Thursday, December 31, 2009

"What Matters Now" a free e-book

Last week in an effort to find a one word theme for 2010, I read an interesting electronic book organized by Seth Godin, who shares about the book on his blog. It's called What Matters Now and is a pdf file you can either download or read in your browser. Each page is a short blurb focusing on a specific topic such as momentum, ripple, generosity, celebrate, and dumb. There are about 70 different themes offered for the year and each is written by a different person. It's a quick, thought-provoking read.

My favorites included: "Ripple" by John Wood, "Momentum" by Dave Ramsey, and "Change" by Chip and Dan Heath.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An amazing legacy

My list of real life heroes seems to be growing lately. First I shared about these modern day heroes. Then I told you about my childhood hero who lived during the 19th century. Today I have another hero to add to the list.

Before Christmas I was reading Just Courage by Gary Haugen and learned about Donaldina Cameron. In 1895 Donaldina, 26 at the time, began a missionary career rescuing and rehabilitating Chinese women who were brought to San Fransisco and forced into prostitution. She became known as "Beloved Mother" by the women she worked with and "White Devil" by the men she rescued them from. In the 45 years she was in San Fransisco, she rescued and educated more than 3,000 women and girls!!

Though there is a book about Donaldina, Chinatown's Angry Angel, her story is not well known. I am going to try to get my hands on this book. I'll definitely let you know if I am able to find out more about this amazing woman and hero of the faith.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What a great day!

Every year my grandma makes numerous batches of cookies the week before Christmas. It's been tradition that her grandchildren help with this delicious event.

Here Chanandler Bong is showing off his handiwork. He worked on that snowflake cookie for about 20 minutes. Don't judge; it takes a while to frost and decorate a cookie when you are busy licking frosting out of your hand.

The stand out memory I have of making cookies with Grandma is that I got in trouble for putting too many of those rock hard silver balls on a cookie. Do you remember those things? They tasted disgusting and were known to chip teeth.

Kennedy was dressed for the event. She had a gingerbread man apron
and a baker's hat. She also had flour all over her face and shirt when I arrived. Grandma said she called at 7:30 to see when we would start the cookies!! Good thing she wasn't coming to my house!

When I arrived, Abby was so excited to see me she couldn't stop shrieking. I ended up needing to move my car and I thought she was going to lose it. It's nice to be loved. Actually she already thought I was late and did not want me to delay cookie decorating any longer.

Kennedy, who is in first grade, took this picture of us. Chandler and Abby are the youngest of the grandchildren.* Both of them turn five in February; their birthdays are only a week apart. But they won't be the youngest for long because Abby's mommy is having a baby in May. Woohoo!!

*There are great-grandchildren younger than them, so they aren't the youngest of the family.

Chandra's 12th birthday was the day we decorated cookies. I can't believe the girl is twelve. She's growing up so fast. She's almost as tall as I am and she already wears the same size shoe as me! Anyway, I don't know if she really wanted to make cookies with the little kids on her birthday, but she was a good sport about it.

The poor girl doesn't have any cousins her age, but she does a great job playing with the younger kids and helping out with them. Here she's helping her brother with his Advent candy calendar.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Today's Holiday: Christmas

Merry Christmas!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

1440 minutes each day

Have you ever felt like there aren't enough minutes in the day? Annie Dieselberg shares how just a few of those 1440 minutes in a day can bring hope to someone else.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Call + Response

Learn more about Call + Response.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The New Abolitionists

I first read about Elijah Lovejoy while I was a teenager, and he has been one of my heroes ever since. The man showed extreme courage and perseverance as an abolitionist in the early 1800s. He was run out of St. Louis for expressing his anti-slavery views. Then after relocating to Alton, Illinois, he faced more persecution as the editor of an abolitionist publication. Three different printing presses were thrown into the Mississippi River before he died in 1837 trying to protect a fourth printing press from being destroyed. Lovejoy may not have been directly involved with rescuing slaves, but he gave his life because he wanted their freedom. He was a true abolitionist.

I used to think being an abolitionist was a thing of the past. I thought all slavery ended when Congress passed the 13th amendment in 1865. Recently I found out how erroneous that notion is. Free the Slaves estimates that there are 27 million people who are currently enslaved, and it's not just happening in far away lands. There are modern day slaves in the United States, and they need modern day abolitionists to fight for their freedom.

What I love about Elijah Lovejoy--his courage, perseverance, and self-sacrifice in effort to eradicate slavery--lives on today in people like Amanda Kloer, who educates others about human trafficking over at, and Zach Hunter, a 17 year-old who started Loose Change to Loosen Chains five years ago.

Maybe someday I can join the ranks of Eli, Amanda and Zach as someone who is willing to fight for the freedom of others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Art of Being Tactful

I will be the first person to tell you that I have never been known for possessing tact. The ability to deal with delicate situations sensitively just doesn't come naturally to me. I don't intend to cause offense; it just happens. More often than I'd like. Today, however, I found the roles reversed.

Our teaching team, comprised of 7 teachers, was discussing differentiated instruction this afternoon when the offender struck. She started by explaining that she doesn't have time to differentiate her lesson plans because being a wife and mother demands her time and attention. Then she pointed at me and declared in a tone that indicated I have no excuse, "You're not married. You don't have kids."

Clearly being single equates to having no life. Aside from the time I spend mentoring teens at my church, the responsibilities I have as a member of various organizations, the commitment I have to my small group, and the general obligations of being a good homeowner, pet owner, daughter, sister, and friend I've got nothing going on.

***To be fair, I really wasn't upset with the woman who callously pointed out I was single and childless. She wasn't being mean. She was trying to say that even had if she less responsibilities at home she wouldn't have time to differentiate every lesson. However, I was a little shocked that she brought my marital status into the discussion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Readings from church this morning

A Peacemaker Will Come
The Third Week Of Advent

Anticipation grows within us. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no war nor division in the world that is beyond Your capacity to heal. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no hatred in the cosmos that cannot be transformed by Your forgiving love. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no social ill, relational breach, nor systemic evil that will not dissolve at Your touch. The day of Your incarnation is near.

In this third week of Advent, we sing with the prophets. That One will come who will bring the shalom peace of God to all human conditions.

In this third week of Advent, we shout with the children. Prince of Peace, quiet a world screaming in pain, and hungry for your Presence.

In this third week of Advent, we pray with believers around the world. In this third week of Advent, we pray with believers around the world.

Prince of Peace, we recognize that You are the God who alone can bring restoration to a fallen planet. Your capacity to restore broken relationships, communities, nations and ancient rivalries is boundless. Come, restore peace to our hearts today, and intervene among our restless human family.

Lord, make us instruments of this same transforming peace wherever we go.
We prepare our hearts in this Advent season by praying, listening, singing and responding to Your restoring forgiveness. With the ancients who awaited You, we say “Prince of Peace, plant the seeds of Your coming restoration in our hearts. After Your likeness, make us your Peacemakers.

© 2008 The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies. All rights reserved. Feel free to copy & distribute. Written by Dan Wilt, M.Min.

Old Testament Isaiah 65:17-25
New Testament 1 Thessalonians 5:(12-15)16-28
Gospel Reading John 3:23-30
Psalm Reading Psalm 126

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Head over to YouTube and watch this video about the season of Advent and our response.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not Doing Good, Part 2

Read Not Doing Good, Part 1 here.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

James 4:17

While I was spending the last 9 months trying to ignore God's call to do something about human trafficking (a.k.a. sex slavery), my friend Amy was obediently answering that same call on her life. She and her coworker Sarah have both become passionate about helping women escape the bondage of the sex slave trade. Originally they thought they'd have to eventually relocate to a city with human trafficking problems, but through researching they've learned more about sexual exploitation in our own community. Ultimately they'd like to open and run a shelter that will provide a place for women to heal, learn new skills, and eventually reintegrate into their communities all the while experiencing the love of Christ. However, that takes more money than they currently have, and neither of them can quit their day jobs to be a director of something that involved.

Fortunately through all the researching, Amy and Sarah have found a need they do have the resources to fulfill. There are Christian shelters that exist in the United States, but they have a hard time obtaining the funds necessary to maintain their facilities and programs. Amy came up with the idea to create a website that helps raise awareness and money for these organization, as well as recruit volunteers for ministries and organizations that work with human trafficking victims. Through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated, Amy and Sarah are off to an amazing start at making this website a reality.

Now, how do I fit into all this? Good question! Amy shared her vision with me back in July. She also opened my eyes to the human trafficking taking place in my own town. I left that night knowing I couldn't sit on my duff any longer. I had to do something. So, I e-mailed Amy and said I was willing to help with her website. I thought maybe I could do some data entry or something else administrative. Amy was happy to bring me "on board" with her project. She was still at a place where she wasn't sure anything would actually materialize out of everything she was talking about and hoping for.

At this point in time, I think it's safe to say God has crushed all of Amy's doubts about the website becoming a reality. Amy and Sarah have a team of 5 or 6 people who have committed to being a part of their nonprofit to help human trafficking victims. The website they dreamed about has been created and is starting to take shape. Then Amy and Sarah's story was shared at a church of 3,000 people a few weeks ago. Because of that service, two buildings have been offered as potential shelter locations. Teenagers from the church have committed to helping raise awareness about the issue of sex slavery. They are doing research on human trafficking now, so they can create a presentation to take to others. The people from that congregation have poured out an overwhelming amount of support for this cause, and the doubts about not having resources to make the website successful disappeared.

When the website is open to the public, I'll be more active in my role as "official blogger." Until then I am educating myself on everything human trafficking. Then after the holidays our team wants to visit some established shelters in the region.

I will no longer ignore the good I know I should do. There are women and young girls out there waiting for someone to give them a way out, and I can't ignore my responsibilities any longer.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

True Story

Yesterday my friend's four year old daughter looked at him and said, "Daddy, call the doctor and tell him that I have nipples."

The daddy was a bit taken aback. Maybe he just heard wrong. "What was that?"

Little girl, "You need to call the doctor. I have nipples. Listen." She tried to breathe through her nose and couldn't because she had the "sniffles."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Child Sponsorship and Letter Writing

If you sponsor a child through Compassion or World Vision or some other organization, please watch this video. Formerly sponsored children share about the difference writing letters to your sponsored children can make.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Have an Awesome Day

1. The night before, stay up until 11pm writing lesson plans for a substitute teacher.

2. Wake up early to arrive at school by 7:15 to prep the classroom for the substitute teacher.

3. Find out the seminar you thought was today is actually tomorrow. If possible, wait until 15 minutes before it would start to ask someone else about it.

4. Show up to your 8th block class after it starts. If possible, arrange for rowdy students to run around the room with the lights off before you get there.

5. Leave the snacks you are to provide for a meeting in the freezer.

6. Start pouring the boiling pot of pasta into the strainer before it's over the sink.

Do you have any suggestions on how to have a great day?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

As It Is In Heaven

Today we finished up a sermon series on the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, which can be found in Matthew 6. We also sang this song. I love it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mini Reunion

I love these ladies.

We may do our own thing most of the time.

And they may be a bit odd. Who holds elbows like that?

But they make me laugh.

They've been my friends for 15 years,
and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Real Life Heroes

Kirk and Heidi Weimer
Some friends of mine adopted a little girl from Ethiopia last year, and shared a "homecoming video" of the Weimer family who had adopted a sibling group from the same orphanage in Ethiopia. Kirk and Heidi are only a few years older than I am, but they now have 9 children--as Heidi says "three blond children with whom (they) share genes and six Ethiopian children with whom (they) share hearts." They have recently started a nonprofit, We Have Room, to advocate for orphans and promote adoption. Watch a preview for the documentary "3 by 3 by 3" that is being made about their family.

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy
I went to see The Blind Side last night. It is excellent. It's based on the true life story of Michael Oher and his adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Listen to an interview with Leigh Anne to hear her take on the past nine years.

Greg Mortenson
I first learned about Greg's work through the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School At A Time. After climbing K2, he spent some time in a rural Pakistan village where he promised to build the children a school. Upon returning to the US, he completely altered his lifestyle to make good on that promise. He's been building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan ever since.

Do you have any Real Life Heroes?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Can you feel the love?

Traditionally my family has celebrated Thanksgiving with my paternal grandparents. Every year we spent all of Thanksgiving Day at my Grandma and Grandpa's house for the whole day. We ate and talked and played games. Most years we even got the spud gun out. I have many fond memories of spending time with my family at Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately Grandma and Grandpa moved to Missouri several years ago and the tradition of spending the day with my dad's brothers and their families fizzled out. This year my grandparents planned to come back to Indiana for Thanksgiving. We were all going to be together again. I was pumped about seeing my cousins because I don't see them often.

Two weeks ago my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her surgeon scheduled the surgery to remove the lump on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately she wasn't going to be in a condition to travel 10 hours, so my grandma and grandpa decided to stay in Missouri for the holiday. Grandma and Grandpa weren't coming, so my uncle in Ohio said they weren't coming either. Then the uncle who was going to host everyone called my dad with the message that we didn't need to come either. Awesome.

And that's how Thanksgiving was officially canceled in the Smith family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lovely Letter

I received this letter from one of my current students last week. Isn't it sweet? It totally made my day!

I'm not really sure what she's talking about with the whole "studying for so many years and somehow get sucked into a totally different job" part. I have always wanted to be a teacher and studied education in college. Maybe she has my story confused with someone else. If she did me confuse with someone else, does that mean this letter wasn't really meant for me?

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm a list person. I make lists for grocery shopping, packing for trips, recording books I've read and want to read, and even keeping track of birthdays. I have lists titled "Places I Want to Visit", "Children's Names I Like", and "Names of Sara and Jeshua's Future Children," on which I keep track of obscure and ridiculous sounding Bible names to share with them.

I find these discarded lists all over my house, at the bottom of my purse, in coat pockets, on random pages in notebooks. Today I found a document on my computer with a fabulous list. I present to you the document saved as "husband qualifications."

Who is the Mr. Britney Smith?

Mandatory qualifications

He must…

Almost mandatory

He should…

It would be nice if

He could…

Be a committed Christian seeking to honor God with his life

Have some sort of post high school education

Get along really well with my brother

Be open to full time missions/ministry

Be on good terms with his immediate family

Not love sports more than he loves me

Love kids and teenagers

Not be shy

Fix things around the house

Have the heart of a servant

Be self-controlled with money

Play an instrument

Be willing to take a stand for what he believes—even to me

Volunteer to do household cleaning or help me with it

Have parents who really like me

Be easy to talk to (at least for me)

Be laid back

Sing well

Make me laugh regularly

Be a mostly organized person

Speak more than one language

Have spiritual gifts that are complimentary to mine

Have lived on his own for at least a year

Pray with me frequently

Be liked by my friends

Not be uptight

Not drink alcohol or smoke

Be intelligent

Not be clingy/dependent on me

Meet Titus 1:6-9 qualifications

Be decisive

Treat all people with dignity

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Helpfulness is Subjective

I wonder if it's ever occurred to my family that their comments about my marital status are unwanted. It seems my family has taken it upon themselves to remind me, at every opportunity apparently, that I lack both a husband and children. Last month my brother made me cry when so rudely pointed out my biological clock is ticking and I should really find a boyfriend soon if I ever hope to find kids.

Add to that my mother's new tactic. Each time I've seen dear ole mom in the past month, which has been more than normal, she's made comments about not having grandchildren, like I'm not aware or something. She throws out phrases like "If I ever have grandchildren some day..." and "If I had grandkids, I would..." and "You know, I'd really like to have grandkids at some point." It's almost as if she thinks saying these things is really going to speed along the process of finding Mr. Right, getting married, and having babies. I might understand her need to point out my failure to provide grandchildren, if I had been dating someone for a long time and was stalling a wedding. As it is, she's just making me mad.

If dealing with my mother's digs about my singleness wasn't enough, my grandpa weighed in on the situation tonight at my cousin's wedding. He informed me that the idea of me getting married is pretty much hopeless. He boldly stated he doesn't believe I'll get married in his lifetime. Furthermore, he anticipates my 19 year old cousin will be the next one to get married. Gee, thanks a million, Grandpa.

My older cousin, bless her heart, was much more positive when she mentioned my singleness. She did not badger me or reveal her doubts about my ability to make it to the altar. She actually asked me if I wanted to be the next one to get married and then encouraged me when I answered in the affirmative. Only if she could introduce me to Mr. Right would she be more helpful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Goals by Category

This morning I was thinking about the direction of my life and evaluating my goals. I decided to break my goals into categories in order to help me prioritize and plan more effectively the next steps I'll take. Because the last two goals will probably take the most effort, I think it would be a good idea to start with them.

Short-Term Goals
-> pay off my students loans, making myself debt-free
-> finish my Christmas project in time to give it as a present
-> travel to Seattle to visit friends

Long-Term Goals
-> become fluent in a second language
-> live in another country for a year or two
-> fall in love, get married, and have babies (I'd really like to move this to the short term list!)

I-Can't-Believe-I'm-27-and-Still-Working-On-These Goals
-> be able to go three consecutive days without gossiping
-> clean the bathroom on a regular basis
-> return library materials before the overdue fines kick in
-> remember to take the recycling bin to the curb on Friday mornings

Highly Ambitious Goals
-> get myself invited to one of Pioneer Woman's parties at the Lodge
-> convince TheBigShowatUD I am the woman of his dreams and he needs me

Any ideas for steps I can take to accomplish my Highly Ambitious goals?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's official

I have an internet crush. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

American Education Week

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study
is one day with a great teacher."

--Japanese Proverb

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just my 'magination

Ever since my friend Haley accidentally walked into my neighbors' house on Bunco night, I've had the feeling my neighbors have been avoiding me. They don't ignore me all the time, but often enough that I started to wonder what I did to irritate them. Sometimes I would tell myself it was just my imagination. I mean, really, what could I have done to make them mad? I don't socialize with them a lot, but neither do I throw parties, have junk in my yard, or keep my house in disrepair. Despite all those points in my favor, I frequently felt I was being snubbed.

Tonight I was cooking my dinner when Dax barked at the door. I didn't hear a knock, but I checked the door because he seemed so sure of himself. Sure enough the neighbor is standing on my sidewalk. She awkwardly explained that she wants to talk to me about something, and then proceeded to air her complaints. Apparently "the girl who comes over during the day sometimes" leaves Dax outside barking for long periods of time. The neighbor made it clear she didn't want to be a complainer, but it's hard to get her youngest son to sleep when Dax is barking. She said she didn't come over and complain when Dax was barking until 1 am (she led me to believe this was recent, but I can't think of a time I've been out that late). And she didn't come and complain when the sprinkler was full force on her car, but she felt like she just had to say something now. And maybe there is a collar I could use on Dax (NOT going to happen).

So it really wasn't my imagination all those times I thought the neighbors were ignoring me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Before Parent-Teacher Conferences started at noon today, I made pumpkin bars. I bought a can of pumpkin some time last week, and I've been craving pumpkin bars ever since. My Betty Crocker cookbook failed me once again (Betty rarely has the recipes I need), so I turned to the internet for a little help. The first link on my Google search was for Real Mom Kitchen. I haven't taken a lot of time to check out her website, but at first glance it looks like this lady has some great recipes. Anyway, here's the link to the pumpkin bar recipe I used. It even has the cream cheese recipe on the same page, and explains how she puts chocolate chips on half for a little bit of variety.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's Holiday: Veterans Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice that ended World War 1. Twenty years later the US government officially declared November 11th Armistice Day, a holiday to remember the day WWI ended. It wasn't until 1954 that congress amended the act, transforming Armistice Day into a holiday to honor and remember all veterans. The Library of Congress has a pretty awesome collection of veterans' stories. Here's a list of all the digital interviews on their website.

A Nation's Strength
Walt Whitman
Not gold, but only man can make
A people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honor's sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly --
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let the Christmas Music Play!

Today I officially started listening to Christmas music. Generally I have a strict rule about waiting until Thanksgiving to bust out the Christmas CDs. I guess I'm in the Christmas spirit a little early this year. Here's one of the Christmas songs that gets seriously stuck in my head. I prefer the Faith Hill version, but that wasn't available on

What's one of your favorite Christmas songs?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Grades, grades. Go away!

Don't come back any other day.

I have Bejeweled Blitz to play.

Please don't come back any other day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Counting My Blessings: My Grandparents

Growing up we spent every Sunday at one of two places: Grandma and Grandpa Myer's house or Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house. I thought it was normal for kids to see their grandparents as often as I did, but at some point I realized how abnormal it was for me to have real relationships with all my grandparents. And when I hit college I was shocked to find how unusual it was to have four living grandparents.

Today as my mom's family celebrated Grandma Myers' 70th birthday, I counted her and my other grandparents as some of my most precious blessings.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Fam

There are a lot of things I could tell you about my mom's family, but today I was reminded that we are an undeniably loud group of people. Because my cousin Danny is getting married in two weeks, the women in my family attended his fiancee's bridal shower today. Our ensemble, all 11 of us--my mom, aunts, girl cousins and Grandma--constituted the majority of the party goers, and dominated the conversation. Upon our departure, my cousin and I questioned if we should feel remorse over our loudness. Ultimately we decided that we're just a loud family and people have to accept us as we are.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sweet Victory

In October the my district's high school football team (most of them my students at one point or another) made history. They ended a 28 year loosing streak to their archrivals, Penn. Prior to that, the last time Mishawaka's football team beat Penn was in 1980. I wasn't even born yet. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal. I even found this picture of the scoreboard online.

But the best part is that it didn't end there. Tonight the boys put the finishing touches on Penn's season by beating them again--this time in a sectional game.

Beating Penn TWICE in one seaon? Now that is sweet victory.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Didi's getting married in April. She's asked me to be in her wedding, AND she's letting me pick my dress. I'm excited for her... and about my dress.

Which style of dress do you like better? I really like the color of the first one and I think that's swaying my opinion. The dress I wear in her wedding won't be brown though. My dress will be tangerine. Yes, that's tangerine. As in bright orange. Isn't that exciting?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Post Secret

I attended a Post Secret event in Kalamazoo tonight. It was a fantastic night with good friends!

The video for "Dirty Little Secret" by All American Rejects features just some of the secrets people have sent to Frank over the years.

Here's a link to the story behind Post Secret.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The old adage "You learn something new everyday" really is true. Today I learned about Domo. Two rather odd kids in my class were asking me if I knew what "domo-domo" was. I thought they were swearing at me in some foreign language. Turns out, they're just infatuated with a cartoon character from Japan. Apparently 7-11 just started using Domo as a mascot of sorts. They have new slurpee cups featuring Domo and his friends, as well as brown coffee cups with just Domo's face on them.

I'm so taken with the little guy, I might just have to stop at 7-11 to get myself a Domo slurpee cup. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


It's not uncommon for me to bring my work home with me. I often grade papers, create lessons, and work on school stuff from the comforts of my own home. But I also bring my work home with me emotionally. I care deeply about my students. They work their way into my heart, and I can't help but empathize with them. Tonight my heart is heavy with the poor choices of a young man who is looking for acceptance in all the wrong places.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I know it's a day set aside for celebrating the birth of Jesus, but I think I'm also going to be celebrating the opening of Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day. To be fully prepared for the movie, I've been reading about the exploits of the world's most famous detective. My dear friend Jen even lent me her copy of "The Complete Sherlock Holmes," which ought to keep me busy for a little while since it includes four full-length novels and all 56 short stories!

Today I decided that allowing my students to see the movie without reading a Holmes and Watson story would be a crime. My plan is to designate the week before Christmas break as Sherlock Holmes week. In a moment of pure genius I decided that I'll also re-create one of Holmes and Watson's adventures in my classroom! I can't wait to see how this plays out.

Friday, October 23, 2009


From a sweet, mostly innocent young lady, "Miss Smith, how do you spell bomb?"

From across the room I answer her, "B-O-M-B"

"Oh. I spelled it wrong. I spelled it b-o-o-b."

5 minutes of hysterical laughter from the most mature teacher ever.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Distorted view of Beauty

"Evolution of Beauty" by Dove

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hair in 2009

February 2009
Loved that haircut

April 2009
Still okay

July 2009
Shorter than it's been in years

August 2009
Super Cute Back to School Haircut

October 2009
Something so hideous I'd rather look like this

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No Joke

I'm with Tim on this one.

Ready for the Weekend

You know it's not your best day when you hear yourself say to a group of young, tender hearts, "I really don't care. It's the truth. I. Don't. Care."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Jesus Whoopin'

I have no husband. I have no boyfriend. I have very few single guy friends, and none of them are husband material (for me that is). I don't even have any single coworkers to flirt with. My life is a prime example of what being single means. I'm fairly certain my picture is next to the definition of "single" in Webster's Dictionary.

For a while I was okay with that. I really was content knowing that someday I would meet Mr. Right. Honest, I was content with singleness. I trusted God with my future.

However, that contentment has dissipated. Entirely. I don't want to be single anymore. I'm sick of being alone. I'm tired of answering the question, "Why aren't you married?" What I want is to meet someone special and fall in love. I long to get married and have babies and live happily ever after.

So I pray and pray and pray. I pray that God would lead me to Mr. Right. I pray for the Good Lord to make me into the woman my future husband needs. I pray for the meeting of my husband to come someday soon. I fervently bring my request before the Lord.

But nothing has happened. No dates. No phone calls. Not even any flirting. There's not a glimmer of hope on the horizon. It has become increasingly difficult to trust that God has my best interest in mind. I've been waiting my entire adult life for this and God hasn't given me my life's partner. Faith that God will provide a godly husband is quickly fading.

Enter Pastor John and his sermon this morning. The title of the message based in James chapter 1 was "Speed Bumps of Life: When Our Faith is Stretched." He explained that God tests our faith through a variety of means with the goal of growth. His last point was that God often tests our faith through delays in answer to prayer, at which point the Holy Spirit whispers, "Sound familiar, Britney?" Pastor John continued to say the Lord doesn't always give us the answer to our prayers immediately because he wants our faith in Him to grow. Waiting on the Lord causes us to make a decision: will we continue to trust that he is Lord living by faith or will we try to take control?

Pastor John pointed us back to some people who waited a looooonnnnnnggggg time for the answer to their prayers: the Israelites who wandered the desert before going into the promised land. Their faith was tested in numerous ways during those years. In Deuteronomy 8:2 God explains that he tested his people for FORTY years "in order to know what was in (their) heart(s), whether or not (they) would keep his commands." I am no different than the Israelites. God tests my heart to see if I have faith in him and if I will follow his commands.

So today I am returning to living by faith in this trial of delay. I will learn to wait patiently on the Lord and allow him to stretch my faith that I may develop perserverance and lack nothing in character.

Because more than a husband, I want to please the Lord.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."
Deuteronomy 8:2

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Counting My Blessings: My Students

Can I just say I love my students this year? Because I do. They are a great group of kids. After April and May of last year I didn't know if I could handle teaching much longer. However, this group of students has been refreshing. They are sweet and kind. They are eager to help each other and me. They are a breath of fresh air after the punks I dealt with last year. I would adopt any one of them if I could. I just love them!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not Doing Good, Part 1

I've been trying to ignore something for months because it's sad. More than sad, really. It's heartbreaking and horrific and completely unfathomable in my neat and tidy life. I've been ignoring it because it doesn't affect me. It's not part of my life.

And so over the past 9 months to a year, I have actively found ways to avoid the issue of human trafficking--specifically the area of sexual exploitation. I have refused to read Sold by Patricia McCormick because of the content, even though the book comes highly recommended. I've avoided thinking too much about blog entries like this one because I might have to admit that people actually live that nightmare day in and day out. My theory has been if I don't think about it, I can pretend it doesn't exist.

However, that hasn't worked out so well for me. God has been persistent in tugging on my heart strings. First there was the song When the Saints by Sara Groves. It's a fabulous song, but those two lines "I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor, I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door" convicted me every time every time I heard the song. Then there was the movie Slumdog Millionaire. God used it to get me thinking back in March. During the summer I came across blog entries like this one about a community in Thailand.

Early this summer I finally became willing to acknowlege the problem (what a gross understatement!) of sexual exploitation. While I would like to ignore the issue, I know for the women and children who are victims of the sex slave trade it's not an option to just ignore it. They have to deal with the nastiness and horrors of sexual exploitation every single day.

Now that I've acknowledged the problem, the next step is doing something about it. I've spent the majority of the summer doing nothing. And that my friends is going to change.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:17

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today's Holiday: Make a Hat Day

This might just be the second easiest holiday I've found to celebrate. You could choose to go the easy route and make a paper hat to celebrate this fun holiday. Or you could get those creative juices flowing and get to work on something a little more complex. If you're into yarn, you could knit or crochet a hat. You could sew at hat out of felt pieces like this. Or you could go with something a little more non-traditional. And if you don't have any paper, yarn, or fabric to make your hat, be creative with the materials that are available. We found pipe cleaners to work quite well for hats.

Oh, and once you've made your hat, show it off to the world! Wear it proudly for the rest of the day. This is not a mandatory part of the celebration for Make a Hat Day, but it is a lot of fun!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Music

I'm enjoying some new music this afternoon. I bought John Waller's While I'm Waiting, Hillsong United's Tear Down the Walls, Mercy Me's All that is within Me, and Leeland's Love is on the Move CDs this morning. They were all on sale AND I had a coupon. I just couldn't pass up the savings. Or the spending, depending on how you look at it.

Here's a video from Hillsong United for your enjoyment.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Little Brother

Today my little brother turns "20 old". You know, the age where one solidifies adulthood by finally being old. Turning 18 signifies the beginning of adulthood, and the 21st birthday is considered a full adult, but there are still some privileges unavailable until the 25th birthday: lower car insurance and renting a car. Today my brother can rent a car without extra fees and theoretically have lower car insurance.

I just love this picture of my brother and me. How tall does he have to be before he's considered a giant?

Happy Birthday "Little" Brother!