Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Today I'm joining ErikaAndrea, and Narci and for their weekly Friday Favorites fun.

Want to know what made my list of favorites this week?

A lot of things.

But one sticks out in particular.

The only favorite I'm sharing today is a dream I had 2 nights ago. 

I dreamed my parents, brother, and I were all sitting around talking. We were talking about my upcoming wedding. We were all so happy together. It was like old times...

 Pretty soon it was time to go. My brother went to go get ready with all the other groomsmen. And my mom came with me to help me with my wedding dress. 

The whole time I kept wondering why my dad just disappeared. So I finally asked my mom where my dad went. And she answered, saying He's always in our hearts.

And I smiled, knowing how true that is.

I know that it's true that I will never get to experience the joy of having my dad walk me down the aisle. I'll never get to experience the joy and pride of having my dad be the preacher at my wedding. These are what I always planned/dreamed as a little girl.

I'll never get to have those things.

And yes, when I attend a wedding and see the bride's father walking her down that aisle, it does make me a little bit sad, missing my dad.

But, you know...

I woke up the morning after this dream with a smile on my face and with the most amazing sense of peace in my heart. It was almost a sense of feeling refreshed. 

Losing my dad was, by far, the most difficult/painful thing I've ever experienced.

And missing him being there for important events in the future has always been something that weighed heavily on my heart. Whether it be me getting married or having children, or even just living life... It was hard knowing my dad wouldn't be around for those important milestones in my future. So very painfully hard...

But I'm telling you...

When I woke up after this dream, it was honestly the first time since he died (exactly 2 1/2 years ago yesterday), that I had truly incredible peace about what, or rather who, is missing from my future. I felt such an amazing sense of peace over my dad being in my heart, even if he wouldn't be by my side in all the minor and the major milestones in life.

It's peace in the midst of pain.


Peace is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday's Letters

Happy Wednesday Y'all! 

Today I'm writing a few "letters" to some of the stuff in my life at the moment.

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Dear Adorable, You're how I'd describe these memory producing pictures that popped up through "On this Day" on Facebook earlier this week. Simply, adorable... 

Dear Broccoli Cheese Soup, I made you last week and was very happy with how you turned out. I used THIS recipe, but tweaked it a bit based on ingredients I had here. I used skim milk instead of whole milk. I didn't use carrots because that seemed weird. And I added garlic powder and a splash or two of worcestershire, which wasn't in the original recipe. I think both of those added to the flavor. And even after serving it to my 3 guests, I still had leftovers, so into the freezer it went for another dinner for me later on. 

Dear Senegalese Appreciation Week, You're what my school celebrated last week. It was week full of tasty food, friends, dressing up, fun events, and lots of red yellow and green. My crew loved it!

Dear Working a Lot, You're what I'm doing these days. I usually leave my house around 6:30 am. And I rarely leave work before 5:30 at night. Last night, I helped with an after school club 'til 4:30. Then I did work in between that and a meeting I had in the evening. So I didn't leave 'til a little after 7. I don't have a free period during the day. So I have to do all of my prep work either before or after school. Plus, I'm always working ahead, creating curriculum/materials from scratch, always planning for the future of this class, whether it be this school year or in the years to come. 

Dear Fun Painting Activity, You're what my crew did as part of our Science project last week.  I loved it because 1) it wasn't messy like paint usually is and 2) my kids loved it so much. A former co-worker shared this activity on Facebook a while back, since she'd done it with her students and I thought it'd be fun for my crew. 

Dear Hot and Humid, You seem to be a common description of how it feels right now in Dakar. Some people jokingly call October   Hot-tober. And it's such a fitting name. October is the hottest month in Dakar, and sometimes feels almost unbearable. It's so hot!

Dear Laugh, You're what I did after seeing the meme below shared on Facebook the other day. 

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Dear Smoothies, You're my favorite on-the-go breakfast. Thanks for being quick and easy to make, and for being fairly inexpensive too. It's easy to be creative when making you too. There are so many options!

Dear Teranga, You were the theme word for a blog post I wrote the other day. If anyone missed it and would like to read it, click HERE.

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Dear This Crew, Who are the main ones who make my life so very enjoyable? Who makes me thank the Lord daily for the privilege and honor of working with them? Who are smart and funny and an incredible group of students? Yep, that's right. It's this crew pictured below.

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Dear University Who Shall Remain Nameless, While I do read your multiple emails each week telling me all your school hast to offer me in potentially furthering my education, until you 1) give me a scholarship or 2) find a way to make your tuition MUCH MUCH cheaper, I just cannot do it. I would love to. I really, honestly would. But, you are much to expensive for me. So, I kind of wish you wouldn't email me 2 or 3 times every single week. Just saying...

And lastly...

Dear God, Thanks for having someone share exactly what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it. Now, please help my stubborn heart and mind actually do what I know I need to do. There are some major things that have been playing with my heart and mind, especially at night when I need to be sleeping. And I'll pray about them. I'll say I'm turning them over to you. But it's hard. So hard... At any rate, ironically, I woke up at 3 a.m. today with this very topic on my mind. Then one of my co-workers led our staff devotions on it this morning before school. Wow, talk about God's timing! :)

The Little Letter Link Up |
Today I'm joining Kristin over at Taz and Belly for her monthly Little Letter link-up.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The October 2017 Coffee Date

Today I'm joining Erin for her monthly Coffee Date link-up, where we pretend we're on a coffee date with a friend, catching up and sharing our hearts with one another. 

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Attaya is a commonly served, hot, sugary sweet tea. There are typically 3 rounds served while you chat.

Today I'm sharing something on my heart.


In his book, Modern Senegalese Recipes: From the Source to the Bowl, Chef Pierra Thiam says, 

"Teranga is the word that symbolizes Senegal the best. Teranga is a Wolof word that would translate to hospitality. It's a value. It's  the way you treat the other, the one who is not you. That person becomes the one to whom you have to offer teranga. You have to treat him with so much respect. You have to offer him what you have. You have to invite him to sit around your bowl. There's always room for the other around your bowl. Why? Because we believe that the other is bringing blessings. This is the deep-rooted Senegalese belief; we believe that there's always more. You will never lack by sharing."

In traditional Senegalese customs, meals are served in a big bowl in the middle of a group of people, with everyone eating out of the same dish. Visit a friend (or anyone for that matter) and they'll beg you to stay for a meal. They could be incredibly poor and they would still ask you to join them around the bowl. 



This hospitality extends past meal times, though. It's evident in the way neighbors look out for one another. It's in the way people sacrificially give of their time, their resources, themselves... And they do it just because. They do it because of teranga.

A few nights ago, I got to observe a group of neighbors rally around another neighbor after a small fire outside their house. They invited these new neighbors, people they may not have even known at this point, into their home, to get away from the cold night air and the smokiness inside their own home. Then another family, without hesitation, invited their children to spend the night, so they wouldn't have to stay in the smokey house. 

It was close to midnight by the time I got home that night. And I was wide awake. I guess the adrenaline from a fire will do that to you. And the fire didn't even affect me, personally. So I can only imagine how the homeowners felt. But what really kept me awake was a sense of happiness and maybe even pride over how fast their neighbors stepped up. 

When I heard tales of neighbors, who only spoke a tiny bit of their shared language, invited them inside while they waited... 

When I heard tales of neighbors offering water... 

When one of our staff members invited, without a hint of hesitation, their children to come camp out for the night... 

When I saw people offering up prayer and rejoicing with them over it not being worse than we all know it could have been...

It was neighbors being neighborly.

It was hospitality at its finest.

It didn't matter what language everyone spoke.

It didn't matter what religion everyone practiced.

Simply put

It was people helping people.

It was God's love clearly on display.

It was teranga.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Day in the Life

Happy Thursday Y'all!

Because my blog isn't random enough already, I thought I'd join Andrea and participate in her bi-monthly Show and Tell Tuesday link-up, which was to document a day in the life. 

My plan had been to link-up on the actual day we were supposed to and share my Monday with you. But I totally forgot about it on Monday. Then Tuesday came around and I took like 3 photos before school and then none the rest of the day... So, finally I took pictures yesterday. The third time's a charm. Right? :)

 Want to know what I did all day yesterday? See below...

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I woke up at 5:15. And no... That wasn't intentional. My alarm was set for 5:30. Anywho - I read a bit from Isaiah 50 before getting out of bed. Verse 4 was the one that stuck out at me the most. Y'all the weariness is at an all-time high at the moment, based on a few things swirling around in my mind at the moment. Last night, I was lying in bed, thinking over these things, worrying about how things would work out and finally when I'd had enough, I prayed this prayer... God, I'm tired - literally and figuratively. Help me stop worrying about things outside of my control. Help me to do the best that I can with what You have given me. Help me to not be so weary. And I must have went right to sleep. Then I woke up this morning, and read this verse, I felt like it was a total God thing. 

Breakfast was an apple. I knew lunch would be a bit heavier than I'm typically used to. So I didn't want to eat that big of a breakfast. And look at this bit of Fall in our stairway. My neighbor loves decorating for the holidays and I love to enjoy those decorations :)

When I got to work, I ate my apples with some peanut butter. Aren't these little cups cute? I was at a hotel in AL this summer and eating the continental breakfast there when I saw them and asked the lady in charge if I could have a few to take back with me ;)

I did a bit of work in my classroom, and then shared a memory on Facebook. It's hard to believe that 9 years ago, my brother and sister-in-law got married. It seems like just yesterday! Happy Anniversary to these two lovebirds :)

Once my kids got into class, they got started on their Morning Work activity. Cupcake Contractions seemed like a fun way to practice our Grammar lesson this morning. 

This week is Senegalese Appreciation Week at my school. So on Wednesday, along with doing lots of fun activities later in the day, we were asked to wear Senegalese clothes. I took pictures of my crew and as we were about to start back working, there was a knock at the door. So I laid my phone down and this kiddo snuck and took a few selfies :)

After Morning Work/Grammar was complete we shifted into Reading. We're currently reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's such a fun book and thanks to TeachersPayTeachers, I have some fun activities to go along with our reading. 

Because of the varied schedules of my kiddos, there are often times when I'll only have 1 or 2, and not the whole class. At one point, my girl was the only one in the room, so when she finished her work, she asked to do her independent reading in the "comfy seats," camping chairs I have set up for a fun/quiet reading space. I joined her and did some prep work for next week in one of the other comfy seats. 

At one point, one of my kiddos needed to run an errand. So I went with him and while he was in the office doing that, I took the chance to refill my water bottle. I don't have a free/prep period during the school day (other than lunch time), so it was the perfect opportunity to refill on water.

Once the others got back, we all went over our Spelling words and Bible Memory for the week and then prepped our Homework folders, ready to pack up for the day. We had to pack up early today because our afternoon was going to be spent doing all sorts of fun activities, as part of our school's Senegalese Appreciation Week. 

Then we headed outside to the lunch shelter area, because we had volunteered to help set up for lunch. We covered tables, set out spoons, and posed for a picture or two :)

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Lunch was eaten in typical Senegalese fashion. We ate a traditional Senegalese dish around a common bowl. Many people even ate with their hands. What a fun time!

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After lunch, we enjoyed a Fashion Show, with students wearing traditional Senegalese (or African) clothing. I was quite impressed with all the well-dressed kiddos :)

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After lunch, we headed over to the turf and picked a spot in the shade to watch the professional wrestling demonstration. While the pro's were good, the best part was watching our youngest students out there trying to wrestle the pro's :)

By this point, it was time to grab backpacks and head home for the day. Normally I would have Kids Club on Wednesdays, but since we knew so many kids would be leaving early, we decided to cancel it for this week. So since I had a free afternoon, I headed back to my classroom, to do a bit of work. My goal is to have my first weekend free of work since school started. Wish me luck :) Anywho - I did work and then I realized I was out of credit on my phone, so I had to add a phone card. 5000cfa = a little less than $10, which will last me a while since I am so not a fan of talking on the phone. Ha! :)

After work, I went to a friend's house for dinner and saw this pretty flower on my way in. 

After dinner, I headed home and prepped some cheese, in preparation for the next night's dinner. On Thursdays, I usually have a few of our AG kiddos over for dinner in between practices and Youth Group, since I live on campus and they live across town. Thursdays are now turning into one of my favorite nights of the week :)

I then did a bit of reading...

And once the words started running together, I realized it was time to head to bed. So I put the finishing touches on this blog post...

Then I headed off to dream land.

And that was my Wednesday.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Randomness on a Monday

Here's a little randomness for your Monday reading pleasure...

1. What was the last thing you ate? 

Mint flavored M&M's - This pack I brought with me from the States is almost gone though. Does anyone want to take pity on me and mail me some more? :)

Mint flavored M&Ms are the BEST!

2. Where was your last selfie taken?

in my classroom

A friend comes and plays games with 2 of my students and myself every Friday afternoon.

3. What's the worst physical pain you've ever experienced?

Dislocating my kneecap (two different times) was definitely very painful. But honestly, I'd say that my most recent injury to my wrist wins the award for Most Pain Ever. And sadly, it's still not back to 100% like it was before. Help me pray that it will fully heal.

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4. What's the last thing you created?

Does my latest newsletter count? 

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5. What book are you currently reading?

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

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6. How late did you stay up last night?

It was around midnight or a little after when I finally went to sleep. I had a lot on my mind and my brain did not feel the need to chill out so I could go to sleep.

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7. Who was the last person you took a picture with?

Our Friendship Club attendees last week :)

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8. What's the last food you cooked?

Does making toast in the oven count? If so, I made a couple slices of toast with melted butter, garlic, and Worcestershire smeared on top. It sounds weird. But it's so good. I paired it with some egg salad (made with mayo and whole grain mustard). Yum!

9. What's the last thing you bought?

a Dr. Pepper at the volleyball game the other night

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10. What's your job?

I'm a missionary teacher.

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11. What are you up to today?

Teaching all day

We're learning about the Ten Commandments in Bible this week.

12. Have big plans this week? 

It's Senegalese Appreciation Week at school. We've got some fun stuff planned for that.

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13. When's the last time you went shopping?

A week or so ago... 

I need to go grocery shopping soon. My cabinets/fridge are starting to look a bit bare. 

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14. College Football is on the TV. Who are you cheering for?

BAMA, of course. Is there anyone else?! :)

15. What's on the menu for today?

Breakfast: M&Ms (healthy, I know)
Lunch: Turkey & Cheese sandwich and Salad
Supper: Leftovers

16. What's the last favor you asked someone for?

I asked a friend if she'd pick me up some peanut butter at the American Food Store.

17. What's the last piece of advice you were given?

Pray about it.

18. Who's the last person you called?

my mommy :)

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Oh my... I sure do miss this lady.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Fall Themed Q & A

Happy Friday Y'all

Today I'm linking up with The Blended Blog and doing a Fall themed Q & A.

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Can we all just pause for a moment though in sadness over my inability to enjoy Fall since I live somewhere that does not have Fall? Yes, I know. It's super sad...

Anywho - On to the Q &A :)

What is your favorite Fall treat?

Easy answer... Pecan Pie


Which do you prefer? Red, yellow, or green apples...

If I'm eating them by themselves, I typically prefer red apples. But if I love to eat green apples dipped in either peanut butter or caramel. Yum!

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What is your favorite Fall sport to play?

None... But I love watching College Football.

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What is your favorite Fall drink?

I love Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte. 

What is your favorite Fall activity?

I love just driving around, looking at the leaves changing colors, feeling the cooler temps in the air, and just enjoying being outside at the most beautiful time of the year.

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Pumpkins... Pick your own or store bought?

Store bought

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Real or Fake Pumpkin?


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What is your favorite Halloween costume?

I'm not a big Halloween fan. But here's one of my favorite people decked out in her very first Halloween costume at just a few months old. Isn't she absolutely adorable? :)

Which do you prefer? College football or NFL?

College Football

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Fall decor or Halloween decor?

Fall for sure... I could live my life without Halloween.

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Favorite soup to eat?

I love soups/stews! It's hard to pick just one.

Broccoli Cheese, Taco, Potato, Chicken Noodle, Gumbo, Chili. So many...

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Favorite Fall candle scent?

Yankee Candle's Autumn Leaves

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Boots or No Boots?

I'd love to wear boots. But alas, God did not make my legs easy to shop for in the boots department. Therefore, I admire them from afar while window shopping.

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Hayride or Corn Maze?

Hayride... Corn mazes freak me out.

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Favorite TV show this Fall?

Big Bang Theory is back on. I'm enjoying that and Young Sheldon.

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