Monday, September 26, 2016

Ice Cream

Lately I've been linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, where bloggers write/post every single day in the month of September.

But today's prompt didn't really work out, so I decided to go back to a prompt Bailey had given us some time last week...

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be? Why?

So it got me thinking...

I know what my favorite flavors of ice cream are...

When I'm in Senegal, I love me some obama ice cream. It's chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies crumbled up inside. It's delicious! 

When I'm in Alabama, I always have to make a stop at Durbin Farms for some delcious peach ice cream. Ah, peach... It's truly a taste of home.

Anywho, back to the prompt...

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be? Why?

Since I wasn't 100% sure, I decided to do a google search for a quiz that'd help me out.

This fun quiz said I should be Vanilla

I liked the description. 

It said I'm tried and true, but far from plain. 

...which is the truth. 

I sometimes think I'm a "plain" person. I'm not fashionable by any means. I'm not "over the top" with my attitude/characteristics/temperament. Ok, well sometimes I'm over the top. But not always. But above all of that, I'm real. I'm true to who I say I am. That's me. So yeah... I'm tried and true. But I'm unique. And the more I think about the things that make me unique, I realize I really am indeed - far from plain. After all, I'm me. 

It said I'm happy with the little things in life - a good book, a nice day, or just spending time with the family.

I like that. It's so true. In fact, I often blog about the "little" things in life... These are the seeminly small things that bring me the most joy. I can be so happy to spend a Saturday curled up in my PJs, sitting in my comfy chair, reading a book. I get happy when the weather's nice and calm and life is going nicely. And the Lord knows that my happiest times are when I'm with my family and those I'm closest to. I love spending time with those that mean the most to me. That's my family, my friends, my students. Yes - All of those things may be considered "little," but they all make me so very happy.

So I'll take that description.

I'll be vanilla ice cream.

Although, I will say this...

Ironically enough, I hate vanilla ice cream. It's just not my thing.

But, hey - that's not the point. Right? :)

A Weekend Away

Today I'm linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, where bloggers write/post every single day in the month of September.

Each day Bailey gives a prompt for bloggers to use in writing. 

Today's prompt is...

Review something - a place, a book, a movie, your weekend, something...


Today I'm reviewing my weekend.

My fellow staff members, and I were blessed with our annual Staff Retreat this weekend. 

It was a time meant for relaxation, refreshment, fellowship, and just general, fun. 


And I, for one, was so very grateful for this weekend away. 


I enjoyed delicious food, time in the A/C, fellowship with friends and co-workers, time in the A/C, time spent in the Word, time in the A/C, catching up on reading and playing game, time in the A/C, quiet time and time to catch up on my sleep... 


Oh and did I mention, we had time in the A/C? :)


It was heavenly.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Q & A

Lately I've been linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, but today's prompt wasn't my thing.


Q and A time, it is :)

Coffee or tea?

Tea - I hate coffee!

How'd you spend your last off day?

Does today count? Our annual Staff Retreat is this weekend. And it couldn't have come at a better time. Anywho - Today's plans include napping in my A/C'd room, eating some delicious food, catching up on reading, hanging out with friends and co-workers, and doing quite a bit of this...


When you were younger, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?

It's never changed. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a teacher.

Are you a late sleeper or an early riser?

I'm definitely an early riser. But if I have the chance, I'm a big of a good midmorning or afternoon nap:)

What's your official title at work?

For the missions side of things, I'm a Missionary Associate with the Assemblies of God. And for the teaching side of things, I'm a 5th Grade (General Ed.) Teacher.

How many hours a week do you work?

Officially 40... But if you add up the time I spend workings before/after school and on the weekends, that'd be about 10-15 more hours.

Do you like to cook?

I really do. It's a bit of a de-stresser for me. And I especially like when I'm able to Bjcook for others. Hospitality is my thing :)

Pet peeve(s)?

*People smacking when they eat. 
*People discrediting the abilities of kids who receive Special Ed or ESL services.
*People saying how "easy" my job is.

Read any good books lately?

I have. I brought a stack with me to read this weekend while lounging in the A/C or maybe out by pool.

When was the last time someone cooked for you?

Some friends brought me dinner on Wednesday.


What's your longest work day?

Wednesdays - I wake up at 5 a.m. I put in a full day of teaching, with only a 30 minute break and a lunch "break" (which isn't a break). Then we have Kids Club immediately after school, which ends at 4:45. I have to wait 'til the last kids leave, which usually doesn't happen 'til 5:00 or a little after. Then I go back to my classroom to clean up and prep for the next day. So I usually don't get home 'til around 6:30 or 7ish.

What was for breakfast today?

a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich , juice, and hot tea with a splash of milk 


Favorite ethnic food?

Mexican is my favorite. But I do love some good Asian food, too. Thai, Korean, Chinese... Yum! I love it!

Are you a dreamer or a realist?

Oh, I'm definitely a dreamer.

How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I'll usually read a book or watch some movie/tv show that doesn't require a lot of thought. No point in using brain power that late in the day. Right? :)

Heard any good quotes lately?

I just added this one to my bulletin board in my classroom. I love it :)


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Who knows?

Finish this sentence... A world without ________ would be a great place.

hatred - racism - idiots

Who inspires you the most?

my Mama

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Lastely I've been linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, but I'm choosing to ignore today's prompt and instead write a (mostly) Wordless Wednesday post :)

Here's a look at my life lately via photographical awesomeness...

I saw this juice at the store the other day. Does anyone know what cloudy apple tastes like? :)


I finally hung up my new shower curtain last week. I love the bright blue flowers!


School's been back in session for a month. It seems like yesterday that these 16 made their way into my classroom. 


There's just something about pretty flowers that make me smile :)


There's nothing like a lazy Saturday morning, eating breakfast and watching Green Acres before heading over to my classroom to do a little work.


Or a late lunch of a bacon cheeseburger with some chips & salsa...


Speaking of good food, how fun is this? I walked outside the grocery store and found this guy standing here selling all sorts of frozen goodness.


Hello deliciousness :) 


One thing I didn't buy at the store was one of these jars of Skippy peanut butter. They cost 7000 cfa, which is the equivalent of about $15. Crazy!


It's been raining a lot lately. much so that our soccer field turns into a "lake".


I love school/office supplies. ...especially bright, colorful Sharpies like these :)


RIP old phone... I'd say you'll be missed, but that's not true. Oh how I love my iPhone and all it can do :)


And last, but certainly not least...

I changed out my bulletin board today. This is one of my favorite part of my classroom :)


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I Wish More People Knew...

Today I'm linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, where bloggers write/post every single day in the month of September.

Each day Bailey gives a prompt for bloggers to use in writing. 

Today's prompt is...

What do you wish more people knew?

I often prep these posts ahead of time. ...especially since I'm writing every single day as part of this Challenge. So I had today's post prepped and ready to list all the things I wish people knew about being a missionary and being a teacher. But then, as I reread it the other day, I realized it wasn't quite right. So I scrapped that idea and started this one... 

And now I'm making a list of things I wish more people know about me.

I wish more people knew...

...that I wrote that post about de-stressing with REST on Friday. And I've had to battle worry/anxiety more strongly than ever before ever since. I know it's nothing but an attack of the devil. But y'all, it's been a big one.

...that due to past hurts, I don't take the word "friend" lightly. If I consider someone my friend, that's a big deal. I am eternally grateful for the friends God has placed in my life.

...that I love teaching with all my heart. But I absolutely hate the bureaucratic stuff that goes along with it. It doesn't matter if you're in the States or in Senegal. It's just something that goes with the territory. And it's something that educational professionals everywhere have to deal with.

...that out of all the areas in which I'm qualified to teach, Special Education is my favorite. And I really do miss teaching it. ...a lot! In fact, I never realized just how much I would miss teaching it when I left Alabama earlier this year.

...that I tend to be a dreamer. I tend to fixate on an idea - a truly great idea - and work my hardest to figure out how to make it happen. The problem is when not everyone is as passionate as you on that idea. So then, you're left feeling utterly frustrated and defeated when it doesn't work out. Ugh... Why do I have to be a dreamer??

...that I love this adventure that God's called me on. I love being a missionary. I love that my mission field is my classroom. I love that I get to combine two things I'm incredibly passionate about (missions and teaching). I love all of that. But at the same time, I wish people knew that the life of a missionary is hard sometimes. It's not always the bed of roses our Facebook posts and newsletters and all make it seem.

...that I struggle with self-confidence. Most people have no clue because I can put on a brave front better than the rest of them. But inside, I'm struggling. I constantly question if I'm a good teacher, a good missionary, a good friend, etc. 

...that I am hating the extremely high heat and humidity we're having right now. I think it's affecting me even more so than normal because it's causing me to not sleep as well. I so miss being able to sleep in a room with A/C. Anyone have an extra $600-$800 lying around and want to pay to have an A/C installed in my bedroom? Kidding...sort of :)

...that I don't always fill a post with a whole lot of complaints. I honestly don't.

...that I'm having a bit of a hard time at the moment. And since this is my way of expressing my thoughts and opinions, I feel free to share my heart openly and honestly. 

...that if you want to say a prayer for God to calm my mind and my heart, I wouldn't be opposed :)

And lastly, I wish more people knew...

...that if you read this post to the end, I so appreciate you. Thanks for sticking with me in this total externally processing rambling list I've written. Thank you!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blogging Flashbacks

Today I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for her Tuesday Confessionals series.

And I'm also linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, where bloggers write/post every single day in the month of September.

Each day Bailey gives a prompt for bloggers to use in writing. 

Today's prompt is...

Take a look at some of your favorite blog posts you've written.

I started this blog a little over 7 years ago. 

As I looked back through my old posts this weekend, I found myself struggling to pick which posts were my favorites. So I decided to buck the system and instead take a look down memory lane via my blog...

My very first post was a look ahead at how my life would change in just 21 days. 

I use my blog as a place to share my hopes and dreams. I share about my frustrations and my sadness. I share about my family and my students. I share about my work and about the love of Jesus. I share because this is how I can best express myself. 

This is my creative outlet.

I love to express myself through words. 

It's therapeutic.

And I enjoy it.

I love to write. 

So let's take a trip down memory lane in the blogging neighborhood...

There have been posts where I wrote about lessons I've learned. A funny one was the time I wrote about how roaches taught me a lesson in the wee hours of the morning one day. There was one about acceptance, one about teaching the teacher in me, one about letting go and one about being thankful. I wrote one about lessons learned from Dr. Seuss and Disney. I wrote about leaving your comfort zone and lessons learned while packing, all about saying goodbye, and even lessons learned while sitting in traffic. I wrote about keeping trash out of the temple, why we should be more like ducks or even violins, how we can choose to either complain or rejoice, and how we need to Set the World on Fire. I wrote about seeing beyond pictures29 lessons in 29 years, a list of things that made me smile, and how some things are simply Beyond MeI wrote about finding beauty in pain and about how the question How are you doing irks me. I wrote about lessons learned in Africa, while roadtripping, in Selma, and even lessons learned with my nieces. Most recently, I wrote about how I de-stress with REST

There have been posts about my birthday, like the time I celebrated with The 10 Days of Elisabeth's BirthdayThere was my 27th birthday list, my 29 in my 29th list, my 30 by 30 list, my updated 30 by 30 list (which I clearly need to update again), my 30th birthday, and my 31st by the hour.

Then there have been the posts about life in Senegal, like how grocery shopping is so different here than it is in the States or the time I listed the many faces I encountered on my walks to/from school. I once made a Dakar passport list, sharing all the sites I'd like to see in this city I call "home" at the moment. I wrote about some big news I had of how God was calling me to change positions on the missions side of things (even though, later, He changed that again). I wrote about the word "wait," and how it applied to the calling on my life. I wrote about the things I missed about Senegal while I was in the States. I answered the question, What is it you like so much about SenegalI wrote a "just to clarify" post, which turned out to not be totally accurate soon after. I wrote about my 6 year anniversary of arriving in Senegal, about my missions storySenegal's Independence Day, and why I came back to Senegal earlier than planned. I wrote about 7 years in Africa and I wrote about this adventure God's called me on.

In February 2012, I started my Dear _____ series, where I write "letters" to whatever topics pop in my head. There was the patriotic one, the numbers one, the ABCs one, the Staff Retreat one, the Thanksgiving one, a back to school one, my Christmas 2013 post, the letter to DA post, a Veterans Day one and one all about teaching. I even wrote a letter to my blog. I wrote about why I teach, a letter to my 16 year old self, and my 1st year teacher self. I wrote a letter to my 31st and I wrote a letter to my high school self too.

I've also written about my family. Back in October of 2012, I wrote about my feelings on being an aunt. I wrote about the best Christmas ever spent with my family (the one where I was surprised at the airport by my oldest niece and her mommy and daddy) and I wrote about my parent's 29th anniversary. I wrote about the time I was afraid I'd lose my dad and I even wrote a letter to my dad (ironically, exactly one year to the day before he died). I wrote a letter to my parents and then later, I wrote again about my parents, expressing the honor and privilege I felt in serving them. I recapped my dad's and my trip to Mobile, AL to watch Navy play South Alabama. I wrote about Thanksgiving 2014, my first Thanksgiving with my family in 6 years. I wrote all about my mom last year. I wrote about being called Zizzie, the value of a moment (thinking of my dad while writing) and I wrote about the day my heart broke in two and 3 months later on how I missed my dad more than ever. I wrote about a special family trip to the zoo, a slumber party with my nieces, all about my brother, and the 1 year anniversary of my dad's death. I wrote about how I'm blessed even in the midst of painful family situations, #theauntlife, and my oldest niece turning 4.

There have been posts about teaching, like the thankful for teaching post I wrote in May 2013 or the post where I wrote about how a picture is sometimes worth 1000 words. I wrote about how it's more than just a job and shared my prayer as a teacher, the dreams of my students, and the anniversary of an important teacher's march. I wrote about Special Olympics and the "R word," how teachers are learners too, and I even sent a shout out to all teachers. I wrote about washing their feetWorld Autism Awareness Daystrange things teachers saymoms according to 4th graders, and I wrote about why I teach. I wrote about love and languagepreparing to teach 5th grade, saying see ya later to my squirrely crew, and gave my teacher stats. I gave a tour of my current classroom, introduced this year's students, and talked about what they wish I knew.

And there have been other random posts too, like my 10 years out of high school post, the post connecting songs and memories, my top 10 Christmas movies list, an ode to my dog, all about a favorite hymn, a list of things I couldn't live without, my participation in a Scarf Swap 2014 and the word "beautiful." I wrote about my outrage and frustration over 2000 people killed in Nigeria, with little coverage broadcasted in the US. I wrote about the word "home," and wrote a post about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I wrote about my sadness over Alabama accepting a sinful lifestyle and I wrote about how people can sometimes surprise you with their goodness. I wrote a prayer for my country, about my 6 year blog-aversary, why I go to church, all about grace, and about my faith. I wrote about Pentecost Sunday, daydreaming of England, and all about who I'd switch lives with if given the choice.

I've written a lot over the years. 

So to those of you who have joined me, I say thank you. Thank you for joining me as I write about my life, my ministry/work, my family, and more. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Homemade Planner/Calendar

Today I'm linking up with Bailey at Braveloveblog, as part of her annual Blogtember Challenge, where bloggers write/post every single day in the month of September.

Each day Bailey gives a prompt for bloggers to use in writing. 

Today's prompt is...

What is one product that simplifies your life?

The more I thought about this prompt, I realized just how much my "homemade" planner simplifies my life...


I bought this little notebook at Charming Charlie's this summer. It's the perfect size for a "homemade" calendar. 

I only needed a few materials.

A notebook...


A gluestick...


A pack of colorful sharpies... 

Oh, and if those sharpies happen to be held in a mug with pictures of my two favorite girls, then that's even better.


Because the paper is super thin and the ink from the sharpies bleed through the pages, I glue one page to another...


The first step is drawing the outline for the monthly calendar...



And trust me. The month fills up fast!


But that's not all this little book contains...

There's a good reminder for me every single time I open this planner up...


There's a To Do List...


There's a page to Think Ahead...


There are the lessons I've learned throughout the month...


There's a meal planning sheet...


And a page for random notes...


And my monthly blog planning sheet too...


I'm the one who forgets unless I write it down. 

And I honestly have so much going on, but there's no way I'd ever get it all done without this planner reminding me.

Plus I'm a big To Do List maker. So all the lists it contains make me happy too :)

So yes, this planner most definitely qualifies for today's post. 

It most definitely simplifies my life.