Thursday, March 27, 2014

What My Students Taught Me About Sin

Teaching junior high certainly has its ups and downs.

Raging hormones. Attitudes. Apathy. Hilarity. Laughter. Joy.

I love it. Absolutely love it…although some days bring me to tears. Usually those days are wrought with unreasonable behavior, crazy stress, and a feeling that I've failed. The longer I teach (praise the Lord!), the days are fewer and farther between--although they still certainly exist.

Yesterday, after the bell rand, and I was working at my desk, I was once again brought to tears--more like wracked with tears. But, my cheeks were not stained because of the reasons listed above, they were pouring out of a broken heart.

A bit earlier in the day, a couple of my students made a series of poor decisions. One was more apt to poor choices. The other could probably count her life's poor choices on one hand.

Students make mistake all the time. Kids make poor choices multiple times a day. So, why was my heart broken? Why was I sitting at my desk in tears? I was asking myself the same question…

I was still bothered when I got home--about the situation, yes, but almost more so about my reaction to it. I love and care about my students immensely, and I am always more attached to them during this time of year, but to this extent?

So, I texted my dear friend Nicole.

AE: Have you ever loved/cared about your students so much that their decisions disappoint/frustrate you to the point of tears?? This teaching business is hard!

N: Oh friend, I'm so sorry. I have been there. I think it's just a glimpse of what parenting must be like and an even smaller glimpse of the Lord's heartache over our own sin. 

AE: That's how I was feeling today. My heart was just breaking. It's hard to imagine how much I'll love my own kids after this, and so much more difficult to imagine just how much God loves us. 

N: Keep loving those kids, even though they are unlovable sometimes.

I have often thought about my students in terms of parenting and how my love for them will one day (Lord willing) be multiplied by a million as I have my own kids.

But, I hadn't thought about my relationship with my students in terms of my relationship with God. If I love my kids this much, and if their poor choices break my heart THIS MUCH, how much MORE does God love me?

How much more do I break his heart every single day with my sin? 

Talk about perspective. 

And, of course, I forgave those students. I still love them. I'll still continue to teach them and guide them and discipline them as necessary.

And, of course (and even more so), the arms of my amazingly loving Lord and Savior are always open for me--filled with unconditional grace, forgiveness, and redemption. 

I know my students learned a lesson yesterday, but I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit saw fit to break a piece of my guarded heart and teach me an invaluable lesson as well.

Ephesians 2: 4-9

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Need a Little Pick Me Up?

Don't we all every once in a while?

Take a couple of minutes and watch these awesome videos. They'll be sure to leave a smile on your face!

How can you not love Kid President?!? If you've never watched one of his videos before, please go YouTube him. He's adorable!

I found this next one when I was on a quest to find a few short videos to share with my kiddos during Saturday Academy coming up next month. It's powerful! I sure hope it sticks with them.

Now, go out today with a smile on your face, and pay it forward!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Epic Weekend Part 3: UCLA Gymnastics

On Sunday of the epic weekend, we met my aunt and some of my cousins at UCLA for some women's gymnastics. It was their last home meet of the season at Pauley Pavilion. To say that I was excited is an understatement. I've been watching UCLA all season on TV, so I was super stoked to get to see them live. 

My six year old cousin, Nathan, sat by me. Let me explain to you for a moment why this was perfect: he says the funniest things, he asks lots of questions, and he allowed me to spew share my ridiculous obsession with gymnastics (especially UCLA gymnastics). 

My favorite Nathan line of the day occurred when Samantha Peszek was on beam: She's like better than Nadia! I even have it on video. Love! 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day: 


 Emma, Nathan, and me

 Danusia Francis on beam. So incredible!

 So incredible, in fact, that she got a PERFECT 10!

 Samantha Peszek (my favorite) on floor

 The fam!

Samantha and me! ;) 

This was my first UCLA meet, but it certainly won't be my last! I can't wait until next season! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Epic Weekend Part 2: The Concert

If you missed Part 1, check it out here!

After sleeping in and taking it easy Saturday morning, I decided I'd be able to make it to the concert (well, at least to my aunt and uncle's house where we'd be staying). Mom drove (thank you, Mom!) and I rested. The concert wasn't until 8, so I had ample time to "recover."

I'm usually not a huge fan of concerts. I actually think they are a bit pointless (and can be quite annoying) unless I know basically every word to every song the artist sings. If not, my ears are flooded with loud, pounding gargling that I can't understand. True story.

But, knowing and loving Lady Antebellum as much as I do, I was confident that I'd love the concert.


 Here we are waiting for the show to begin!!

 Kacey Musgraves. LOVE HER! She's adorable!

Kip Moore

 LADY A!!! 

American Honey is my favorite song! I loved when they'd stop singing and the entire crowd would sing at the top of their lungs (I tried to post a video, but it's not working--sad!. 

Lady A seriously puts on an incredible show (all three and a half hours of it)! They were entertaining, funny, endearing, and they interacted so well with the audience. If you're a Lady A fan, go see them in concert! You won't regret it!

And, although I was exhausted after the concert, I knew PART 3 of the epic weekend was still to come…

…stay tuned.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Epic Weekend Part 1: Urgent Care

I knew this weekend was going to be epic; I just had no idea it would begin in Urgent Care.

I had been looking forward to a Saturday with Lady Antebellum and a Sunday with UCLA gymnastics for quite some time now, but Friday left me a bit unsure about my weekend plans.

I had to double my new meds on Thursday, and I expected it to be just fine. #dontexpectsuchthings

On Thursday night I never fell asleep. I've had trouble sleeping before, but I've never stayed awake all night (not counting all nighters in high school). When my alarm went off Friday morning and I tried to get out of bed, my body was not having it. I was super dizzy and a bit disoriented. I knew I wouldn't be able to get to work. I threw together some sub plans and tried to fall asleep. Didn't work.

A few hours later I got sick (I'll spare you the details). I didn't take any meds, I couldn't eat or drink much of anything, and so I didn't move from the couch. Moving was painful and dizzying, so staying put was the best option for the day.

By the time evening came, I decided to try to get up to use the restroom. #fail. I basically splayed myself out in the hallway. I didn't pass out, but I couldn't get up or move. It honestly crossed my mind that Mom was going to have to call 911 just to get my butt up off the floor and into a doctor's care. But, I was finally able to crawl into the restroom, and with the help of my mama and the walker, I made it to the car.

Shortly thereafter we found ourselves at Urgent Care, and I found myself with a fever, sinus infection (I'm assuming from that bad cold I had earlier in the week) and severe dehydration. The doc assumed that the sickness, weakness, dizziness was due to the med change, and that mixed with the sinus infection left me a hot mess.

I got hooked up to an IV (normally my least favorite thing, but I couldn't care less at that point), and the fluid began to deliver life back into my veins.

After two bags of that magic goodness, I felt semi-human again. I was even able to walk (with a bit of help) out of Urgent Care about an hour and a half later. Amazing.

When I got home, I was finally able to eat a bit of food and drink some water before sleeping for about 11 hours.

IV fluid + food/water + lots of sleep = a whole new Amy.

On Saturday morning I still wasn't quite sure about the events of the weekend, but I took things slowly. I rested. I took breaks. I decided to give it a try….

…stay tuned to hear about the rest of the EPIC weekend!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Products I Love!!

I've recently been transitioning out of Mary Kay (for the simple reason that my mom isn't going to sell it anymore), and trying to figure out exactly what to use.

I'm still on the hunt for a good primer, foundation, and powder for my oil drenched face (any suggestions??), but here are a few things that I've fallen in LIKE LIKE with!

Blond eyebrow pencil. My poor blond eyebrows are invisible without this business. This pencil goes on well, looks natural, and is inexpensive (Ulta $8).

Sharpener. This Ulta sharpener works well, is super light, and keeps all of the shavings neatly inside the snap on lid (Ulta $2.50).

 Gel eyeliner. This liner goes on smoothly, stays on all day, and comes off easily at night (Ulta $8).

Loreal Voluminous Mascara. This is the BEST ever! Check out that brush. It's unlike anything I've ever tried. It's almost soft plastic-y (which sounds weird, but is ridiculously awesome when you think about it). It doesn't clump, it goes on easily, and it looks great...if I do say so myself (Ulta $8.99).

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Face Wash. Tea tree doesn't have the best smell, but I love this stuff!

 TIGI Catwalk Straight Collection Sleek Mystique. I spray this stuff on before I dry my hair. It seriously helps make it (and keep it) straight. I'm a HUGE fan (Amazon $10.19)! 

Flat Iron Spray by Garnier Fructis. This stuff is CHEAP, but it works SO much better than any of the expensive stuff I've tried. Just spray it on before you straighten your hair and it helps keep it smooth, sleek, and straight (don't remember the exact price, but it's under $5)

Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. I didn't think anything could work as well as the Mary Kay eye makeup remover on my waterproof mascara, but let me tell you, THIS STUFF WORKS! I LOVE it (Amazon $10.24--but under $10 at Ulta, I believe). 

Trader Joes's Refresh body wash.  I LOVE the smell, the feel, the everything of this (TJ's under $5).

Gold Bond Men's Lotion. This. Is. Seriously. Amazing. We all know Gold Bond is awesome lotion, but I'm not a huge fan of the smell. The men's version, however, smells AWESOME (Amazon $7.19)!!

What products do you love? Any suggestions for me?