Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer of Mail Love

If you know me, you know that I LOVE note cards. I absolutely love checking out the ones at Michael's dollar bins. As a result, I have two drawers filled with them (all organized by season!). I use them for sending thank yous and thinking of yous. My love of writing and sending letters comes from Granny. She is so good with sending people notes. I swear, I think she is the reason why the U.S. Postal Service is still in business!

I came across a wonderful idea in how I can use my notes this summer. Thank you to my cousin Elizabeth and her blog, Simply Authentic I am inspired to participate in the "Summer of Mail Love." She got this idea from a blog she reads called Two Frog Home. The purpose of this summer activity is to send at one piece of mail (care package, note or postcard) to someone per week. To clarify, the 'someone' is supposed to be different each week. Have to spread the love around ;) The "Summer of Mail Love" starts this week, the start of the Summer Solstice and ends the week of the Fall Equinox. I think this challenge is very do-able!

My plan is to write out a list of people I would like to send mail to and then put them on my calendar. :) I'm excited! I think this is a fun way to celebrate summer and loved ones.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Your Love Is a Song

While I do have a few things to write about-- all I feel like doing is sharing the lyrics to a song I enjoy (I blast it in the car radio!). Hope you like them too.

"Your Love Is a Song" ~ Switchfoot

I hear you breathing in
Another day begins
The stars are falling out
My dreams are fading now, fading out

I've been keeping my eyes wide open
I've been keeping my eyes wide open

Your love is a symphony
All around me
Running through me
Your love is a melody
Underneath me
Running to me

Oh, Your love is a song

The dawn is fire bright
Against the city lights
The clouds are glowing now
The moon is blacking out, is blacking out

So I've been keeping my mind wide open
I've been keeping my mind wide open, yeah

Your love is a symphony
All around me
Running through me
Your love is a melody
Underneath me
Running to me

Oh, Your love is a song
Your love is a song
Oh, Your love is a song
Your love is strong

With my eyes wide open
I've got my eyes wide open
I've been keeping my hopes unbroken, yeah

Your love is a symphony
All around me
Running through me
Your love is a melody
Underneath me
Running to me

Your love is a song
Yeah, yeah
Your love is my remedy
Oh your love is a song

Friday, June 18, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

I apologize in advance if this posting is not great quality writing. I'm very tired from this week! I have had a good week but I will definitely need to get some extra rest this weekend.

This was the last week of school for students-- a very busy time for teachers. I spent everyday but Monday at North Plains. I'm so glad I was able to help my mentor and spend time with the kindergartners. I feel so blessed to have had such a great experience at North Plains. Though my student teaching ended in December, I have gone back frequently to volunteer, substitute, or to be with the students for special events. I enjoy being at the school so much! I feel respected as an individual and as a teacher. It's not just the respect that I get at North Plains, but I truly love the people there (well, 99%). I am happy being around the students and the staff; you can be sure to see a big smile on my face when I'm at the school. I wish every school was this way and I think that they should be this way.

There is just nothing better than being part of a community where you feel like you belong. I think that is what it boils down to at North Plains-- everybody matters there. That is what sets that school apart from so many in the district.

When a community is close-knit is very hard when members "leave" (in a true community- people may not be there physically but they're there in spirit). Sadly, North Plains is losing two teachers. One teacher is retiring and the other is moving away. It's hard to imagine returning to the school in the fall without those two the amazing teachers. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know them.

For some reason today I kept thinking about this quote... seems applicable today:

"What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning
The end is where we start from.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And to know the place for the first time."
-- T.S. Eliot

It's really hard for me to process the fact that it's the end of the school year. As my mentor and I took down wall decorations, put away books, completed the inventory, sent off report cards, and closed up the room... it all just felt so surreal to me. I remember last August putting it all up and getting ready for orientation. Now, it's the end. But it's an end of a beginning and a beginning to an end (like the quote). I've come full circle.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Enjoyment

Today was kind of a lazy day but eventually I did something with myself in the afternoon. I felt kind of gross today due to my poor diet all week and from just being so busy. While I could have continued to sit around all day, mom motivated me to get outside and be productive.

We planted some items in under our front window. The plants look great with the fresh compost! The compost is a little smelly, it is oh-so-good for the plants. Totally worth the smell :) I also love how the compost is nearly black so it really enhances the overall look of the plants.

Ah, it was so good to get outside today. Being in the outdoors is very good for the senses, especially on days like this. Plus, it was nice to dig around in the dirt and get a little dirty.

After mom and I were done planting we sat on the deck and sat in the sunshine for awhile. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the wind playing with my hair... and the noises outside... Very lovely and relaxing.

Eventually we came inside and one of our favorite dinners, vegetable ziti. Yum! That was a perfect end to the day and definitely helped me to feel back to normal.

Graduation Weekend

What a wonderful weekend! Yesterday was Sarah's graduation party at our house. We had several family and friends over to celebrate the special occasion. The weather was absolutely amazing yesterday-- 85 degrees and clear skies. My kind of weather!

Since it was so nice we had the party out on the deck, which was delightful. It was so fun talking with neighbors, cousins, Granny, and other family members. I really enjoyed seeing people talking with one another (lots of mingling!). I was very pleased and surprised at some of the people who did come to the party. My mom's cousin Carole, that we hardly see, came with her husband. I could tell that she was very happy that she had made the effort to come and visit.

Unfortunately, a terrible event occurred that basically concluded the party. My cousin's husband received a call that their eldest son was in an accident. They rushed home and those who were still at the party started to disperse as they left. Praise God, though, my cousin's son is okay and the passengers in his car are fine! I saw pictures of the car (which is totaled) this evening and wow... God was definitely protecting those boys.

Anyhow... after the main party was over we had a still had a little gathering of a few people. Sarah's friend Emily and her mother, Jessica were still over enjoying themselves. Emily, Sarah, and Dustin had fun playing Rock Band and talking with each other. Auntie Marolyn came back to our house and had fun talking with Jessica and mom.

Once Auntie Marolyn left, Jessica and Emily were still at our house (we don't get to spend much time with them- even though they live close to us). We all were pretty hungry and burnt out on eating sweets. We all decided that Olive Garden sounded good. So Jessica's family-- her husband, son and Emily and the "five of us" (us + Dustin) went out together. Lots of fun! It was a great end of the day and fun to celebrate Emily and Sarah's friendship- they've been friends since kindergarten. :)

Emily, Sarah, & Dustin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Sister is a High School Graduate!

The graduation ceremony was great last night! My sister is now officially a high school graduate. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

It all goes so fast...

This week I've been reminded about how fast life goes (and how busy it can get!). I'm always amazed with where I am as an individual and how I got to this point in life. How did I get from being a kindergartner to a 23 year old licensed teacher? Lots of growing experiences have happened in between, to say the least. ;-)

Through all of the ups and downs, I am so thankful that I followed my dream of becoming a teacher. At the age of 5, I knew that was my goal in life and it has guided me every step of the way. Substituting and volunteering in these past few months has really been an encouragement to me. I absolutely love teaching and being around children. Yes, it is challenging and difficult some days but it is truly my calling. I am so thankful God has placed that "teaching joy" in my heart.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (today), I spent all day at North Plains Elementary School or "home" as I like to call it. On Wednesday I substituted for the first grade teacher and had a pretty good day with the kids. This was my third time subbing for that teacher so I knew the kids and what to expect in terms of lesson plans. It's kind of neat that I got to sub for that teacher again because it bookends my subbing experience for the year (she was the first teacher I subbed for). In April, I saw a huge difference in subbing in there versus in early March. On Wednesday, I saw an even better improvement in my teaching skills compared to April. I'm very encouraged to know that I am getting better with every subbing experience. :)

Thursday was Field Day, which was very fun. Unfortunately, the weather was not really conducive to outdoor activity but the kids enjoyed themselves regardless. I have to applaud the P.E. teacher for attempting Field Day-- she did most of the preparation herself. That's a lot of work for one person! Janelle and I tried to help her when we could. Mostly, we just walked around and watched the kids play. In the afternoon round we spent most of the time under a tree.

Friday, today, was Zoo-Day with the morning kindergarten class. I had heard that the previous day was miserable due to the rain and TONS of people... so I was a little apprehensive about today. Luckily, there was no rain and there weren't huge crowds. Yes, it was busy but not too bad. I enjoyed seeing the little girl, that I was responsible for, having a good time. She laughed and smiled a lot, which was so sweet to see. It's not too often that she is genuinely happy (lots of issues at home).

Overall, the time at the zoo was great. All of the kids seemed to have a positive experience. I loved talking with them about their favorite animals. So cute!

Ahhh.... been a busy week... and it's not over yet! Tonight is my sister's graduation ceremony from high school. I can't believe that she's 18 and done with her public school education. This past year has been quite the struggle with her so I'm very pleased that she's made it through school. I hope that in this next phase of her life she will learn to make better choices. That might be hoping for a lot but she has improved... I can only hope for even better days ahead.

~ I'll end with a quote from one of the kinders today, "Having you here with Mrs. Allen makes it feel like the old days." Precious.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Bigger Than YOU

Today's inspiration to write has come easily. Today is one of those days where I reflect upon the fact that life is just simply bigger than me and you. Sometimes when we think our entire lives are falling apart its because we lack perspective-- usually. In this world, full of billions of people, someone is bound to have gone through (or is going through) something FAR WORSE than you or me.

Thanks to Facebook, I've recently gotten in touch with a friend from the church I used to go to. As we've been communicating back and forth she let me know that this past year was "tough" for her. I asked her, out of concern, what was going on. Turns out, her closest friend revealed to her last year that she is gay. My friend thinks that this is her "worst nightmare." In one of my responses I tried to give her perspective but she failed to even read what I had to say. She continued to go on and on and on about how her FRIEND'S problem affected her. And this is when I say: it is NOT about YOU and it is BIGGER than YOU.

I would love to make a point to her that I have an amazing group of friends that have and are going through a lot-- far worse than her friend turning out gay. So many of my friends have experienced so much trauma in their lives-- things that have changed their entire lives. My friend's shock is nothing compared to what others have gone through. Also, my friend's personal life is not affected at all... she can still go on and live HER life.

I feel that as a friend you are supposed to sympathize and empathize when you can. Yes, you may feel some pain along with your friend and shed some tears... but remember, it is NOT about YOU. When Jesus helped others it was never about Him or His experience... it was all about how He could give others peace and comfort... and that is how we ought to be. That is what I strive to be in my friendships.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cast and Catch

Well, I am finally writing and introducing my new blog, "Cast and Catch." The purpose of creating this blog is simply to write about various parts of life, such as, observations, events, likes, dislikes, and rants.

To this end, the underlying theme of this whole blog is based upon the word reflect. It took me days to figure out a simple yet general title for this blog. Thanks to my friend, she suggested looking at my favorite Bible verses for title-inspiration. My most favorite verse is, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a title from that verse-- so that led to my other favorite, "As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person" (Prov. 27:19).

From the verse in Proverbs, I looked up the word reflect in the Thesaurus. The word reflect is an action word or verb and means to either give back or think about. Some of the synonyms for the word are: cast, catch, return, copy, echo, reply, resonate, reverberate, shine, contemplate, meditate, wonder, ponder, and think etc... What fascinates me about all of these words is that reflection is built upon give and take, a polar relationship. In life, so many things make an impression on us whether we notice it or not. Some moments we "cast" out our reflections; saying how we feel. Other moments we "catch" the reflections of others and internalize them.

I hope you enjoy following me on this journey...