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Friday, February 27, 2009

Class Hike!

Great thing about living in AZ: 85 degree weather in February! Our class celebrated today with a hike up South Mountain. I took the younger half of the class (12 kids) up what was suppose to be a 45 minute hike (up & back), but turned into a 3 hour hike :) We stopped to check out petrogliphs (my 1st time to actually see some up close & in person--very cool! I've been wanting to see some since I taught about them 3 years ago in a 4th grade Utah class). It was a little....nervewracking...having the safety of 12 kids in my hands when they're stretched over a mile of rocky trail, BUT after a few talks about working as a group, it actually worked out pretty well. There were a few spills & one blister...but the same two girls who were crying halfway up the trail, were the two running around giggling by the end. It made me not feel so bad for telling them to suck it up and keep going! (Okay, I didn't say it just like that, but that was the idea...and they stopped crying! And kept going! And started enjoying it :) They're great kids and I had a great time! I wish every Friday was another fun hike up the mountain :) Pics:my two little princesses...before the crying :) I promise, they enjoyed the attention, and were fine by the end :)view of Ahwatukee & one very special kid :)
haha, me driving the school bus....I may never wear this hat again after seeing this picture! lol!

Monday, February 23, 2009

How many 1st warders does it take to change a light bulb?

Tonight I had a Rite of Passage--I learned to change a light bulb ;) Heading out of an FHE, I got a call from the car in front of me that my headlight was out. Now to understand the utter horror I felt from such a call, imagine driving home from an Enrichment meeting one un-employed night a week before Christmas, and having 2 cops pull you over only a block from your house, slap you with a $200 ticket & court date for a missing headlight you were oblivious to, then going back to their car & humiliating you by watching you cry for a good 10 minutes on the side of a dark road as you felt helpless, wondering how on earth you would pay it and what on earth a "court date" was. This was the memory coming to mind when the news came that a new headlight was out! Needless to say, there was no way on earth I would be driving by my house again with those headlight-fining leeches lurking about!

My 2nd reaction was to laugh at the irony: This was the 3rd time in 8 months to have a light go out--and the 2nd time for it to go out in this particular apartment complex! Was I suppose to be learning something from this?! The caller didn't know how to change the bulb, the guy I was giving a ride to didn't either, and the FHE hoster wasn't answering their phone....so, I did what any single, independent woman should do: I got out and began to tap on different parts of what I assume was my engine. Honestly, I was completely lost! I'd seen 2 different people change my previous bulbs, so I had a general idea of where to stick my hand...but past that? Yep! Lost!

My savior came in the form of an older couple trying to pass my car. The nice man hopped out, and in broken English, took my bulb out, showed me it would be forever burnt-out, then gave me step by step instructions on how to put the new bulb in. It was like teaching me to actually fish! A quick trip down the road for a replacement, and I found my climatic moment in a Walmart parking lot, 10:30 at night as I followed my guide's instructions by memory and vuala! There was light!! Seriously silly, but it was like the BEST moment ever!! I finally felt the freedom and safety of knowing how to solve what seems to be a frequent prob with my car, and it was a fantastic moment!

Funniest moment of the day--Out of the Mouth of Babes!
There was some drama today when two little best friends got into a fight. One called the other a liar, and the "lying" boy had an absolute cow! We're talking, started throwing things, and yelling across the room that he was always being called a liar and was tired of it! We all walked away to give him space, which only made him yell louder. I gave him some time to cool down, then went on with his spelling like nothing had happened (trick I've learned from my mom, she uses it on everyone in the fam...kinda helps you not feel so stupid for whatever lame moment of life you just had!). When the boy was ready, he brought it back up...and seeing he was finally able to TALK about it--not just yell about it--I started asking him the questions that would lead him to a solution (Montessori practices coming into play here. Still trying to learn them, but I do like the coaching we give the kids in helping them work out problems).

Anyway, so this darling little boy is so distressed in complaining to me that his best friend is always calling him a liar. Knowing this boy pretty well, I asked, "Well...why does he think you might be lying? Do you ever tell lies?"

In total frustration, and in all seriousness came his classic response: "Well, yeah...but I only tell TWO lies a day!!"

It was one of those moments in life when all I could think was "Don't you dare laugh, Beth, don't you dare!!" haha! Kids are so innocent, seriously, he saw no problem with it...thus prompting a great discussion on the importance of developing trust with our friends thru honesty! I could tell half-way through this discussion that the kid just didn't get it. That's when inspiration popped in (as it always tends to do when I've exhausted all my own ideas--I consider divine intervention to be the ideas that acutally work :) I asked him if a stranger came up and offered him a ride if he'd take it....nooo...why not? You don't know him, you don't trust him. What if his grandma came up and offered a ride?....yeeessss...how come? Cause he trusts here, he's built that up over time. This explination seemed to work for him, he calmed down, and agreed to start being more honest with his friends. At least it's a start!

I do this thing where the kids have to look each other in the eye, and shake hands once they've worked through a prob and apologized (thanks Jon & Kate plus 8! They make their kids kiss after fights). It usually takes a few tries, but by the end of it, neither can stop giggling and run off together, best of friends again! It's the moment when both a sigh of relief, and a smile come out of me :) It's so cool how quick kids are to forgive and move on!

In conclusion: Learn to change your headlight--it's liberating! And be careful of those 2 little lies a day...ha! ;)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flower Power & Scooby Dooby Doo!

As you may have noticed, my blog is sportin a new look (just in time for spring!), and some different music...both of which may take you back a few 5 decades ago. Never really a fan of the 60's/70's era, I have grown a new appreciation for the songs below. The kids I work with have been practicing these songs daily for over a month as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration

30 minutes a day x 4 weeks x 7 hippie songs = A lot of Flower Power stuck in my head

Tonight, I celebrated my 5th week in a row of Institute (Institute is religious education classes put on by the LDS church). After a 2 year absence from taking institute seriously, I was bound and determined this year to make a go of it. I've gotta say, Thursday nights aren't the easiest to spend the evening away from resting at home, and the after party at institute...well, let's just say it's not my favorite part of the week, BUT the class? WOW, I get SO much out of it!

1st Favorite part of the class: The Subject. I always tried to get into a Book of Revelations class at BYU, but they were always full, hard to come by, or practically required doctorate work to pass. The very first class, it was made clear the emphasis of the whole book is the great love the Savior of the world has for us. Taking it from this perspective, and picking apart the meaning both scholarly and spiritual exploration) has been a huge highlight of my week

2nd Favorite part of the class: Sister Hardison. After years of studying and practicing methods in teaching, I can honestly say she is the epitome of the type of teacher I would like to be. I am a firm believer in the audience being participants in the learning process, and she is a pro of not only encouraging comments, but also in guiding them all towards the point of her lesson. She has an amazing amount of knowledge and research to back up the things she teaches, and somehow cheerfully and smoothly transitions between topics. I'm such a fan!!

Great message of tonight comes actually from Romans 8:28--"All things work together for good to them that love God." (quite the promise :). And I'll leave the blogging world tonight with a quote that I found pretty profound:

"Often doors have closed before us hat seemed to lead to the opportunities we thought we had to have. We may have assumed that thte closed door was a reflection of some inadequacy in ourselves; but perhaps the closed door had nothing to do with whether we were goodor bad or capable or incompetent. Rather, even now a loving Father shapes our path according to a prearranged, premortal covenant; the opening of the closing of these various doors is dependent on the Lord's perfect perception of our developmental needs. All the elements that we really need for our individual experience here, he puts on to our path. The most important things that will happen to us in this life will come to us often by no initiation of our own, but rather because He is piloting the plan...There is only one Keeper of the Gate." --Catherine Thomas

Something I have definitely learned in the past 3 years is that the above is 100% true. I am grateful for a loving God of the universe that is a loving parent so personally involved in the details of my life :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Last night, we had a fantastically decorated, caterred dinner for about 300 single adults out here, a pretty cool way to start off V-day festivities! Spent the rest of the evening playing games with friends and chatting about life until pretty early in the morning. What a lucky gal I am to have such good friends!

Started my official Day of Love off with an 8:30 game of Ultimate Frisby. I can honestly say playing it with a bunch of 4th graders & a football yesterday was a little bit more in my comfort zone, but still a great way to start off my Saturday :) Then came home to a lil' bit of love! Great thing about having the same roommate for so long, we love giving each other gifts for holidays!

I gave Lynn the rosebush & Jamba. She gave me a new "America's Next Top Model" jacket!! Haha, I died laughing trying to take pictures modeling my new "model" jacket ;)
Rest of the day consisted of showin the Lord a little love by cleaning the church, showing the girls a little love by visiting teaching (REALLY fun visit, I love Nuvonna!!), then a good V-day themed movie, dinner with friends, and then bustin' out Top Gun for a friend who's never seen it! On my insistance of making him a true blue American, we had to watch it. LOVE that movie...thus wrapping up nicely my little day of love :)
PS! The above is what I made this past Tuesday at RS stake training. Thought it was a good quote to stick up in our classroom. It's not perfect, but it's my first fancy home-made quote for the wall :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Evening Post

Yes, that's right! This is (what at least feels like) the 3rd post this week! My cold has made things a little slow around here, giving me a bit more free time...to do things like update my blog :) Today was quite the busy day though, and one worthy of report!

I started the morning helping 1st ward celebrate the baptism of our newest member, Kindra. The first time Kindra visited us in Relief Society, I thought she was already a member. She was so attentive, and had such great insight during her comments, she just fit right in! She is truly a very special individual--always a smile, and someone who has truly sought out, and found the church on her own. She said her 2nd visit here, the missionaries were able to answer all the questions no one else ever had, and she knows it's all true. She's our little "blond bombshell" (as Brother Everetts put it Sunday morning at the podium!) that is taking the ward by storm! Welcome Kindra!
It's been a while since I've either had/made time for a temple visit, so I swung by afterwards. Beth Dibble gave me the great idea of using temple visits for photography practice too :) I loved the Saturday morning visit, mainly because of all the cute little kids running around on the temple grounds, dressed up for weddings. There's such a feeling of peace there, especially when you look around and see all the families. Beth is much better about choosing only 1 flower shot to go on her blog. One day, I will be able to be like her....for now though, I can't decide, and put all my favorites :)

Little & BIG Buzzing Bees!

This one above is my favorite for some reason! Just really like it! :)

The other night, Lynn and I visited the Deseret Book by the Chandler Mall. Besides being about the best store EVER, this particular one has a Lion's House bakery inside, and smells absolutely heavenly!! After half an hour in there, we walked out into the night, and our noses were accosted by the greasy smell of In-and-Out Burger. Now, I'm just as big a fan as the next person, but it was such a startling contrast to our senses after the light aroma of bread baking....well, it was honestly pretty disgusting! That analogy made me smile coming out of the temple today--it's the same feeling to our spirits to leave the temple, as it was to my nose to leave that bakery :)

Ended my afternoon in Mesa up with a little 1st ward Basketball. I am happy to report that we girls won by a landslide--74 to 20 something (I think,maybe it was 40-somethin'). I honestly haven't played an official basketball game in probably about 10 years, and it was a blast! I love the girls on the team--their encouragement, and coaching they offered. I'm also glad it's an all-girls team, as I completely squealed with delight the 2 or 3 times I actually made baskets! Haha, I'm thinking that wouldn't fly as well on a guy's team! It was fun to see some skills actually come back too....though I have to admit, it's really not that hard to have "skill" when the other team's tallest player is 5 foot 4! :) In all our sweaty glory, we followed the game up with a group lunch at Sweet Tomoto's (think Soup or Salad for those not out here), where I had the privilege of getting some great one-on-one time with Wendy, who is quickly becoming a favorite person :)

All-in-all, today was a thumbs up in my book!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stayin' on the SUNSy side of life :)

So, for the past month, I've been keeping a daily record of my daily blessings. It started with making a quick list of the ways I had seen the Lord's hand in my life that day....which soon turned into a "Tender Mercies" list, and then finally a daily gratitude list. It honestly has made such a huge difference on my outlook on life, and level of happiness. Not that I wasn't happy before...but now I feel "Joy in the Journey"--it's just a more refined feeling of sweetness :) I've started to see my day as many different moments where lessons are learned, triumph gained, or divine intervention recognized. Recognizing & remembering those moments has become the favorite part of my day--I literally get a huge grin on my face as I jump into bed with my little notebook at the end of the day :)
Take today for example! Due to an extended shift with after-school kids I don't know, Wednesdays are my most dreaded days. My only consolation is that most other assistants have to work the program 5 days a week, and I only have to do it once! (I don't think it'd be so bad if it were with my own kids, but they stick me with the youngest age group for 2 hours a week...meaning I can't remember any of their names, and they can't remember me well enough to know what they can and can't get away with. I guess it makes me miss my own kids though :)

Back to the story, so WED's are usually days of endurance...but today, it was pretty cool! I started with a 15 minute story on the US Constitution. My team-teacher is from Mexico, so she prefers me to teach the American History, and I love it!! It's interesting to see what parts of the story different kids remember, or what strikes their interest. And the highlight of any teacher's day: a few kids asked me to meet one-on-one with them to discuss the topics further! How cool is that?? In fact, during "reading time", 3 of them approached me with a question, and we ended up in this great history/world current events/politics discussion for about half an hour. They wanted to know what Impeachment means, and who's been impeached (talk about the liberal media's influence on these 11 year olds--they had no clue Bill Clinton had been impeached, nor for what, but figured George W. had, and of course, that Obama is the new God on earth. I had a few guiding words and questions to try and help objectify their minds a bit!!).

I ended my day with my kids (in after-school, my usual torture hour), showing me how to find square roots. I don't remember at all, so it was interesting to re-learn, but even more entertaining for me to see them get so excited about it.
I could go on and on about these kids, but I'll leave it for my gratitude journal & team teacher (another huge blessing: someone who loves talking about these kids with me eveyday!). They are amazing, and I am completely falling in love with them! I am so grateful I followed the feeling to quit the mundane job I had, take the financial sucker-punch that followed, and take this job. It has enriched my life 10-fold!
Scramblin' up some 7 AM eggs after the class sleepover. I look tired, but this is a genuine happy-to-be-here smile! :) Other exciting news: I went to my first Suns Basketball game!! Yep, after 2 years of waiting for a ticket to magically appear, the opportunity finally knocked! A text mid-Monday came asking if anyone wanted the spare ticket, and with the adrenalin rush of trying to be the winning caller of a radio station, I quickly staked my claim! It was funny, because just the night before, someone was asking me if I'd made it to game yet, and I happened to be carrying my phone when the text came in--something I never do. The game was good and the company great, making my first Suns game a memorable success!! Thanks Yale!
It's hump-day, I'm fighting a cold, and still absolutely loving my life :) How sweet is that? It just keeps making me smile!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Inherited the Goofy gene!

A little less than a year ago, my good friend and former roommate, Crystal Leckie came for a much anticipated visit to Arizona. To keep her entertained, and show off AZ a bit, I took her hiking up the only mountain I have ever hiked here: Squaw Peak. I thought the name alone should elicit fond memories of giggles and shocked gasps from our Provo days when a trip up Squaw Peak did NOT mean a hiking trip! (Squaw Peak is a well known make-out spot in Provo. I never really knew anyone that went up there, but the name alone inspired all kind of scandalous gossip of any who even set foot, haha :)

Anyway, so we set out for this hike early morning. Now, I have grown in appreciation of hiking, and absolutely love being completely encompassed by nature. However...every time I go, I am at a complete loss for what to wear. My first hiking experience at age 17 was up Mt. Yale in Colorado--where snow glistened in the sunlight , while I froze my tail off. Since I have an even lower body temperature than I did then, I tend to over-plan for possible chilliness and throw on a jacket. Then I rethink my preparedness plan (we ARE in Arizona after all), and take the jacket off. Off and on it goes throughout the morning, until finally I reach a compromise by putting on layers. And of course, above all, I need to look like I'm wearing something Athletic.

The point is dear readers, this was the logic running through my head, unfortunately at an hour way to early for my brain to function properly. I DID end up over-dressing, requiring some compensation in the form of rolling up my sweats. In the end, what all hikers going up the mountain saw was this lovely creature:

Now of course, after hiking about 20 feet up this climb, I realized just how ridiculous I looked, because I saw that all the other hikers were wearing what I SHOULD have worn...normal hiking clothes. Not being one to shy away from a good laugh at myself, I put a grin on for the camera, and took my picture! It still gives me a good laugh though!

Now for the real reason I'm writing this story! Today, my uncle completed his project of scanning and posting all the old photos in the 13 old photo albums at my grandparent's house in DE. Among those photos were the old one's of my Poppop's days in the Air Force, and his time stationed in Alaska (1950's). Amongst that pile, was a very familiar pose:
Same rolled-up pants, same hands on hips, and same "Hyuck, hyuck, aren't I funny?" goofy grin on our faces. Yep, I think we're related! haha, what can I say? I can't help it--I inherited the goofiness!! :)