Confession Time

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I have thought a lot about posting this.  I don’t really want to, but I feel that maybe it will help someone.

Last fall, there was a shooting in Oregon where Christians were asked to stand up and were killed for their faith.  It was hard to process, and it brought up some hard questions.  What would I want my children to do?  What would I do?

And here’s the truth: I would have wanted my children to stay seated to save their lives, and I would have done the same with 100% certainty.

But here’s what the Bible says about denying Jesus:

If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.  If we deny him, he will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:12

But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:33

But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Luke 12:9

And who is a liar?  Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ.  Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 1 John 2:22

My response was a clear red flag.  These were the wrong answers for someone who truly believed in Jesus and trusted in salvation.  I knew with this realization that I was no where near where I wanted to be with God.   Rather than become despaired, I chose instead to continue to focus on my relationship with Jesus by spending more time with Him.  I was in an in person Bible Study, an online Bible study and my own personal study already though, I only occasionally went to church.

So… What more could I do?  I took opportunities that came my way!  I attended a women’s conference, I tried (and fell in love with) a new church, listened to countless podcasts on faith, participated in an Explore God discussion group, read the Case for Faith, joined another in person Bible study, began listening to worship music outside of church (Air1 anyone?) and faced a phobia that was limiting my world.  Through it all, my mom began to point out some changes in me.  I became a patient person–what?!  I stopped having severe road rage–what?!  I put feet to my faith by flying to Florida despite a flying phobia and relied on God every step of the way–what?!

Let me be clear, I cannot take credit for any of this.  This is all GOD!  This is all about how Jesus can transform if we come to Him willingly and we stay with Him.  I am far from perfect, but I know first hand that Jesus changes us.  The only way to become like Jesus is to study Him and spend time with Him.  I am still a hot mess, my house is a wreck, I sometimes say bad words, I drink wine fairly regularly, I gossip (working on that!!!!) and I somewhat compartmentalize my faith because it is hard to find that balance in public education, but nevertheless, Jesus is making me want different things.  He’s convicting me in ways He didn’t before.  He is changing me.

I realized the other day that my answers to those original questions have changed.  Today, I would want my children to stand up for Jesus.  Today, I would stand up for Him too.  I pray that we are never in that situation, but if ever we are, I pray that we will bravely stand up for Jesus as He stood up for us and died on the cross.

2015 in review

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I would like to pick a word to describe 2015, but I’m not sure there is a word that is sufficient.  If I’m 100% honest, it was bittersweet.  There were many sweet moments and some bitter moments that lead to much growth for me in my faith and as a person.  I don’t want to dwell on the bitter so here is a list of high moments from 2015.

*Sitting on the patio on vacation watching One Tree Hill and Bachelor in Paradise as I drank my coffee while the rest of my family slept.

*Tasting the different wines at Landon Winery with my book club gals.

*Road tripping to Phoenix and becoming closer than I ever thought with some of the best people I’ve met.

*Watching our book club grow.

*Becoming closer to my son and finally feeling like I know him and get him.

*Snuggling with my daughter who is full of sass and sweet all in one.

*Attending a training with Leslie Zann that taught me more than network marketing skills.

*Reading over 100 books and enjoying almost every second of that process.

*Binge-watching too many shows on Netflix and Hulu.

*Reconnecting with God and turning to Him through the bitter moments.

*Getting on a plane again and facing my fears with God at my side.

*Watching the kids play after school each day while I got to socialize with a dear friend.

*Finding a new church home that took almost a year of invitations to visit to get me there.

*Falling in love with Frogg Coffee in Allen–I miss those Friday meetups and highly recommend checking it out.

*Journaling a lot and SOAKing a lot through the Bible.

*Appreciating my time at home.

*Celebrating 10 years of marriage through all the ups and downs that would have broken up many others because we love each other that much.

*Hanging out with friends regularly and usually ending up talking about God and/or ghosts :).

*Having a group of friends who keep me on track and focused on God no matter what life throws at us.

*Filling my instagram feed with inspiration (go see who posts on #GoodMorningGirls and follow them all!)

*Getting over the road rage that ruined my mornings.

*Allowing myself to choose family first.

2015 was filled with tears.  Tears of joy, tears of pain.  Here’s hoping that 2016 is filled with more joy than pain.  I pray that we all are able to focus on joy and hope in 2016.

Job

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I cannot wait for this study.  Starting Monday, there will people thousands of women all over the world studying the same book of the Bible at once.  I don’t think it really hit me as much when I’ve done the SOAK method with Good Morning Girls in the past.  It means so much more this time around. Maybe it’s because I’ve stepped into more of a leadership role.  Who knows.  But I’m excited!  🙂

‘Twas the week after Christmas

‘Twas the week after Christmas,
And you made quite a scene.
You fought and you struggled,
But could not fit in your jeans
Were they washed in hot water?
Or left too long to dry?
They would not go on
No matter how hard you tried.
On with the yoga pants,
And into the refrigerator.
Leftover goodies, they were waiting,
You can always fix the jeans later.
Your tummy is gurgling
With that last ice cream scoop.
Then you ask yourself,
“When last did I poop?”
You hit the recliner
With a cup of hot chocolate.
And consider your plight
As you reach for your wallet.
There are bills to be paid,
And you want to go shopping.
But when you open it up
Your eyes are popping.
“Where did my cash go?”
You wonder with worry.
“How will I make it?
I need cash in a hurry!”
You log into Facebook
To see what your friends think.
There’s that crazy lady
Posting that little pink drink.
She claims you can lose inches.
Get bathroom help, too.
And create a new income.
Sounds too good to be true.
Wait! There’s another one!
She just got a free Lexus!
You give up. You give in.
You’re ready for PLEXUS
Yep. That’s right, folks. I went there. And you read it just like the book, right?
I’m ready to help. 

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Free Shipping until tomorrow!

http://www.PlexusByLJ.com

Stop Assigning Homework

Dear fellow teachers,

Do you enjoy that you have to spend unpaid overtime grading and lesson planning?  Time that takes away from your family, your friends, your overall quality of life?

Students spend all day at school.  ALL DAY LONG.  Then you send them home with homework.  Do you like the work you have to bring home?  I don’t.  So I will NEVER send it home.  Students spend enough time in the day working on the various subjects.  Let them have time to regroup, to play, to hangout with their families, God forbid to play on the electronics that are forbidden or discouraged at school when they get home.  It is a disservice to families to send home homework.

If I never had to bring home work again, that would be awesome.  In the mean time, I won’t do it to my students and I pray you consider not doing it to yours.

~a high school Spanish teacher and a mom

Teacher Confession: I care if my students like me

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I love my students!  I LOVE them!  I care if my students like me or not.  I care a lot.  And I am honest about that with them.

When I first began teaching, the “right” thing to say was, “I don’t care if my students like me, but they will respect me.”  Here’s the deal, I never actually felt that way.  I said it, but it was a lie.  A big, fat lie.

When people heard I was teaching level 2 at the Senior High Level, I got many warnings about how the level 2 kids as juniors and seniors are not the same as the level 2 kids as freshmen and sophomores.  I was warned that they were unmotivated and did not care.  I’m only 2 weeks in, but I am here to tell you that that statement is FASLE.  Sure, many may not have aspirations to become fluent Spanish speakers or Spanish teachers, but they want to be successful.  At this point, many of them need to be successful to graduate on time.

I spent an ENTIRE week getting to know my students, letting them get to know me, showing them that I care about them.  I start each year ready to love my students.  To love every single one of them.  Not all of them come to my classroom with an open heart and mind.  Not all of them arrive ready to love me–and I know there are some who will take some time to trust me.  For many, life has already taught them that people disappoint us and they don’t want to risk caring in the chance they may get hurt.  I feel it is my job to be real, to be me.  Yes, there will still be issues, conflict, etc.  That’s part of life and perfection does not exist.  I simply have to make sure that I model how to appropriately handle conflict when it happens in my classroom and demonstrate that we can all choose to move on rather than dwell or hold a grudge.  So that’s why I start my year with a team building week.  I want it to be public knowledge that I genuinely care about my students and want them to succeed.  It is important that they know it and that I show it.

Guess who’s back!

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Yes, it’s true! I’m headed back to the classroom, to the place I feel most confident to hopefully help another year of students be successful. This time around I will be at Plano East Senior High in Plano, TX teaching Spanish 2 on level and Spanish 4 IB. I readily admit that 4 IB intimidates me to no end, but if you’ve followed this blog for long, you know I seize every chance to step outside my comfort zone. So here’s to the 2015-2016 school year!

The Explosive Child Part 1

I am very open with the struggles I face on a day to day basis.  In most cases, it has allowed me to connect with others who have faced or who are facing similar struggles.  I am forever grateful for these types of connections as it often makes life more bearable though frustrating.  My openness has also opened me up to criticism and funny comments that jokingly suggest I am not an adequate parent, that perhaps I’m too lenient, inattentive or whatever else one who feels s/he is a successful parent might think.  Let’s stop the mom-shaming and if you have not had to deal with the struggles I have, count your blessings and recognize that perhaps you are not the person to offer advice or judgement.

One of the biggest struggles we are dealing with these days is getting our children to behave.  I realized the other day that I feel like it’s sheer luck whether they behave or not in every situation.  Despite our attempts to raise respectful children who behave, that’s become our reality.  Let me tell you, “a good whipping” and “grounding” and “taking away all their toys” has not helped at all.  In fact, all of those things seem to make it worse.

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A friend introduced me to the book, The Explosive Child that I’m about one third of the way through as of today.  SO MUCH IS MAKING SENSE.  First of all, I identify with some of the difficult children described and feel my mother would have greatly benefitted from this book while raising me, if nothing else to assure her she did her best.  Second of all, I recognize many characteristics of my own children.  Thus far, it’s about identifying the struggle, not the behavior.  We can easily figure out the behavior–hitting, screaming, freaking out, being rude, talking back, ignoring, etc.  However, It’s the struggle that’s more important.  For example, my children like to yell and bicker in the morning.  Those behaviors are easy to identify.  The struggles are: they have difficulty waking up in the morning, they have difficulty getting dressed in the morning, they have difficulty eating breakfast in the morning, they have difficulty walking to the car in the morning, they have difficulty riding in the car on the way to school.

If you have a child for whom traditional consequences or reward systems do not help improve his/her behavior or who is easily frustrated and inflexible, you might want to read this too.  Basically, it is about identifying struggles and helping our children cope appropriately with their struggles rather than prevent a behavior.  Too often we focus on the behavior we don’t want rather than the reason behind said behavior.  Most children who struggle with behavior problems genuinely want to behave but struggle to do so appropriately and cannot help it. (And for the record, not getting enough attention is only 1 reason children misbehave.  I have read the Love Languages of Children and have made great efforts to fill my children’s love tanks in the way they need and still we have these behavior issues.)

Now, back to my reading!  I’m ready to learn what to do next as I continue to compile my list of struggles.

Mindset graphic

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Ted Talks: The World’s Killer Diet

This semester, we have been discussing health choices in Spanish 2H.  Jane Shea found this awesome Ted Talks video that was short and relevant to our topic.  Here is her awesome lesson that I totally stole!

1. Students watched this video and took notes in English or Spanish (the video is in English).

2. Next, students were divided into groups to respond to this prompt (in the target language): “Why is what we eat important for our health?”

3. We relocated to a collaboration space.  Students collaborated to come up with the best response to the prompt.  As a part of their teamwork for excellence, each student had to write the same exact essay response as the other group members.  They had 25 minutes to complete the task.

4. Then all papers from each group were stapled together and turned in to me.

5. Finally, I edited, graded on our presentational writing rubric and gave detailed written feedback to each group.  For each class, I had 6 papers to grade instead of the normal 31+.  While I only edited 1 per group, I did flip through to make sure everyone wrote everything.  I had a few slackers who earned lower grades than their other group members, much to their dismay.

This provided a quick and meaningful way to give feedback prior to our formative assessment tomorrow.  We’ll see if it helped :).

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