Thursday, January 27, 2011

my deep gladness

I feel like I need to explain a bit about my vocation. I constantly get these questions: what do you do? do you get to stay home with Elle? what do you want to do when you're finished with your degree? The answers should be simple, but they're not. I have a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a masters degree in School Counseling, and am currently working on my doctorate in education in curriculum and instruction. I've taught 4th, 1st, Kindergarten, and at the university. I've also subbed and tutored all grades, but this doesn't really explain it.

Frederick Buechner calls vocation “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” My deep gladness is education. I*LOVE*TO*TEACH! I get giddy over school supplies and planning lessons. I love vintage school stuff (the pic is a chair I found at a garage sale that Elle uses in the living room). My dream house would be designed similar to a one-room school house. (Is that extreme?) I'm passionate about reading and doing "teacher stuff". As Chris can attest when I'm in my element it's hard to pull me away. I've spent many early mornings and long evenings at school and then brought it home with me. Those of you who teach know what I'm talking about!

I feel this is a way to do something significant with my life. There are so many children who need quality teachers and stable adults in their life. I've also found through my studies at Baylor that there are so many things that I wish someone would have told me. For example, research has shown teaching ESL/ELL students the alphabet and to read in their first language actually helps them to learn English faster! Or that action research can be a really beneficial thing in your classroom. I could go on and on. Basically I'd like to take what I've gained and bridge the gap between the university and EC-12.

My favorite grades are kindergarten and university students beginning their path into teaching. (I suspect that I'd also love teaching preschool, media literacy, and children's lit.) For a while I couldn't figure out why I could love both when it's so different. But then it dawned on me it's because I get to be their first experience. I love being the one who gets to introduce kids to all the wonderful things you can do in school. Most kindergartners are sweet and so excited about the smallest things. I also love getting to share how wonderful teaching can be and helping students decide if this profession is their "deep gladness" too. (That's right, not everyone can teach, but that's another post!)

Right now I'm enjoying spending most of my time with Elle and someday the "not yets". I can still do "teaching" with her right? I find that working on another degree keeps me in the loop of the profession, but I get this precious time with Elle too. I also feel that the more knowledge I have, the more I can do for teaching. When I'm finished at Baylor, or maybe a little sooner, I'd like adjunct or teach preschool, or do professional development, or all three until I'm ready to go back full-time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

black bean soup

This is what we like to eat on these cold days! It meets my requirements for food...yummy, simple, and Elle will eat it!

Black Bean Soup
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can vegetable broth
1 cup salsa (we use Mild Pace Picante)
1 tsp dried cumin

Blend 1 cup of black beans, vegetable broth, salsa, and cumin. Pour into saucepan and add rest of black beans. Cook until heated thoroughly. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a little bit of Elle

my cutie girl
sidewalk chalk on a recent warm day
sitting at her desk in our {meaning mine and Elle's} office

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My new hobby is stamping and card making. These are a few recent creations:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

a post for Daddy

I'm dedicating this post to my dad because it would have been his 56th birthday today. He died of congestive heart failure July 17, 2007. My dad loved cactus. So much so that he brought different species home from his big truck travels and with his talented green thumb they flourished all over the house, the garage, and the yard. A hobby my mom is still dealing with. I think of a cactus as a good representation of my dad's life. Pretty prickly, able to survive harsh conditions, and beautiful blooms. Right after graduating high school he developed hodgkin's disease and survived, which was pretty rare at that time. He was told that he wouldn't have kids, but he ended up with 3 girls. I like to think about the things he passed on to me. A love of NASCAR, country music, reading, traveling, playing dominoes and a little bit of that Johnson temper. I wish so much that he could be here to enjoy his grandbabies. I know he'd have them down at the lake fishing or digging in the dirt. I think he'd have been especially proud this year as "#3" graduates high school and goes off to college. His death still stings and I suppose it always will. I get comfort though from thinking about Jesus' sacrifice for us all. I hope for the day when Daddy will get his healed heart and he'll be tending to God's garden.

Monday, January 10, 2011

They're back!

The dorms opened again yesterday at 3, Chris returned to dorm duty, and the students came in all afternoon and evening. The best description I can give of this place is that it is a simulation of your first two years of college. This means classes are divided in semesters so when the students showed up yesterday they had to get a their new schedule. Chris checked in students (which means they fork over their car keys, phones, and any drugs) then directed them to the appropriate schedule table. Once they got their schedule they had to go to the library and get any books they might need. The great hall was very busy last night with students getting paper and covering their books. Things got back to normal pretty quick. After a brief assembly study time began at 8 so students could work on their first day assignments. Elle was very excited to see some familiar faces and played in the great hall for an hour and half last night!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

nana's banana bread

Elle and I have gotten into making banana bread with our ripe bananas. Nobody will touch them once they start to ripen and it's hard to eat them fast enough when we eat so meals in the cafeteria. So I found a really good banana bread recipe and thought I'd share. It's yummy and simple!

Nana's Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Mix dry ingredients. Stir in butter, eggs, and bananas. Pour into two greased bread pans and bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

knock 3 times on the ceiling...twice on the pipe!

Since the students and most of the other resident faculty have been away it is has been incredibly quiet on campus. I'm realizing now how loud the everyday noises are on our floor, especially in the evenings. I have missed the chatter most around dinner time. However, I have not missed 72 girls taking showers early in the morning and late at night, which starts a chorus of banging pipes in our apartment. It's not too bad, but with the breaks Elle (Queen of the light sleepers!) has to readjust to the noise whenever the girls get back. This has been the only thing that has tempted me to move to the boys side. Chris has told me the boys tend to start showers 5 minutes before lights out and are done really quickly. However, Chris has said the guys tend to be more rowdy before this, running and goofing off. We're not spoiled to the quiet yet though! They are adding the third floor to the new dorms so we have been graced with the lovely beeping, sawing, etc. noises from the construction from sunup to sundown!....We did a little investigating and discovered it's not the showers it's the toilets! Wonder if the urinals make that much noise? Guess we'll have to do a field trip.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Good luck in 2011!

My first New Year's resolution is to update this blog more often. I think designating a particular time each week to this would help. I think the best times are Monday, Wednesday, or Friday afternoons when Elle takes a nap. It's harder to study at home with other distractions such as cleaning, but doing my blog posts are a lot more appealing than the dishes.

My second New Year's resolution is to accomplish the things I've started. I have a number of little projects that I've started and never really finished. The thing I think that should be at the top of the list is definitely finishing the Ed.D. Other things include a Christmas stocking for Chris that I've been cross-stitching for about the whole time we've been married. I'd also like to do one for Elle as well. There's a long list of books that I've been wanting to read, but articles and books for class have always been in the way. Lately, I've been rereading the Harry Potter books and have just finished the 5th book so it's looking good that I'll accomplish finishing this set.

My third and probably should be the most important resolution is to be more involved in the service that's going on at church. I've already signed up to help teach the Pre-K/Kindergarten class, but feel there's so much more I should be doing.

Please feel free to hold me accountable for these things. I really do think people asking about them will keep me on target. Good luck with any resolutions you have chosen for 2011!