December 30, 2010


Jon Foreman. I discovered him in 2010 and love love love his work. Well, should I say I re-discovered him...He was the co-founder of Switchfoot (another fav of mine since adolescence) and left a few years ago to pursue an individual music career. I think it's amazing that so much of his Christian music has been used in secular media, like Mandy Moore's A Walk to Remember or ABC's Grey's Anatomy. What a great way to bring Christ's truth and light into more people's lives.

Here's one of my favorite songs- featured a few times on Grey's-
The Cure For Pain by Jon Foreman

Happy Last Day of 2010! What is your resolution going to be?

December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry CHRISTmas everyone!
I hope you all had a peaceful and wonderful day celebrating the birth of the King of Kings. We had a lazy day at home with the family after attending a Christmas Eve party and then a Midnight Church Service. (Can't help thinking it might be the last Christmas "just us" with 3 of the sibs in their 20s... :-)

Anyway, last night, as I sat in the darkened church, anticipating the celebration, my eyes were drawn to the illuminated Nativity Scene. Such a simple setting on that Silent Night, a stark contrast to the world we live in. A world I cannot image living in if it wasn't for that little Baby who came to make all things new! Here's the powerful prayer that I meditated on last night. I hope it helps and inspires you this Christmas season. Lots of love,

Prayer Before a Manger Scene
"Lord Jesus, as I kneel before you manger in adoration, let my first Christmas word be: thank you. Thank you, Gift of the Father, for coming to save me from my sins.

Without you I do not know even how to be human. The characteristics of your human body express the divine person of God’s Son. And in that wondrous expression, Lord you reveal me to myself. Thank you for that saving revelation in your sacred humanity. As the Christmas liturgy proclaims, “in Christ man restores to man the gift of everlasting life.” Thank you for coming as one like myself to save me from myself.

You come as a baby because babies are irresistible and adorable. You come as a baby because you want our first impression of God incarnate to be that of one who does not judge. How I long to be united with you in every way. May I never be attracted to the allurements and charms of the world. May I love you always, at every moment, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. May the tenderness, the dependency, and the mercy that you reveal in your infancy become the hallmarks of my life.

Newborn Savior, the very silence of your incarnation proclaims that the answer to the misery, the strife, and the meaninglessness of life cannot be found within us. You alone are the Answer. As I kneel before you, eternal King, I surrender to you all my selfishness, self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-righteousness, self-assertion, and self-exaltation. Even as I adore you on this night of your birth, rid me of the nagging desire to be adored.

Word become flesh, you make your dwelling among us. Yet you do not live your life for yourself, but for us. And you enable us to live in you all that you yourself lived. Help me to embrace this truth with all my mind and heart. Come and live your life in me. Empty me of my willfulness, my petulance, my hardness, my cynicism, my contemptuousness. Fill me with your truth, your strength, your fortitude, your purity, your gentleness, your generosity, your wisdom, your heart and your grace.

O Emmanuel, may the assurance of your unfailing Presence be for me the source of unending peace. May I never fear my weakness, my inadequacy, or my imperfection. Rather, as I gaze with faith, hope and love upon your incarnate littleness, may I love my own littleness, for God is with us. Endow my life with a holy wonder that leads me ever more deeply into the Mystery of Redemption and the meaning of my vocation and destiny.

Longed-for Messiah, your servant St Leo the Great well wrote that in the very act of reverencing the birth of our Savior, we are also celebrating our own new birth. From this night on may my life be a dedicated life of faith marked by holy reliance, receptivity, and resoluteness. May I make my life a total gift of self. May my humble worship of the nativity manifest how much I seek the father’s kingdom and his way of holiness. The beauty of your holy face bears the promise that your Father will provide for us in all things This Christmas I renew my trust in God’s goodness, compassion, and providence. I long for the day when you will teach us to pray “Our Father.”

May your Presence, Prince of Peace, bless the world with peace, the poor with care and prosperity, the despairing with hope and confidence, the grieving with comfort and gladness, the oppressed with freedom and deliverance, the suffering with solace and relief. Loving Jesus, you are the only real joy of every human heart. I place my trust in you.

Oh divine Fruit of Mary’s womb, may I love you in union with the holy Mother of God. May my life be filled with the obedience of St Joseph and the missionary fervor of the shepherds so that the witness of my life may shine like the start that leads the Magi to your manger. I ask all this with great confidence in your holy name. Amen.”
-Written by Fr Peter John Cameron, O.P.-

December 22, 2010

God's Presence and Other Thoughts

I have a stack of unfinished blog posts, including an upcycle tutorial, that haven't quite been posted...
Sorry, that would be due to finals and the end of semester! Yay for a break to relax and catch up on LIFE.

19 more grad credits done and now halfway to my MAC Ed! (Masters of Arts Certification in Education). I am so glad I went this route career wise. While I don't begin my full lead teaching until February, I had a taste last week. My CT had to be out for a few days unexpectedly and I got to jump in and take over. It was just what the kids and I needed. They got their testing out of the way, I held strong through said testing, we learned a lot, and even had a blast. We had some fun lessons- including a World Tour to Spanish speaking countries (I taught 70 third graders Flamenco :-) and Origami Poetry with Fold Me a Poem.
Teachers: This is a great book and here's the author's website with ideas.
I can't wait until next semester, and even more, until I have my own classroom in the Fall. Pray that I get a job!

Over the weekend I had a date with an amazing teen- Ms. E. The past few years I've mentored a group of high school girls as a Youth Group Small Group leader. I never thought I wanted to work with high schoolers but it's been a wonderful experience- can't imagine NOT doing it. I was blessed with young adult mentors at that age and realize how important it really is to fill in the gap. So anyway, there we were, Starbucks in hand as we walked around the Christmas-y mall. I don't know if it was the fact that we were surrounded by hundreds of people in "their own worlds" or what but the following statement from Ms. E shocked me! She was sharing about a retreat where the prompt had been "Share a time when you have seen God work in you or your family's life." She was the only one in her group, of Christian teens, who had an answer.

Seriously? Are we collectively that asleep to Christ's presence in our lives? Or are we too busy, caught up in our own worlds and problems to notice? Are we ashamed to share our stories for fear of others "not getting it," or judging and all that jazz. I know, for me at least, that the answer has been yes to all of these at one time or another. But I also know that holding on those those instances where God has worked in my life or the lives of those around me has helped me pull through some difficult times. It's made God feel real when I've felt alone. Yes, He is always with us.

Deuteronomy 12:7 There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.

And yes, He has blessed us too- time and time again. In tough times like these we need to be more vocal about sharing those blessings and helping the body of Christ see His work more tangibly. If you want to see some big acts of God's work in our lives- check out this amazing ministry- Mercy Ministries. Read some of the girls' stories, watch this video testimony- and your life will be changed. But no act of His presence is too small- it's the little, every day acts of Grace (like the answer to prayer email I just received with a grant for school!) that make a difference as well. Join me in taking a pledge to be more aware of these instances of extraordinary grace and share them with our not-so-ordinary world in 2011.

Together we can make a difference. We are entering in to the season where we received the greatest gift of all- the Light that shines in the darkness- Christ himself. Thank you Ms. E. for helping call us to action. Let's let that light shine a bit brighter!

December 7, 2010

'Tis the Season to be JOYful

For all those out there who get a kick out of funny kid sayings...enjoy!

My class was in the computer lab yesterday doing math games when the following conversation ensued:

Child: "Ms. W. I got the black mouse (computer). Did you know that black is like the na*keditive?"

Me: "Did you just say you have a na*ked mouse?"

Child: "you know, white and black are opposites just like positive and na*keditive numbers"

Me: "Oh you must mean NEGative..."

Hahaha I love this kid. She also happens to be the turtle child who keeps me laughing every day. She refers to her older sister, a sophomore in college, as "my 2nd grade college sister." When I told her that *I* have a 2nd grade college sister too, she replied "Oh Ms. W. I just KNEW you were destined to be MY teacher!" LOL. She is definitely one of my favorite kids ever!

PS. For you bloggers out there: the reason I put an asterisk in na*ked is your blog can be searched and tagged by words- especially if you have adSense. Definitely don't want that type of ad!

December 5, 2010

10 Things I love...

In no particular order :-)

1) Beautiful music that moves me
2) Advent and my King
3) Kids and their joy/exuberance for life
4) Ice cream
5) Warm sheets out of the dryer
6) Friends and Family
7) Target
8) My spinal cord stimulator
9) Diet Coke
10) Learning to just be

Take some time out of the craziness to just be, and think about what/who you love! Have a great week,

December 2, 2010

Fun Fonts

I wanted to pass along this great website for free fonts! On the blog there are download buttons under each font, once it downloads, open the zip file, click on the font name, then click install. Super easy! If your computer was like mine(Windows 7) and didn't show new fonts in your Word drop menu- Go to control panel, appearance and personalization, fonts, font settings, and then unclick the first box (hide fonts based on language settings). Reopen Word and you should be good to go.

These fonts are great for teaching, newsletters, scrapbooking, etc!
I'm so excited to use mine. Thanks Amanda @ Kevin&Amanda!

November 29, 2010

The Chinese Chicken and Turtle for Lunch

I have been so busy with school that my bloggy intentions over break went to the wayside. Didn't want to look at my computer for a couple days then it was back to the grind, but a sweet and hilarious grind on the days that I teach!

I have a lot of Asian students. In fact one of my precious munchkins moved back to China with his family today :-(. They are so smart and motivated but they also keep me cracking up. Last week one of my children comes bounding in from lunch with a "Ms. W. I have a present for you!" Here's how this played out...
Child drops a claw into my hand
"Aww, that's cool _____, what is it?"
"It's a turtle claw!"
"Where did you find it?" (With visions of a turtle massacre on the playground...)
"Well I had turtle for lunch and I found it in my food so I spit it out!"
(I quickly pass it back to her...) "Why don't you give that back to your mom, she'd love to have it."
Hahaha never a dull day in the third grade.

And now to the Chinese Chicken. When taking a poll about some of my student's Thanksgiving traditions, it seems that Turkey has gone by the wayside and that Chinese Chicken is the culinary delight of choice. (Christmas Story Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra anyone?) Today I decided to adapt this Turkey Math problem to become da da da- The Chinese Chicken problem! I am being trained to teach math in a different way, by allowing the students to make sense of the new concepts before they are fully introduced or rules/algorithms given. That way, by using what they know and developing new skills and strategies, they have a more organic understanding of the math that can then be applied to more difficult concepts. (Once the algorithms are taught, if that makes sense.) Here's an example of a pre-Multiplication problem:

I began with a warm-up (in this case telling time/fractions of a clock) to get them thinking, review, and assess what they know. I then go into the launch as seen below. Students worked in groups to solve the problem and then they created posters of their strategy. At the end, several groups shared in front of the class and we had a rich discussion surrounding the many different ways we could get the same answer. It planted the seed for the idea that multiplication is repeated addition! I love teaching math- there are so many aha moments!

The Chinese Chicken Problem
Ms. W is going to cook a giant Chinese Chicken for an upcoming Holiday party. A lot of people are coming to her house for dinner so she bought a 24 pound chicken. According to Ms. W’s cookbook, a chicken needs to roast for 15 minutes per pound (which means for every 1 pound of chicken, it needs 15 minutes in the oven). She has two problems that she needs your help with.
1) How long does the Chinese Chicken need to cook- in hours?
2) If Ms. Wright wants her guests to eat at 4:30 pm, what time would she put the Chinese Chicken in the oven?

Every student was so engaged as a mathematician- quite precious to watch! Math should always be this much fun. Happy Monday and Happy Advent!

November 11, 2010

I am thankful for...

Lightbulb or Aha! Moments

Love when that information just "clicks" in a young student's mind. Everyone learns, everyone wins. I'm blessed to be a part of amazing moments such as these. It's definitely days like this that remind me why I am a teacher.

So. Worth. It.

October 19, 2010

Beyond the Big Picture

My head is so full right now.
So many blog posts to write,
so many lessons to plan for my kiddos,
intentions to pray for,
a lot to process.
Being an adult is just plain hard work sometimes!

If I look at the big picture, I want to cry. But, if I look past that big picture- to the plan that I know my God has for me, I rejoice. I don't know what that plan is in its entirety, but I do know He has given me snapshots-
and it's beyond what I would ever dream of.

I take comfort in knowing
that He has it all figured out,
and that I can relax,
hold on to Him,
and trust.

Things are rough right now, especially financially.
There's a voice that's yelling at me for all the things I *should* have done by now. There's a lot of spiritual warfare to fight.
Maybe I'm being attacked because I'm on the path towards Him.
Satan really hates women.
Especially women who have given themselves to the King.

My Abba Father isn't making it all clear right now-
But He's using this opportunity to teach me,
about perseverance,

Again, the big picture is kinda scaring me right now.
But one step at a time, it's ok.
I know that my God will carry me- leading the way
Then he will hold my hand- walking alongside
And then follow right behind- supporting my steps
Until He's ready to stand at a distance-
And let me fly-
Through this time of trial, and into His arms once again.
Just like a loving parent (who supports and guides their children through life)
Because that is exactly who He is.
He is the perfect parent.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

October 9, 2010


Thankful. Remembering. Excited.
3 of the many emotions running through my head right now.

3 years ago today I prayed a prayer that I had no idea would change my life- Oct 8, 2007 I wrote in my journal "Lord, if you need to break me, in order to build me up in you, go ahead. I want more of you and less of me in my life." Well, that night I fell, injuring my knee and beginning my journey with RSD. Had I known that morning what was to come, I would have run. Had I known when I had the knee reconstruction surgery that I would have 10 more in an 18 month span- I would have run. Had I known when I went into remission that we hadn't fixed the problem- I would have run.

So glad that I didn't - literally and figuratively- that instead of running from Him, I was able to run toward Him. I would do this all over again for what it has and continues! to teach me. For the gift of new perspective, for shifting my focus on learning and education, for the best best friend anyone could ask for, for learning to fight the system for what is right, for being thankful for the little things- like the ability to walk, for healing in many areas, for the opportunity for my family, friends, and I to be stretched and grow to be better people, for all who I've met along this way, for having a small taste in my hands, feet, side of what He did for us- and a whole lot more.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't always have such a thankful or positive attitude- I still struggle with that at times. I fall every day but I know now what it really means to pick yourself back up. Not easy, but oh so worth it! It's only been 6 months since I was implanted with a Spinal Cord Stimulator and my health made a 180. The progress astounds me and yet it continues- I can't wait.

This week was a big week. Not because of what I did, but what it allowed me to see. Today my dance department colleagues performed with the Paul Taylor Dance Company (one of the main/first modern companies). My Elementary Ed Masters program ushered it since it was a program for kids K-12. I was given the opportunity to lecture-demo for my program and professors in the School of Ed in order to prepare them and future students to watch dance, and also broach the topic of arts integration. 60 people (90% of whom were older than me), 2 cameras, and the goal that I was going to physically show them- as in dance. Being told by more than one doctor that I would never walk again, and being able to prove that they were oh so wrong...I am excited to say that I "performed" 2 small phrases (to illustrate modern dance breaking rules if you'd like to know.) And while it wasn't perfect, and my body didn't totally like it later, it was...right. The response, both in support (from many who don't know the meaning of this) and in excitement/curiosity for the arts was incredible. The conversations we had both before and after the performance today were inspired. And I sat through my first dance performance in 3 years without crying- instead, I danced in my heart.

Promised. Blessed. Loved.

God never takes us where God's Will will not support us. So while a lot is going through my head, and the remembrance wasn't all cake and ice cream, I am blessed! Today, this week, was just a taste of integrating my "old world" as a Dancer who danced and then taught into my "new world" as a Dancer who teaches others to dance in all different ways. Attempting to educate the whole child- no matter what their ability or experience in life. The cusp of my new normal- the top of the roller coaster- I'm ready for this ride.

August 22, 2010

Moving and Thoughts for the Semester

I spent the weekend moving into my new apartment. It's coming along amazingly- definitely hope to post some pics! However, we do not have internet for the week and I'm starting school again so it may be a while. Just wanted to share that God is fabulous, as usual. He totally designed this living situation for D and I and has already showered us with grace. True story: The day I got home from the hospital I was praying for my living situation/this next year on the way to school. 5 mins after I got there this new friend/classmate (but GF of one of my guy friends)asked me if I was needing a place. The rest is history :-)Love when He does that. He provides so well for our needs when we trust Him!

We have had some amazing conversations already- thank you Lord for ministering through us. I can tell it is going to be a very peaceful year even though we are both tackling difficult 1 yr school programs. This is going to be a great year of leaning into Him, and growing both in the vocations He has called us to as well as in our relationships with Him. As I begin the new semester this quote by Nelson Mandela strikes me:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This light is a GOD-GIVEN light, unique to us, created for the purpose HE has for us in the world. It can be scary to let shine, it definitely isn't easy, and the world for sure doesn't support us in it. But Lord, please fill us more with your Light so that we may set this world ablaze. Please help us to surrender to you more so that you in turn can work through us. Help us to calm our fears and our sense of control. We want not ours, but YOUR plan for our lives. Help us even in our business of daily life to minister to others and spread your LIGHT! In His name,

August 16, 2010

Summer Vacation!

I am blessed with 2 weeks of break in between semesters- my mini summer vacation! Can I say how amazing it's been? I may or may not have slept in til 1 today (PM) and then took another nap as well. Just because I could...or maybe I needed to! Here's what I've been up to.

Up North with my Family-
"Up North" is Michigan lingo for heading to the northern part of the state, usually to a cottage on a lake. I did just that and enjoyed spending time with some of my family at least before I move out again.

Mackinac Island-
Definitely one of my favorite places on this earth! Mackinac is a historic island between peninsulas where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. There are NO cars allowed on the island, just horses, bikes, and 2 feet. Great work off the amazing Mackinac fudge. My mom and I rode 9 miles, stopping sometimes to read and relax along the shore. Just being in God's amazing creation! It was definitely a powerful realization that I'm really getting my strength/endurance back! Yeah! I'll post some pictures soon.

One of my dear friends, Sheila, got hitched! I had several weddings this summer, guess I'm getting to *that* age, but this was first time I was a bridesmaid. What an honor to stand up with her as she gave her heart in union with her new husband's heart to the Lord. They sang a beautiful duet to Charlotte Church's The Prayer, that made many of us cry! Sheila has walked through many crosses the past few years and I am so excited and hopeful for this new journey she is beginning. Praise God for new beginnings. For family, that we are not meant to walk life alone. For love, that is God himself and his tangible touch in our lives. Pray for Sheila and Dustin on their honeymoon this week!

Next up- The Move! But that's another post. Goodnight friends, hoping that you are all enjoying this last bit of summer as well.

August 9, 2010

Cursive, Multiplication...

It's back to 3rd grade for me! I just received my student teaching placement for the year. 3rd grade is such a fun age and I hope it'll prepare me to teach up or down if need be when finding a job! My CT (mentor teacher) is a graduate of my masters program- how great to share a background and have her guidance through this crazy year. The school's a bit far from my apt but right down the street from my Church and close to my parents too. Can't wait to meet you Ms. Warner! What's your favorite thing about 3rd graders? or What's your favorite memory of 3rd grade?

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.” John F. Kennedy

August 8, 2010


Yep, last week was that time once again. That also means its time to facebook, upload new music, organize my room...basically any excuse I can think of. I am, without a doubt, one of the world's best procrastinators. Yet, it always gets done. And weirdly enough, I find finals week to be a pretty productive time. Like my cohort (classmates), I was pretty stressed about the first finals of grad school. Unlike most of my classmates, I was not out of finals practice...I did just graduate 3 months ago!

So while it's so easy to find things to complain about...ahem those 54 essays for the literacy exam, it's all about perspective. Yes, finals are part of my vocation right now as a student, but no, a year down the road they are not going to matter. No one looks at those numbers anyway. What matters is who I live my life for and how I do it. Perspective. That's what I kept in mind this week. I have a lot to be thankful for. So while I still had stress and dropped the ball on a few things, sleep for instance, it was a pretty good week.

I made it!

And's time to play and spend some much needed family time before I move. Here's where I've been:

Hanging out with this great sister and pet ('rents and cousins too)

Here's a hint to where I'm going tomorrow:

Any ideas?

August 1, 2010

It's Time...

...To enter the Bloggy World as a writer. A little over a year ago I began a medical blog via Carepages and was introduced to the drill- you know, the post updates, wait for comments, comment on others' pages, become a part of a community- drill. And I liked it. Yet, I felt limited and grew tired of only posting on topics relating to my health. I thought, "One day, when I have a real career or a family of my own (with things to share) I'll start a blog."

I resorted to reading blogs to get me through some long and challenging days. I "met" real people, from their little corners of the world, who posted on every day experiences. Sharing a common creed, they shared the tough stuff along with the blessings, rejoicing in all times. These blogs made me laugh, made me cry, & motivated me towards my future goals. And I rejoiced in my circumstances. Our Lord loves me enough to have allowed me to walk through such times, to change me, to shower grace upon me. Who am I to keep it all to myself?

So here I go-
Sharing the big things
the Lord
has impressed upon my heart
The everyday moments
of life
Searching for His
Extraordinary Grace
In an
Ordinary World.