Friday, November 30, 2007

Benefit for Brian Bennett

For those of you remember when I posted back in July about my uncle Brian who suffered a massive stroke...there is going to be a benefit for him on Sunday in Saginaw at The Roadhouse on Gratiot. It's starts at 1:30pm and I think my uncle will play sometime around 6pm (one-handed of course). :-)

The Saginaw News had an article about it yesterday. Here is the link if you want to read it.

All right, I'm about ready to head up north for a little retreat with the Lord and a few other girls so I had better go finish packing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Catching up on E-mails

I have a severe backlog of e-mails to catch up with tonight, so instead of an original post from me, I’m going to refer you to the November 27th and 28th postings on the GirlTalk blog. Why am I doing this? Because Carolyn Mahaney quotes Piper? Well yes, she does, but the message is particularly relevant with the Christmas season upon us now. To whet your appetite for what Carolyn Mahaney has to say, I’ve included a brief excerpt from Piper’s book A Hunger for God, taken directly from the Girl Talk blog.

“The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.

Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire for God is awakened in their hearts. But then, ‘as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life’ (Luke 8:14). ‘The pleasures of this life’ are not evil in themselves. These are not the vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God” (John Piper, A Hunger for God, p. 14-15).

I found this quote incredibly convicting and a much needed reminder, not just with the Christmas season upon me, but also as I prepare for a personal retreat with the Lord that I am going on tomorrow and Saturday (along with three other girlfriends). OK, enough out of me, my e-mails await! Enjoy Carolyn Mahaney’s posts on the Girl Talk blog tonight. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to write again tomorrow before heading up north.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Face to Face

I'm home today working on a huge project for my Methods of Teaching English class. I needed a bit of a break so I thought to myself, "Hmm...why not post to my blog during this little study break." So I thought I would share in these few brief moments a favorite book of mine right now. Now this book is a book I've been working through the past few months. It's entitled Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship by Kenneth Boa. I absolutely love this book because it is a prayer guide almost entirely comprised of Scripture. Each day features the components of adoration, confession, renewal, petition, intercession, affirmation, thanksgiving and a closing prayer. Each of these components has up to a handful of Scripture passages to pray through and meditate on. This of course was a book my mentor recommended for me to get and now I recommend it to everyone I talk to about prayer and especially to people who are passionately eager to ground their prayers in the bedrock of Scripture. I think what has challenged me the most while working through these prayers is the realization of how "me-centered" my prayers are and how little time I spend simply adoring God for who He is. That changed quickly once I started praying through this book. Another facet of this book that I love is that these aren't simply a bunch of "canned" prayers to pray through without thinking. Because it is Scripture and God's Word is alive, it is next to impossible to kneel down and pray through these without coming face to face (hehe, hence the title) with our Living God. I love that so much. I fully and heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to increase their level of intimacy with the Lord.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Have you ever visited this site? I absolutely love it. It's called OpenCongress. It's a site that keeps you updated on all that is going on in Congress. It tells you when the House and Senate are in session, has featured congressman on the homepage, details the latest votes, and my favorite provides links to everything Congress related. I've been keeping up with all that is going on related to foreign policy, education, etc. all because of this lovely site. I've also been following what my reps are actually doing there in Washington and what they are voting on. Very useful and so much fun! Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A New Week

Ah, the wonderful daily grind. It’s usually so hard for me to get back into the swing of things after Thanksgiving, but this year has been different. I bounded out of bed at 5:20 this morning and was so eager to get working hard as quickly as possible. I’m thinking this is my natural coping mechanism. When Grandpa died, I wanted to be as busy as possible (once I got over the initial debilitating and uncontrollable sobbing of course). It was the same when my cat Jamison had to be put to sleep (if you’re laughing at this, you have to realize that Jamison was incredibly precious to me, hehe). And now with these Ciaran good-byes, I find that afterward I always have this insatiable desire to work really, really hard. I guess it could be worse; I could be mopey and not want to get out of bed right?!

So today. My meeting at the school I will be student teaching at went great. I got to meet the principal and my host teacher, as well as see the assistant principal who used to be an assistant principal at South (she remembered me from when I did field work there two years was nice to see a familiar face). My host teacher seems really great! She gave me a ton of resources to work through the next few weeks as I begin plotting out some rough sketches for my lesson plans. One little surprise though: my host teacher is white. What does that have to do with anything, you are probably thinking to yourself right about now. Well you see, it doesn’t matter, but it was a surprise because everyone I saw in the administration and support staff up until the moment I met her was black. Also, I learned today that this school is known as the “black” school because unlike the other district schools that have an incredibly diverse student population (and as a result have incredibly high racial tensions); this one doesn’t because it’s comprised almost entirely of African Americans. So at least racial tensions and feuding aren’t really something I’m going to have to deal with. I am going to have a few different kinds of challenges to face though. First, apparently I have a few arsonists in my classes and one student in particular is notorious for fighting and injuring his teachers—that should be interesting. My host teacher filled me in on a number of other behavioral and criminal information concerning my future students, but I’m going to wait and see for myself how these kids act before I start blogging about feels too much like gossip until I’ve experienced it first hand. Haha. In all seriousness though, I am incredibly excited about my student teaching placement. My host teacher told me repeatedly today that this placement is guaranteed to make me a better teacher and by observing everything today, I know (without a shadow of a doubt) she’s right. I also know God has me at this school for a distinct purpose; I just can’t wait to get started!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Official End of Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving is officially over now. It was so hard to say good-bye to Ciaran today at the airport. You might think I’d be getting used to these good-byes by now, but the funny thing is, each time seems just as tough as the last time, if not tougher. Well, dwelling on the fact that Ciaran is winging his way back to New Hampshire isn’t helping so a few brief moments thinking back on fun times this weekend might be just the thing to help me with this.

I treasured every moment I had with Ciaran this weekend. It was an intense whirlwind of a weekend though. There were so many people Ciaran wanted to see and his oldest brother (the brother I hadn’t met yet), sister-in-law, nephew and niece ended up making it to Michigan for Thanksgiving as well. Even with two of Ciaran’s siblings not there this weekend (they both live in California), there were still a ton of people around at all times.

I also had an absolute blast hanging out with Ciaran’s nephew this weekend. His niece is a sweetie too of course, but I spent more time with Shea, watching the Saginaw Spirit play, “partying” with him late into the night, watching movies, talking about soccer (he thinks Chelsea are a bunch of cheaters....further proof of Ciaran’s corrupting influence on this dear boy) and of course we spent quite a bit of time talking about how cool Uncle Ciaran is. Shea thinks Ciaran is a celebrity because no matter where they went this weekend, he was accosted by people who knew him (a lot of these people were former soccer players he’s coached over the last ten years, but Shea still thought it was pretty amazing). :-) I myself was amazed at Shea’s incredible memory. I hadn’t seen Shea in quite awhile, it’s been at least two years and he still remembered playing soccer and basketball with me one summer and he also remembered when he was probably only four years old (maybe five, I’m not sure) going back to my pond when we had snapping turtles. I thought that was pretty impressive...I’d even forgotten about the time when the turtles were back at our pond. Oh yes and Shea even gave me a job lead; he filled me in that, in his opinion, Madison schools are pretty good and I could move to Wisconsin when I get my teaching certificate...apparently there’s a house for sale close to his house. I don’t know though, Madison is even further away from Uncle Ciaran; that might be pretty tough. :-) Ah fun times, I hope Shea will come and visit again soon!

And I can’t forget about Ciaran’s niece...she is a riot! She insisted on being called Meatball or Woof-Woof almost the entire time. She likes to pretend she’s a puppy. I addressed her as Neeva once and she looked up at me shaking her head and stated so seriously, “No Neeva, I’m Meatball” and proceeded to curl up in Ciaran’s lap. She even got some little playmates to play puppy too and Ciaran dubbed one of those little girls Spaghetti. Four-year-olds are so much fun and Spaghetti and Meatball were the best!

OK, next, you had to know this was coming. ENGLAND’S NOT GOING TO EURO 2008!!! What is this world coming to?!!! Ciaran’s dad ordered the England v. Croatia game on Pay-Per-View for us and so I got to watch it live on Wednesday. What a devastating game! All we needed was a draw, that’s it, not too much to ask for is it? If you would have told me when World Cup was ending...and as I kept reassuring myself that Euro 2008 would be here before I knew it...if you would have told me England would not even qualify I would have laughed in your face...and now....that’s exactly what has happened. Such a bummer. I don’t even know what I’m going to do this summer...who can I possibly support? England is all I know! So the search is on, I’m going to be researching teams this winter and hopefully by April reach my final decision.

All right, there is so much more I could and should write about, but I need to eat and work out yet before bed and I have an early morning tomorrow. I meet with Central’s principal and my potential host teacher first thing in the morning, so I need to be well rested for that. Night!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiting Game

So I'm playing the waiting game tonight. Sitting here at my computer, I'm reloading the flight status information for Northwest Airlines time and time again, hoping Ciaran's going to actually make his flight from Detroit to Flint. His flight was supposed to leave Manchester just after 4 and it did leave the gate after 4, but then he sat on the tarmac for over an hour and now he isn't due into Detroit until 7, and according to my brother (who works at Detroit Metro), it's very unlikely he's going to be able to make his next flight. Grr....I'm trying to be patient, but it's been over a month since I last saw Ciaran and I've been so excited about him coming home, I've barely been able to concentrate all day. My mom made a big lasagna dinner for us to eat when we get back from Flint and I was looking forward to some quality time with him tonight before all the holiday rush starts tomorrow. I hope Ciaran gets here soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sabbath Thoughts

I love Sundays. I've said it before and you'll hear me say it a hundred more times probably. We concluded our six week unified theme at church today with a sermon entitled, "Take Christ to the Nations." As a result, I've been thinking a lot today about those people who have no access to the gospel whatsoever. The metronome Pastor Jay had on the stage keeps echoing in my mind too. I need sermons like this to keep me missions focused. I was just telling Ciaran on the phone this afternoon that my passion for missions has been clouded out by teaching and school and lots of other frivolous, "cushy," typical American concerns. It was awesome to have God use Pastor Jay to remind me of my responsibility to pray and support our missionaries who are working to reach the least-reached peoples of the world with the gospel. A couple also spoke in church today who are just about ready to leave to minister in Southeast Asia. A daughter of theirs (whom I absolutely adore!) is in the preschool classroom I serve in and as I played with her today, I found myself praying for her, her family and the people they are going to serve in Southeast Asia, more fervently than I've prayed in a long time...partly because I'm going to miss this dear little girl so much (I know I'm going to bawl my eyes out when I have to say good-bye to her), but also because I understand how truly amazing it is that God is equipping this dear family to leave the area, their family, their friends, all to serve our awesome Savior and bring glory to His name! Our God is so awesome, I love the way He works!

So as I was sabbathing this afternoon, those are some of the thoughts and prayers that I was working through with the Lord. I also got to enjoy some quality time with my brother and my mom before heading back to church this evening. It was a thoroughly refreshing afternoon.

Then much fun!!! I was helping out with childcare for our Celebration Service tonight and there were 25 kids between the ages of really little babies to Pre-K and there was me, one other older lady and two eighth graders to care for them (don't worry, we had reinforcements come in later once the word got out about how many kids we had!). It was a bit overwhelming at first, but a ton of my preschoolers were there with their siblings so it helped a bit because I knew them. Mrs. Loomis stayed and helped too once she saw how many kids there were. What an awesome way to conclude my Sabbath, having a blast with a ton of kids, being all crazy and silly and enjoying the day that the Lord has blessed us with. Ahhh, reflecting on my day here for my blog has been so much fun. I should do this more often. I'm going to fall asleep tonight with lips overflowing in thanksgiving to God for the life He has blessed me with...I truly could not ask for more. I hope each and every one of you is having a truly blessed Sabbath as well. Night!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Student Teaching Placement

I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. I can't stop thanking God for this incredible blessing!!! I received my student teaching placement yesterday: I’m teaching 6th grade ELA at Central Middle next semester. This is exactly the placement I had been hoping for! My mom wasn’t too thrilled initially, what with all the recent drive-by shootings that have taken place down in that vicinity, but she knows this is important to me and so she’s supportive now. I can’t wait to get started! 6th grade does seem a little young though, so I’m going to have to re-evaluate some of my teaching strategies, but I know it’s going to be a great learning experience and also, I’ll have taught every grade in my 6-12th grade certification except 8th grade. Maybe I can find a lengthy subbing job in 8th grade during the month of May when I’m available to sub full-time again. OK, I’m rambling way too much...I’m just so excited! Ciaran got an earful from me last night on the phone, but he understood why I’m so excited; his student teaching placement last winter was in Saginaw Public as well (except he taught 11th and 12th grade) and it was an awesome experience for him! Hopefully mine will be just as good!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Home Sick Today

Well, this is officially the longest I've gone in a semester before getting sick with a fever. I was hoping I'd make it past Thanksgiving this year, but unfortunately that didn't happen. So, here I am, curled up in my favorite blanket, sitting at the computer typing away as my head gets fuzzier and fuzzier. I'd probably better get back in bed, but I wanted to post today. At least one paragraph and well here it is. Here's to feeling healthy again tomorrow. Oh and before I go, here's a video and song I've been enjoying since Jen told me about this artist (Brooke Fraser). Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Life Update

I can't believe how little I post to this blog these days! So I've decided to change my tactics. Instead of waiting until I have something worthwhile to say, I'm just going to post everything and anything that comes to mind. Starting now.

Topic #1: Substitute teaching.

Subbing, I have decided, is always an adventure. And if you can't have fun no matter what, and can't enjoy observing the crazy antics of the kids (and maybe record a few of these said antics for a book to be written later on), it's not worth doing. I heard all summer how subbing was going to help my classroom management skills and toughen me up...and maybe it is doing these things...but I'm learning far more than how to be "tough." I'm learning that I just all out enjoy being in the classroom. These kids crack me up...even the ones that seem determined to dislike me even before I've known them a minute. And another thing I've learned is...yes I may look younger than most of them, but I do actually have things I can teach them. And that's why I'm there. I could go on and on about this particular topic, but those are just some preliminary thoughts I wanted to get down.

Topic #2: Single no more.

Ciaran and I have been dating awhile now and although I sat at his soccer game over three months ago and declared to a few girlfriends that a long distance relationship just wasn't something I could ever see myself in...I have yet again eaten my words. But with Ciaran, it's different. I know, I know, everyone says stuff like that, but I really mean it. I am thoroughly enjoying this long-distance relationship. But I also am REALLY excited that a week from tomorrow night, he'll be flying back for a few days. :-)

Topic #3: Preschoolers.

Serving preschoolers on Sunday morning during second service is such an amazingly refreshing experience to have each and every week. It takes a little bit of an adjustment switching from standing in front of 7-12 graders all week and then shifting to sitting on the floor building Noah's Ark out of a bunch of blocks with a group of three and four-year-olds...but I absolutely love it. I could go on and on about the funniest things they say, but I have to cut this post short because I just looked at the time and I need to eat some dinner before I go to meet with my mentor tonight at 7.

Hopefully, I will post again tomorrow.