Monday, April 1, 2013

Year 29 Week Two

I survived my first week at Lindhurst! Only 10 more weeks to go! Overall it was a good week, but there were a few who really gave me a run for my money! I am confident, however, that I will not only survive, but thrive. "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength."

In the midst of a busy week, Mr. Strong surprised me with a date night. He planned the whole thing. All I had to do was show up. First we ate at an Italian restaurant and then we went to the movies to watch "Oz, the Great and Powerful". It was a very delightful, refreshing night.

As far as exercise is concerned, I have been slacking. First I was sick, then I was busy, and then came the excuses. Friday I finally decided enough was enough and I headed out on my bike and then followed it up with a run. On Saturday I did the same thing, but threw a little twist in the mix by having the 8 year old tag along on the run on his new Razor. He was a trooper and did great on the 2 mile run! Perhaps I've found my new coach?!

Before our run, C enjoyed playing in his new train.  He's our train boy!
Sunday was Easter and we spent the afternoon at Mr. Strong's aunt's house. This was my first Easter celebration at her house, but if Fourth of July or Christmas was any indicator of what was to come, I knew it was going to be a real treat! One of the things I was looking forward to most was the "Big Kid Egg Hunt".  This included eggs filled with money.  I was right, it was a blast and something I am looking forward to doing next year!  I am so blessed to be married into such an awesome family!

Ready, set, GO!
The "after" shot. (Before we all started counting our money.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Year 29 Day Seven

Today was the first day of my long term sub job. This job is going to go until the end of the school year. I walked in this morning not really knowing what to expect. I wasn't sure if there were going to be lesson plans, I didn't know my student lists, etc.

All in all it turned out to be a pretty good day all things considered. In this job I am teaching special education life science (2 periods), physical science (1 period), and keyboarding (2 periods). I have two para educators who are both really great! One para is there during periods 1 through 3 and the other para comes during periods 4 through 6. There was a third para in my classroom 1 through 3, but fortunately I was notified that she was moved to a different assignment. There was a lot of tension, etc. in the classroom due to her presence.

During our fourth period prep time today, my second para and I spent the time rearranging the classroom. It now looks awesome! Many of the students had mixed reactions, but all in all I think it is going to be a good change.

I am looking forward to finishing the year out in this new classroom of mine. If I can impact at least one student, then my placement there was all worth it!

One of the "toughest" students made this welcome sign for me.  It's okay that he can't spell "Lindhurst", it's the thought that counts. (Perhaps spelling is something we can work on.)

The classroom view #1.

The classroom view #2.

This Elmo / projector was sitting unused.  I said, "Why?!" and set it up!

Teacher's Desk

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Year 29 Day Six

Today Tim and I were able to sleep in and we attended the Nazarene's 11 o'clock church service. It was so nice to sleep in since we don't get to very often and I worked the night before until midnight!

Today for lunch/dinner we decided to try a new Mexican restaurant in town. Although it was good, it wasn't our favorite. I ordered a "michelada" trying to bring back some great memories from Mexico. It, unfortunately, was not the same. :(

All in all though, a great day with my husband!

Year 29 Day Five

This morning I woke up to the results of my blood test in my inbox. I excitedly clicked on the link to read my results. Four and a half years ago, as I was getting my health check up before leaving for China, I was told that I was at risk for developing diabetes. Now, four and a half years later, I have a completely clean bill of health! I never want to go back.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Year 29 Day Four

This year was my first year volunteering as a 4th - 6th grade cheer coach for my local church's basketball league. Tonight we had our final award ceremony after spending the last 9 weeks together. There were some weeks that seemed too consumed by "life" to truly appreciate the season, but now looking back on it, I would not have changed a thing. I met some amazing young ladies and parents of these young ladies during the season. 
Group picture missing two girls.

When making the decision of whether or not to volunteer this Upward season, I remembered that God calls us to use the gifts He has given us and to be His servants and to serve. (1 Peter 4:10). Sometimes it is hard for me, however, because very easily I can become too busy and I start to neglect relationships. This, therefore, is still something I am trying to ask God to help me with.

Hopefully God used me to speak into these young ladies' lives as we did our mid-practice devotional each week covering topics of "self-control", "responsibility", and "hope". Some weeks the girls were extra squirmy and I'm not quite sure how much they took away from our short devotionals.  (This seems to be true with parenting as well.  Parents do their best to teach their children the way of the Lord and then in the end must trust that they heard and will follow. Parenting is still very new for me.) 

Being a person who always strives to do my best, I wanted to do my best as a cheer coach.  During games I freted over the girls hitting the right moves, cheering loud, and remembering everything we went over during our quick 1-hour practice.  I watched other coaches who would direct their cheerleaders with calling specific cheers.  I, however, chose a different tactic.  I would simply elect two cheerleaders each week to call out the cheers (or chants) that I had taught them.  It would then be all, for the most part, student-led.  I prefered this tactic because it was teaching the girls to work together, to be a leader, and to "step up to the plate".

My biggest compliment this season came from a parent in the stands during our last game.  As I was sitting on the sideline watching the cheerleaders, she came up behind me and asked, "Are you their coach?" 

Reluctantly I answered in fear that she was going to say something negative, "Yes."

Her response then surprised me.  With a smile on her face she said, "This is the most entertaining squad I have seen yet.  My girls have been wanting to cheer, but I have been hesistant until I saw your cheerleaders.  What's your name so that I can request you next year?"

So many times I worried if what I was doing was enough.  After each practice I thought, "I could have done this... or I should have done that."  This parent's comment gave me the pat on the back that I needed.  Reflecting back on the season, I can see that there are things that I will improve upon for next season, but overall, it has been fantastic and is something that I could see myself doing again! :)

Go Upward!

End of season treats I made for each girl.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Year 29 Day Three

Tomorrow I am having a blood analysis examine to see how healthy / unhealthy I am. Since I ate nachos, drank margaritas, and then finished my evening off with ice cream & a Cookie Tree cookie last night, I realized that today would be an "undo" day.

Let's see how successful I was...

6:30am Green Smoothie (red kale, carrots, celery, apple, orange, and ginger juiced. Blended together with frozen strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and melon.)
7:30am Bowl of Kashi cereal with a banana & almond milk and two cups of coffee
11:25am Hummus, carrots, red & green bell pepper, sugar snap peas, and five multigrain crackers (ok, perhaps I also may have bought a bag of M&M's from a high school senior selling them as a fundraiser. Does it help that I only ate half if the bag?)
3:30 apple, (cookie), and a handful if almonds **After-school is my most difficult time. I am normally starving and want to eat everything and anything. I am also suffering from "I-just-want-to-snack".
5:45 Kale, polenta, and sun-dried tomatoes.

**begin the 12 hour fast**

If I were to grade myself today, I would give myself a B-. I must remember, it is progress, not perfection.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Year 29 Day Two

Today I celebrated my birthday and new job with two of my running buddies & friends. We had a great time drinking margaritas and enjoying some girl talk.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The 29th Year

"I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for you to prosper. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

The above scripture was one that came to mind last night as I was thinking of my favorite scripture. It's so easy to forget that God has everything under control when life is uncertain, isn't it? It's so easy to fret and worry over the big things, or even the little things, isn't it? It is for me at least. But time and time again there is God, standing patiently, waiting for me to trust Him, to let go.

Today marks the start of my 29th year. So far it's looking as though this will be the best one yet! This morning I woke up next to the most amazing, Godly man, my husband. I picked up a fresh produce box on my front porch. I then proceeded to make the most delicious green smoothie ever! I then headed off to my day job.... substitute teaching.

At about 9am, the email arrived in my inbox that I had been waiting for; a job offer! Starting next school year I will be teaching at a local private Christian High School and I can not wait! What's so amazing is that I will be the second Mrs. Dunlap teaching there. Yes, I am following in my mother-in-law's footsteps!

What more could I have ever wished for on the day marking the start of my 29th year?

Here's to the best year yet!