Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Resolutions

I have been thinking about my New Year's resolution over the past couple of weeks and have finally narrowed my list down. I will not be trying a new recipe out each week like I did the past 2 years. I am thinking 94 recipes is enough. (Yeah, I was 10 short this year unless I do that today... ha!) I really enjoyed that resolution though and have had some real winners and losers. Finally mastering banana pudding was a huge highlight. I will post my favorite recipe from 2008 later.

So, Resolutions for 2009...

(1) Pay off at least a semester's worth of student loans.
Thankfully I have nice scholarships and tuition discount for grad school so my loans are VERY minimal for that, but I really want to finish paying off my undergrad loans in the next couple of years.
(2) Keep a daily photo journal.
I am only good at journaling sometimes. However, I do always have a camera with me. I thought if I take a daily picture than I could have a good sampling of memories from the year. Sometimes the picture might be of a grand adventure and some days it might be of something I do around the house daily. I am pretty excited about this resolution though.
(3) Scrapbook my year.
I used to scrapbook often. I have so many supplies, pictures, and things I pick up that I want to be better about scrapbooking shortly after things happen.
(4) Run a half marathon.
I have already signed up for the Country Music Marathon with several of my friends from girls community group. I want to be able to actually run a whole half marathon. Yes, I have turned into one of "those people." The Bolt inspired me.
(5) Be more intentional.
Enough said.

2008 was great, but may 2009 be sublime. ;)

May you have a wonderful time ringing in the New Year wherever you might be...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cirque Du Soleil

One of the things we wanted to do while in NYC was to see a Broadway play. We stood in line for discounted tickets for about an hour only to find out that tickets to a select few shows with open seats still cost about $100. The shows offered were nothing we thought would be worth paying that for. Instead we opted to go see Cirque Du Soleil.

Cirque's winter show is called Wintuk. We all sat truly amazed at the performance. The storyline had to do with bring snow to the city. We watched juggling, tightroper walkers, clowns, rollerbladers, bikers, gymnasts, and acrobats who all performed with more grace and beauty than I have ever seen in "circus" performers. The sets were spectacular. Music was so fitting and I wish I could have bought the music to play daily. There was one set with ribbon acrobats, cranes (men on stilts), beautiful lighting and music that seriously almost made me cry because it was so beautiful.

The show ended with snow falling onto the audience with of course great music. I felt like such a kid because I was in such awe.

If you ever get the chance to go see a show by Cirque I would highly recommend it... What a great evening in NYC.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Update

Christmas came and went. I took almost no pictures. Shocking, I know. The day itself was pretty uneventful and peaceful. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch, opened gifts, and then went to see the movie "Doubt." Great acting, and just okay ending. It was nice to be with the family this year.

On Friday, I finished moving all of my stuff. I am now living with the parents again. Hopefully not for too long. ;) I got to meet up with Rupa, Kathy, and Kelly for dinner. We always have such a good time (and loud!) time together. Topics always somehow always center around traveling and politics. Somehow even I am amazed how we can get from talking about breast exams to Obama. Rupa gave me a concoction for my flu/cold. Equal parts of scotch, lemon juice and honey. Not so yummy. Wish I could say it worked (it didn't), but it did make for a good sleep. :)

This morning Rupa brought me to airport, but I missed my flight to Baltimore. I am stuck in Nashville airport for a few hours. However, all will be worth it to have a week off in New York relaxing and celebrating the New Year with my best friend.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Tradition

Keeping the tradition of new pajamas alive...

This year we actually got to go with a Christmas theme.

Wishing Emily was here.

Remembering the Lewis Family and Katie for past pjs ;)

Sadly, still sick :(

Better go to bed, so Santa will get here...

Monday, December 22, 2008

yuck.

It was Friday afternoon and the teachers were skipping down the halls because it marked the beginning of Christmas break. A teacher looks at me and says "Beth, you don't look so good." From there I have been in a downward spiral of yuckiness.
On Saturday I could not even make it to Tiffany's graduation! Sunday I survived people coming over. Today has been miserable. I am in the process of moving so I managed to pack 1 (ONE!) box before requiring a two hour nap.
This stinks...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calendar

January 5th... the next day that I "have to" be productive.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

'Twas The Week Before Christmas


Very realistic rendering of what school is like this week...
Kiddos out of control and teacher in shock.
Pajama Day is only good in theory.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Quick Weekend

Weekends go by way too quickly! After the great snow day, I thought my weekend would not be as busy. Wrong...

On Saturday, the family drove to Cookeville to watch Leanne graduate from Tennessee Tech. :) She has worked really hard the past couple of years and we are all so proud of her. Her graduation itself was interesting. The speaker talked about how she met the two loves of her life there. She also announced that one was the dean of education and he left her for a younger woman. So uncouth. Then, the name announcer sounds like he was calling starting players for the NFL I am sure the graduating class will not forget their ceremony.

Saturday night went to Christian's Dirty Santa party. I scored some hot pink Everlast boxing gloves. Apparently, the dirty santa gifts of the season are these Hello-Kittyish items called Parasite Pals. What will they think of next?!?!

Sunday, my favorite day of the week, included great Family time, weekly coffee date with Tiffany, tomato basil soup lunch with Ashley, and lots of school work. Tiffany's parents came into town so we got to visit with them for a little while. :) I also got my plane tickets to go to New York (Dec.27-Jan.2) I am quite excited about seeing her home and meeting people I have heard about for 6 years now. Sadly, Emily and Jakson left to go back to Texas. It was so nice having them in town. I have the cutest nephew ever! Looking forward already to their return in March.

Today is super busy. I will be trying to finish finding homes for frogs and crabs, testing students on their reading levels, going to the French-Lemons Christmas party, and taking my last final of the semester. Break is just ahead...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bucket List

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

(Fun to read yours Jessica! Happy Birthday!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Day To Air Out

About 10pm last night they called a snow day...

After a long week, it was a much needed day. I set aside some time to go be quiet and have some time to myself. After grabbing my trusty Harbin hikers and my camera, I set out on a long walk and short hike. I needed to air out.

This week has been insane. On Monday I got all of my major course work turned in for the semester so that was a relief. The rest of the week went something like this... I found out I need to find a place to live in about a week and half. I sent in information for my second opinion doctors appointment (week of Christmas). I was called by the principal of my school and faced uncertainty about my job due to paperwork. I have been blessed by spending time with good people this week though. Anyways, I just needed some time today.

After a couple of hours, I felt like I could face the world again. Sometimes all it takes is a little nature, stroll with God, and just letting life air out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today Is The Day

Today is the day!

Yesterday I finshed and turned in all my papers, made my presentation... all the big stuff for school this semester. One final to go. I met with my principal for my final evaluation for the semester and it went well. I was a happy girl.

I feel so good that I am going to once again attempt the impossible...

I am going to make banana pudding!

This has been a real struggle for me. (I was in China all of those times though so maybe that counts for something...)

I feel like it is going to be good. I feel it in my bones.

Wish me luck because Lord knows three strikes and you are out.

Today is the day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Tree

All is quiet this morning except for the sound of Dean Martin crooning "I'll Be Home For Christmas" through my my little computer speakers. I am coming down from quite a busy week. This morning it is just me, Dean, my Christmas tree, and the big blue chair that I might have to steal when I move out.

Most of you probably know about my complete fascination with trees. Christmas trees lie in that category too. In fact, the only things I "collect" are Christmas ornaments. From every travel, from friends, from family and of course Hallmark, not much can make me as excited as receiving a ornament. Every year I get the ornament from Hallmark's line of Eskimo Friends. My mom started me on that line when I was just a child. Over the years, my mom and an old friend made sure I had the one for the year. Mom once again made sure I got it this year...

My old friend made sure I got them while in China. Sadly, one of them broke last year. However, my dear Amy made sure that it would still hang on the tree.

Her paper version hangs on my tree today. A good reminder of thoughtful friends.

And of course, my non-traditional tree topper. While I put my own Christmas tree for the first time, I had not star and did not have the money to go buy one. A Christmas tree should be about personality, so I threw my Auburn hat on top. I never really meant for it to become a tradition, but it has stuck. No exception this year!

With just a couple of presents lying beneath...

my tree is complete.

It is a little thing that makes me happy. And maybe, just maybe it will motivate me to start my paper...

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Years Resolution Update

I still need to try 15 new recipes to complete my New Years resolution.
Got any ideas?

Spoiled Rotten

Really, I am starting to get spoiled...

Scored free tickets to Predators game tonight, once again right behind the bench. This time Tiffany was busy, so I got to take friends. Josh, Justin, and my sister Leanne went. Enjoyed watching the game up close, laughing at the guys with no teeth, and then an evening at the Saucer. It was a great night.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Teaching Philosophy

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Me Shed A Little Light On The Subject...

So the electricity went out for over an hour today. When planning to actually work, it caused quite an inconvenience. My roomies and I ended up having a Nerts fest. We played until our eyes really hurt from squinting in the dark. When we finally decided it was just going to be nap time and got snug in the beds, then the lights came back on. Figures... I was quite amazed at how upset I found myself getting about the electricity. Am I really that dependent?!?!

So a few freebies this week, that some of you might like...

This Tuesday (Dec.2), Team Green is holding an free info meeting about composting and local food. It is actually being held at Lipscomb. Tuesday from 6 to 7pm in Burton. Check out Team Green's website for more info.

On Thursday (Dec.4) at Brook Hollow Baptist Church, there will be an Internet safety course from 5:30-7pm. I think this is such a great thing especially for parents. As a teacher, I am overwhelmed by how my students use the Internet at such a young age. Parents might be quite surprised to learn what their children do on a computer when they are not looking.

It's back to the books and billions of papers to grade before Scrabble Sunday begins!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Meet Me At The Loveless

I have a list of things I have been wanting to do in Nashville. Today, Tiffany and I headed out in search of the perfect Southern lunch/breakfast. We went to the Loveless Cafe.

The Loveless was opened in 1951 as a motel on Highway 100. Mrs. Loveless' cooking was so good that they opened up dining rooms for good Southern cooking. Her biscuit recipe is world famous and remains unchanged even today. Today, the motel is closed, but the restaurant has grown to the big demand. There are little shops surrounding the restaurant where you can buy Loveless Cafe items including the hams and "got biscuits?" t-shirts. Personally, I love the Curious Heart shop that has lots of interesting ins and outs, plus a nice Christmas selection.
I got some yummy steak and biscuits. The hashbrown casserole was amazing! Cheesy, cheesy goodness. Yankee opted for fried chicken, mac and cheese, and sweet potatoes. She passed on the Southern greens. She is becoming cultured in all things Southern. ;)

All in all, a perfect Saturday afternoon outing. If you are in need of some good eats and have a little time to spare, I would highly recommend the Loveless.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Boulevard Bolt

So a couple of weeks ago, I had this brilliant thought that I should run the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving. Tiffany agreed to run it with me because well, she is just fabulous like that. A nice 5k on Thanksgiving. Strong.
I signed up on the last day possible online. While on the website and after registering I noticed that it was not a 5k race. Indeed, it was 5 miles! I told Tiffany she needed to register right away, leaving out the little detail that it was 5 miles. I gave her all the information after she signed up. She really is a good friend. ;)
So at 5:45am this morning, we woke up and headed to Belle Meade. While jumping around, freezing our kahunas off, I noticed a very nice looking guy walking in our direction. I smiled. He smiled. I smiled even bigger. He passed and I looked at Tiffany. Take a guess who it was.... (a clue) Think 27 Dresses and Benny and the Jets.... JAMES MARSDEN! Talk about good motivation to run.
It was cold and I thought my ankles were going to snap when we first started running. We ran into several old friends. It was a beautiful course and of course doing anything with Tiffany is fun. I will say I was glad to see the finish line.

Results: Finished at about 10 minute miles. Knee is now killing me. I saw one of the best looking men alive. (People magazine agrees with me!) I completed my first Boulevard Bolt... another Nashville tradition to check off my list.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for, so here is just a few that I am especially grateful for this year...

Emily and Jakson coming to visit. She extended her stay until Dec.20! yea!!!
Having a job that I love, am challenged, and feel purposeful all at the same time.
New friends from Inversion and Intentional Community group.
My India blanket. (Can't tell you how much I love this blanket and only got it thanks to the encouragement of friends... thanks!)
Starbucks with Tiffany and "Hot Nick"... makes for a great afternoon.
Seeing a little green dot beside names of friends on Google Talk. (Even though we may not talk, it makes me smile just knowing we are doing similar things and might be all the way across the world.)
Moc slippers.
Christmas trees. (yes, I put ours up yesterday!)
Having a God that has blessed me beyond all belief and loves me when I am beautiful and when I am ugly.

I am thankful for this little blog that allows me to document my life, share with (and hopefully encourage) others, and helps me keep up with people.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

#1 of "152 Insights Into My Soul"

Extreme Home Makeover makes me weep. Not tear up, not cry, but weep.

The Miss Becomes Mrs.

My childhood friend, Lauren got married this weekend. It was so special to be a part of her big day. I seriously remember her drawing sketches of her wedding dress in elementary school and then to see her walking down the aisle in almost exactly what she had drawn so many years ago... wow.

Lauren is quite the Disney fan. She and Kyle are tromping around Disneyland Paris right now. Her wedding even included Disney touches. Hidden Mickeys could be found through out flower arrangements, food, etc. During the final prayer of the ceremony, all of us in the wedding party pulled out Mickey Mouse hats to wear down the aisle. Can you guess what song they kissed to? "Kiss the Girl" of course!


Lauren and Kyle, may you live happily ever after!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love Him!

He is just too adorable! Really.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

doing nothing

Sometimes the best kind of girls nights are the ones where you can just kick your feet up and do nothing...



Tonight was one of those kind of nights.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

perfect.

One of the best days of my life... I was finally able to hold this perfect little guy! My nephew Jakson. I think my heart almost burst when I was able to hug my sister Emily and Jakson. I had not seen Emily since June 07 and it was the first time to meet Jakson. I have missed her like crazy. It was a happy day.
My cup runneth over...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Not Quite Marvelous Monday

Today was more of the typical Mondays most people have. I guess I have been overwhelmingly blessed in that my past Mondays for a couple of months have been, well, marvelous. Today not so much...

It all started when I checked a grade on an assignment I turned in this weekend. I got a D! When reading the professor's comments, I was confused about what happened. I emailed her and then checked the work when I got home tonight. I am not understanding what I have done wrong. Agh.

Then, the weak stomach was hit.

When walking back to the classroom after lunch today, I learned that a student was going to be sick. I told her to RUN! She ran, I ran, and the class ran. She stopped before reaching the restroom, turned around in my direction, and projected vomit. I am talking major air! I did okay until the smell hit. I was able to grab the trash can before I was sick, but my students still saw and were completely grossed out. Teachers don't throw up. Ha.

After school, I went to Davis Kidd to buy the next book for our teacher read-aloud series. Super Fudge was requested by the entire class so being a considerate teacher (and thankful the vote was unanimous) I went to make the purchase. Upon leaving my grad class, I happened to flip the book open and saw the first 42 pages were missing. Back to Davis Kidd. The kids will be excited tomorrow so it will be worth it.

This weekend I tried to be productive and get work done early because of a certain event taking place tomorrow (I will blog on later...) I even did my Saturday paper for next week! (WOW!) I was feeling super good until I went to class tonight. Not only did I discover it wasn't due this next week, but the week after.... The teacher informed us that because he is "a nice teacher" he was canceling the assignment. And that ladies and gentlemen, is yet another reason why I do not do work ahead of time.

It is now 10pm and I have lots I could and probably should be doing, but I am going to turn in early and try to get over this not quite Marvelous Monday. (It really wasn't a BAD day, but def. not marvelous!)

I have waited for almost a year and half for tomorrow.... Really.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bachelorette Party

A night out of good clean fun, celebrating the future Mrs. Lauren Gregory! The perfect kind of Saturday night.

(yes, my hair is a different color now... a little dark for my liking...)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cuteness

video

Things like this make me think I have the best job in the world!

(from our program last night)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quote

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today, is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

(Not sure exactly who said this... it was stated in my class on Monday night)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Puzzled.

A word association game...

Long Division.

Shoot me.

We spent 3 hours working on understanding this concept today. In the end, everybody went home with headaches and still puzzled. (Teacher and students.) So much, for my fun day with totem poles and mammals...

But... that means totem poles and mammals tomorrow! :) Yea!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Feelings on Fall



The perfect kind of Saturday morning...
Fall is here.
I am a happy girl!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Mystery...

In Yichang-esque fashion... a mystery in honor of an important day
It did not make the news. There was no coverage on Oprah, CCTV 9, or on Anderson Cooper 360. The girl did not get to make a guest appearance on Gilmore Girls or West Wing. However, this day in the girl's life would go down in her history book.
The girl probably began the day as any other. Maybe a phone call from Detroit or a sweet surprise from her pal down the hall. She would carry on teaching class just as normal. Maybe have lunch at her favorite street vendor and grab a cup of milk tea. Her evening might be spent with a houseful of Rice family and friends. It is hard to say because I am on the other side of the world.
Little did this girl know what an impact she was making on the world. A girl from a small town in Indiana who was now living in a small town in China, was doing the extraordinary. She was adding joy to all of those around her. In a time when the world was changing, people scurrying through their days, the economy crashing, and an election that rocked the world... it was on November 10th that this girl was the center of attention. Everybody wished they could add joy to her life the way she had added joy to theirs.
History was made... another age bracket checked. The girl grieved a little. However, when thinking about how blessed her life was, she could not help, but smile. The Halloween parties, treks around different countries, solving of mysteries, treacherous trips to Wuhan (and now Kunming), and the pleasure of Sharing with others... what a past couple of years. However, this fortune teller in America thinks that something great is upon the girl. This next year will hold great adventures and tales. All of that can wait though because today alone is special.
In this post of "What is it?", I hope you figured it out. Shout it aloud! Hip, hip, hooray...
It's Kim Gaugler's Birthday!
Happy Birthday Gaudy. Hope your day is extra special! You are missed.

A Surprising Singer

video

Tiffany, Christina and I went to the Grand Old Opry tonight. The Opry was at the Ryman and we had to stand in a super long line. Why all the fuss? See video above.

That's right, Kevin Costner performed at the Grand Old Opry. He wasn't terrible.

We also got to see Randy Travis, Billy Currington, Craig Morgan, Vince Gill, Josh Turner, and Riders in the Sky.

I am not a country music fan (tonight confirmed that once again!), but it was a fun night out. And when you see Kevin Costner, it is a great night!!! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Two Cents


Not saddened by today's outcome.
Hopefully, this will be a good "change we can believe in".
That is all I have to say on the matter.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 08

On Friday night Lucille Ball, Amy Winehouse, and the Dark Angel hosted a fabulous Halloween party! A total of about 60 people came through the doors. We ate, played a game, and of course danced. The costumes were amazing! I think the winner would have to go to the A-Team who made an entrance, sacrificed their hair, and just generally were great. Already have my costume picked out for next year. Only 363 days to go!

Hope you had a fantastic Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Great Pumpkin of '08

This year's inspiration for the great pumpkin comes from the classic movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. Oogie Boogie!

I did not judge too well so it got a little too thin in some parts. The face ended up falling off, but with a little help from super glue I ended up with a decent pumpkin.

Only a couple more days til Halloween! Spooky spooky kuai le!

On the Flipside

Last night I walked out to the mailbox after community group. I had put on my winter coat for the first time and when I slipped my hands down into the pocket I found a $5 bill. I moseyed to the mailbox and pulled out a postcard from Kim in Vietnam, securing the worth of my walk in the cold. I breathed in the fall air and could not help but think is this what it means to be on the flipside of bad luck?
You might remember me writing about how I seem to procure the most unfortunate things in my daily life, but ladies and gentlemen life has just been too good recently. I made an "A" in my philosophy class, a 99 on Lavender's midterm (!), made great new friends,found a church where I can be challenged and centered, have found two different community groups to study with (the girls and then the intentional group), got a job that I love and come to love more each day, and my students were complete angels during and the scheduled and unscheduled observations yesterday. It is just too sweet.
I don't really believe in luck. I can't say all of this is coming about because my walk with God is great. (Sometimes the times I seem to really be going strong in the Lord, the rest of the world seems to be crashing around me.) Whatever has happened, I am so thankful. It is so nice to crawl into bed at the end of the day and fall asleep with a smile on my face.

(Note: I still have my "China" moments. This week I have missed Peach fiercely. I also find it harder to be in Quiet Time here in the States. It seems like I let that slide all around my calendar. Encourage me to find and stick with a regular time.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Picture of the Week

So today was Titans Day at school because Titans were playing the Colts on Monday night football. We were all encouraged to wear Titans gear or blue. Someone came to take our picture and this is how ours turned out.

This captures the craziness that is teaching. I am in the process of scolding (aka- yelling) at my kids to stop making gang signs. They look like the innocent bunch, but whew... I love them anyways. :) Hopefully, this will not make it in the yearbook. ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Moment

Having a "I miss China" moment... Will these ever pass?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

These Days

Talk about lack in communication. I have fallen into the black pit with blogging, emailing, conversing and phone calls. I blame it on my hectic schedule, but part of it is that I am trying to be more productive in other areas.

First off, I am loving my new job. That desire for feeling purpose is fulfilled everyday. I have 17 blessings from foreign countries. Some speak English rather well and then I have a child who is one week off the boat and speaks/understands no English whatsoever. They are precious and I look forward to our time together. If you want to see more about my classroom, I did start another blog (partially due to grad school!)... Adventures in Ms. Quarles Class Will post more on there soon.

Secondly, making some other decisions concerning living arrangements and stuff. I could write a lot more about this and will at some point. However, for now I just ask for your prayers.

Finally, Tiffany and I got to go to Preds game this week. She had told me that we would be sitting behind the bench. I did not realized though until we got to the game, we were sitting right behind on the bench. I am talking first row! The Preds lost, but we had a good time watching some good hockey, fights, and good-looking, but toothless men.

I am ready for a weekend, even though it mainly entails school work. Hopefully, we will have a pumpkin carving too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grad School Update

History and Philosophy of American Education...

Thank GOD I am finished with it. Really.

First class over with for the semester... 1 hour and 15 minutes to spare. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recent Days

This is a little pictorial outline of my days recently.

Something exciting.


Something overwhelming.



Exhaustion.



I might cycle through these stages several times a day.

The biggest exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting news is that I got a teaching position. 4th grade ELL. I did paperwork and such today. Tomorrow I begin teaching! I am the students' third (and hopefully final!) teacher. Blogging might have to go on the back burner for a little while...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home

Sometimes it is just so nice to go home and be with family.

I needed that this weekend.

(My sister Leanne and I at Oktoberfest)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rejoice!

Rejoice...

Sometimes when you have something big on your plate that is hard to do. In a few hours, I am facing some little "big" thing.

Trying to rejoice...

And so I make this list of things I should rejoice about in order to encourage myself (and maybe a few of you) to rejoice about...

God has always watched over me, provided for my every need, and loved me without condition.

Rejoice.

God has provided people in my life when I need them the most. Whether it be my dearest friend Lemons, great teammates in China, a crazy but amazing family, or just someone to sit down a have a glass of milk with me... He knows what I need and I don't have to be alone. When a person maybe not be physically with me, I can still feel his presence. He will never leave my side.

Rejoice.

I am grateful for Marvelous Mondays even if that seems trivial. A good day makes for a better week.

Rejoice.

I am thankful for people who share. It is not always easy to open up and share your thoughts, but you never know who you might be encouraging. (Girls that were present tonight thanks for doing this.)

Rejoice.

I am thankful for road trips with new friends. For going to a new place, learning new things, and finding excitement in sharing that experience.

Rejoice.

For a new computer! It is gloriously fast, makes my work easier, and allows me to communicate with people that I love.

Rejoice.

I am thankful for doctors. A profession that I could never have.

Rejoice.

I am thankful for healing. In all aspects. In every sense of the word.

Rejoice.

Tomorrow I am heading to have another biopsy/lump removed. This isn't the first time and there are no promises that it will be the last. While I am confident that everything will be just peachy perfect, it is an emotional time. To some degree, it feels as though my womanhood is being attacked. (That might sounds silly, but some of you might understand.) It is not the outcome that makes me worry, but the scar. (Once again... silly) So I ask for your prayers... for the procedure, for Dr. Lawson, and for those silly things that lie in my head. I ask that you rejoice in your day. Rejoice for mine. Something that can be troublesome will soon be gone. That is worth rejoicing over.

Rejoice.

Marvelous... Simply Marvelous

Another Marvelous Monday...
I got a call from Metro. I am going to have an interview for teaching 4th grade ESL sometime this week. Future is still so uncertain, but I was excited that they called and I get this chance.
Master Teacher class really is wonderful! Dr. Lavender and Dr. Jones always challenge me. The book we are reading for the course The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard... a whole new perspective. Last night we discussed the Beatitudes. Wish everyone could take this class.
Then of course, there is the weekly Saucer outing. This week it was a big bash for Katie Beth (what Saucer night isn't?!) and a good time was had by all. Glad to have some newbies (Justin and Carl) out too. I really do look forward to Mondays because it means getting to great friends, fun conversations (talking in lisps!) and just being able to really sit back and relax.
Marvelous Monday... only 6 days away...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

International Milk Day 2008

video

October 1, 2006... the greatest day of my life... finding milk in China... Beijing... classic tears video

October 1, 2007... Second Annual Milk Day... Old lady using her key helped us get into packs of milk to celebrate...

October 1, 2008... Third Annual Milk Day... I am in the land of milk (America), but sadly my friends are in the land of none... This video is for them.

Yichangers of the past, wish I could bring you milk to celebrate. :( Thanks to the help of the ever-so-talented Daniel and Josh, I celebrate in your honor.

Happy International Milk Day 2008!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thoughts: Shane Claiborne

It is always a good moment when your teacher/professor says "I'm going to let you go early." It is even better when he says "I want you to go hear Shane Claiborne on campus." This was my Master Teacher class last night. Strong.

Just thought I would post a list of short statements/thoughts made by Shane last night. (All are reflected in his book Irresistible Revolution.)

The church should be the instrument for transformation.
Often times we don't take responsibility for our ideologies.
The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.
In the book Unchurched, survey asked what do you think of when you think of Christian... top results... (1) anti-gay (2) judgemental (3) hypocritical
Intentional community : surrounding yourself with people you want to be like
We are not saved because we are good, we are good because we are saved
We need to have humility to learn from each other
Best critique of church is actually doing something to change it
Calcuttas are everywhere... find your own Calcutta

He really is a wonderful speaker. If you have the chance, Shane will be speaking tonight at Westminister Pres. Church at 730pm.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ranting: Television

In case you didn't hear, last week was ABC's "National Stay At Home Week".

Can I just say how upset I am with this????

I first noticed on Facebook how many people referred to Grey's Anatomy, The Office, etc. on their status. Then, while catching a few minutes of the news the other morning, I saw the ad promoting "National Stay At Home Week." Don't get me wrong, I love a good episode of Project Runway, Law and Order and even The Office, but when a "holiday" is planned around it or we MUST schedule our lives around a program then I have a serious problem with it. Whatever happened to planning weekly bowling nights or going out to eat with the family?

Wow, it gets under my skin.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman



What a good looking man...

Sad to learn of Paul Newman's death.

He was classic.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Nice Day

It was a really nice day.

Last night I tried getting all of my homework finished, but sadly fell asleep. I got up early this morning and finished everything including the Saturday paper! Strong. Then, I went a got my haircut. Pretty pleased. No tears. Went to the Farmers Market. $9 for a huge bag of veggies. Yum. Then, this evening I went to a friend's birthday picnic at Arrington Vineyards. The weather was perfect, food great, raspberry wine delish, sunset beautiful, but most of all great people. Afterwards, caught up with Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Now I am settled down to watch a little Law and Order before going to bed.

Did I mention what a nice day it was? :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Swell Season

It is nice to be in the land of good music and concerts.

On Wednesday night, Brian and I headed to the Ryman to catch a concert. The Ryman really is such a great venue, full of history, rather pretty and great sounds.

We went to see Swell Season. Who, might you ask, is Swell Season? Well, I have to thank my good friend Katie McGunnigal for my introduction. Swell Season is the band featured in the movie "Once". (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) Check out the soundtrack...

The concert opened with Bill Callahan. I still have "Will you dress sexy for my funeral?" in my head. If this guy can play at the Ryman then anyone, ANYONE can who can play one chord on the guitar. We just laughed all the way through it.

Swell Season was pretty wonderful though. Hansard has a witty personality and made a hysterical Johnny Cash impersonation. I was amazed he did not bust every string on his guitar at points. They played a series of 3 new songs and I am now looking forward to their next album. My photos did not turn out all that great because of the blue lighting, but this was a decent one of Marketa. Overall, very glad I was able to see them.

October brings Matt Nathanison, Ben Kweller (again) and my absolute fave, The Features. (Also, cheaper tickets. Strong.)

Yea for music.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This group of girls is the best thing that has happened to me since being back in the States...

I joined a community group at Fellowship.

Slowly getting back into the "American" life and I am thankful to have this group to help me in my readjustment and Walk with Dad.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marvelous Monday!

It was an absolutely marvelous Monday! (Anything could be better after the ridiculous "working" weekend I had.)

I allowed myself to sleep in until 6:30am! (Normally I get up at 530am)
I got Starbucks Chai Tea Latte on my way to work!
I was praised at work for the books being finished!
I got a dress at Target for $4.80 and it is super cute!
I got to leave work early on account of running errands and class!
I got a letter from Katydid!
I really enjoyed Master Teacher class!
I was able to get gas without paying a fortune (relatively) and no waiting in line!
I went to the Saucer and played cards with some awesome friends, spoke with a lisp, and just enjoyed a great night!

It was the prime example of a Marvelous Monday!
Could tomorrow be a Tubular Tuesday? Guess we will see... :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grad School Blues


Grad school... Kill me now.
This was a $12 assignment that nearly caused me to quit school altogether. It was a simple poster created using Powerpoint and then Excel. Normally easy, but when you are tired nothing can be more frustrating...
Except that you still have a paper due (the dreaded Saturday paper than has been blogged about twice already and not because it was a good thing!) and then a 30 slide presentation on an issue you have not researched yet.
It will get done. It always gets done.
Needless to say, the stress is showing on my face. Some things Noxema cannot cure.
Next Saturday I am going to do ABSOLUTELY nothing. I am taking a personal retreat day. I will not be doing work, homework, cooking, cleaning, getting up early, or hanging out with anybody. (I am begging you not to ask me because I have a hard time saying no. But I will this time!)
Back to the books...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jakson's Arrival

Jakson Robert Valenta
9 lbs. 7oz.
It was one of the happiest days ever! Emily and Sean welcomed Jakson into the world. It is hard being still so far from them, but soon... I am just so overjoyed. My little sister is going to make such a wonderful mother.
I started several project for my precious nephew (only the wall art was successful!), but I thought I would also start a little scrapbook of things I want him to know/remember. So here is my first entry in Jakson's book.
Jakson,
Today is one of the happiest days of my life... the day you came into the world. While we have not officially met, there is so much I can already tell about you.
You are a loved child. I wish you could have heard the excitement in your grandfather's voice when he called to tell me about your arrival. Your dad sounded like the proudest man to ever walk the earth. Your mother sounded groggy and tired, but I could tell her heart was about to explode with joy. Your aunt Beth cried because that is what she does. Everyone though loved you more than they could ever imagine. We always will.
You are going to be punctual. You broke your mother's water while she was getting ready to go to the hospital to be induced. Good timing! Maybe you can teach her to be on time...
You are going to minister to others. You already have. Just by seeing your beautiful picture, Jakson, I am reminded of how awesome God is. You are perfect. Your strawberry blond hair, blue eyes and the tiniest fingers... all created for a purpose. Loved. Combination of two of the dearest people on earth, but also utterly unique. If I feel like this and I had no part in your creation, I can only imagine what God feels for each of his people. That is awesome. Thanks for the lesson,Teach.
There is so much I want to share with you, teach you, tell you, and show you. I am sure I will have chances when I can steal you away from your mom. But today, if I could tell you anything, it would be this... Love the Lord and love your parents. The Lord will always take care of you, Jakson. He already has and is. Your parents are so happy and they love you so much. Some days will be easier than others to love them (trust me I know... I lived with Emily over half my life!), but even those days when they are upset, they will love you without condition. Looking back, this will be the greatest day of their lives. You will probably understand only when you make them grandparents.
Welcome to the world, Jakson Robert!
I love you.
-Aunt Beth
ps- Get your mom to teach you how to spell your name right away because it comes up incorrect on spellchecker... don't worry if your teachers get upset because they think you are spelling your name wrong. Trust your mom on this one!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Roadtrip Weekend


Saturday morning, my little sister Caitlin and I headed north to Cincinnati. It was so wonderful to get to finally spend some quality time with one of my sisters. I really have not had that in a couple of years. I did learn that we really don't have the same taste in music, except for our dear love for the Plain White T's. She also introduced me to a new song "Love like Johnny and June"... kudos for that.
In the afternoon, we walked around the city. We gobbled up some Greaters ice cream. (Twice in one year... I am a lucky girl!) We people-watched in the square, bought some postcards and just soaked up the day. We found a great hotel within walking distance to the river, stadium, etc. for a great price thanks to Travelocity!
Saturday evening, I got to meet up with some of my pen pals from my time in China. For almost 2 years, Brad's great aunts kept up with me through email. I always looked forward to their emails and was excited about getting to meet them in person. We ate dinner with Mrs. Ruth, Mrs. Mina and Mr. Woody. Brad's grandfather showed up later on in the evening. We sat around playing cards and talking until it was definitely time to sleep. Caitlin fell in love with them too!
On Sunday morning, we got to spend time with Family. Class was based on a book called "11". (Once classes are over I hope to read this book! It sounded really great.) After Family time, we went with the Ellis/Turner family to Skyline. It was pretty easy to see where Brad's greatness comes from. After lunch, it was time for the real reason why we went to Cincinnati.... Titans versus the Bengals!
Paul Brown Stadium is exceptionally nice! I wish I could say that for the fans. There was a fight that broke out in our section. (Bengals fans againest each other!) The stadium's niceness was also overshadowed by the debris floating around due to strong winds. During the halftime show, the tuba players were struggling to stand because of the gusts. It was really beginning to look like a landfill. Early in the fourth quarter,we could not take getting hit with beer bottles anymore (this was because of the wind, not because Caitlin was wearing Titans colors...) so we left. After making a pit stop into Greaters again, we were homeward bound.
It really was a great weekend. I am so thankful I was able to spend some good time with the Ellis/Turner clan (maybe the Pratts should be next on my list!),but it was especially great to share everything with Caitlin. I cannot make up for all the things I have missed the past couple of years, but I can enjoy every second I have now and live it to the fullest. Adjustment is getting a little easier with time. Part of it also comes from all the good people in my life.
Thanks Caitlin for being my roadtrip buddy! This will always be a special memory for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Death of the Dell

Another weekend out of town... another paper due on Saturday. Lesson still not learned, but hopefully this time!

My computer has died. :(

My trusty (ha!) Dell died on Saturday before I could write my paper while I was in Cincinnati. Late submission, but some of the most reflective work I have done. Let's hope that will count for something.

Procrastination really can be painful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sigh

I really could not have picked a worse time to take a road trip. Gas has gone up almost 50cents just today! I paid $4.01 for a gallon.

Sigh...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Talkster

If you have a friend/family member in another country, you must check out...

Talkster

The best thing since the invention of International Milk Day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

E-A-R-L-Y!

This just in...

Beth Quarles completed an assignment and turned it in 4 days early...

That is right, ladies and gentlemen... early... the opposite of late which is usually how my life runs...

Being sick does have a couple of little perks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gustav Weekend

On Thursday afternoon, I received an email looking for people to go to Louisiana for the weekend to help in the Gustav clean up. Why not?
After a Chinese dinner on Friday night, I went home to work on some school work. The bus was to leave at 5am so I thought I would have plenty of time for work and sleep. I was wrong. I pulled my first grad school all nighter and still did not finish everything. But off at 5am did I go to Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge is 9 hours away from Nashville. A 9 hour ride in which I wrote a paper and slept. Pulling into the area, I was stuck by the difference between Gustav and Katrina. When Katrina hit, I went on 4 trips to AL/LA/MS areas to work. Katrina was mostly flood damage whereas Gustav was wind damage. There were trees down everywhere. Stoplights were out. We had to stop in MS because we did not know if gas would be available.
Our base was the Goodwood Church of Christ. They did not have power and had people stopping by asking for supplies continuously. Our friend Doug drove us a little bit around some of the worst hit areas. Such beautiful neighborhoods in ruins... LSU campus was looking pretty rough. We spent Saturday afternoon cutting down trees/limbs, hauling limbs to the sides of the roads and just doing whatever we could to help out a little. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits considering the mess... Even this car owner... All 3 of her cars were destroyed and her house was smashed literally to pieces..
.
We worked until about an hour before the citywide curfew. Then it was off to finish my paper. Because there was no power, I could not email my assignment in so I had to call a friend and read my paper over the phone. He typed it up for me and sent it to my professor. Talk about pain staking! (Kenny, I owe you big time!) I fell asleep to the symphony of men snoring around me in the heat of the Cajun south. (Did I mention that I was the only one under 40? Sandra was the only other female.)
Sunday morning, we got up early to go take care of some more yards. This time we cut down about 7 trees in the period of 3 hours. Getting to be pros! We met some really amazing people and were so encouraged by everyone's attitudes. When we got back to the church, we showered in scalding and I do mean scalding showers. (They has this tractor trailer that had 8 showers in it. It was super nice... I am thinking the solution to all church camp problems!) Then, it was time to hit the road for the long trip home. More studying. More sleeping.
All in all, it was a great weekend. I probably did more studying than if I had stayed home. I got a great battlescar... the bruise of all bruises... I did wind up getting a nasty cold which is keeping me home tonight. Yuck. But other than that... so thankful I went!
Ike is gulf coast bound so please keep these people in your prayers. They have already faced so much devastation! If you would like to help in the clean up efforts, please just let me know.