Archive for December, 2011


I just want to take a moment and express how wonderful being home has been.  I’ve started about 3 different blogs since being home, but posted none of them. In part because I know that it will continue to get better which will result in me wanting to write more. Sigh, but after being home a week I think it is time to post something.  Here are a few meager and random thoughts.

First, I bottle emotions.  During college I was notorious for getting sick the first day of any break started. It was like my body held off until it knew it had a few days to spend in bed.  Rather than getting sick this year, I broke down emotionally.  It was so good to worship at church, to see familiar faces, to be standing with my family.  What began with tears of joy opened up all kinds of things I’d stored away for a later date.  Bethany, the kind soul she is, listened and hugged me, and finally put me to bed to get some rest. Despite the emotional drain, it was good to finally express the sadness, joy, frustration, everything.

Lesson Learned: If I was this happy to be home with family, how much more is God happy when someone comes home to him?

Second, I am loved.  It has been fantastic to spend time with so many different people. I’ve enjoyed hearing about their lives; how things have changed, what they are looking forward to, when I’ll see them again. With so many of my friends around the country and at different periods of life, it is a treat to have so many back in Byron Center for a short period of time. I’ll continue to be impressed that we can sit down and talk for hours and hours. Time passes so quickly with all you wonderful woman!

Lesson Learned: I am blessed with lasting friendships.

Third, I am loved continued. The previous point was directed towards friends, but this one is specifically for family.  It was mid college when I started to realize the importance of family relationships, and this was the hardest part about deciding to go to Mexico.  It’s easy to take those relationships that have always been there for granted or be annoyed with them. In deciding to move away, I continue to realize the uniqueness and specialness of those relationships, and in the two week’s I’m home I want to maintain and deepen those relationships. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had with my family already.

Lesson Learned: Don’t take for granted any time you spend with family.

Fourth, I love the woods. The first night back in my parents house was eerily quiet. I could actually hear the ringing in my own ears, it was so quiet.  I miss that.  I love looking outside my windows and seeing nothing by woods, or coming up our drive and spotting families of deer or raccoons. As much as I love the convenience of the city, I will always marvel at the beauty of the country. This morning I awoke to an orange sun rising through the lightly powdered trees.  Not only was it beautiful, but God gave me snow and sun today. No, that isn’t an oxymoron. 🙂

Lesson Learned: God gave me a heart sensitive to his creation.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


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Cops and Robbers

What a priceless day. Life here has been…..well, there is no good comparison.  Busy and emotional everyday. So today was beautiful. We’ve been preparing for a Christmas program the last few weeks and today was our dress rehearsal. Only those who were participating in the production came to school and at 10am we headed towards the sports club were the drama would take place.  Out of my 22 students, only 9 girls participated. Such a contrast from 22 students! I loved my time with them. This morning, I made breakfast for the girls and sat around talking and rearranging desks. Then we headed to the club were we ate lunch and had a little additional free time. Sitting under the trees watching my little angels run around, I was thanking God for the way they challenge me and encourage me when one ran up and asked if I would like to play “rubber man” with them. Flattered by the offer, I agreed and ran out to meet them.  As they were explaining the game I quickly realized it was “cops and robbers” not “rubber”.  🙂  Oh what fun! It was liberating to be chased and eventually caught. I was able to connect with my students in fun and loving way that wouldn’t have been possible with my whole class.  It was also sweet to see one of the girls who has kind of been an outsider playing and talking along side these other 8 girls.

During the rest of the time at the club we played silly camp games, talked, took pictures, played truth or dare, and watched a few clips of a video.  It was a girl’s sleep over in the corner of the club, and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.  I loved loving on them and appreciate a school and culture where I am able to do so! Here are some pictures of the crazy 5th grade girls.

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Priceless Moment Today

I like to show short clips in my class, especially related to science.  We’ve been talking about adaptations the last two weeks, so today I showed a 3 minute clip about North American Tree frogs and their amazing ability to freeze solid and then thaw out come spring. Usually I watch the clip with the kids, but today I just watched their faces.  I wish I could have visually captured their expressions.  Wide eyes, mouths agape, intent focus on the speaker.  I understand their amazement with what I showed, it is bewildering.  I’m so blessed to be in an environment where I can openly say, “Yay, that’s right. God created that and if he cares that much about a frog, how much more does he care about you!?” They had so many questions afterwards, and at a few points I had to say I didn’t know but that I hoped they would become scientist and conduct the experiments.  What joy it brought me to see their interest and to try to answer their questions.

As I write this, I have a thought. I wonder if this is at all a reflection of our relationship with God.  He creates amazing things! Seriously, frogs whose hearts stop and yet thaw out and hop away! And wants us to ask questions, seek after truth and knowledge, constantly raise our hands in inquiry.  Does it bring him joy to see our excited, focus, enthusiasm? Unlike me, He never has to say, “I don’t know” when it’s a difficult question.  I wonder, sometimes he says, ‘Why don’t you experience this, apply the things I’ve revealed to you, and trust that I will be here every step of the investigation.’  In class I wish I could have given them each a tree frog and said, ‘Here, try this.  Apply what you learned in the video, trust that I’m here to answer questions every step of the way.’ God gives us written instruction, experiential instruction, and then opportunities to apply our instruction.  To any educator, those are the essential components to any effective lesson.

So what conclusions do you draw from this?


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How cool are 5th graders?!

Let me tell you, they are pretty darn awesome! I love them, even in my “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.” Here are some pictures and updates about what we’ve been doing the last few weeks.

First, my fifth graders have adopted 2nd grade reading buddies.  I’m so glad we decided to do this. I was hesitant at first because I lose a period of instructional time, but I think more important things are being learned and demonstrated with their buddies. Here are some pictures of various activities we’ve done with them so far.














Second, unfortunately Mexico does not celebrate the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving.  Despite having school, we celebrated in our own way.  The students put on skits describing how Thanksgiving began, and then we sat down for our own feast of pie, jello, chips, and sandwiches.  It was fun to go around the table and have 22 5th graders share things they are thankful for, then grab hands and pray. Sigh, they will never know how much they blessed my heart by doing these two things.









Third, just a picture of my crazy kids on my birthday.

Fourth, some random pictures worth sharing.

A baby Tarantula we found in our house.

Updated look at my classroom.

With only 2 weeks left until Christmas break, we have a lot of activities come up!  Pictures and posts to come.  12 days till I’m back in the states!

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Alas, it has been a month and a half since I’ve been back from Chiapas and I’m finally posting pictures. As many as there are, these are maybe 1/4 of the whole amount.  Scan through and enjoy! I hope to tempt you in part to come to this beautiful country.

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I don’t know what to do….

What do you do when every time  you walk into your room, there is a new pile of dead ants? Or you feel a tingle on your skin while wrapped up in blankets and immediately think it’s an ant? (Mostly because it probably is.)

Four months now I’ve endured the roaming ant population on my floor, crawling through my sheets, and over my computer. The falling ceiling caused  momentary concern, but today, today I’ve reached a new level of frustration. It isn’t that I can’t live with it, because I’m willing to, but I just don’t understand.  Why? Why dead piles of ants? There is no observable reason for the strange dead formations, and I want to know why.  I want to know what I can do to fix this problem. Although these photos do not do justice, at least it gives you an idea.  Thoughts anyone?

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