Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Recipe - Spaghetti Carbonara

As listed in my summer goals (which you can read, HERE), I want to try at least one new recipe each week.  This is probably a good life practice, but let's be honest people - sometimes you have a crazy week and you just want to make easy stuff you know how to cook.  Anyway, I tried Spaghetti Carbonara recently and it's easy, light, and scrumptious.  I found the recipe at, a website I highly recommend if you don't use it already.  Why? you ask...

1. They have an online recipe box (which most cooking websites do these days)
2. Easy to navigate
3. People comment on the recipes, giving suggestions for alterations
4. Every 4 or 5 star recipe I've tried from this website has been good.
5. You can alter the number of servings you need and it automatically calculates ingredients amounts for you - good feature for those of us who majored in something like music ;)
6. Lots of ideas for cooking on a budget!!

Anyway, here's the recipe (including the modifications I made, which I thought were tasty) enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute. 
  3. Beat eggs in separate bowl, then add grated parmesean. Mix well.
  4. Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add eggs and parmesean mix, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).
  5. Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table.

Summer Goals Update...

Since my summer has officially started, some of my goals are underway.

 I started scrapbooking the wedding.  So far, I have 5 pages total done.  Let's just say, I have a ways to go.   I have decided to get past my everything-needs-to-be-in-its-place mindset and let the table (and surrounding floor) look like this until the scrapbook is done.  We are gradually starting to have moving-related piles anyway, AND we have 3 bikes in the middle of our apartment... so, what the heck! add the scrapbooking stuff :)
I wanted to try one new recipe per week, which I did, but this picture is not it.  This is just an easy summer meal suggestion - taco salad.  Simple but yummy.  I cook ground beef or turkey, throw the taco seasoning packet on it and throw it in a bowl with lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese.  You could add black olives too.  Then, I leave ranch and french dressing, salsa and sour cream out for people (or in this case, Ben and I) to add as they (we) please!  Fritos are DELICIOUS - I prefer them to tortilla chips in taco salad.  Takes about 20 minutes start to finish :)
I often purchase bananas, hoping to eat them, and then don't eat them.  Then, I end up making banana bread.  Here's the recipe I use - it's from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  (I have the "bridal edition" but I'm pretty sure all the recipes are the same.)  I highly suggest owning this cookbook, or some version of it.  I have yet to be disappointed by a recipe in here.

Banana Bread
Prep: 25 min.
Bake: 55 min (or less)
Oven: 350

2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (4-5 medium)
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
1/4 C. chopped walnuts (I omit sometimes; I've also put in chocolate chips instead)
1 recipe Streusel-Nut Topping (optional - I've never done it although it sounds good)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of a bread pan (one 9x5x3 pan OR two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 pans).  In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.   Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside. 

In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Fold in walnuts.  (Sometimes I substitute chocolate chips OR omit walnuts entirely.).  Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  If desired sprinkle, Streusel-Nut topping over the batter in the pans.

Bake 55-60 minutes (one pan) or 40-45 minutes (two small pans) or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cover with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning IF NEEDED.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Streusel-Nut Topping: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 C. packed brown sugar and 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut in 2 Tbsp butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in 1/3 C. chopped walnuts. 

Does anyone else love banana bread and/or taco salad!? 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Forgiveness

"Now it seems to me that we often make a mistake both about God's forgiveness of our sins and about the forgiveness we are told to offer to other people's sins.  Take it first about God's forgiveness.  I find that when It hink I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different.  I am asking Him not to forgive me, but to excuse me.  But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing.  Forgiveness says, 'Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.'  But excusing says, 'I see that you couldn't help it, or didn't mean it; you weren't really to blame.'  If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense, forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites." 

-Excerpt from On Forgiveness, a speech given by C.S. Lewis (written in collection of his speeches titled The Weight of Glory)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Lately, I have been browsing craigslist for some furniture items and rental houses.  Craigslist can be really great.  When we moved into a rental home in college, we furnished nearly the entire house (all except beds) off craigslist.  We got an especially great dining table set (that i still wish i had)!  Recently, Ben and I purchased a brand new chair for $100.  The guy had ordered it separately from his living room furniture and then realized it didn't match.  I looked up the place he said he got it from and sure enough - there it was - our chair on SALE for $600 at this upscale furniture store.  (Rich people!)  Anyway.... point being, craigslist can be great for a good furniture find - especially if you're moving around and don't want to spend tons of money of nice new furniture that will only get banged up in the rental-moving stage of life. 

Craigslist can also be entertaining, which is more the point of this morning's post.  Here are a couple ads I've stumbled across in the "free" section.  This is for real, people...

Rooster - Plush (wheaton/carol stream)

Cute, clean, plush rooster from smoke free home. Squeeze it and it crows! About 8 inches tall. Let me know when you want to pick it up and i can have it in a bag for you on my front stoop. I will respond back via emails only, so please do not give me your phone number. Near Gary ave and Geneva rd.

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Shopping cart full of several hundred pounds of broken tombstones (Albany Park)

I have several hundred pounds of broken tombstones in an old plastic shopping cart. Do you want it? The broken tombstones were buried in my front yard for several decades. None of them says anything, and they don't even really look that much like tombstones. But they are.

The shopping cart says "Thank You!" on the handle. Includes safety guide (don't stand in it, etc.) I found it in the alley.

I have some other broken tombstone pieces I was too drunk to lift into the cart. You can have those, too.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Tasty Summer Dessert

I made this summery dessert (courtesy of my mother's fabulous recipe collection) last night for a little get-together and it seemed to go over well.  At least I thought it was good.  [Do other people ever tell you they don't like what you made?! haha nope!]  Anyway, I wanted to share with anyone who might read this blog [if there is anybody who reads it...] I didn't take a picture of my finished product so I found a picture online and copied it.  The copied picture looks pie-shaped, but I serve it with a spoon in more of a "clump" shape out of a 9x13 dish :) Let me know if you try it out!

Strawberry Blueberry Crumble                      
Topping ingredients:
1 C. flour
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. whole almonds
1/2 C. oats
1 t. all spice
3/4 C. butter

For the topping, blend the above ingredients in a food processor until crumbly (about 45 seconds).  Try not to over-process.  If it gets too moist or packed together, dumb into a bowl and separate using a fork.

Filling ingredients:
3 pints strawberries, stemmed and halved (or quartered)
2 pints blueberries (substituted for rhubarb from the original recipe)
3/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. flour
1 T. vanilla
2 t. all spice

To make filling, mix the ingredients above together in a large bowl.  Cover and let stand on the counter for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Spoon filling into 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle w/ topping.  Bake at 375 until the top slightly browns and the filling bubbles (about 40-45 minutes).  Let cool.  Serve heated with ice cream or cool whip and ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons I learned as a first year teacher

Well, my first and last year at Simeon Career Academy High School is over.  I took the job, thinking I'd be here for as long as I'd be teaching in the classroom, but God has different plans.  Of course, He knew the end from the beginning... but I didn't.  And I'm glad.  I could not have put the energy and effort into my students this year if I knew all year long I'd be leaving at the end.

Anyway, I definitely couldn't describe my experience in one word, but I can say that overall, I loved it.  There were days I wanted to quit (literally), there were days when I thought "okay, I'll stick out this year, but I am definitely applying elsewhere for next year," and there were days when I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.  But, overall, like I said, I loved it.  I loved my students (on most days).  God taught me lessons that one blog post can't even BEGIN to cover. 

Over the past couple days, I've been thinking about things I learned from this year, as a teacher specifically.  I suppose I'll continue thinking about things I learned as a person, a Christian, a wife, etc... But today, I'm thinking about teaching.

[I'm writing this sentence after writing the list below - it's a sporadic collection of thought.  Nothing refined or categorized.  Sorry for the lengthy randomness, but I think this is one of those posts that's more for my reflection.  Sometimes I need to just get all the crazy thoughts simultaneously running through my brain out in words in order to think clearly.] 

1.  Throw most things from college out the window once you enter a classroom.

2.  The Chicago Teachers Union, as an organization, thinks they're at war.  Their monthly publications often speak about "news from the home front," "30,000 members strong," "protesting the attack on the children," etc...

3.  Classroom management - learned a lot of don't lessons from this one, although I don't know if I have a lot of "do's" yet. 

4.  Make teacher friends at your school.  I did a TERRIBLE job at this.  I felt isolated, like I didn't know anyone except the band teacher who shared my office, the assistant principal, and the principal, none of whom I could go out with after work for a bite to eat.

5.  Ask a lot of questions.

6.  Teenagers are teenagers.  There are a lot of factors that influence a high school student.  However, the "teen" part - hormones, facebook obsession, attachment to cell phone, thinking high school drama is as problematic as the war on terrorism, mood swings, etc... - all that is the same across the board.  Regardless of where you come from or who yo' momma is, teenagers are teenagers.

7. Be as perfectly consistent as is humanly possible.

8. Admit mistakes to students.  If you tell them when it's your fault, you have more "cred" when you tell them it's their fault."

9. Greet students by name as they come in the class.  Your smiling face greeting them at the door each day of the week as they walk into your classroom (slow moving and gloomy) might be the only thing that is consistent in their day.

10. Although "teenagers are teenagers," where you come from makes a difference.  What happens at your house, who supports you, how many jobs you work, how much money you have, it all makes a difference in your education.  Some kids have to overcome a lot more obstacles than others to get that 23 on the ACT. 

11. The #1 most accurate predictor of a child's ACT score is his or her family's income.

12. "African American" is not a term to describe all black people living in America.  As a friend put it so bluntly, "not all black people are from Africa."

13.  Black teenagers and white teenagers, generally, view cops very differently.

14.  Don't box kids in - try new things.  You might be surprised by what they might enjoy.  I took 20 students to the opera this year and they talked about it for the rest of the school year, begging to go back.  When I announced I would not be returning, a few of the kids that got to see the opera asked if the new teacher would take them.

15. Love love love your students.  It is almost impossible to teach a child you don't care about.  As my principal says, "I'm not asking you to buddy up or live here on the weekends or run after school programs...just like them enough to teach them while they're in your room."

16. As a teacher, you can come to work late every day (as in, later than 1st period actually starts) and not loose your job, thanks to the union.  [And no, I did not learn this from experience.]

17.  On "professional development days" (aka teacher institute days), your itinerary will tell you that teachers are to report at 7:30 (the start of the normal work day) and the first meeting is at 8:30.  This is code for "we will look the other way if you come in closer to 8:30."

18. Most students will not come to school on the following days: the last day before any sort of break, the friday before a 3-day weekend (i.e. friday before Columbus day), the first day after any sort of break, the days before and after mid-week standardized testing, days when it snows or rains heavily (i.e. 3+ inches of snow), the last week of school after final grades go in.  Also, some seniors habitually do not attend school Mondays and Friday.  When you ask them where they were they will respond with "ugh, it was a monday!" or something similar.

19.  Be sarcastic as little as possible to the class as a whole when teaching, especially not at first.  They get a LOT of sarcasm from adults already. 

20. When 2 students escalate a fight, don't try to ask them to stop - just get security to get them out of your room.  They're putting on a show.

21. Come up with a filing system at the beginning of your first year, and keep up with it! 

22.  Keep your room neat.

23.  Do not make a habit of free days.  For 2 months straight, my students asked for "free days" without one given.  (They told me all their other teachers give free days and "it's a friday... ugh.")  I believe without "free days," they learn better work habits.  Plus, then if you do give 10 minutes of free time after finishing an assignment, it's a BIG deal.

24.  Come up with an orderly way to begin class as soon as the bell rings.  Stick to it every single day.  If I were returning to Simeon,  I would start class COMPLETELY differently.

25.  If you stick with something, the very thing they hate might be something they come to love.  In my case, singing.  I couldn't get them to open their mouths, much less sing, in September.  At the end of the year, I asked "what do you wish we would have done in class?" on a class evaluation and 90% of the kids said something about singing more, or performing a concert. 

26. Have inside jokes with the class and with individuals.  It communicates they are important to you.

27.  Establish a positive working relationship with students.  "Positive" is different in different classrooms, but make it positive in whatever way it works for you.

28.  Do not make a habit of taking days off. 

29.  You know you're doing an okay job of teaching if the students are glad when you are back because they'd rather have you than a sub.

30.  Do not take a week off.  (woops!)

31.  Many teenagers like doing favors for teachers as much as 2nd graders do.  "Hey can you do me a favor" goes a long way, especially with that "special" kid that drives you crazy :)

32. Do not cuss at students.  They will notice.

33.  Ask questions about their lives outside of your classroom.

34.  It is easy to let those 2 problematic kids take over your mental energy and to forget about the other 198 students who are working, learning, improving, and fun!  Consciously focus on the 198.  It'll make your job more enjoyable.

35.  Tough situations will come up.  VERY tough situations.

36.  Pray for your students.  I can name 3 instances off the top of my head where a child's behavior and learning in my classroom took a 180 degree turn (for the better) after I prayed for them by name!

37. God is faithful.  If he puts you in a teaching job (or any job for that matter), He will equip and strengthen you to complete the job.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beginning of Summer

My cousin Christa came to visit from Georgia - Michigan Ave shopping was a must!

Christa was FASCINATED by a beach in a city :)

You can barely see them but we met up with Kyle and Erin

Madison Ave bridge at 5:30 pm - full of commuters

waiting for the water taxi

3 of my favorite guys riding the Chicago Water Taxi from train station to China Town - a must if you're visiting! 

trying to be artsy w/ the camera

artsy #2

artsy #3

my bro Brian and my cousin Bryan chowin' on burgers at "big Brian's" graduation party

bubbles were good for about 3 hours straight of toddler entertainment

my 4 year old cousin, Brody

this is what happens when Brody (picture above this one) gets the camera and says "say cheese" to my dad.

Poetry Discovery

Ben and I were doing some organizing/ file-purging this afternoon and Ben stumbled upon a collection of his Great Grandpa's favorite poems and stories.  Ben's Great Grandpa John was, from everything I've heard, a wonderful man of God.  He passed away in 2006, at age 94.  Some of the poetry and stories are his own, and some are written by others.  We paused organizing and began reading through it - wow!  I'm not one to sit around and read books of poetry (although I admire people who do), but this stuff is good.  Very good.  I'll be reading this collection for sure!  Perhaps I'll share some :)

Since I never knew Grandpa John personally, I'll share a poem written in remembrance of him by a lady named Lorene Hoover.

How tall he stood
as husband, father, counselor, friend,
how upright
as leader, pastor, administrator.

How strong his voice - 
poet, storyteller, preacher -
in capturing the rhythms of life,
from promoting Lions' Club turkey dinners
to inviting us to join him on a CROP walk
to invoking God's blessing.

How large he was
in his desire to serve,
in his belief of nature's promise.
Large enough to be humble
as he bent to his wheelbarrow
took up his garden hoe
knelt in the dirt.

Large enough to kneel
at God's altar
sure of His promise.

 Included in the collection ("John Anderson's Favorite Poems and Stories") is this excerpt of a poem by Ralph Cushman:
I met God in the morning 
when the day was at its best.
And His presence seemed like sunrise -
like a glory filled my breast.

All day long the presence lingered - 
all day long he stayed with me.
And we sailed in perfect harmony
o'er a very troubled sea. 

So I think I know the secret
learned from many a troubled day.
I must meet God in the morning 
If I want Him through the day. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good to Great

I recently started reading Good to Great in God's Eyes: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common by Chip Ingram.  I have finished the intro and chapter one and already highly recommend it.  Is that allowed?

He introduces the book and title by introducing greatness in God's eyes.  "Mediocrity is almost no one's ambition.  I've asked a lot of people about their hopes and dreams, and I usually get unapologetic answers about their desires to be great at what they do.  But when I ask believers if they want to be great Christians, they seem to be afraid to answer the question...  To talk about ambition in following Christ sounds like the opposite of humble spiritual maturity.  Yet, what's the alternative?  Should we aspire to be mediocre Christians? ... As for Jesus himself, he didn't seem prone to mediocrity either, did he?"

Chapter one is titled "Think Great Thoughts."  Besides explaining why and how to think great thoughts, Ingram gives four sources of great thoughts:
1.) Start with scripture
2.) Dwell on great truths 
3.) Take time to notice beauty
4.) Meditate on spiritual insights

This is one of those practical, underline-every-other-sentence type of books.  But, here are 2 things (out of about 57) that stuck out to me so far.

1.) Thinking great thoughts has to be on purpose, and the habit takes time to develop.  "It's amazing to me that our culture can be so smart and deliberate about physical nutrition and so mindless about the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional content of the ideas we consume.  We're casual about what goes into our minds and then end up in therapy desperately trying to change what's in there."

2.) "When we meditate on the truths of the gospel, we eventually internalize them.  And when they become internalized, they are life-changing." 

Well, I hope that was enough to convince you to read it :) I won't give away anymore.  Have you read it already?  Are you going to?  

Random Pictures

David and Ben sporting Husker Red - David came with us apartment hunting in Lincoln

One section of a page of my brother's "cheat sheet" for a final exam - he had 1.5 pages front and back like this.

Free Iron and Wine concert in Millenium Park with small group

can't figure out how to rotate this ad for an at-home frappucino maker!!!! 17 grande frappucinos from sbux pays for one of these

Error. ErRoR. ERROR!!

I have a great dad.  He is wise - the "wisdom from above" kind of wise.  Over the years, he has taught me about 3 different types of errors people in the Bible made that we can learn from and learn how to avoid. 

Here are his words...

1) I used to ask for "kings."  This is asking for something that is not the Lord's will - he says no - and I pursue it anyway. 

2) I used to do a ''moses."  This is not understand the timing of the Lord and getting way ahead or behind His timing of something He really was leading me to do.

3) I used to create "ishamales--" just doing something that I have direct power to do,  For example, when I quit my job, bought a car on lease, etc. 

All 3 of these can be very costly in time and money besides delaying God's plan for my life.

There you have it! 3 types of errors to avoid.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's the end of the year as we know it

Here is our end-of-the-year schedule at Simeon.

Wednesday June 1                   Final exams for seniors*
Friday June 3                            Grades due for seniors
Mon June 6- Wed June 8         Seniors are supposed to report to 1st – 3rd periods, then go to graduation practice from - 2
Wednesday June 8                   Final exams for all other students
Friday June 10                          Grades due for all other students
Friday June 10                          Prom - seniors
Monday June 13                       School for all students
Tuesday June 14                       School for all students & graduation (seniors) at night
Wednesday June 15                 School for freshmen – juniors (originally a teacher institute day, changed to student attendance day to make up for a snow day)
Thursday June 16                     Teacher institute day
Friday June 17                          Pick up report cards

*I have seniors mixed into all my classes, so all my students completed a final in my class on June 1.

Please notice that students are supposed to attend school for 6 days after their final grades go in.  What a waste.  This is a good example of why the people who decide things like when to have days of student attendance should not be people with no previous experience in a school building.  Because if anybody who works in the infamous “downtown” was making up the schedule, they would add those 6 days on earlier in the year.  The would know that putting them after finals gives students a reason not to come to school, gives no opportunity to “celebrate” at the end of the school year, wastes 6 days of potential academic instruction, and increases the number of “behavior” problems (fights, pranks, etc…). 

Over the past 10 days or so, attendance has gradually dwindled.  Today, I had the following numbers:
1st period – 1 out of 29
3rd period – 0 out of 56 (seniors)
4th period – 10 out of 49
6th period – 8 out of 43
8th period – TBD J

What have I been doing for 7 hours a day these past couple weeks you wonder? 

Grading final exams (until grades were due)
Creating piano and voice lesson advertisements for private studio
Looking for apartments
Reading lots of blogs
G-chatting with my brother
Looking for jobs in Lincoln
Getting latte's and doing target-runs on lunch period
Writing rec letters for students' summer jobs
Cleaning classroom and packing up my stuff
Chatting with students about summer, prom, etc...
Organizing resources I created this year for teaching
Working on our home budget
Pizza party with 8th period!

Let me just say that I did EVERYTHING I COULD THINK OF that was school related before I started doing personal stuff, but I just ran out of stuff to do for work... 
Maybe if the people downtown knew what they were paying teachers to do these last 2 weeks, they would rework the schedule.

In closing, I heard the following announcement over the intercom yesterday in the middle of 6th period (name changed): "Ms. Williams, please return to your classroom.  There are students waiting for you and you are supposed to be in your 6th period classroom."  [You should know that Ms. Williams was suspended earlier this year for sleeping in class.]

Signing off from the almost-end-of-my-first-year-in-CPS,

Sheep Follow.

I am currently reading a book titled Listening Prayer.  It’s extra old (1987) and our copy is yellow-ish.  I’m pretty sure it was purchased from a church booksale situation and the author is an old lady with huge glasses. HUGE.  But the huge-glasses lady has a lot of wisdom.  As I was reading, she quoted this passage from John 10 (verses 5-6, 27-28)

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  (John 10:5-6, 27-28)

She went on to write that when we are listening in prayer for the voice of God, we will be able to distinguish God’s voice because we are his sheep.

Now, I have heard this passage before and read it, but this time it J-U-M-P-E-D (those letters are supposed to be “jumping”) off the page!  Has that ever happened to you? You’re going along, studying the Word, when it all clicks – a different type of “revelation” about something you just read…?  That’s because it’s God’s Word and it’s “living and active!” (Hebrews 4:12)

Anyway, that happened to me.  The words jumped off the page and God showed me this very clearly: the sheep’s ability to hear His voice isn’t proof of belonging, but rather assurance of belonging.

I always thought that this passage was teaching that if I’m truly a Christian, I’d be able to hear God and if I can’t hear Him, then I must not belong; that the ability to hear is proof.  However, I think Jesus used this analogy more for assurance – if I belong to Christ, I WILL be able to discern His voice from others – from voices of the world and from the voice of the great deceiver, the father of lies.  Now, that is assuring.  I have the ability to discern God’s voice if I’m a believer because He has given that ability to me.  And, I can be sure of this because Jesus promised it. 

What about the times when you’re unsure?  Keep listening and waiting until you are sure – because you can be sure.  “His sheep follow him because they know his voice…”  Notice, it does not read his sheep will follow him if they can figure it out.  Nope!  There is no “if.”  It’s just  his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  

Resting assured,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Global Achievement Gap?

I recently read a book titled  The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--And What We Can Do About It.  

As the subtitle suggests, the book basically discusses the gap between even the best educated American students and students from countries around the world whose educational systems are better suited for the way our world functions.  He starts out proposing that more and more jobs can easily be done from any location, and with the combination of rapid technological growth around the world AND students who are better trained in countries like Singapore, China, Denmark, and Germany (and who are willing to work for less $), America is losing out.  

Before I go further, I'm curious to know what others think about the topic?? [true? false? overdramatic? already happening? etc...]

Your thoughts...?



Not sure if I blogged this video yet.  Check it out!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

8 days

As a teacher, my calendar year goes from September to June, so this year is almost over!  (June 17 to be specific)  

I love teaching because it's a gift from God that I can use and because I love working with young people.
I also love breaks.  Particularly, summer breaks. When I was a high school student, I really liked summer break.  Now that I'm on the other end, I realize that teachers like breaks WAY more :)

Thinking back on this school year honestly makes my head spin.
Did I really ever "manage" my classroom?  Did they learn anything?  Where did that one kid who just stopped coming go?  And what about that other one that went to jail?  I should have done an end-of-the-year-concert.  I really wanted to do more field trip with the kids.  Am I failing them by moving to Nebraska?  Who will they have next year?  Will I wish I was there or be glad I'm not?  Why are so many still so lazy?

It goes on and on.

Oh, and Friday, I am going to tell them I'm not coming back next year :( We'll see how that goes,

When I have clearer thoughts, I'll write more, but for now, that's all I got