Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall, Fall Faster!

Dear Fall,

Hurry up, please! Can't you fall a little faster? I'm getting quite weary of sunshades, parking under trees, flies, shorts and t-shirts, the air conditioner, and sweating.

And once you get here, will you please stick around for a while?

I'm not a fan of you falling too quickly into winter (because then I'm tempted to whine about how cold I am--and whining is never pretty).

What am I looking forward to the most, you ask?

All things PUMPKIN and spice



Fuzzy blankets

The fireplace

Thunder storms (although we don't get many--or any)

Thanksgiving (I LOVE tradition) 

The changing colors

Children to Love Banquet (where I get to celebrate RO and hang out with these amazing ladies!)

I'd love for you to join me at the Children to Love banquet where we'll celebrate all God is doing in India, Uganda, and ROMANIA! For more information, or to purchase a ticket, please visit the CHILDREN TO LOVE website!

What are you looking forward to the most this fall??? 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Who Needs a Good Book??

I love getting good book recommends, so I thought I'd share a few of my recent favorites with you all.

Ready? Let's go.... (in no particular order).

Secular Fiction: 

THE STORYTELLER by, Jodi Picoult

Click here for the link on Amazon

I have really enjoyed Picoult's recent books. She is well researched and able to formulate a thought provoking, unpredictable novel. This story has a few plots interwoven, but one of the main plots is the story of a girl who survived Auschwitz--simply fascinating.

Fiction/ Historical Non-Fiction

THE 19th WIFE by, David Ebershoff

Click here for the link on Amazon

This book is unlike anything I have ever read. It is a present day murder mystery within the Fundamentalist Mormon community (fiction portion) intertwined with an original work set in 1875 when Ann Eliza Young (one of Brigham Young's wives) tried to rid the nation of polygamy (non-fiction). Mixed in with both of these stories are historical documents from the Latter Day Saints' archives. The way this "novel" comes together is nothing short of a work of art. And, as always, I was incredibly interested in reading about the Fundamentalist Mormon community.

Christian Fiction

SWIMMING TO THE SURFACE by, Kristin Billerbeck

Click here for the link on Amazon

WHAT A GIRL WANTS by, Kristin Billerbeck

Click here for the link on Amazon

I came across this author from a recommendation from a friend. They are lighthearted, easy reads. I'm currently reading What a Girl Wants and I find myself laughing out loud. Billerbeck does a good job of keeping her novels light, entertaining, and not at all cheesy.

Young Adult


Click here for the link on Amazon

I LOVE reading young adult books--probably because I teach "young adults" (if you can call them that). This book was recommended to me by Erin Moffitt and I LOVED the trilogy. It's a mix of futuristic science fiction (which I normally don't love) with a bit of reality (which I do love). I can handle (and actually really enjoy) science fiction when the characters are realistic and believable, and when I can actually believe that the circumstances could possibly happen, although highly unlikely. This novel did just that.

(Christian) Non-Fiction 

GOD LOVES UGLY by, Christa Black

Click here for the link on Amazon

From the book description: In this raw testimony, Christa Black takes women on a step-by-step journey of faith and positive belief to reveal that if God loves ugly, then we can too. 

From a review on Amazon: "If ever there was a book worth reading and a journey worth taking, it is this one. Christa has a remarkable way of putting her heart on paper. GOD LOVES UGLY will encourage you to search your own and rediscover truth, beauty and how love changes everything. Whether you're nine or 109, the words in these pages will teach you to see with new eyes." (--Kari Jobe, Worship Leader, Songwriter)

I just started reading this book, and man, it'll hit you straight to the heart--no matter what you're going through (even if you think you aren't "going through" anything!). It is a quick, easy read, but the end of each chapter gives you an opportunity to stop, reflect, and journal. I'd encourage all of you to check out this book and take this journey with Christa.

I hope I gave you a wide range of book recommendations. Now what do you have for me?!? 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

...In My Weakness

As those of you who know me can attest to, I'm not a huge fan of change or transition...

...with the rare exception of the change being brought on by myself (like moving classrooms this last summer).

School ending and school starting are no exception. I get so attached to my kids (for the most part) and so comfortable in my routine, that I don't know how to "snap out of it" when summer arrives. It takes some time for me to relearn how to manage my days away from the classroom.

Then as school approaches, I am always a bit anxious to meet my new kids--always wishing (at first) to have my old kids back. What can I say? ...I like what I know. It takes some time for me to get to know my new kids, get used to my school routine, and adjust to a new year. 

Last year I went through this crazy transition with a cast on my leg, on a scooter, with a CRPS diagnosis following shortly thereafter. No big deal, right? Wrong. I was kind of a wreck for a while, but I got through it and LOVED the year I had with my kids. 

This year, I didn't even get to start the school year because I was serving on a jury for a human trafficking case. (If you'd like to read about the case, click here for the article in the Bakersfield Californian.) It was so strange not starting the school year. I didn't get to meet our new staff members, I didn't get to be at school when the students got their schedules and walked around, and I missed the entire first week (plus one day) of the year. Talk about strange. 

When the trial ended on Monday, and I was finally able to talk about the case, I was basically sick all night. My stomach was a wreck, my CRPS was flaring up like it hadn't in a long time, and my brain was reeling. I had suppressed the details on the case for so long, that it all came tumbling down at once. My brain hurt. My heart hurt. Not to mention the fact that I had to go "teach" the next day. 

I couldn't sleep much Monday night. I couldn't get the trial or school or Back to School Night out of my head. 

When Tuesday rolled around and I was "back to school," I felt like a substitute all day. I was in a new classroom. I didn't know the kids. And, I certainly didn't have a grasp on what I was doing. ....and I thought starting the school year in a cast was strange. 

As of this weekend, I have taught four full days and survived Back to School Night. Each day gets a little easier. I'm sleeping better. The images I have while trying to fall asleep and the dreams I've had are diminishing. I know soon I will fall into a routine. I'll start getting to know my kids and becoming attached to them (as I always do).

The transition period will soon slip into normal (I am seriously looking forward to normal), and I'll once again be able to say that God carried me through another difficult transition period--another tough change. 


Because, you see, that is what this is all about. I'm human. I'm a sinner. I hate change. With God's help, I'm working on being present each day. I'm working on rejoicing in each day that He blesses me with, no matter the challenge before me. 

He has ALWAYS carried me through in the past, and He will ALWAYS carry me through in the future.

It's not easy to end a school year or start a new one, especially in a cast or on a jury, but I know that God's strength is made perfect in my weakness, and He has showed me that once again this last week. And, I know, being human and a sinner, I will forget. Yet, in His mercy, God will continue to show me His faithfulness as He promises to walk beside me, guide me, and never leave me. 

This is good news, folks, because I certainly wouldn't be able to do this alone!