"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week in Review

Highlights of the Week:
Monday we had the missionaries over for dinner. I made a chocolate cake recipe that I have wanted to try for a  couple of years - it was delish! We watched this video which made me cry:
http://youtu.be/H4zZH0v8DcY

It is so wonderful to see the work moving forward but I am even more excited for the difference for these young people. The ripples of this experience will reverberate through out their lives.

I had the opportunity to teach a 5th grade class this week that was fabulous. These kids are amazing. It was so cool to see their discussions and opinions and to see them apply the concepts.

Kinder - kinder is wonderful. Amazing. So rewarding. These kids love me so much and I soak it up. We started reading words and complete sentences this week. They love it! We also completed their quarterly math assessments and they did so well. We also updated their letter names & sounds assessments and I was very pleased at their progress. As soon as everyone successfully meets their letter names & sounds goals we are having a Donut party. Lastly, we are working on learning all of our learning songs really well because we are going to make a CD that each student will take home at the end of the year. The kids are so excited to be published singers. ;)

I met my new group of 10 first graders that I will be teaching for 1 hr. 15 mins. three times a week. Great kids. It was funny - I was exhausted by the end as I always forget how hard the first day or two are while I am establishing rules and routines.

Ryan is driving. He actually does a lot better than I did at his age. He seems to think turn signals are optional but we are working on it. ;) I think  next week is his last week of Driver's Ed. Friday he had his last speech and debate tournament. It was districts and he took 10th out of 50 students. He was thrilled as some of the students are older than him and have more experience. I must say, he looks very sharp in his suit and the new dress coat he got for Christmas.

Saturday am I took my first two of 6 certification exams that I need to pass to gain my Washington certificate. I PASSED! This is a bit huge because math and I are not close friends. I was a bit worried. I have 3 more that I will take April 13 and the hopefully the last one in June. We will have a small party when I finish them all!!!

My dad and Sandy spent the night on Sat. and went to church with us. Some highlights:
*One of the speakers said, "Grace is NOT the finishing touch at the end of our lives. Grace is the Finisher's touch every day in our lives." I love that!
*The closing hymn was "Let Zion in her Beauty Rise" - a theme song from Nauvoo. All four of us sang it at the top of our lungs with tears in our eyes.
*I love my primary class! They are wonderful and seem to be learning so much. We spend the first 5 mins. scripture chasing, but not the 'normal' way. I wanted them to become familiar with the parts of the scriptures so we are chasing the title page, index, footnotes, date line, 3 & 8 witness, introduction, JSH, articles of faith, fascimiles, etc.

Lastly, I created my Treasury Report binder for the year. I spent some time looking for tips online and am excited to use it. It will be nice to chart our financial progress!

Goals for this week:
Finish a couple of books I have going
Try 1 new recipe
Re-organize my teaching binders and finish my sub binder
Finish 1 foot on my afghan
Get my new computer online and start downloading pictures
Take 1 picture a day


What are your goals this week?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Calling Future Sister Missionaries -

I ran across this on Pinterest and loved it! Wonderful, practical advice that I agree with! Just posting here so I never loose it and to share it will all of you! Here is the original link: http://bellainberlin.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-wish-i-wouldve-known.html?spref=fb

I Wish I Would've Known



THINGS I WISH SOMEONE WOULD'VE TOLD ME BEFORE I LEFT FOR MY MISSION

Bring:

A lanyard for the MTC.. They give you a little card to get you in and out of buildings and you use it 200 times a day. And lanyards just look cute...My mom bought me a Vera Bradley one and also she sent some to my 2 companions at the MTC. You can get them up at Bloomingsales at Foothill.

A memory USB port for pics to store from other missionaries/yourself

Good old Dr.scholls shoe inserts

Your own sheets. The ones in apartments are disgusting. And the ones at the MTC should be outlawed and burned

Nail stuff to keep your nails up/ keep you sane

A small photo book of home for your purse. EVERYONE and their dog asks to see that

A Candle. Apartments stink like prehistoric elders

Rolling luggage. You'll be alone for transfers. Luggage you can push is so helpful!

A calender with pics from home to write down birthdays since a mission is a time warp-my mom made mine at Costco online and each month has a different picture of family and friends with birthdays written in for me.

Decorations for walls. Cute quotes etc. Makes it feel like home

A small recipe book of your FAV recipes of your moms etc. You get cravings out here and will need to know how to make them! I also have been putting in recipes that I learn here!!

Print out from pinterest 30 minute workouts. Morning sport can be pretty pointless if not

An alarm clock that doesn't make you want to kill yourself. Or your companion

Bring a copy of your patriarchal blessing you can laminate and shrink it in the MTC for like .40 cents. Nice to carry in your scriptures

An address book for home and mission people

A spiritual journal. For firesides and conference etc

Your young women medallion...it's a good conversation starter

A watch!

Have family send you your favorite snacks. If your anywhere near to as picky of an eater as I am you will get ill from 9 weeks of 19 year old boy food at the MTC. You literally eat then sit then eat then sit at the MTC. Microwave Popcorn saved my life..

Or have my mom explain to yours just HOW IN THE WORLD she managed to sneak in through UPS same day MTC service, cafe rio, the dodo, blue lemon, great harvest, Pei Wei and baked goods..

A comfy blanket from home. I am always wrapped up in mine the second we get home

A study journal for scriptures and PMG (Preach my Gospel)

Personal stationary

A backpack AND a purse trust me!!!! Some days your back needs a break! And plus backpacks make everyone look like hobbits


Hold onto every letter! Send them home. You'll want to keep them! ESP the creepy ones

I don't know if it's just a German missionary tradition but we have these " tschuss books" and it's like a diary you give to missionaries you meet and they write in it with pics of fun memories or a cute note/ uplifting message and addresses for after mission life!!!! It's a Fun Thing to do..
start the tradition there!!!!!

SLEEPING PILLS!!!!!! Ibuprofen PM is probably the best with no side effects.. melatonin results in insanely awful dreams..
those first nights at the empty sea (MTC) you will need sleeping pills! Between the mix of girls crying and panic that will keep you up all night. They will save your life! And when you go abroad it helps you adjust quicker

Your own towels and hand towels. Once again...the ones in your apartment were most likely used by elders 20 years ago

You can buy them at the MTC. They sell black and white tight cap sleeve shade shirts!!!!!! Buy both. !!!!!!! It'll save your life. There's so many cute tops I didn't buy that i wish I would have because they cut down low...but these shade shirt make everything work! Hella Utah mom status

H&M ballet flats are probably the comfiest shoes I brought. They also sell some with a hard back but get them! ( if you take scissors and snip into the shoe like a half an inch right in the back stitching where the heel is it helps give it more pull and relieves chance of blisters)

A nice BIG bottle of ibuprofen

If you going abroad.....tampons. They just don't understand that in other places. God bless America

Scarfs...they make you feel not so worthless when you have to repeat outfits over and over and over again

Learn how to sew by hand.. Everything rips chips and tears


NO you don't need those " super comfortable" Mary Jane walking shoes. These shoes eventually make you delusional to think they look cute somehow. NO. Stay AWAY. There are better options!!!!

Write down one miracle that happens every single day

A small mirror for your bag. You go all day with just nooooo clue of what's happening

If you can play piano bring cool sheet music you like! If you don't play piano....better learn. On a mission you become the involuntary pianist if your name tag says " sister"

Best places I found stuff and skirts long enough

Anthropologie
Lands End (ghetto but has long skirts)
Nordstrom
The Rack
H&M
Downeast... ashamed but yes
J.crew
Asos....online website my life secret but I'm willing to share it!! Best place ever
Target
Bohme
Savers (someone elses junk can be your treasure) we found great blouses for 3.00



And last..... THE MIRACLE SLIP there is a store in draper Utah on 12300 south..
that sells a slip with lace on the bottom. Comes in cream and black. Buy both!!!!!! it makes every inappropriate skirt that barellllllly makes the cut work!! Cheatin' the system-also the Cotton Blossom clothing store in Holladay just started carrying them my mom says. They sell out fast!

And last

BREATHE.

Remember he called you to this work because he trusts you. 18 months seriously flies byyyyyy. Do not count the time.. Make the time count!!!!!
The MTC was the hardest at first but has so far been the highlight on my mission!! There is no place in the world like it! I seriously miss it!!

I promise that as you serve the Lord, then your companion, then those around you and last yourself. You will find TRUE joy.

If you have any other questions Facebook my mom and she will give you my email!

Swaggggginthesisterhooooddd

Thanks for deciding to serve. I needed help out here!!!!

xo sister d

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Beginnings

So many beginnings....

July was Ryan's BSA Eagle Court of Honor and a move to Vancouver, WA. Both milestones for us. The move changed me - we sold or gave away most of what we owned and only took the truly most important memories with us. It was liberating. The weight of unfinished projects fell off my shoulders. The past fell into the past. And what I kept took on an indescribable value. My sister flew out and helped me load the last and we drove our modern day wagon out on Sunday, July 26. 35 mins. into our trek west the AC compressor died and we mourned his passing for the next 3 days while we drove through the mid-west in 111 degree temps. O pioneers!

August was a month of new beginnings. Visiting all of our family and friends in the Northwest and attending Jordan's (my niece) wedding at the Logan temple. Soooo beautiful. Peaceful. The sealer mentioned something that really caught my attention. He mentioned that the day of their wedding was the second most important day of their lives, second only to the day of their births. He talked about this day being the birth of a family. I've thought of that often and love the wealth of understanding that the thought brings. 

August brought the new beginning of our new duplex which is a beautiful miracle. Ryan made a list of everything he wanted in our new home and this one checks off all the boxes. I do think next time he will ask for a slightly larger bedroom as his is a bit smallish. But it is home and we couldn't ask for more. We are very blessed. 

September brought the double adventure of high school with new friends. I am proud of how Ryan was out going and made new friends even though he really misses his old friends. He joined the Speech and Debate team and has done well in his first two tournaments. He has worked hard on his grades and wants to join the leadership team next year. 

September also brought me a wonderful job. It was a miracle that I am so grateful for! I went to interview for a posted position that wouldn't be enough to keep us a float and within hours I was interviewing for my current position upon the original interviewers' recommendations. I am an ELL (English Language Learner) coach for 1/2 day and an ELL Kindergarten teacher for the other 1/2 day. I love, love, LOVE my job. I never knew I would love teaching kindergarten but I do. They are some of the best people on earth. I work at a Dual Language Magnet school - I love the team and the challenges it has been teaching me. It has been a wonderful new beginning. 

October brought Ryan's 15th birthday. I could never put into words how much I love him. It is a privilege to be his mother. He is funny. He is kind. He is thoughtful. He loves baseball, certain tv shows, having the missionaries over for dinner, swimming at the rec. center, texting and calling his dad. He is diligent in memorizing his seminary scriptures, keeping up with the reading, and his priesthood responsibilities. He LOVES his cousins and spending time with his Aunt Tracy and building stuff with his Uncle Shawn. He dislikes chores and riding his bike home in the rain. He hates brussel sprouts. He loves laughing and life and I love sharing it with him. 

November has brought callings - Ryan is the teacher's quorum president and I was called to the primary (age 10-11) and the local Festival of Nativities committee. It brought family gatherings  - a big reason why we moved here.

December brought a mix of emotions. I really missed my friends from Oklahoma City. They had so many incredible experiences that I ached to be a part of with them. At the same time, it brought wonderful memories with my family here. We spent 2 fabulous days at Great Wolf Lodge - SO. MUCH. FUN! Join Groupon just to wait for a coupon - it was so worth it. Over the 2 weeks, we made so many memories - surprising Ryan with the game station he wanted, playing in the snow with cousins, a Lord of the Rings marathon, See's chocolates and Starbucks hot chocolate, sobbing through Les Miserables (twice!), and playing Pit on New Year's Eve. December brought so much laughter and butterfly kisses from sweet neices and nephews.

We are stretching. At times we can feel the burn of the stepping stone challenges the Lord is setting before us. Daily I miss my loved ones in Oklahoma and I do mean daily. The first six weeks I thought constantly of the song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." Tis true. I miss 'home' yet see the miracles and blessings here and know that the Lord is in this decision to be here. The people here are good people. They have welcomed us and I know that I will one day feel the same way about each of them. 

New beginnings are good. They are such a unique snapshot of time. Moments to make first impressions and to see things with unbiased and unknowing eyes. I look around and wonder what adventures and relationships await. They also make you realize the priceless value of friendship, love and kindness. I challenge each of you this week to scatter kindness. Life is good. Live it.

Happy New Year!

Love, 
Julie