Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Job Offer

As I've mentioned, I have to leave my job for this coming school year.  I've applied a bunch of places, and had my first interview two days ago at a high school for a ninth grade Spanish position.  I was not at all excited for the interview... I adore teaching middle school, I love the awkwardness of the age, and I just hate to admit that I'm really leaving my school.

The morning I had the interview I also had to go get emergency oral surgery and get all 4 wisdom teeth extracted, so I was just in a delightful mood, and really peachy with the principal and vice principal.  I am shocked they sent me an email inviting me to join their staff this evening.

When I walked into the building, it felt comfortable.  Too comfortable.  It felt exactly like where I went to high school.  If I wanted to teach an easy, suburban demographic, I wouldn't live fifteen hours from home.  I know that all students need good teachers, and I'm grappling with being selfish and what the Lord has for me in Memphis and what it's going to look like now that I'm not called to be at Hamilton anymore.  But this school seemed just too easy.  The position would be teaching ninth graders only, and all Spanish 1.

The school was full of upper-middle class kids, lots of privilege and not a lot of challenge.  I didn't move fifteen hours away from my friends and family to work with the high school I grew up going to.  I want to serve the kids who are under-served.  Who miss out on chances.  Who don't have a voice.  I want to advocate for those babies.  I want to love the kids who are missing chances because of their zip code.  While I'm in Memphis, I want to seek out the kids who deserve every opportunity to reach their highest potential, in my classroom, and help their achieve their biggest dreams.

Yes, this ninth grade Spanish job would have been great.  Really easy, a wonderful team to work for.  But it's not the place for me.  Not while I'm in Memphis.  That's not what I'm here for.

Monday, April 29, 2013


What.  A.  Weekend.

It started out just wonderful, we went to the Chris Young concert in Southaven on Friday night, where I got my fair food fix and we got to hear some good live country music, and all was good

Mr. R may have enjoyed himself more than the rest of us ;) 

Then Saturday for ONCE fiancé didn't have to work at the stables (he volunteers at the state park 7-6 Saturday and Sunday, which is great for him, but leaves me lonesome all weekend.  but it was a little rainy, so no horses!).  We set out to look at furniture for our new apartment... and FINALLY got my...


I knew exactly what I wanted.  And it does not exist.  Two straight across, NOT channel set bands.  Prong settng, NO break for my solitaire engagement ring.  Since it didn't exist, we bought two bands and had them soldered together.  So.  Stinking.  Excited!

Ug... Then.  In the midst of running errands, we decided to stop by Walgreens and pick up my prescription for cough medicine.  I've had an irritating cough and my doctor sent me some cough meds.  We had just had lunch and figured I'd be fine to take it.  Within half an hour, I was LOOPY.  Laughing, SOBBING hysterically.  I got really upset in the makeup aisle that our grandmothers had both passed away and would never wear lipstick again...uh.  Wacky tobaccy much?  Then I was really absurdly happy that there was watermelon for sale.  I mean.  Homegirl needed to go home.  Then a few minutes later after my emotional rollercoaster, I started projectile vomiting.  Which did not stop until 2 am.  Thaaaanks codeine.  Never.  Again.  I'll just keep coughing.  

This was seriously the worst reaction I've ever had to medicine, and it was TERRIBLE.  . Ruined my weekend :(  

In other parts of my life....

The view from our new apartment in Mississippi!

Y'all.  This is the most addicting game ever.  Download.  NOW.  

Maid of Honor Speech

When I was little, my mom used to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then because she knew it was Dad’s and my favorite. I remember one night in particular she made breakfast for dinner after a long, hard day working at the hospital. That night, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed. Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask us how our day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly all over that burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing and never made a face or uttered a word about it. When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits, and I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then. These are just right." When I went to say good night to my Dad, I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He said to me, "Your Mom had a rough day at work and was exhausted when she came home today. Yet she still had a warm, home cooked meal on the table ready for us to eat by dinnertime. So do I like burned biscuits? Well today I love them. Besides, a burned biscuit never hurt anyone.” The older I get, the more I think about the appreciation and respect my Dad has for my mom. She’s his everything. My Dad is by no means the perfect husband, but he knows what it means to be a loyal, loving, and supportive companion. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I'm not the best at anything, and I forget birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events just like everyone else. But one thing I have learned over the years is that learning to accept other's faults, and choosing to celebrate each other's differences, is the key to creating a healthy, lasting relationship. Be it a husband-wife, parent-child, or friendship--understanding is the base of any relationship. So after you both take the plunge, tie the knot, and marry the man of your dreams in a few weeks, don't forget to say: "Pass me a biscuit babe, and yes the burned one will do just fine."

"Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves, but the important thing for you to remember is you'll never be alone in it again."

My best friend Chrissy sent this to me and our other best friend, Zoe today.  She has the honor (or pressure haha) of being maid of honor in both of our weddings in the next month.  She's the perfect person for the job, and we couldn't be more honored.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

High Five for Friday

1.  Tonight my fiancé and I are going to a county fair in Mississippi and seeing Chris Young in concert- for only $10!  Wahoooo!!!  Bring on the fair food!  I LOVE COTTON CANDY.  And funnel cakes. Lemonade.  Hot dogs.  Beer.  Nachos.  All of it.  And country music too.  But really just fair food!

2.  I.  adore.  my.  students.
Example 1.  Check out Crystal's Pinterest worthy nails!

Example 2- part 1.  Cue the tears with this letter from a sweetheart. 
Example 2 part 2.  The back of the letter.

Example 3.  Please read my whiteboard.  
Example 4.  My hair is enthralling.  
Example 4.  One of my dearest little sister students .

3.  My dad and I butt heads a lot, especially as I grow older, but I am such a daddy's girl and realize often how blessed I am to have him.  

And getting texts like this just makes my heart sing.  

4.  plus every Maryland girl loves her some chevron, crabs and monograms.  All 3?  Be still, my heart.  (The iPhone background was made with the app Wall About You.  Let me know if you want me to make you one!)

5.  My kids took their state test this week and we made up songs to help remember the crucial information we knew they always forget and is always on the state test.  They were bopping around singing "Sound waves are (Clap clap!) longitudinal! nnd excretory system's when you- DOO DOO! ALLL week- but both of those were questions, so I know all my seventh graders got them right!  WahooO!

Draw Me a Map

My honey and I love listening to Dierks Bentley. We love country music, and for the extent of our relationship have bonded of him playing guitar while I sing along, or he serenades me. The whole "Up on the Ridge" album is so good and we have sung it to one another for years..  One song we love is "Draw me a Map"- about getting disconnected from the relationship, and asking your better half to draw you a map that leads you back to your better half.

Draw me a map that leads me back to you
I don't know where to go, please tell me what to do
Help me to find the road you're on
I just need directions home
Draw me a map that leads me back to you
You're my destiny and destination
Understand my desperation
You're the only place I wanna be
So get us back to you and me

As I mentioned before, we have been going to pre-marital counseling with our church.  Last night was our last of four sessions, so we are officially approved by the church to be married (wahoo!).  We did an interesting activity I wanted to share with y'all.  

It was called Love Maps, and you answered questions about your partner and how well you know him or her/ how equal you are in the relationship.  How well can you answer these?  It was interested how Chris and I compared, and I think you'll find it interesting to try them with your significant other too!

(they are all true or false questions, so I'm not going to write true/false next to them)

  1. I can name my partner's best friends.
  2. I can tell you what stresses my partner is currently facing.
  3. I know the names of some of the people who are currently irritation my partner.
  4. I can tell you some of my partner's life dreams.
  5. I am very familiar with my partner's religious beliefs and ideas.
  6. I can tell you about my partner's basic philosophy of life. 
  7. I can list the relatives my partner likes the least (we had fun with this one ;)  )
  8. I know my partner's favorite music.
  9. I can list my partner's three favorite movies.
  10. My spouse is familiar with my current stresses.
  11. I know the three most special times in my partner's life.
  12. I can tell you the most stressful thing that happened to my partner as a child.  
  13. I can list my partner's major aspirations and hopes in life.
  14. I know my partner's major current worries.
  15. My spouse knows who my friends are.
  16. I know what my partner would do if he or she suddenly won the lottery.
  17. I can tell you in detail my first impressions of my partner.
  18. Periodically I ask my partner about his or her world right now.
  19. I feel that my partner knows me pretty well.
  20. My spouse is familiar with my hopes and aspirations.
Not only can you answer these- it's easy to agree with what your partner says  your answer would be "oh you're right, I do kinda like that song by Katy Perry" but what was your first instinct of a response?  Write down your responses both for yourself and for your partner- and then compare responses and see how closely aligned you were!  It's fun to see how closely they compared- or how you can get to know one another better! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Throwback to College


Every day I wonder why I'm not still in college....
Why i don't still spend every summer lifeguarding on the Jersey shore getting burnt to a crisp and partying all night until 5 am then working 7-7.

With the nicest most amazeballs sweet girls ever

In clubs where you literally just might see Snooki.

Why I don't get to dress up as a lifeguard...

Or a lumberjack...

Or cowboys and Indians?

On a bi-weekly basis?  Where's college now that I need it?

Where are the best friends EVER?

Where's my dad in his shades and my srat house love?

Where's Christmas in the Country, the opportunity to drink Shnapps and hot cocoa by a bonfire and dress like reindeer and santa?

Ho ho ho... I miss college...

Why don't I get to wear cocktails on a biweekly basis anymore?

Why don't I get to wear too-tall heels and too-short dresses?

Why don't I get to take pictures that shouldn't have been reproduced?

Why don't I get to take pictures at frat houses in ridiculously terrible gold leggings?
Why don't I get to dress up in animal masks with my srat family.  Yeah I love college. ayy.
Shooweee do I miss getting to decorate for big little week.  

I.  Adored.  Being.  A.  Big.  Sister

Seriously  Love.  Red.  hot.  Chi.  O.


As I mentioned  few posts ago (Wedding and Marriage Planning) my fiancé and I moved in together last October.  He moved in with a roommate I had already been living with for about a year and a half in Memphis, and she and I already had a lease that lasted through this coming May.  Rather than us breaking our lease, and since we already have a really great 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Memphis, he just moved in and reduced everyone's rent significantly for the next 7 months.

3 of us squeezed in this aparment has not been ideal, but she has been wonderful putting up with an engaged couple living in her space and she and I get along well so it has worked out fine for the time being.  The cheap rent makes it workable for all ;)

He and I have been looking at spaces and are SO excited about the prospect of finally getting to move into our own space in May.  As much as it has been fun to go to pre-marital counseling, decorate our bedroom, learn to cook and clean together... This has never at all felt like our space.  We share the smallest bedroom, our bathroom is the guest bathroom off of the kitchen, our closet is teeny-tiny (his clothes are in the bathroom closet (have I mentioned he is the nicest man in the world?)... This move is going to be amaze-balls.

We have finally found our space for next year and although we do not have any intentions of having children for a long while, I have already begun nesting.  I just feel like we are starting our family June 8th and I cannot wait to make this space ours.  We are allowed to paint at our new place (what a luxury!) and I can't wait to make our huge master suite homey, our kitchen bright, our living room homey and our guest bedroom welcoming.

I've been scouring pinterest for ideas and inspiration, and am so excited!  Does anyone have ides for what they've done with a small space to make it more welcoming?

Our new apartment is on a golf course, so we have a gorgeous view overlooking lakes and woods.  Our patio has a divine view of water and trees.  I.  cannot.  wait.

I want to make a wall of maps of places we love/have traveled and lived/gone to school (so that includes Memphis, Mississippi, Atlanta, Virginia, Spain, Maine, a few places in Maryland, Portugal, England...)

Image Source and Inspiration
I'd also love to (probably in our kitchen?) print out a bunch of encouraging and happy quotes and do a wall of quotes.

Image Source and Inspiration

I want to paint at least one accent wall in every room, and maybe all the walls in some rooms.  I want our bedroom to be grey, so it is not too girly.  I like this dark soothing grey.

Image Source/Inspiration

This year, I reupholstered our kitchen chairs and it was SO easy.  I just used Chris' nail gun and took off the seat cushions, used scissors to cut fabric squares of cute cheap fabric and nailed them back on.  But now that I know it's so eaasy, I am itching to do it again!  I think I might take them all off, paint the wood chairs white, the table maybe a bright fun color (or maybe white...not sure), sand it so it's distressed looking, and do each chair in a different fun fabric!

How was your first married/living together apartment?  Any fun stories?  Fun decorating ideas?

<a href=""><img src=""/></a></center>

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cystic Fibrosis- My heart hurts

I don't know how to begin this.

My heart hurts.  Tonight I stood in the shower and just cried and cried.  I don't want to lose my best friend.  This world makes me really sad.  Why do bombings happen?  Why do school shootings happen?  Why are there terminal illnesses?  Why do 3 year old sweet precious darlings get diagnosed with terrible diseases for which there are no cure?

When I was in the tenth grade, I met the funniest girl.  She had a really high ponytail of bouncy curls, was the field hockey manager where I had held that position the year prior.  She was the happiest person I had ever met, and was more quick-witted than anyone I had ever spoken with.  She had an infectious laugh and anyone who talked to her was her best friend within five minutes.  She was smart as a whip, no class or subject could stump this girl.  With no time, somehow some way, this girl became by best friend.  Through high school and some ridiculous boy situations, girl drama and absurd drives (we thought it was a good idea to get a job 30 minutes away tutoring math because it would look good for college?)- we were inseparable.  College came and we stayed best friends.  A few times a year she has gotten really sick, and nothing scares me more.  I cannot imagine my life without her by my side.  She is my heart and soul.  We used to SCREAM a Relient K song in my terrible old baby blue Saturn with the sunroof down 
"We should get jerseys cause we make a good team
But yours would look better than mine, cause you're outta my league
And I know that it's so cliche to tell you that everyday
I spend with you is the new best day of my life
Everyone watching us just turns away with disgust
It's Jealously, they can see that we've got it going on"

She is my soulmate, my true best friend, till death to us part.  I love my fiancé with all that I am, but she knows me better than anyone ever has or will.  She has known me through some terrible high school phases, through college identity crises, through depression and medical problems.  We know one anothers' family problems and true selves.  She's the reason for the name of my blog.  The reason I fought through the hardest year of my life at the hardest job I could have imagined.  The reason I could never quit anything.  The reason I believe in inner strength- fortaleza interior, innere Stärke.   

My best friend has cystic fibrosis.  This is a terminal illness that has no cure.  The average lifespan for a person with cystic fibrosis is 37 years.  Nobody wants to think that their best friend is only going to be 37.  But my best friend is a fighter.  Every time her doctors have given her an estimate of her lifespan, she has laughed and far surpassed it.  She would only live to 3? Nope.  6? Ha.  10? Not her.  16?  Yeah right, this genius wants a Ph. D.  She kicked college's booty and is now in a Ph.D program.  So there.  

CF is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad illness.  It causes a buildup of abnormally thick mucus in the lungs, digestive tract and other parts of the body. CF impacts the lungs and the digestive system.  People with CF have a lot of trouble with coughing and breathing, and are highly susceptible to infections.  With regard to the digestive problems, CF makes it so patients can't absorb the nutrients they need from the food they eat- so people with CF have to take medicine to be able to grow or gain weight.  CF causes thick mucus in the respiratory tract, so people with CF often have a chronic cough, nasal problems, lung infections, etc.  As the chronic infections increase, in addition to the mucus building up within the lungs, lung function decreases.

Someone with CF fights a daily battle.  They have to take medicine every time they eat to help absorb the nutrients from the food.  They have to do morning and nighttime treatments to shake their lungs and loosen the mucus.  This takes hours a day out of daily life.  

But I have n e v e r heard my best friend complain.  She is the strongest, most happy, beautiful, loving, wonderful person I know. You would never believe this disease is attacking her body.  She does not let it define her, and I do not want to let it take her.  

She is the maid of honor in my wedding, and I could not be more honored.

Tonight my mom told me that a sweet little girl from my church at home in Maryland recently found out that she, too, has cystic fibrosis.  My heart is crushed.  Nobody should have to fight this battle.  
Her mother made this wonderful video, and I encourage you to set aside a few minutes and tissues (you will need them.  You won't leave dry eyed) to watch it.  

There has to be a cure.  Please join me to find it.  For Chrissy and Susannah, and for the thousands of others who should not have to suffer.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an amazing organization.  When they were founded in 1955, kids with CFF rarely survived elementary school.  Now, with large thanks to their HUGE fundraising efforts and efforts to find a cure, patients with CF often live to their 30's, 40's and beyond.  They provide the only funding for CF research.  

In 2012, the CF foundation raised almost $40 million for research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.  But they need your help.  Please,  look and find a Great Strides walk or event near you and participate.  

We will beat this!