Friday, June 23, 2017

It's the Little Things

Sometimes it's the little things that matter the most.

It's things like meals with friends.

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Or plates of delicious food...

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It's food on the grill...

Or even a slice of pie...

It's time by the pool.

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Or my name in Arabic...

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And kids that make me laugh...

It's a trip to the veggie stand and a chat with the vendor.

It's a new sidewalk.

It's not having to set an alarm, thanks to Summer Break.

It's planning for a new class, because let's face it. Teachers still work in the summer :)

And a sign for my wall...

It's shelves full of books and supplies.

It's a reminder from above.

Or a tree, so full of beauty...

It's so many things. 

So what are the little things that have meant the most to you lately?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Up June

Happy Last Wednesday of June!  

* Well, not exactly... Actually, I am writing this a week early, since I will be in and out of internet connectivity starting next week, thanks to my vacay in the USA. Like that rhyme? :) So I am publishing the post today. Then I will link up with  MelShay, and Sheaffer next week some time for their monthly What's Up Wednesday party :) 


Every month we answer the same few questions based on how things are currently going in our lives. 

The questions are...


And now on to the questions...

What am I eating this week?

The other day, some friends and I fired up the grill and put together a smorgasbord of deliciousness. No kidding y'all... This was some seriously good food.

In the spirit of honesty... I provided the fish. My friend provided the rest AND grilled it all :)

And by this time next week, I'll be eating my Mama's good ol' Southern home cookin' :)

What am I reminiscing about?

This past school year... What a nice year it was! I have so many sweet memories! And if you missed my post about this school year, you can click here to read it :)

What am I loving?

I'm most definitely loving not having to set an alarm clock every day!

I've been working literally every day (minus the weekends) since Summer Break started. The difference is that I've been able to sleep late each day. There's this amazing feeling that comes with not having to set an alarm. I definitely love that :)

What have I been up to?

I finished setting up my classroom last week, minus the furniture coming on the school's shipping container later this summer. And this week, I've been lesson planning/prepping for my crew. I'm starting from scratch, with no set curriculum. But I'm  always up for a good challenge, so I'm excited about it. And on top of that... This truly is a dream coming true for me, so I'm a happy camper :)

This was an end of school year gift from a friend (and mother of one of my students). Isn't it perfect? :)

What am I dreading?

I'm dreading being cramped in an airplane seat this weekend. I love flying.  my can't-stand-sitting-still-for-long self hates the being cramped, and forced to sit for long periods of time, parts of flying. But you know... I always have hope that I can get an aisle (or at least 2 seats) to myself, so I can, at least, stretch out a bit :)

What am I working on?

I'll be landing in the U.S. next week, ready to start "working on" my summer vacation and that art of relaxation. Although, I'm doubting that I'll do a lot of relaxation...

I'll have about 4 weeks to gather the rest of the supplies that I ordered for my new Special Ed. class, visit churches, connect with supporters, see family and friends, and also to stock up on all the American essentials (and fun non-essentials too) that I will need to get to carry me through the next year living in Senegal.

What am I excited about?

I'm excited about seeing family in less than a week. Especially these two, because let's face it... I'm excited to see all of my family. But these two girls... :)

What am I watching?

I've just recently found Fresh Off the Boat. It's hilarious! 

What am I reading?

I'm almost finished with Voyage of the Heart by Soraya M. Lane. It's a good light read. That's been my goal with most of the books I've been reading this summer. My goal was to choose a bunch of books that were interesting, but didn't make me think too much. *Translation... I wanted to read a lot of books "for fun" and not just ones "for work" :)

What am I listening to?

Have you heard this song (Verge by Owl City, featuring Aloe Blacc)? Our seniors chose it as their "departure song" at graduation. I'd never heard it before then, but I love it.

What am I wearing?

I've been trying to wear my hair down more. Although, the heat and humidity does make me throw it back in a ponytail before the end of the day. I'm also contemplating cutting it. But, I really do like it better longer. Hmm... We'll see.

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What am I doing this weekend?

I'll be hanging out with some cool kids that I know. And I'll be continuing working on my computer, doing lesson planning/prep for my new class. Oh and at some point, I'll need to pack since my flight taking me to the U.S. leaves on Sunday night

What am I looking forward to next month?


My month of July will be spent in the US with family and friends, gathering the rest of the supplies for my new class, sharing my heart for missions/Senegal/my new class with different churches and individuals, connecting with supporters, a family reunion, and then finally, heading back to Senegal on the last day of the month.

What else is new?

My new classroom is almost ready for students. The shipping container is coming soon (while I'm in the States) that has my desks and small group table on it. And I have to collect the rest of the supplies I ordered/was given/need to buy while in the States for Summer Break. Then before we know it, it'll be August and we'll be ready. I did my fourth Q & A post on the new class last week. If you missed it, click HERE

Want to see a glimpse of my new room? 

So what are YOU up to this month?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Peach Soda and Memories

Today is Fathers Day.


And I'm missing my dad.

It's been a little over 2 years since I last heard that signature laugh.

I miss seeing his face pop up on my computer screen during a Skype call. I miss hearing his voice when I called home. I miss those hugs when I came in the door each day.

I miss my dad. 

So today, when people are celebrating fathers, what will I do? I'll look through a book of memories of my sweet dad and I'll drink a peach soda because that was one of his favorites and I will remember all sorts of sweet memories. 

And most of all, I will thank God for the gift of my dad.

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Special Ed. Class Q & A #4

My 2016-2017 school year officially came to a close last week when I finished everything up on my list of 5th grade teacher responsibilities. At that point, I was able to finally fully (100%) focus on my new Special Education class. The first step was setting up my classroom. Since I was starting with a blank canvas, so to speak, I could really be creative. I've been working a lot these last few weeks, arranging and rearranging furniture, buying storage and organizational supplies, and making this place a classroom.

Now as I sit here, looking around at all the fun stuff in my classroom, I can't help but smile. God has helped so many little details fall into place in order to turn the dream He placed on my heart into an incredibly amazing reality.

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It's not completely finished, but it's close. All that's left is the stuff I'm bringing back with me from the States. That's why the picture above only shows a glimpse of the room. I will do a Classroom Tour type blog post full of pictures some time in August.

Anywho - Since I have received quite a few new questions, I thought now would be a good time for a new Q & A post. 

And if you're interested in looking back at the other Q & A posts, click the links below.

Original "Dream" Post
Q & A #1
Q & A #2
Q & A #3

And now, on to the new questions...

What preparations are left to be done?

I still have a few things left to bring back from the States. Then all that's left after that is lesson planning/activity prepping. Oh, and saying more than a few prayers too.

What's been your biggest surprise through the planning for this class?

I know it shouldn't have. But it has surprised me so much to see how encouraging people have been about this class. When I first started dreaming and planning for this class, I received a lot of negative comments. But oh my word y'all... God has totally softened people's hearts so much with this class. And I've loved getting to see that happening!

How will you plan lessons for a class with multiple grade levels?

I'll be individualizing a lot! We'll do some activities whole group. But I'd say the majority is going to be small group/individual assignments. And honestly... We may all be learning about the same topic, like addition. But one might be adding 1+1 and another might be learning 357 + 298 and another might be adding 3x+5. That's a bit of an odd example to use, but you get the idea... The point is that while the entire group might be covering the same general topic, each individual student will be working at his or her own individual level to achieve mastery of whatever that topic is. Does that make sense?

Are you nervous?

I am confident in my abilities as a teacher. More specifically, I am confident in my abilities as a Special Education teacher. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little bit nervous. No matter how confident I am, every single year I still have those nerves. As a teacher, parents have shared with you one of their most important gifts in life. You're preparing these gifts for their future. I want to do my absolute best with these precious gifts. Teaching is a big responsibility. So yes, there is always some nervousness :)

What types of Special Education services do you offer at your school?

What we offer is similar to the services offered at schools in the States. We have Inclusion services, a Resource Room for "pull out" services, various forms of monitoring, and now with this new class, we'll have a Self Contained unit as well.

Can we come on a short term trip and volunteer with your class or just somewhere at your school?

We do sometimes have volunteers come with various mission groups, etc., and they end up doing odd jobs around our campus. If you think that might interest you, let me know, and I'll see how we could make that work...

What supplies are left to be purchased?

A few software programs, a communication picture maker subscription, educational apps for the iPads, some testing materials, and a few more technology related items (a couple iPads, charging cords, noise cancelling headphones, batteries, etc.). I also finally settled on a decor "theme" for the room. So I'd like to be able to pick up a few fun things to help with that. Classroom decor, rules posters, labels, etc. Oh and I still need to get another piece of storage. I have a couple bookshelves. But I need some sort of closable storage cabinet. Then once I have all of that, we'll be set in there. 

If you would like to donate to help me purchase any of this, send me an email at and I'll tell you how.

When will you be in the States this summer?

I will land in Alabama on June 26. And then I'll fly out on July 31.

Do you have any openings left when you can come and speak?

I have a few - not many. If you'd like me to come and speak, or to just meet up for a meal or coffee, or just to get together and chat and hang out, just send me an email at and we'll set something up.

How can we pray for your class (and you)?

Help me pray that I use my time wisely this summer. Help me pray that I'm able to bring more awareness to this class. Help me pray that God will work out every single little (and big) detail that still needs to fall into place before school starts back in August.

And then there was one more question I wanted to answer. It's not really a question about this class. But I thought it was still a good one that really made me think. 

Pretend that you've just heard someone is planning to get a degree in Special Education. What would you say are the biggest rewards and the biggest challenges?

In the U.S., the biggest challenge is the crazy amount of paperwork. Anywhere (including here), the biggest challenge is the extra work that's involved in having to go above and beyond the typical/traditional textbook style of learning. This is especially true when teaching a class like the one I'm going to be teaching, where you have multiple students in different grades, working at different ability levels, all at the exact same time.

But I will always say that the rewards most definitely outweigh the challenges. You get to work with amazing kids. It's more often that you get to see those incredible "lightbulb" moments, where students finally "get" what you've been working on for so long. You get to serve a population of students who are often misunderstood by society. And speaking of that... You get to quite often prove society wrong. It's a great feeling :)

And you know... The biggest reward is I'm doing what God called me to do. I know it may sound cliche, but it's true. I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for God telling me to. I feel so incredibly blessed that God is giving me this privilege of an opportunity. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Daily Dime June 2017

One of my more favorite types of posts is my Day in the Life posts. I love looking back at my posts over the years and seeing what I was up to at different points in my life.

So when I saw Kristin was hosting The Daily Dime link-up, I knew it was perfect for me.

For this post, I'm highlighting my day yesterday.

I didn't set an alarm last night. But I still woke up at 5:30. My sleep patterns are so bizarre. Yesterday, I slept 'til 7:45. Today, though? Wide awake at 5:30. How's that make sense? Anywho - I got up, ate breakfast, and spent a little time in the book of Daniel. 

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As soon as I got to work, I grabbed some books and my computer and got to work on some curriculum stuff. And I must say... Having a cold Dr. Pepper while working is a pretty nice treat :)

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At some point, some workers came to clean the AC in my classroom. My fortress of quiet was no longer quite so quiet... But who can complain about something that makes your AC work when it's so hot outside? ;)

By the time I finished working, it was time for a late lunch, which I ate in my classroom while watching a couple episodes of Fresh Off The Boat. This show is hilarious!

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After lunch, I got back to work. The majority of my day was spent at the computer. But once that was done, I took one last look at my 5th grade classroom and may have even shed a tear or two when I locked the door for the last time...

After that, I headed downstairs to my new room and started working on compiling the Standards I'll be using to guide my teaching this coming school year (and beyond). I'm basically creating my curriculum from scratch. So I'll use the US National Standards to guide my teaching. Anywho - Once I get them all compiled into one document, I will print the whole thing. I'd also like to apologize in advance to all the trees that will have sacrificed their lives so I could print this...

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I was at the school 'til 7 and then headed home to cook dinner. Steak with pepper sauce over rice and fries and garlic bread... It may not have been the most nutritious dinner ever, but it was good :)

While putting the leftovers in the fridge, I noticed this sweet picture and happily thought that I'll get to see my two favorite girls in exactly 2 weeks! I can't wait! :)

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After cleaning up the kitchen and studying for one of my Berean/Global Univ. exams, I finished prepping this blog post and then headed to bed.

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And that was my Tuesday. 

What were you up to yesterday?

Oh, and if you want to join The Daily Dime fun, just click one of the links to the link-up hostesses below and join the party :)
Kristy | Kerry | Chelsea | Sarah | Jennifer | Courtney