Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hope

Hope

a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen

I have this bulletin board in my classroom that I change every few weeks or so. 

Each time it has the same theme...

How do you say ______ 

Then I translate whatever the word or phrase is into the 9 languages communicated by my students and their families in their homes. 



It's become a fun way of incorporating a bit of my students' home cultures into our classroom, all the while celebrating our uniqueness. I love it! And so do my kids!

 

 

Well, I went ahead and put the Easter board up early, since I knew we'd only have half of a week together (when we get back from Spring Break) the week before Easter. And I was happy with how it turned out...



I chose the word HOPE for our Easter board because Easter is the time of year when we celebrate the biggest reason for HOPE there is. 



We celebrate the HOPE that comes from a risen Savior. 



HOPE is the knowledge that the best is yet to come.



HOPE is light shining in the darkness.



HOPE, no matter how small, is a truly powerful thing.



HOPE is a promise.



HOPE (in the right place/person) does not disappoint.



My HOPE is found in Christ alone. 



What about you?

How do you say HOPE?

What does HOPE mean to you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

An Embarrassing Story

Happy Tuesday Y'all!

Today I'm joining Andrea for a little Show and Tell Tuesday fun.

Today's prompt was to share an embarrassing story...


So, for years and years I was proud to say I didn't have any truly embarrassing stories. I loved that when other people shared theirs, I could honestly say I didn't have anything to share. 

Don't worry though. God apparently has a sense of humor and decided that He would give me an embarrassing story to top all embarrassing stories :)

Let me set up the scene.

There I was sitting in my seat on the plane. I'd just boarded my flight from Washington DC home to Birmingham. My stomach was queasy, but it wasn't anything major.

Ha!

Well, after sitting there about 30 minutes or so, the pilot comes over the intercom, saying that there was some sort of mechanical issues, so our departure would be delayed. 

No biggie. Right? 

Wrong.

It was hot. Seriously... The A/C was messed up too. The pilot had told us that if it would be much longer, they'd have us get off the plane and wait for another one. 

So there I was, pouring sweat, thanks to no A/C, and still with a queasy stomach.

Good combination, huh?

So after what felt like an eternity (but was probably only 45ish minutes), I start feeling that rumbling that can only mean one thing. 

And I'm thinking, Oh dear God, no...

I was sitting by the window, so I turn to the guy next to me and open my mouth to ask him to let me out so I can go to the restroom. But instead of speaking...

I threw up. 

It was horrible!

This poor man was in a nice dress suit. He jumps up. The guy in front of me (also in a suit) jumps up. They're freaking out (understandably so). So over comes the flight attendant to see what the commotion is and the look of horror on her face is one I'll never forget.

I'm sure at that moment she was rethinking her career choice.

Anywho - She brings me a towel. I start to clean up. 

Then the sweetest thing happened.

This lady who'd been sitting one row ahead, but on the other side (so, kind of diagonal from me) comes over and takes the towel from me and starts wiping off my pants leg and then the seat and the tray and all of that. Then she squeezes my shoulder and says, "Baby, don't you worry one bit. It's happened to all of us. You can't help getting sick."

I mean, seriously... How sweet is that?!

Anywho, by this point, everything has been cleaned and sanitized and all. And the guy with the suit comes back, sits down, and the flight attendant brings me a cup of ginger ale. And finally a few minutes later, the pilot announces that it's time to take off.

I bet the pilot heard what happened and magically fixed the problem before anyone else had to deal with my embarrassingly sick self... :)

And that is my most embarrassing story.

Coffee Date

Today I'm joining Erin this month's Coffee Date link-up, where we pretend that we are on a coffee date with a friend, sharing about our lives at the moment. 

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If we were on a coffee date, I'd probably be the lame person drinking water. I've been having trouble sleeping lately. So I'm trying to drink no caffeine after lunch and instead drink lots of water. 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd show off the book in the picture above, which came in the mail yesterday. Thanks to an Amazon gift card from a friend (with a note that said I better buy something fun for myself with the card), I bought The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. My goal is to save it to read on the plane (only 1 1/2 weeks left - eek!). We'll see if I can wait that long :)

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that my To Do List is ridiculously long. I worked a LOT this past weekend, in hopes of not having to work so much this coming weekend. But that doesn't look likely. But that's okay... At least I love what I do :)


If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I passed out the info sheets on a big Social Studies project to my 5th graders yesterday. They all seemed super excited about it and were already discussing their ideas with their friends. This will be their first "all on their own, complete the whole thing at home" project, where we will not be doing any of it at school. Hearing their little creative minds at work made me excited too! I so love working with these kids.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that saying goodbye to these kids is going to be tough at the end of this school year. Boo to goodbyes :(

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I just made my first big purchase for next year's class (well, not counting the shelves I bought last month). I got all sorts of books and teaching aids, math manipulatives, art supplies, therapy tools, regular classroom supplies, and so much more. 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I'm blessed to teach in a Christian school. I think about that so often. It's such a great thing to be able to teach the Word and teach about the love of our Savior. I love that I have that opportunity!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday's Letters

Today I'm joining Kristin for her monthly Little Letter link-up, where we write "letters" to all sorts of things, sharing a bit about our lives at the moment.


Dear Writing, I love you. Thanks for being just the creative outlet I need to unwind at the end of a long day. No one else may ever read what I write. But that's part of the beauty of it. Just writing for me...

Dear Cajun Food, I may have had to make a few substitutions to have a week full of your delicious goodness here in Dakar last week in honor of Mardi Gras, but it was so worth it. You were delicious! 

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Dear Scheduling Speaking Engagements at Churches and Schools, You're what I've been doing after work each day the past week or so. It won't be long 'til Spring Break is here and I'm making a quick trip to the USA :)

Dear Sharing My Heart for Missions, You're exciting for me. I love you more than you know. I feel so incredibly blessed that God chose to call me to this line of work.

Dear Shameless Plug, It's time for me to make you. I still have a few openings left. So if anyone out there is reading this and would like me to come speak to your church, small group, school group (or whole school assembly), please let me know. Either comment on this post or send me an email at enichols85@gmail.com and we'll work something out!

Dear Spring Break, Have I mentioned that you're almost here? :)

Dear Parable of the Lost Sheep, You were the Bible story/lesson we learned about in Kids Club this week. Thanks for providing a good story, a good moral lesson, and a super cute craft (and fun game of Hide the Sheep) for our kids. 


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Dear Q & A About My New Special Ed Class, I wrote a blog post about you last week. I love sharing my heart for the sweet kids I'll be serving next school year. What a blessing this job will be for me! I can't wait! P.S. If anyone missed the Q & A post, click HERE and you can check it out.

Dear Farmer's Market in Dakar, You happen once a month for the majority of the year. I finally made it again this month and came away with a few goodies... Yellow cherry tomatoes, homemade salsa, homemade tortillas, whole grain (full of all sorts of nuts/seeds) bagels, and some fresh brats. Yum!

Dear Peach Soda, You were the perfect little taste of home for me the other day. You're not something commonly found here in Dakar, so I was pleasaThanks for allowing your sweet deliciousness bring back a flood of memories of hot summer days at my Papa's house, watching him make homemade peach ice cream which included a few splashes of peach soda. Yum!


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Dear Funny Meme, You made me laugh so hard the other day. Oh how true you are!

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Dear Civil War, You're what we're learning about in Social Studies right now. My 5th graders are loving you. Thanks for being an interesting topic that holds their attention. I love it!

Dear Weekend, I must say. I'm quite happy you're here. Why? ...because my goal is to lock myself in my classroom most of the day Saturday and get a whole lot of work done. I really really want to work ahead enough that I don't have to work the next weekend. We'll see though... Honestly, I know it's probably a bit weird. But I truly do enjoy coming to work in my classroom on Saturdays. It's quiet and nice and I can get a lot done. It's great!

Dear Facebook Live VideosI always knew you were nice. But recently, I've realized another reason why you're so great. I'm able to watch services at many churches "back home," thanks to having such a big time difference. I'm loving this new Sunday afternoon/evening routine of mine!


Dear MomI wrote a post about you yesterday. Thanks for being the amazing, incredible, influential woman you are.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

There's this woman I know...

Yesterday was International Women's Day.

Apparently there were protests and women refusing to go into work and all sorts of arguments all over the internet about who was right and who was wrong. I stayed out of the debate because 1) I didn't care and 2) Even if I did... I just am honestly not that big of a fan of arguing with people on Facebook. 

Who wishes more people felt that way? 

You know you do.


Anyways, the more I thought about this, the more I wanted to share a bit on here.

Want to know what comes to mind when I hear the word 
WOMAN...

I think of the most influential woman in my life...

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I think of my mom. She has worked her tail off her entire life. She doesn't have a lazy bone in her body. She has done some of the most menial jobs full of hard labor all the way to nice management positions. She was a caregiver to her bedridden mother for many years and a caregiver to my father in the last years of his illness-plagued life. She gave birth to two children with NO drugs whatsoever, after having been in labor for more than 24 hours with each. She lost a child via a tubal pregnancy and through the pain of recovery, still made sure she left the hospital on Christmas Day (just a few short days after surgery) so she could be with her other two children on the special day. She received her license to preach and ministered for many years through teaching and preaching herself and also by supporting her husband in his role as senior pastor, youth pastor, and children's pastor. She has supported and encouraged her children to follow their dreams and, more importantly, to follow the call of God on their lives. 

My mom is a rockstar y'all. 

If I can be even half the woman she is at her age, I'll be happy.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Another Q & A on the New Special Ed. Class


Back in November, I shared about a dream of mine that had recently come true. If you missed that post, you can click HERE to check it out. 

The super short version of that post is... God gave me a dream to create a class at my school for students with special needs, deemed so "severe" that they are unable to function 100% of the time in the "regular" (general ed.) classroom. 


Anywho - About a month later, I wrote another post in which I answered a few questions (which you can read about HERE) about the class. And now that a few month have passed and I'm scheduling churches and schools for speaking engagements for Spring Break and again for the summer, I am getting lots of new questions. So I thought I'd answer some of those questions here.


Tell me more about the kids you'll be teaching.


I'll be teaching students with academic, behavioral, and/or physical disabilities which prevent them from successfully functioning 100% of the time in a "regular" General Ed. classroom. The kids at our school are the children of missionaries, embassy personnel, and other business men and women.


Do you have training in Special Education?


I do. Thanks to 5 years at the University of Montevallo, a teaching certificate from the state of Alabama, a whole lot of professional development in this area, and teaching experience in this field, I am indeed qualified. According to the State of Alabama Department of Education, I'm actually Highly Qualified in teaching Special Education. :)


How's fundraising going?

Really well. I'm so blessed. There are still funds left to raise, but I have faith that God will provide exactly what I need exactly when I need it.


Why are you going to the States at Spring Break?


A few reasons... I have a couple schools who have taken my new class on as their special "charity project" of sorts. So it will give me the chance to speak to them, share with them more about the class, etc. I'll also be speaking at a few churches, and other schools while I'm there. Plus, I'll be able to bring back a lot of the supplies for the new class with me to Senegal, which should save me a lot of money on extra luggage expenses this summer.


Wait. Why not just ship the supplies directly to Senegal? Why bring them as luggage?


$$$


Do you have a list of supplies you need?


I do. Would you like it? Send me an email at enichols85@gmail.com and I'll send it to you.


I heard you had an Amazon Wishlist created. How does that work?


I do. Click HERE. Then follow the prompts to buy something from my list. It will be shipped to my mom's house in Alabama so I can grab it when I'm back in the States again and then bring it with me here in Senegal.


If we want to help you out, which would be better? A financial donation or a donation of actual supplies?

Honestly, any help would be appreciated. 


Can we send supplies to you in Senegal?


Definitely! If you'd like my mailing address here in Senegal, send me an email at enichols85@gmail.com and I'll give it to you.


Will you come speak to my church? Small group? School Group?


If it would work out for me to, yes... I'd love that. I'll be back in the States during my school's Spring Break the last week of March and first week of April. Then I'll be back again over the summer. I'd love to find a time that works for both of us so I can come and share some of the awesome things God is doing at Dakar Academy and in Senegal, in general.


And in the spirit of honesty and a bit of reality... I'll share two questions that someone asked a friend of mine who teaches children similar to the ones I'll teach. I'm going to be totally honest here and say I truly do not know what I would've said had I been in her shoes. My friend is incredibly sweet and gracious and bit her tongue and sweetly answered. I don't know that I could have done the same... ;)


Why do you need a degree in Special Education anyways? Isn't it just glorified babysitting?


Oh wow... How do I put this nicely? No. It's definitely not glorified babysitting. There are standards my students must be taught. There are skills and subjects my students will need to master. There are lessons and activities and tests that will need to be differentiated and planned in order to meet the incredibly varied level of abilities of my students. There are therapies to perform. There is data to collect. There is curriculum to plan.


Curriculum planning?! What?! You mean they actually do work?!


See above. 


Also, if someone said "you mean those kids actually do work during the day?!" to my face, I'm not sure I'd be able to respond. I think at that point, God would have me turn and walk away before I said something I'd regret. 


And now to end this post, I'll share my favorite questions of all. This is what I get asked most often. And I love love love sharing my answers with anyone who will listen.


Why this class? Why this job? Why do you want a job that some feel is so incredibly challenging? 


Special Education is my passion. Of the 3 areas in which I'm trained/qualified to teach, Special Ed. is by far my favorite. I love teaching kids who society often casts aside and labels "unlearnable." I love proving society wrong! I love working with individuals who inspire me to be a more loving, caring, accepting person. I love working with students who inspire me daily to not give up, to conquer any obstacles in my way. And you know, I also love a good challenge. How boring would life be if things were always super easy?!

But the simplest answer... I'm doing it because it's what God called me to do.



So now I'll end this Q & A post with a question for you...

Do you have any questions for me? 

Any questions about this new class? What about teaching Special Ed.?

Any questions about Dakar Academy? How about life in Senegal?

Any questions about missions or this job God's called me to?

Any other questions?

If you have any questions, either comment on this post or email me at enichols85@gmail.com and I'll answer them ASAP. 

And I'll probably also include them in my next post.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Two Words

In the desire of wanting to do a random, semi-mindless style post, I thought I'd do a fun little Q & A post, using questions a friend shared on Facebook a while back. 

The catch? 

You could only answer using 2 words and you couldn't simply say yes or no. And if people actually wanted to know more, they could just ask. Now before you say, Oh that's easy... I want to assure you. It's a lot harder than you think. ...especially if you're someone like me, meaning you love to overshare and give all sorts of details :)

So here we go with the questions.

Where's your phone? beside me
Describe your hair today. actually down
What's your favorite food? grilled burgers
Describe your relationship. I'm single.
Any creative outlets? writing stuff
Current mood? need nap
Wishlist item? school supplies
How's your mom? doing well
How's your dad? passed away
Last Google search? cake recipe
What'd you dream last night? don't remember
Favorite shoes? flip flops
Last thing you read? teaching article
Last thing you wrote? mailing address
Describe your fashion/style. casual, comfortable
Dream job? orphanage / mom
Most embarrassing moment? vomit, plane
Any fears? never marrying
Today's breakfast? just cereal
Today's lunch? wrap, chips
Today's dinner? beef tacos
How do you de-stress? cooking helps
Job title? missionary teacher
Taste in music? eclectic mix
Taste in movies? never scary
Where were you last night? at home
What's on the agenda for the rest of your day? work, study
Last text you sent? running late
Last text you received? question answered
Last thing you ate? wrap, chips
Last thing you drank? mountain dew
Where'd you grow up? in Alabama
Any regrets? no point
Missing anyone? for sure
Introvert or Extrovert? maybe both