. They are children, it’s important that we remember this fact. Many have no positive role models to teach them how to act, how to be respectful or how to forgive. I have heard too many parents to count that yell and belittle their children for things they have done years ago. They don’t need to hear it from their teachers too. I’ve had students cut me to the bone with their words or actions, I just have to remember that they are children, many from lives that I don’t even want to imagine. I have to model behavior that I expect, which includes forgiveness. I am by no means expecting teachers not to hold students responsible for their behavior or actions, simply no to hold it against them once they have faced the consequences for those actions. I had a student at the end of last year that’s behavior and actions devastated me. I wondered all summer how I would react and handle this student the next school year when she was in my class. I decided to put it in the past and treat her just like all my others, with respect and kindness. The year started and she was hesitant when she came to my room the first few days. After about a week, she asked to speak with me in private. We discussed what happened the previous year and she apologized for her behavior. She then asked me how I could have forgiven her. I explained that there is good in everyone and after thinking about it during the summer, I figured she must have had a horrible day and I was the one she lashed out at. I also explained that it was in the past, we had to focus on the future. That is not to say that we haven’t had our disagreements this year, but she knows that she can talk to me about issues before she gets out of hand. She has since confided in me that was the first time that anyone has given her unconditional forgiveness and understanding. I know that I cannot reach every student or inspire them to be successful, but it’s the ones that I do that make my teaching career all worthwhile. I’ll end with what I tell my students when they get down or feel hopeless, “Be the change you want to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi. It all starts with you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blueberry Chicken



I know it's been a very long while since my last blog post. I had tried to make a promise to myself to blog more, but hey, that just didn't work out at the time. But this summer, I am going to really try!




Enough of that, on to the Blueberry Chicken!!



I live in Nacogdoches, Texas. A very small town in East Texas who has a wonderful Blueberry Festival every year!









They have everything blueberry, including, guess what, Blueberries!! I picked-up a grocery store flyer and they had a recipe for blueberry marinade so I had to try it out. Here are the ingredients:



4 cups blueberries


1/4 cup cider vinegar


1/4 cup orange juice



1 TBS honey, but next time I am using 2 or 3




Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, then simmer for 10 min.



















Before I poured the marinade over the chicken breasts, I pounded them out to about 1/2 inch thickness.





Pour your marinade over your chicken breasts and marinate for about 2-3 hours. You can also use a ziplock bag, but I didn't have any. :( More dishes to wash.










I then had my husband grill them for about 4 minutes on either side.




I will warn you , they are BLUE! But the taste is great. It's a very mild blueberry taste. I think it would be wonderful in a salad with a blueberry vinegarette!









Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Day

Since I finally bought my own house (Yaaayyyyy) I am motivated to decorate it for various different holidays and occasions. I came across some old yarn, I was determined to learn how to knit, some last seasons Valentine's fabric and saw some chip board letters at Hobby Lobby, and was Inspired.  I have such a wonderful husband, great kids, and an overall great life, that I am finally happy.  I wanted something to go on my mantle, so this is what how I did it.

Supplies:
  • Chip board letters
  • Red yarn
  • Valentine's fabric.

I started before I remembered to take pictures.

I just wrapped the L and the V in red yarn

Next I took the Valentine's fabric and ripped it into a long one inch wide strip.  I just cut at the top and ripped it all the way down. 
Then I just wrapped it around the O and the E. 
I tacked everything with a hot glue gun to hold it in place.
And Voila!

As my son, Justin would say, "Easy Peasy"



On a totally different topic, Justin was at the Doctor's today when he was looking in different drawers and the exam table.  He found the stirrups at the end of the  table and said to his dad, "Look Daddy, this one has cup holders"!!!!  LOL

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crustless Spinach Quiche

My husband and I are trying to lose some weight by doing the South Beach Diet..we are constantly looking for new recipe ideas and after much searching, I came up with this one for a wonderful crustless Spinach Quiche.  I made this when my mom was up last weekend and she loved it too!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

  • 5 eggs, beaten

  • 3 cups shredded provelone cheese

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350 F  Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.


    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.

    In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.



    Before baking.

    Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


    The finished product! Yum!

    When it's cooking it smells delish!!!!!

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Rough Day

    Today was a rough day. They want us to stay in our classrooms, get our students to pass TAKS, parent them and teach them manners, all the while, giving us so much stuff extra that we simply don't have the time. We would have to clone ourselves.  I came home from school very, very frustrated and tired. I didn't get a fifth of the things done today that I needed to.  I got on Facebook and decompressed, reading the updates and pearls of wisdom from some of my former students and became very content and filled with love. 
    For the past few years I have really been working on my relationship with God and my one of my rewards from Him has been to open my heart.  This is what I posted on Facebook to my students, past and present today:

    As I grow closer in my relationship with God, he is opening my heart to so many things. He has made me more patient, caring, loving, accepting and understanding. Something he made me realize today when I was reading some of my former students posts was:
    As a teacher I try to change my students lives for the better, fill them with knowledge and experiences that will impact their lives, but more often than not, they change mine for the better, impact my life in such a wonderful rewarding way and reinforce the reasons I became a teacher.

    You know who you are, you are my Facebook friends after all these years, and I love watching you spread your wings and grow into the wonderful people you were meant to be.

    Love,
    Monica