Friday, October 10, 2008
It was a long wait, but it was well worth it! A couple weeks ago, our church finally opened the doors to our new building....WAVE Convention Center! We had spent 16 months inside of a small, old, stuffy building. Pastor Steve and the rest of the preaching staff had been conducting seven services each weekend in order accommodate all of the people coming to church. Not anymore though! We now have a brand new, state-of-the-art building that holds 2,500 people!Cushioned stadium seats with armrests, huge flat screens for viewing, a Gloria Jean's coffee shop, and a book store are just a few of the amazing features of the new building! I cannot even begin to explain how exciting it was to walk in the first week! Not only did it smell brand-new inside, but it gave you such a welcoming feeling to see "Welcome Home" posted on the big screens. There was such a buzz in the air because this was what we had all been waiting for! The building definitely did not disappoint! Yet, the best part is knowing what is to come! So far, we are filling the front 1,300 seats during each of the two Sunday morning services. I can't wait for the holidays when the building will surely be filled to capacity! Better still, I can't wait for the days when we have to add more services again because the building is filled on a weekly basis! It is so neat to think of all of the wonderful times that are to be had at Wave Convention Center. The building was built for the generations to come, and it is amazing to think how many lives will be changed there!
Friday, July 18, 2008
I've been talking about doing it for awhile now, so I finally cut my hair on Tuesday. It may sound like no big deal to most people, but it was to me. For starters, I hadn't had a real haircut in about 4 years. Don't get me wrong, I've had my bangs cut and my hair trimmed a few inches over the years, but I haven't had a significant haircut since the summer before I started teaching. As stupid as it sounds, I had grown very attached to my hair. It was down to my waist in length, and I had blow drying it and styling it down to a science. Still, it was time to get it cut, no doubt! I finally made up my mind to go get it done on Tuesday afternoon, after putting it off several times this summer. Sitting in the chair, I really wanted to change my mind again and have my hair trimmed instead of cut. Despite this desire, I went through with it and had about 12 inches taken off. Why so much? Well, I went into the hair salon knowing that I was going to donate the hair to Locks of Love, which is an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients out of real, donated hair. In order to donate, you have to give at least 10 inches. My hairdresser took a little extra, probably because the ends of my hair were in bad shape and probably were best left unused. After my locks were cut off, I looked in the mirror and hardly recognized myself! My hair is far from long now! 12 inches made a huge difference! Do I like my new hairdo? Not especially! I don't know if I'm just not used to it yet, but I'm not a big fan of it! Call me vain, but I had grown accustomed to my long hair. I always received a ton of compliments about it, and now it is all gone! This is the second time I have donated, so I know my hair will grow back quickly. In the meantime, I know that the hair I cut off is going toward a good cause!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
For 180 days, I have been working the 20 students in my class to the bone! We have read, calculated, studied, tested, and written in an effort to cover all of the standards I knew could be tested on the SOL tests. With 4 weeks to go before the tests, it looked impossible for us to be ready. I pushed and pressed on, wanting the kids to believe that we would make it. Somehow, by the grace of God, no doubt, we covered everything that the state requires. The kids finished the tests a little over a week ago, and I was so proud of them! While some of them are nervous about how they did, I witnessed them using the skills that I taught them, and I know that they tried their best. With SOLs out of the way, it was time to have a little fun! We started on Tuesday with an Author's Reception. Since the very first week of school, the special ed teacher, Betty, and I implemented the Writer's Workshop program in our classroom for an hour each day. It was amazing to see the progress that the kids made, from not being able to write a complete sentence at the beginning of the year to each having at least one published book by the end of the year (some had up to 4). These kids truly became pros at writing and editing their own work. Plus, it was unbelievable to see their love of writing grow! When asked about the program, all of the kids talked about how much they loved it, especially since they were allowed to write about any topic of their choosing. Without even realizing it, they were all using it as an outlet to talk about the things going on in their lives. When all was said and done, we all knew each other better because of this writing. So to celebrate the hard work the students had done all year, we invited their parents to come in and listen to them reading their stories. We had refreshments like Rice Krispie treats, fruit pizza, and sherbet punch (thanks in part to my mom), and we were pleased by the turn-out of parents, administrators, student teachers, and teacher assistants. When we started the program, we could have never guessed the excitement it would bring for the students! The Friday before the party, they were literally waiting at the door for the last shipment of published books to come from the TA. You can't ask for much more as a teacher! We followed up our Author's Reception with a terrific Field Day on Thursday! The day started with a police-escorted torch run from City Hall to our school bus loop. The principal ran the entire way along with a few other adults, and the SCA representatives joined in once it reached the school. The rest of the morning, the students competed in events like cup stacking, battleball, hula hoop passing, sack races, and more. They even played with a giant parachute and ran around trying to fill buckets with wet sponges under their necks! It was the best field day that I had witnessed since I was little, and the kids had a blast! It was so much fun to let them have a day to just be kids after all the work they have done this year. Too often in school, we lose sight of the fact that these are just kids as we try to force them to learn everything by the test dates. This was a completely stress-free day for them! It was one of the hottest days imaginable, but the kids forgot about that once the events got started. I, on the other hand, did not forget about it until one of the P.E. teachers soaked me with a hose! Still, I will forgive him because the P.E. teachers made this great day possible for the kids! Overall, this week was one of those weeks that reminds you why you go into teaching in the first place!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So I know that Mother's Day was last weekend, but this is the first opportunity that I have had to sit down and write since then. I figure that it is never too late to talk about how amazing my mother is. For Mother's Day, Sara and I sent our mom flowers and bought her a gift certificate to have her nails done. After church on Sunday, I also took her out to lunch (Sara wasn't here or she would have gone as well). While my mom seemed pleased with all of this, it was in no way enough to show our appreciation for all of her love and support through the years. Both Sara and I are very close to our mom. We each talk to her everyday, sometimes more than once a day. At least in my case, I can only remember one big fight that I have ever had with my mom. For the most part, we have always been tight. As people get older, you sometimes hear them complain about becoming more and more like their parents. In my life, I hope to become more like my mom. She is truly one of the best people I know. She listens to me vent about work or life everyday, and rarely expects me to listen to her (I'm trying to be better about asking how her day was). Not to sound cliche, but she would literally give the shirt off of her own back to help someone in need. Like any mother, she was always there for Sara or me if we were sick or sad, and she continues to be to this day. I'm not ashamed to admit that I took her with me to each doctor's visit when I was so sick last year (after all, she is a nurse, so she knows all the right questions to ask). My mom has helped me move into and out of apartments, houses, and classrooms. She surprises me by coming over to mow my lawn when I am stressed and have so much to do that I can't see straight. She has gone with my class on a field trip to Jamestown, and she has sat through a winter chorus concert by third graders just to show her support for me. One time, also when I was sick last year, my mom cleaned my entire apartment while I was at work. It was her day off, but she spent the day stocking my fridge, dusting, vaccuuming, rearranging cupboards, and mopping floors all because that is just the kind of person she is. Am I spoiled? ABSOLUTELY, and I count my blessings for it everyday. Still, all of this is not what makes my mom so special. Two years ago, in the face of the hardest time of her life (her divorce from my father and the death of her father), my mom took a stand and truly showed how strong she really is. Though I begged her to hang on, she did what was right for her and got out of a bad situation. At the time, I didn't understand it, but looking back at it now, I could not be more proud of her. My mom displayed true courage in standing up for herself. Not only that, but she also taught me a lot about being a strong woman and a great mother. I only hope that one day I will have the chance to make her as proud as she has always made me. If I am half the mother she has always been, I will consider myself a success. I love you, Mama!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Yesterday, of course, was Easter. It was an amazing day all the way around. First of all, my sister and Ann were in town for the holiday, so that helped to make it special. The day started early, with having to get up at 6:30 in order to be at the early church service. While I hate getting up early on my days off, it was totally worth it. I must say that yesterday was quite possibly the best day of church I have ever experienced! Wave Church, the church I have attended for over two years now, is in the process of building a huge convention center to make room for all of the current and future members. In the meantime, our pastor is preaching 7 services each weekend, since the building we are currently meeting in is tiny. In addition, other preachers preach for our church at different locations in Virginia Beach and Richmond. This weekend was special though, so all of the services met together at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. From the very beginning, the service was amazing. The worship team did an amazing job of setting up a music and lighting extravaganza fit for a King. Then, it was Pastor Steve's turn. I enjoy listening to him preach every weekend (and not just because of his cool Australian accent), but he was especially good yesterday. He walked us through four main points, but he made the greatest impact when he described, in detail, the brutal crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I don't think there were many dry eyes in the place. In years past, I can remember thinking of Easter as a time to eat yummy chocolates, dye and hunt for Easter eggs, and enjoy a big meal with my family members. Although I still enjoy all of those things to this day, I am glad that I have grown to have a better understanding of the true significance of the holiday. It really was a day to acknowledge all of the blessings in my life and how those blessings are possible.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
A week ago Thursday, while the kids were in music class, I opened my cell phone to call the insurance company about a minor car accident I had had the night before. Instead, I got a very special surprise. The phone said that I had a voicemail from Allen, and I instantly knew that baby Cali must have arrived. After listening to his excited message, I rushed around the school telling everyone I could find that Cali was here! They all thought that she was my niece until I explained that she was the daughter of two of my kickball teammates. My day had instantly improved. I coasted through the rest of the day, anxious to call Allen and check in. As soon as my school day was over, I called him for the details. Cali was born at 5:35 in the morning, and both she and Cattina were doing well. Since I was just minutes away from the hospital, I naturally asked if it would be okay for me to stop by and meet the baby. It was such a neat experience because I got to the hospital just in time to see some major events take place. I got to see Cali be foot-printed and got to see all of the proud grandparents hold her for the first time. I was so happy for all of them. Then, I got to hold Cali! While I have held a lot of babies in my time, I must admit that I have never held one so young or so small! She was only 12 hours old at the time! I just remember staring at her and thinking that I couldn't believe we were all that small at one time. I also couldn't believe that two people I have known for so long (since high school) were actually parents. Cattina is really my first close friend to have a baby, so it was pretty surreal to me. Still, it didn't take me long to realize that both she and Allen are going to be fabulous parents. They already seemed to change somehow (not in a bad way, of course)! Seeing the two of them with Cali really made me understand the line from the movie Where the Heart Is where Novalee holds her daughter for the first time and asks, "How can you love somebody so much that you just met?" The entire thing was truly a miracle, and I am so honored that they let me be a part of their special day! I can't wait to watch Cali grow and change through the years.