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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When you accidentally fail an entire class

My students were reading silently, a few weeks ago, and I was entering scores from their latest article of the week. Typed in the scores, clicked save, viola: updated grades.

Problem number one: Chloe, a pretty close to perfect student, now had an F. I looked back at the few other grades affecting this term; they were all perfect scores. The article of the week I had just entered was not a clear fifteen out of fifteen, but it was no where close to a failing grade.

Problem number two: The rest of the class was failing too. An entire class was failing. Panic surged through my veins for a second. What had just happened? My brain scanned through all the consequences of this handful of F's.

Turns out, I forgot to change the assignment to be worth 15 points instead of 100.

Details matter. Balance restored.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sometimes I write my thoughts down in poetry form.

Peace - the glass of day
break: the composure;
I am on the wings
of eagles - I rest;
I wait.
I feel all types of unforecasted
weather - and I give
it all away.
Abide here: I must stay.
Change me, over
and over. I will
become clay somehow. I act
in thy confidence:
the very breath I breathe
is thine.

"Busy" is now banished from my vocabulary

I solemnly vow to never say the phrase(s), "I have been busy," "It has just been really busy," and/or "It has been crazy busy," or any such variation of the phrase pendant le rest de ma vie. I don't believe in busy. I don't believe such a state of being exists. And, if by the chance that such state does exist, I do not believe it to be an admirable, desirable, or productive way to live.

Instead, I believe in a full life. A life brimming with love - in whatever shape or form loves takes. Obviously this takes some figuring out: What does matter most to you, and what do you really, deep down, what do you really love?


I am not busy, and I am never too busy, for those things that matter most. Check out one of my favorite speeches of all time - What if love were our only motive?



Friday, December 6, 2013

The Symphony of Snow

Alright all you snow haters, I have to confess, I love snow. I love to see it falling, lighting up the night. I love to feel the safety blanket it lays over the city. I love how it gathers light, making ordinary things more beautiful. I even like driving in it, at least on small roads with no other cars around. Untouched snow - innocence. And snow with footprints and bike tire tracks and the remnants of a snow angel - the beauty of human experience, how we mold and change because of the influence of one another, reflected right there in the snow. And it melts; like other good things, it passes away, leaving us with memories, teaching us to treasure.

It took me four snowy winters  to come to this realization. I mean, how's a girl to know when every complaint is about the wretched snow. I almost thought I hated it just because every else talks about how much they hate it. I do absolutely hate being cold, and that is why I chose to be born during this modern time of electric blankets and hot running water, so I could enjoy the symphony of snow and only be cold a little bit. Rejoice, there is snow.


Friday, November 15, 2013

One more observation

And the rhythm of the seagulls wings as it catches, on and off, the light - how have I not noticed this before?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The seams of life are beautiful

I have been wanted to write about this for some time now. I have witnessed something spectacular. The type of beauty that asks for your full attention; steals for your entire self for just a moment. Waterfalls has often done this for me, but recently I discovered - no recently I noticed - these small black birds, possibly Blackbirds, flying patterns into the sky. They move together in a wave, resting for a moment, then rising back up as a music note would if it were to move along with its song. Each bird flies it own flight, and alone, just a small bird in a field it would be. But together, as an entity of one, these birds are pure soul on a canvas. They beg me: get out of your car and come sit. Forget the commute; forget papers to grade; just come sit and see a piece of nature's voice. The black birds flying in formation.

But I don't. And my eyes only watch the road. Then today, Autumn's dying, Snow is pushy, soon to coming, and the cars are all zooming down the street where I'm driving. Wind was blowing and Fall's leaves in the streets are a bouncing. They're jumping and riding the gust from the wheels of the cars. To the rhythm of rush hour, they tap the streets - their own ensemble of pianos - a ta-ta-tah-ta-ting. And their colors, a sparkling, like Christmas a coming, say even the dead leaves in the street have a voice.

Saying breathing and driving, commuting and grading, are all fine and good. But look, stand over here. Hear the loud crash of water on shinny black rocks. Feel the mist of the falls; let it prick on your face. The voices around me, though silent they are, tell of the beauty that makes up the seams of life.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

President Monson's First Conference Address


How cool is this?

Listen and hear the voice of a prophet

Teaching, is kind of exhausting sometimes. During my lunch break, I sit back in my chair, and eat some food, of course. But at the same time, I also feed my spirit. I go to lds.org and look up mormon messages usually.

And I just want to take this moment to personally invite all, to watch general conference this weekend. Feel more peace and love in your life, better understand your purpose, get answers to tough questions, it is so worth it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lil' bit of r-a-n-d-o-m for the crowd

Cette semaine has been off the hook aka cray zay. But ya know, you can't turn your back on the street.


no comment. Except that I would really love a waffle from Belgium right now. Can't turn your back on the waffles either.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Recommendations and Regrets

I was at the grocery store shaking it up with Lynie, and looked over and saw those chapsticks that come in a little round ball. Let me just confess, I have always wanted one of those. All the cool girls have them, and once my friend got one, and wouldn't let me try it. And if you are anyone who is anyone, you have to have one, so I tossed it in the basket.

Number One: Who ever thought to take the convenient shape of chapstick and turn it into a bulky, awkward roundness, was cray cray. It fits quite awkwardly anywhere in my bag or my pocket, and its nicely just about nowhere. Plus, there is no graceful way to apply it. I can't glide it along my lips, I have to fumble trying to smush it against the corners of my mouth. Round chapstick should be a nogo.

Number Two: It last all about three seconds. Then I might as well reapply. In fact, I guess I could just hold it in the palm of my hand all day; that is the one place it kinda-sorta-not-really fits.

Number Three: I maybe just a little bit feel like a poser.

So if you are wondering, I wouldn't buy one.

On another note, this week I discovered the sweetest app evs. Duolingo. I am strengthening my French, learning Spanish, and I passed level one in German and Italian. This one, is worth it.

Number One: I am addicted. I just want to learn Spanish/French all night long. I love learning languages, and I love this app because it forces you to actually use what you are learning.

Number Two: I have studied in school how language is best acquired, and this app has the research in its pocket. It relies entirely on context clues, and does quite a superb job of scaffolding.

Number Three: It strengthens  listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills. Wow, that is pretty much the lot.

So if you want to learn some other language, or even if you are just bored, or even if you are as busy as superman, try the app. I am recommending it.





People are the most important





A friend of mine shared this on faceybook, and I just watched it and cried. Thought I would share. People, all people, should always take care of each other.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I'll take my milk from a chocolate straw

I hate milk. Je ne l'aime pas. Okay, I dislike it. So 95 percent of the time, I don't drink it plain. And I throw out the extra milk from my cereal. Yep, I waste it. But then, the other week, I found this treasure. Choco milk straws. So the premise as follows: put the straw in a glass of milk, place your lips on the straw, suck, and viola, chocolate milk party in the mouth. There is also cookies and cream flavor. I was just shopping around Walmart on a Monday afternoon, and there they were, sitting quietly on the shelf. So I bought them like a thief. The check-out lady didn't even comment or say anything like, "Whoa, cool straws."

Hence, as of late, I have been drinking milk "plain" mostly just because I like using the straws. And I make every other duck who wanders into our apartment try them. So I have been drinking lots of milk. I even used one to finish my cereal milk once. But now I have a question: Am I slightly lactose intolerant? Is that even possible? Because milk doesn't usually make me sick, but I am not so sure...unless it is these straws that are doing the poison.

I haven't decided yet if I am going to stop drinking milk from these straws. But I do think I will be having oatmeal for breakfast, instead of cereal, for the rest of the week. #milkiswierd #strawsareforthecoolkids #maybetheyshouldselltheseatchicfilla

Friday, September 6, 2013

Update: Just got this picture from ma sista


Just got this picture from my sister. This is our kitten, Tigress, just chillin in a basket like a boss.

Instagram with Lives for Hugs: Egyptian Cat Edition

For over half a year, my sista, Annasophia, and I been sending each other a picture of the day. Basically it is like Instagram, revamped. We send each other things we are doing, or random things we saw, or we just hold up our phones and take of shot of whatever and press send. The ultimate compliment is when someone says "artsy" back. That means you took a pretty great shot.

But the other day, my sister sent me this picture:


Okay, what is going on here? I just keep looking at it too. I mean, that is what I do when I am bored, or stressed, or silly, I put a piece of bread over my head and talk like a robot. And it is interesting too because a few days before she sent me a picture of a cat looking in a puddle at its reflection which was a lion. So, is that cat doing that cat-thing, and trying to look like a lion? Because if he is, he has nothing on my cat, Tigress.

And so I just wanted to share this picture with all of you. When you are bored/stressed/don'tknowwhattodo, just remember, You are bread. Whatevs that means.

P.S. Sometimes I call my sister by her Indian name: She lives for hugs.

Oh and just for your enjoyment. We both get up pretty dang early. So one morning, I sent her a picture of me looking tired, and she responded with her tired picture. Featured below for your viewing pleasure.


Monday, September 2, 2013

The Answer to Life's Questions, every single one


We are all people. We are all looking for answers. We all want to know what is important, and we all want to feel loved.

I can promise you that there is a God, Heavenly Father, who loves you more than you can imagine. He wants you to feel His love and to feel full. So he restored Christ's gospel, the same Gospel that was established when Christ was on the earth, so that you could come closer to him and feel really joy and love.

This I know is true.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Two Kinds

There are two kinds of chocolate chip cookies: the soft buttery kind and the crumbly oaty kind. I am one hundred percent those crumbly oaty kind. Especially the kind that come out of my mama's oven. But today I ate a soft buttery chocolate chip cookie just because it was there and I was hungry. I mean some people don't even have chocolate chips cookies at all. In France, we tried really hard to make Madam host mother some chocolate chips cookies, but we couldn't find any of the ingredients. And the ingredients we did find, were a little off. So we tried okay. But back to America, there are two types of chocolate chips cookies out there, and one type is boss over the other.

It is the same with cleaning house. There are two types of cleaners out there: those who clean and those who don't. I prefer the former, 'cause I just love myself a vacuumed living room and spotless kitchen. And because of my particular tastes, it makes it pretty much necessary to spend some time cleaning. But I recently learned of a new way to clean called T-Rex cleaning. Basically it goes like this: as you are cleaning you just think about how much harder it would be if you were a T-Rex. Can you even imagine? Trying to vacuum with those little arms? Or do the dishes? You would basically have to be taking a bath in your dish water. And your face would be all squished up against the window when you cleaned the blinds. And why even ever clean the floor? You would probably have to lie down to do it and T-Rexes are dirty, so the floor would probably get dirtier, not cleaner.

Ya so I am super glad I am not a T-Rex. And super glad I have a clean apartment. Now I think I will go into my clean kitchen and make some dancing chocolate chips cookies, and while I am doing it, I will remember how grateful I am to be human, not T-Rex, because making chocolate chip cookies wouldn't be super easy either.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Today is Saturday

For some reason today I felt the sudden urge to revamp my blog. Let me tell you it straight: it is all symbolic - new start, nice clean and white, change of title. I also cleaned the blinds in my apartment today. It probably took over an hour, but now there isn't any dust flopping around when we open and close the window. I swept too. And did the laundry. Oh isn't Saturday such a special day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Check it out baby

Okay listen. My mom has seriously a way cool blog. I-don't-even-know-when ago she started an FHE (family home evening) blog. In the mormon church we customarily have FHE on Monday nights. During this time we learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have fun together as a family. My mom one day was thinking about how her three oldest children (including me!) have moved out of the house to go live their lives (strangely enough that line sounds like it could come from the story of the three little pigs). But, she still wanted to teach them at FHE, so she started a blog. So yes, I benefit from this blog, but so do thousands of other people who are looking for FHE ideas or just need an uplift. It is pretty well organized, and it is pretty much smack-down bomb. So you should check it out, and you should share it with your friends, and you should follow it too cause I am continually double-you-o-double-youed by her blog (aka wowed : ).

Go FHE! Go LDS church! and Go Mom!

http://fhelessons.wordpress.com/

Herez a pic of my mom and family. Chillin at 2071. My family is the best family!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School

Aujourd'hui was my first day of school, as a teacher! So I decided to take a picture like my mamma used to when I was in elementary. Basically, it was pretty much a day. I am not going to say that it wasn't hard, but I for sure love my job. Actually I am obsessed with it. Mostly because I just love my students. Here is me awkwardly waiting for the timer to go off on my camera because no one else wakes up at the crack of crazy to go to work. Okay, a lot of people do, but just not my roommates. Cheers for teaching!


Also, junior high is the place to be. I think that is where I want to spend the rest of my teaching days. Eighth grade baby.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Snakes are not my best friend

Remember this? Yes, I once put a snake around my neck, some sort of constrictor snake too. Call me a fool or an adventurer, you pick. I guess I did it because I am scared of snakes and because I wanted to experience having a snake for a scarf. Only guess what, I only recently found out that the museum-person was not supposed to let the snake onto anyone's shoulders. Why? Because it is actually super dangerous! Who knew? That constrictor could get mad and well, constrict me! And I heard you can't even cut through them once they do (but after trying to confirm this on the internet and reading about lots of snake attacks, I decided to just call it good and go by hearsay). So basically, what I am saying is that at my neighborhood friendly museum, I was almost squeezed to death by a snake. What is even crazier, is that I trusted that museum presenter. When she said, who wants to put the snake around their neck, I said, sure I'll try. Ew, gross, I hate snakes. I might even go as far as to say that they are the devil's animal, or at least a symbol of the devil. Which means that I barely escaped the snares of Satan when I let that snake rest on my shoulders. Boy am I thankful for repentance, aka I am never putting a constrictor on my neck again.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

We made a pulley

Maybe a week ago, I had Say over for breakfast which turned into the brilliant idea of making a pulley from my apartment to hers. Bing, Bang, Genious. Now we can send each other little notes or treats, and basically what I am saying is the whole ward is probs def jay-jay jealous.



I know we are not in third grade anymore, but we are still in college. We gotta live it up while we can. Real life is pretty much chasing us down.

This is me delivering a strawberry cow tail to my sister say.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Some Scriptures

So in lieu of doing anything productive, I decided to go through a journal of mine and write down some of the scriptures that helped me through the hardest times of the last year.

2 Cor 12:9-10
Ether 12: 27
Trial of Your Faith by Elder Anderson
2 Nephi 4:16-35
Ether 12:6
Isaiah 40:31 (I even painted an eagle with oil paints because of this scripture)
Where is the pavilion by President Eyring
D&C 6:34
What thinks Christ of me by Elder Anderson
2 Nephi 8:3
Psalms 37:3-9
Mosiah 2:21

To learn more about Christ's true church on the earth today, go to mormon.org.

: )

Rejoice. 
I am loving this word these days. Speaking of love, I love missionary work, making eggs in a frame for people, and this sister standing next to me here.


L'autre jour, on a run, I realized I was in danger of wishing the hard times in life were easier and the easier times in life were a little harder. Hashtag that; I am just going to rejoice in all things. 2 Nephi 4:18-35.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

This summer I had an amazing opportunity to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I did a six week mini mission in the Houston Texas South Mission. Let me tell you, it was one of the best things I have ever done. Now herez the truth: Heavenly Father seriously loves His children so much. He loves me; He loves you; He loves that girl walking down the street outside my window. I know this, and I have felt this as I have felt His love for me encircle me and guide me. I have also felt it as I have prayed for and strived to serve those around me. It is always such an overwhelming feeling, but on the mission I had the amazing opportunity to really see God's love put into action every single day. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings such an amazing happiness, a fullness really. And the Gospel is for everyone, every single person on this earth needs the Gospel. To see that blessing come into people's lives, to see them feel and know that Heavenly Father really does know who they are and loves them more than they can imagine, to have the experience of being an instrument in God's hand to help them come to Him, was absolutely amazing. I was nothing more than a body moving around, filling the shoes and wearing the tag. Because as I just tried to give my all, trust in my Father in Heaven, and listen to the promptings of the spirit, I really saw Him change the lives of everyone around me. The truth is, I could go on and on about how seriously amazing missions, but instead I am just going to list a few ways that I am going to change because of the experience that I had.

1. I will repent every single day. I know I am not perfect, and I want to continually be changing my life to become closer to the Savior.

2. I will be a better member missionary. The Lord is really hastening His work right now. There is seriously just too much missionary work to be done for just the full time missionaries alone. And even when it seems like there isn't much work to do, there is still more work to do than we can imagine. I will continue to thrust in my sickle and work in His field. This time as a member missionary.

3. I will trust in Him and His plan forever; and I will have the faith to see miracles in my life every single day. All things are possible with God. And that is not even an exaggeration. He knows the end from the beginning, and I trust in his plan and his way.

4. I will give Him all my time. Just like on a mission, all my time, talents, efforts, and everything belong to the Lord, I will continue to give Him everything because all my time, talents, and efforts are still His. I will give my entire life to Him and serve Him with all my strength.

The truth is, the Gospel is true. It really is true. If you are reading this and are not a member, I encourage you to go to get a Book of Mormon, read it and pray about it. Find the missionaries and learn more about Christ's Gospel. You will get an answer, and it really will change your life.




Saturday, August 10, 2013

How I am not alone

Journey as defined by dictionary.com: traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time. In my journey, I am now right here. In this very moment of time, I am sitting on the third floor, by myself, with my lessons and unit planning sprawled around me. I am thinking these thoughts. The ones swimming around in my brain. Some elegantly coast through the water, some race freestyle or butterfly. Some are diving in and out of the pool. And the mountains are sitting there like a friend. The flowers from last night's party quietly exchanging breath with me. But the best part is that there are people around me. Not here in this room with me, but there are people surrounding my life right now. All different distances away, our thoughts are intersecting as I think of them and they think of me. At this point in my journey, I have these people. These people here. And while I sit along in my apartment, I feel surrounded by those I love. Twenty or so miles behind me, a mile or so to my left, hundreds of miles southeast and southwest, and scattered in every other direction are the people who are in the sphere of my life right now. How lucky I am; I must cherish the moment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Golden Treasure

Yesterday, lucky us, we found a Belgium waffle stand in Paris. #sohappy #Ilovebelgiumwafflesmorethananything #iftherearebelgiumwafflesiamtheretoo #maybeiwillmarrythem




Friday, June 7, 2013

France Week 5 aka Belgium



Welcome to Belgium: The waffles are five star, the people are warm and friendly, and the atmosphere is such a mix of people and cultures. Here I am in the Grand Place de Bruxelles (Brussels). The Grand Place is basically just a wide open square in the middle of town where everyone gathers. It feel like the heart of the city. While in Belgium, here is what I noticed:

1. Waffles! Seriously, truly, truelove, so good. I could have only eaten waffles while I was there and been so happy. They are so unreal it is ridiculous - better than any pastry in France any day. Out of all the perishable things I wish I could bring home to my family, this one is top on the list.

2. The architecture was unlike anything I have ever seen. I basically took a ton of pictures that look pretty much all the same because I was so fascinated with what I was seeing. We took a boat ride down the river in Bruges and learned a petit bit about the history. I could just imagine the streets bustling with trade and the people of the past.

3. Brussels is one of the capitals of the European Union. The city is the walking definition of cosmopolitan. We met a guy who spoke 15 languages, and although he is an outlier, just walking around the streets you can hear many languages weaving together. And, we got to tour the European Union Parliament. I absolutely loved learning about European politics. And I might even go as far as to say that foreign politics should be taught in high schools. It was fascinating to see how other governments work and realize that different governments work for different groups of people with different historical backgrounds. The parliament building was designed so that people would have many opportunities to meet and interact with their coworkers just by walking the halls. There really was such an atmosphere of peace there, and it was fascinating to see how all these different countries can all work together so well. I am not saying the European Union is perfect, but it is a pretty amazing system. I was talking to my host mere about it, and she pointed out how difficult it has been for some countries to manage their economies with the euro as their money system. Next spare time activity: learn more about the EU.

4. Tout le monde rides bikes. Which is great. I am a bike advocate. I love bikes. Biking is my favorite way to travel actually. Someone should invent a foldable bike that can fit in a backpack. Someone probably has.

5. I feel like maybe swans are native to Europe. They are everywhere.

6. I got to see a piece of the Berlin wall which was way cool. Another thing to add to my to learn about list: the political implications that accompany the Berlin wall and what exactly doe it symbolize to different groups of people?

Basically, I loved Belgium. But mostly, I loved learning about other cultures, peoples, and politics...and eating waffles.


Loving me some Belgium









The EU Parliament

Some modern art in the EU parliament.
If you touch it in one spot, the entire structure moves
in different ways symbolizing how what happens in
each country affects the rest of Europe.

Belgium is also famous for their fries.
Friendship

The Berlin wall.





Sunday, June 2, 2013

France: Week 3 and 4

This is me in France looking out my window after church today at one of the first sunny days in Paris in the past four weeks. In the past two weeks I have learned quite a bit about French culture, French language, and about life. I took a weekend trip down to Marseilles and met this missionary couple that taught me so much simply through their example. As I watched them interact with the YSA's they were called over, they radiated with love. What is more, they shared that same love with each of us. They even made us a super good lunch so we could go on a day trip with the rest of the YSA kids. At the top of the city, outside Notre-Dame de la Garde, I asked the wife is she was excited to go home, back to America, in two weeks. She said that actually she wasn't. She loves it here, and is really going to miss all the people. What an example she was to me of just living and loving wherever you are. Afterward, we sat inside the beautiful cathedral and listened to the music. I honestly haven't been homesick since. As Sister Dalton reminded me "What-e'er thou art, act well they part."

I have tried a lot of crazy food (most of which was crazy good) and seen some little towns that were voted the most beautiful in France. They were absolutely gorgeous! I decided I prefer to hug people instead of kiss their cheek, and would rather be served by an American waiter than a French waiter any day. In France the tip and the tax are already included in the price, and waiting tables is not all about the customer. Call me spoiled, but I find it rude when a waiter isn't extremely nice. Also, the water in the Mediterranean, at least of the coast of France, is so extremely clear! Pistachio is my new favorite flavor of ice cream. Modern art just barely beats impressionism in my book. And seafood is only getting better and better - fish has probably won out as my all time favorite meat. Muscles are pretty great too.

So I have been here for a month now, but it really just feels like a blink of an eye. I can't wait to each American breakfasts again, although I sure am going to miss the bread and croissants and cheese. And the Kinder Beuenos aka the my new favorite candy bar (plus the other Kinder versions). They really need to start selling those in the US of A.

Photos from Week Three

Just a sign I found somewhere in Lyon.

The remains of a Roman village.
We got to go through and explore all of it.

Off the coast of Marseilles.

Notre-Dame de la Garde is definitely my favorite
cathedral I have ever seen.






video

Photos from Week 4

Escargot was not that great.

The precursor to shopping malls these were
hidden between streets.

Modern art!

Always a rainy day at a castle.

Duck. was. seriously. so. good. (sorry it is
sideways)



This village was voted the prettiest in all of France.

The pilgrims would climb these stairs on their knees.


When in France...try fois gras?




Whew, was that enough pictures or what?