Day 3: OT 2010

Today was a blast!
Shuttles 11-3:15ish.
Prayer Room 3:15-5.
Dinner with Nahirny's, 5-5:30-ish.
Saved seats in the auditorium.
Hung out with Leesh and the girls.
7:00-8:20ish, Jaye led worship.
8:20ish-9:20ish, Commercials, etc.
9:20ish-? Allen Hood Preached.
10ish, picked up Drummerboy from CEC.
11:00ish arrived at GPR, to find that I couldn't get out of my parking space.
5 minutes later, a person arrived and moved their car so I could get out. (Praise the Lord!)
Took Drummerboy home.
12:00ish, arrived home.

It's hard to choose just ONE highlight tonight.
On one hand, I encountered God tonight when Jaye led worship.
It was REALLY cool.
On the other hand, Allen preached a sermon that was the first one in SEVERAL months that ministered to me. And even though I had to leave early to get Drummerboy, it was refreshing.
So I guess I had two favorite parts.

Day 2: OT 2010

Today was so much fun!
Shuttles 11-3.
Hang out with Leesh from 3:30-ish to 7, when service began.
Ate dinner with Nahirny's. Loved it.
Matt Gilman led worship at 7.
8:20 Commercials, offering, Dave Sliker.
10-ish, Lou Engle Preached.
10:40-ish, Matt led one song.
11-ish boarded bus.
12-ish, returned home.

My favorite part?
Hard to guess isn't it?
Matt's set, 7-8:20.
I encountered God.
I was moved.
I was changed.
I am in awe.
I can't wait until tomorrow...


Day 1: OT 2010

Drove shuttles 11-ish until about 7-ish with about an hour break.
Attended Misty's set in the main auditorium from 7-8:20-ish.
Went to the Prayer Room from 8:20-10.
My favorite part?
The Prayer Room 8:20-10.
Matt Gilman led.
I encountered God.
And was changed.
Can't wait until tomorrow!



For those of you new to my corner of the world this year, I want to share with you that the next four days are my FAVORITE days out of the ENTIRE year! It is the Annual Onething Conference, hosted by IHOP-KC. I have honestly lost count of how many Onething Conferences I have attended, but each year God has met me in a very special way at the conference. And, I know this year He'll meet me again!

Actually, I drove shuttles tonight for about 3 hours to help people get down there and back for setup. It takes several days to set up for the conference. And for me, the conference actually started tonight.

Tongiht, Arden got on my shuttle. I had met Arden several times before on the shuttle, and was excited when she got on and rode up front with me. It's about a 25 minute drive from Bartle Hall to the GPR, and it was nice to have a friend to share the ride with. She got in and immediately showed me the ring on her left finger and told me that she is engaged. I was SO excited for her. She's probably my age, if not a little bit older, and she went on to share her story with me about her fiancee Paul, and how God had orchestrated their love story. I'll be honest, sometimes I have to take a thought of jealousy captive when I hear someone is engaged, but tonight I felt TRUE joy for Arden. She has waited for this guy, and it is who God has for her. I just smiled and told her I really needed to hear that story. As I kept driving Arden prayed for me. I was touched by her kindness, and felt the Lord's peace as she prayed. God has been speaking to me about a lot of things lately, and that was the PERFECT way to start out the Conference this year! *grin*

This week is going to be BUSY and TIRING and FUN. And one week from tonight, I'll wish we could do it all over again! *grin*


The Maze Runner

Have you ever been sucked into a really good book? I mean, so hooked on it, that you spent ALL DAY reading it? If not, my heart leaps for you! To me, there's nothing quite like a GREAT book!

One year ago, my brother and sister-in-law gave me the book, The Hunger Games. I was completely hooked on it, and went on to read the next two books in the series. If you like action and a little romance, I recommend that book series!

Today I spent the whole day reading THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner. I have been COMPLETELY engrossed in it! Jay has been a good sport, letting me read on the couch as he cuddled with me sometimes, or simply sitting on HIS recliner and watched everyone walk by and barked at them! I'm not done with the book, but I will be before I crash tonight. There is a sequel that I will go buy tomorrow as well. This book is so good that I want to loan it to people to read! It reminds me a little bit of The Hunger Games, as it is about kids who are in a live-or-die situation. It's been very suspenseful and enjoyable. More than once today I wished that I knew someone who read it too so I could yell with them at the various parts of the book! *grin*

I have a lot to do tomorrow to prepare for Onething on Tuesday, but today was GREAT! And, with Onething in two days, this week is going to ROCK!

GREAT....with a GREAT book in your hands!

December 25th, 2007

I posted my Christmas post last night because I had planned to post tonight about Jay. I post quite a bit about Jay, I realize that, but today is very special for me because Jay was born three years ago today. Jay is an incredible dog, and my Best Friend. Jay has been an enormous answer to prayer!

About four years ago (Not sure exactly of the timeline, as my Beech Road Experience Days seem to all run together these days) I was snowed in for an entire week. School was cancelled and my parents had loaned me the book "Marley and Me" while I had been home for the break. Throughout the week that we were snowed in I read the book, and at the end of it, I actually cried because I wanted a dog that was as special as the dog in the book. The book made me long for a dog. So, I started praying at that point in my own life for a dog.

The day I brought Jay home I prayed that Jay would have all the qualities I had prayed for. And, God was incredibly faithful to fulfill all that I had hoped and dreamed of in a dog. I adopted him when he was 1.5 years old, and he still had quite a bit of puppy in him. Today he has settled into an incredibly special furry kid. He loves to cuddle, which is one of the things I had prayed for. He is also faithful and LOVES to just hang out with me. I love this kid!!!

Not a day goes by that I don't Thank God for the gift He gave me in Jay. I truly believe that when He made Jay, he made him with me in mind. Three years ago today, my furry kid was born.

Happy Birthday, Jay!

Merry Christmas, My Friends!

Dear Family and Friends,
Hi! Jay here! Shannon said that I could write the Christmas letter again this year, which made me VERY excited! Since we’re best friends, it only makes sense that I write the letter for us! ☺
This year has been a really good year for us! While very little has changed since the last letter, Shannon said that’s why it was such a good year! She moved twice last year, so the fact that she has been in the same house all year has made her VERY happy! ☺
Shannon gets up everyday and goes to work at S.V.E., here in L.S. This is the second year the school has been open, and she is REALLY enjoying this year. This year she is only working with students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, and she really enjoys her job. She says it’s what God made her to do!
Shannon continues to drive shuttles regularly for IHOP-KC. IHOP-KC is still her favorite place on the planet, and she has met some incredible people there. Shuttles are one of her favorite parts of her week, as she gets to shuttle people from an extra parking lot to the center where services are held on Sunday Mornings. She also plans on driving shuttles to the end-of-year conference, (Onething) which is also a highlight of her entire year. Shannon prayed for seven years to be a part of IHOP-KC, and is really enjoying living here and being part of what God is doing here.
I was excited this year because I got to go stay at RockStarPara’s House while Shannon spent TWO weeks out at Camp Barnabas this year. She went during the Autism Week and was SO EXCITED to get to be in Ronni’s Cabin again! Ronni is one of her favorite campers, and she prayed to be in her cabin again and got it! She is already praying to be a part of her cabin again this coming summer! She came home for a day and then went back out to camp for the Blind/Deaf Week. She was nervous because she didn’t know people from that Term, but it was the week she fell in love with the Deaf Community. She took Sign Language Classes back in college years ago, but had never applied it in real life. During that week, she met Torrey, a young lady with Cerebral Palsy who was also deaf. Shannon and Torrey connected on a DEEP level and she came back here and signed up for more Sign Language Classes! She is loving the classes, and is praying about what her new heart for the deaf will look like in real life, but is enjoying learning more Sign Language now.
Shannon and I have a great time together. We walk around the neighborhood almost everyday. We walk a mile each day. We also cuddle nightly, so I know I am loved very well. She says that she sometimes misses her Joplin friends, but with Facebook and email, it’s okay. She also drives down to Joplin regularly to see her friends
Her favorite scripture this year continues to be Hebrews 11:1: Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. We both hope that the things you’re hoping and praying for will come to pass in 2011!
Love & Blessings, Jay and Shannon

Super Mario Brothers

I am going to show my age a little bit tonight, but I really don't care. I'm 37 so it's not like I'm ancient or anything. *grin*

When I was a kid, my family bonded through video games. I remember being very young and going to the arcade to play Pac-Man and Galaga, and did it with just one quarter per game. It was A LOT of fun.

In time, we got an Atari and played for HOURS on it. In fact, I remember my brother and I being sent to bed, and my parents staying up to play without us. (What mean parents I had!) I remember games such as Centipede and Missile Command being the big games, and we would have our own competitions in our home.

When we got older and could stay home alone, we had a Nintendo. I remember playing Nintendo for HOURS on end. I also remember LOVING Super Mario Brothers. It came with the Nintendo game set, and I worked SO HARD to conquer all the "worlds" within the game. It was a lot of fun!!!

All my loyal readers know that early this year I finally bought a Wii. I have gone through various stages with the Wii, sometimes I play it a lot, and some months I don't even turn it on. Overall though, I am glad I bought it because just like when I was a kid, it gives me something to do with people when I guests over.

I recently bought the New Super Mario Brothers Wii game. I tried it out a couple weekends ago, and LOVED it, so I splurged and bought one for me. Today I had a friend over and we played it for about 8 hours! It was SO MUCH FUN! When we conquered World 1 we were dancing and yelling and cheering. Of course, it took us roughly 7 hours to do it! *grin*

I often hear people complaining about video games, and I will admit I have been one of those people from time to time. However, today I was reminded of what GOOD can come out of a video game.

First of all, it drew my friend and me closer together as we worked toward a common goal. We cheered each other on as we worked TOGETHER to beat the levels! It was also fun to figure things out with him too. I mean, he had never played the game before and I had only played it once before, so there was plenty to figure out. Sure, we could have read the manual, but what fun would that have been? *grin*

Secondly, it made me think about how hard we worked to beat the game. It took a lot of patience and perseverance to beat the game. More than once we talked about quitting, and we did take a brief break. In the end, we didn't quit. We kept at it, and in the end we knew we had EARNED the right to play level 2!

Finally, it reminded me of being at home as a kid, laying around on the living room floor yelling at the TV together. And cheering each other on to victory together. Today was priceless to me.

The coolest part is that we're only on Level 2, and have PLENTY more to figure out! I can't wait!

Right now though, I have a book to read! Gosh, I love break!



Okay, so we can't officially call our assembly today "Christmas" but it felt like Christmas today in our gymatorium. This is my twelfth Christmas as a teacher, and today's assembly was the most memorable and amazing one I have attended. One of the advantages of being a new school is creating our own traditions as we go. Last year I missed the assembly because I took Jay to school with me, and I wanted to stay in the room with him and make sure he was okay. (I could have gone, he slept the whole time!) Today we had a really neat assembly.

First, we had our Super Citizen Awards given out. It was great to see the kids recognized.

Next, we sang traditional Christmas songs. We had our Student Council Members pass out little bells for the kids to shake during various Christmas Songs. It was really neat, as the kids from Student Council collected them after each song and gave them to different kids. They did a really good job!

I wound up spending the assembly by a Kindergardener who was precious. We sang songs and talked in between each song about what we had just sung. He was really sweet.

About halfway through our music, the staff got up and did our dance. It was something we worked on briefly over the past week, and it was a lot of fun to do in front of the students. I'm so blessed to be a part of a young staff who is willing to do things like that for the kids!

During our song, Grandpa Hochsprung came out and joined us. The kids loved it! After the song, Grandpa Hochsprung read to us The Night Before Christmas. It was SO cool! Grandpa did a GREAT job!

We finished out the assembly by singing some more Christmas carols. It was amazing. The whole thing lasted about an hour, but felt like 5 minutes because it was so much fun!

My favorite part of it all was at the end when the 6th graders played their bells and the kids exited the gymatorium singing Silent Night. It was priceless, and something I will never forget.

I'm so blessed to be here. While there have been some rough patches here and there, I am glad I landed here. While there are days I ache for my old school and friends, I know I am where God wants me to be. *grin*

We're on break now, which feels NICE. In fact, I have a new book to go read. *grin*


Amazing, when you know you're where God wants you to be. *grin*

In Less Than A Week...

...we will celebrate the birth of Christ.

I have pondered that A LOT today. I think a 5 hour car ride (approximately) can do that to a person. I spent the car ride listening to the Chris Tomlin Christmas CD that I discovered the other night. (How I missed the release of the CD, I'll never know!) I love the CD! It has brought me closer to God throughout today.

I pondered what Christmas used to mean to me, and what it means to me today. It seems as if every year I do the debate in my head. Yes, we are celebrating the birth of a Savior, but I'm giving gifts to people, not to a Savior that came and died for my sins. It seems backward to me.

I will never forget Christmas 1997, the first Christmas after I accepted Jesus into my heart, and I felt like it was the first Christmas that I understood the Holiday in a meaningful way. Which seemed strange to me, even then. I was 23, had been in so many Christmas programs you'd think I'd understood it, but I didn't.

All of the sudden, that year when I sang Christmas carols, I fell in love with a savior. I understood that we weren't just singing cheery songs, as I previously thought, but they were love songs to a Savior. And, it changed my perspective on Christmas.

Today as I sang Christmas songs, I felt that again. I felt as if I was drawing nearer to Jesus. Nearer to a Savior that came and died for me, He died for me before I was even born. He died for me, knowing that I would make mistakes this side of Heaven, and love me UNCONDITIONALLY, and WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

Within that, I had several deep encounters with God today. Which I seriously needed. I've been weary. I have been trying to be strong in the Lord, and have fallen short in several ways lately that I'm not proud of.

The amazing thing is that He is faithful. Even in my weakness, He loves me in a way I could never earn.

There's a chorus that we sometimes sing at IHOP-KC that often pierces my heart:

You owe me nothing
And I deserve Hell
You owe me nothing
Yet You've given me mercy...

That is the depth of our Saviour.

A Savior that wasn't necessarily born on December 25th, but definitely a birth worth celebrating.

Every year since I've been saved, I have taken time on December 25 to Thank God for all He's done, and I have actually said Happy Birthday to Jesus. *grin*

And, I will do that every year until I am in Heaven where I can tell him in face-to-face.

AMAZING with a Savior who loves us all!


The highlight of my day today was talking to CPKid. CPKid is the same boy I told you about the other night. Today at the end of the day, he came over by my desk at the end of the day. CPKid enjoys torturing my para and I, as he pretends he's about to fall, but doesn't. He grins so big that it just melts my heart, even though it scares me at the same time!

Today he stood there and showed me how his leg shakes if it's in a certain position. I stopped and looked at it, and told him that mine does the same thing! I thought it was just me that had that happen! He grinned when I shared about that. While it wasn't anything deep like the other day, it made me pause and think. Even at the age of 37, I'm learning that I'm not the only one that has certain things happen due to the CP. And while the CP isn't all there is to me (obviously) it makes me realize that I'm not alone in this particular journey.

Kinda cool if you ask me!



A New Book!

At my school we're doing Secret Santa's among our staff, and we're all having SO MUCH FUN giving each other gifts. We entered in our wish lift on the web, and the person who has my name is doing a GREAT job of spoiling me! Today I received my favorite gift so far, A NEW BOOK TO READ! I am like a little kid that can't wait until break so I can start the book. (I have one to finish before I can start it!)

How cool is that? *grin*


The Limp

I will openly admit that there are days (Granted, few and far between but still...) when I tell God I would like one day without the limp. Overall though, I know He chose me because He knew I could handle it. And, I do. Truthfully, I feel I do pretty well. I often tell people that God made me like this so I could help others like me. Today, that was true.

I found out earlier this week that a student in my building that has CP like me told his class he wished there was an operation to make his legs work right. My heart leapt for the kid. Sure, yours probably leapt too, as you read that. But, for me, it hit down deep. I started to pray off and on about it.

Today we wound up with about 5 minutes to spare before he had to go to his bus, so I moved over and talked to him about the CP. We really haven't talked about it a whole lot, so I wanted him to have an open door to share. While he didn't share today (And I didn't expect him to.) I could tell he appreciated the chat. It was the highlight of my year so far in my building.

I believe that God created me with a limp so He could use my voice to talk into this kid's life today. I truly believe that. I also know he isn't the only one with CP that I'm supposed to support. I mean, sure, I'm created to be here for all my students. But, when you have a physical disability, it helps to have someone else to talk to about it. (I honestly didn't, and wish I had.)

In the future, I hope he will talk to me about it if he wants/needs to. If not, I know that God had today in mind when He created me. And that makes ALL the difference in the world. I will remind myself of today on the days I feel down about the limp. I walked away from school today smiling, because I knew I was made for today, all because of my limp.


Self Control

There are days that I really ponder my little people. I have two boys who seriously struggle with self control. They don't come to me because of that, they come to me for academics. I have gone back and forth on how to deal with the two little people. I have the two boys sitting across from each other in my reading group, and everyday I debate about separating them. They are able to be managed because they're in close proximity of me, so I give them a new start everyday. Some days I'm worn out by the time they leave, but my thought is, "How can they learn self control if they don't practice?" It's a tough thing to juggle as a teacher.

Today we had an assembly. It was the first one I have attended with my own little people. Usually they go with their classes, but I wanted to have them clear up until the assembly so I told the teachers I would take them to the assembly and they would sit with me.

We lined up in my classroom and I said, "If I have to move anyone, you will be in big trouble." When they asked what kind of trouble I said BIG. I followed with, "Let's just say you don't want to know how big BIG is!" Since they have had me for one year already, they knew I was serious.

We entered the gymatorium and I let the two boys sit by each other, fully expecting to have them move before the assembly ended. I kept an eye on them throughout the holiday assembly and they did a REALLY good job. Of course, they kept watching me to see if I was watching them, but they did GREAT. I was SO PROUD of them! Of course, I couldn't make a big deal out of it because that would not have worked! But, I was happy.

I walked away from them with one thought...I think giving the little people opportunities to practice self control is a good thing. It's kind of like driving a car, you can't learn unless you practice it.

Today I was proud of the little guys. REALLY PROUD!


Funny For The Day!

This afternoon I was teaching my reading group, and I had a student that had some make-up work to complete because he was gone a lot last week. After teaching the whole group, I went over and showed him what to do on part of his workbook page.

On the page he had a fill-in-the-blank portion.

The sentence read: "I don't have any _______"
The answer to the fill-in-the-blank was "socks".
He wrote ON THE LINE, "I don't have any blanks."


My para and I laughed for a moment, and then I said, "The answer is socks."

To which he replied, "How was I supposed to know that?"

And I said, "Didja read the story?"

He said, "nope."


Love this gig.


Bowling With Friends

Tonight we had our S.V.E. staff party. We met at the bowling alley and bowled for two hours. It was SO MUCH FUN! I think bowling is neat because everyone cheers each other on! Everyone had a great time, and A LOT of people came out! It was a lot of fun.

Due to the cold weather, my leg was incredibly stiff and bowling was rough-and-ugly for me at first. Sometimes it is frustrating because my mind is fine, but my legs can't move quite like they should! The GOOD news is that the longer we bowled, the better I did because my leg loosened up! The second game I came in second place! Of course, we only bowled about 6 frames that last game, but still. *grin*

Rockstarpara amazes me! I am blessed to have her in my life. She has become a dear friend to me, and tonight I was reminded of that again as she assisted me out to my car in the FREEZING cold. I am a blessed gal.


I was talking to my Mom tonight on the phone, and after talking to her it became very apparent that I didn't explain very well last weekend. I shared about what Borders was doing, but not about what you can do TODAY to support ANY school you like!

See, you can go to, and you find a project that you like, and you can donate for that classroom to get the supplies that they are asking for. You can give ANY amount! It's really cool!

I will admit, prior to the Borders promotion last weekend, I didn't know a thing about it. (I don't watch Oprah, but I guess is one of her "favorite things.") After I heard of the promotion last week, I went in to the site, and proposed to get my classroom a projector so I can shine computer-created lessons up on the wall. It would also be useful with our district's CPS system. The next thing I want to propose for on the site is a SmartBoard. I learned last weekend that you have to ask for lower cost items first, and work your way up. *grin*

So, you're wondering, what happens when it's fully funded? Once that happens, they send it to me, along with a "Thank You" packet as well. It's up to my students and me to write thank you letters, and (With parental permission, of course.) take pictures of the kids saying "Thanks."

Yep. That's it. How cool is that?

So if you would like to give to my project (I've had 6 donations so far!) you can go to the site:

Honestly, if you don't want to give to mine, but find another project you want to give to, that is cool too. The donorschoose site said that on average teachers spend $40 per month on their classroom. Isn't that amazing?

Think about it. It's really fun to bless those around you!



When I was in college, I was a resident assistant in one of the dorms. I loved it. Part of my job at that time was to build community within my floor of 18 girls. Over the course of three years, I earned the nickname "Queen Sap" because I LOVE sappy stuff. Any movie or TV show that has a sentimental moment I always say "AWWWWW". I did it then, and still do it today. Today when I checked my project page on, I was in a meeting so I couldn't go "AWWWWWWWW" but I fought back tears and definitely said it in my head.

On the site people can donate to my school project that I've posted on I am hoping to get a projector, and eventually a SmartBoard, for my classroom. Well, on the site people can comment as to why they donated to my project. (And you should know that I didn't put that function in there, it's an automatic thing the page asks for.)

So you can imagine how deeply I was touched when I read this:
"I gave to this project because Mrs. S. does so much for my son. She is the reason he LOVES to read. Thank you Mrs. S. "

This was the SECOND best letter I have ever received in my teaching career. (The first place letter goes to a student I had about 6 years ago that wrote me a thank you note that said, "I will never forget you, because you were the one that taught me how to read.)

Here's the thing though, I don't do my job for kudos or anything like that. I do it because I care for the little people. And it's not that I didn't think that the family of today's comment didn't like me, because I TOTALLY know how supportive they are of me and what I'm doing with their son.

But sometimes God gives us kudos through people, just to remind us we're doing exactly what we're created to do.

And for me, today was my best day here in L.S. because I know I'm in the right place doing what I'm created to do!

Eleven years later, I'm still sappy. Go figure. *grin*


Vault, Part 3

Last night, I went to post the third (and last installment until January) installment of my Vault Story, and the internet was down! Yeah, you are glad you weren't here, as I was quite bummed about it! As you can tell, it's back up (Yea!) and I'm ready to share the most current installment. If you're just now joining the Vault Story, scroll down and read part one and two first!

I see the principal get my new teacher out of her class. Her name is Mrs. Welch. (It kind of reminds me of the Jelly Company.) She nods her head and welcomes me into the room. I hear my Mom explaining the Cerebral Palsy as I walk into the room. Everyone's eyes are on me, and my leg. I feel so nervous that I just want to cry, but I don't want to be known as the Cry Baby with Cerebral Palsy. So I just sit down and wait.

I sit down at the empty desk for what feels like forever. Everyone keeps staring at me and whispering. I can't hear them, but I think they're talking about me. Every time a new kid came to my old school, we talked about them. We were nice to the kids though, and I wonder if these kids will be nice to me.

Finally, Mrs. Welch comes in and starts teaching Math. She is showing us about vertices and angles, which seem to be easy. I understand what to do and even get called up to the board to do a problem. I did it right! As I walk back to my desk, I see the other kids staring at my leg. I don't think it's a big deal, but everyone is staring at me like it is a big deal. Or maybe it just feels like it, I'm not sure.

After Math, a bunch of kids line up to leave. What am I supposed to do? Do I stand up or do I stay put? I look around and notice that some kids are still sitting. Oh, we must switch for Math! Now I feel better about just staying put.

After the kids in line leave, other kids come in and put their stuff in their desks. Mrs. Welch tells the class that we have a new student in our class named Morgan. Once again, all eyes are on me. I smile at everyone.

That's it! Stay tuned in January for Part 4!


Favorite HOUR Of The Week

Every week I look forward to Saturday Night because it's my church night. Yes, my church, Forerunner Christian Fellowship, does a Saturday Night Service. For some of you, that doesn't sound like fun, but for me it's how I gain perspective on various things throughout the past week and get fueled up for the upcoming week. We have our "service" from 6-9:30-ish. I thoroughly enjoy the first hour, as Misty Edwards leads worship. Misty has been one of my all-time favorite leaders for years. (And tonight's half hour acoustic set was AMAZING!) After praying for each other, and listening to the message, we have a concert of worship/the prayer room from 10-12.

From 10-ish until I leave about 11-ish, Matt Gilman leads worship. I will admit that that hour is my FAVORITE hour of my entire week. In that hour, I meet God EACH week. It's incredible, and in so many ways something that can't be described in words. As I walked out tonight I got to really thinking about what an amazing hour that was tonight, and it made me think about Heaven. Actually, my first thought as I walked outside was, "I want to live in that atmosphere!" My second thought was, "Wow, Heaven's going to be even more AMAZING than that!" *grin*


The Vault, Part 2

Last night I shared the first part of my story that I wrote during our 6th grade "Vault" Writing Time. Feel free to scroll down and read my post titled "The Vault" if you haven't already. This is the second installment in my story. I hope you enjoy it.

A lot of people stare at me when I walk because I walk with a limp. I had problems when I was born, and because of that my brain was affected. Some people say Cerebral Palsy is a form of Mental Retardation, but I am actually really smart. The Cerebral Palsy affects how I walk, and I look out of one eye at a time. I can read, write, and do math well. So, the Cerebral Palsy doesn't stop me at all.

At my old school, I wasn't different. I mean, I still had the limp, but the kids treated me as if I didn't walk differently. I played chase at recess and LOVE sports. I had a lot of friends and now I have to start all over. I sure hope I have a lot of friends here.

On my first day at North Oaks Elementary School, the principal seems really nice. She walks with my Mom and me to my new class. There are four classes in my grade, and she said we switch classes for some subjects. That makes me nervous because I don't like to switch classes. My Mom just grinned at me.

*Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment. *grin*


Borders Supports Schools Through Website!

I have some exciting news to share with you tonight! (In addition to my story, of course! This is my SECOND post tonight, so PLEASE be sure to read the post below this one too!)

Borders is teaming up with to help schools get supplies that they want/need. This coming Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th, when you make a purchase at Borders, you will receive a gift card for you to go to and submit a $15 donation to your school FOR FREE! Well, okay, maybe not free, I mean you have to buy something at Borders to get the gift certificate. Just think about it though, you get a purchase at a great store, AND our school gets a donation as well! How cool is that?

Tonight I went onto to see exactly what it is because I had never heard of it before. (Are you thinking that too? Go ahead, admit it, I won't tell! *grin*) At this site, teachers submit a proposal for supplies for their classrooms. After that, the teachers (It's teachers only by the way!) wait to see if/when the supplies are funded. After the supplies are funded, the supplies are shipped and the teacher and students of the classroom are required to send a Thank You Note to the donors. It's that easy! The website said that (on average) teachers spend $40 per month on school supplies. That's a lot of money each year!

So, go ahead, go to Borders and buy that spiffy new book you've been wanting, and donate $15 to our school! Also, if you purchase the book "Waiting for Superman, How We Can Save America's Schools" and you will receive an additional $15 gift card!

I GUARANTEE that your teachers will REALLY appreciate it!


The Vault

In my school, the sixth graders do a really cool writing assignment. In October, the students were told to start a new story. Since it was an independent writing assignment, the student I was to be assisting at the time needed to write on his own. I decided I would do the assignment too. It has been YEARS since I just sat down and wrote a fictional story for fun. I had SO MUCH FUN writing! We wrote for a little while and then the students could share what they wrote. Afterward, the teacher collected them and put them in the "vault." One day in November, the stories were passed back out and we could add to the story. After we wrote our stories, we got in groups of two or three and did "Two Stars and a Wish." Well, okay, I call it that. The teacher called it something else that I can't remember right now. Basically, we tell each other two good things about the story, and one thing that we "wish" they would do with the story. It was the first time I had been at the receiving end of the activity, and I really enjoyed it. On the first day of December (earlier this week) we added to our stories again. It was GREAT. I also thought it was cool that when the kids found out that that day was "Vault" writing day, they were all excited.

Tonight I have decided to share my first part of the story that I wrote in October. It's based upon my life, but I put in fictional names. Over the next couple nights, I plan to share the whole thing. I hope you like it.

Hi. My name is Morgan. I am going to be in the fourth grade at North Oaks Elementary School in Austin, Texas. My family just moved here from Oklahoma. I didn't want to move here, but my Dad got a new job, so we had to move. I had a lot of friends in my old school, so I am nervous about being at my new school. I am nervous because I am a little different from everyone else. I was born with something called Cerebral Palsy.


Gifts to Give All Year Long!

This time of year, I hear A LOT of people talking about gifts they want to give people. Tonight as I was pondering what to write, and I came across a list of gifts you can give ALL YEAR LONG! And you know what? Most of them are easy and FREE! Some may cost money, but the best gifts are those from the heart, not the wallet! Read through the list, and think about the people in your life. Some ideas are taken out of Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Fourth Course. But, I added quite a few of my own!

1. Smile
2. Provide a shoulder to lean on.
3. Say "Thank You" and mean it.
4. Pat someone on the back.
5. Send a Thank You Card to an old teacher.
6. Plan a surprise phone call.
7. Say "Good Morning" even if it isn't.
8. Wash the dishes when it's not your turn.
9. Empty the trash when it's not your turn.
10. Send an unexpected text message to someone you love.
11. Ignore a rude remark.
12. Take Grandma or Grandpa to lunch.
13. Send a "Thinking of You" card.
14. Pass on some GOOD news. Don't pass on gossip.
15. Lend someone a favorite book, and don't ask for it back.
16. Return someone's favorite book.
17. Help someone figure out a solution instead of just giving advice.
18. Visit an elderly person.
19. Clean the house for Mom and Dad.
20. Share a Dream.
21. Let someone ahead of you in line.
22. Say please.
23. Say yes when you'd rather say no.
24. Spread a little joy.
25. Do a kind deed anonymously.
26. Share your umbrella.
27. Say I love you, and say it often.
28. Think things through.
29. Listen.
30. Lighten up. Find the funny side of a situation.
31. Walk your dog.
32. Be a friend.
33. Be optimistic.
34. Be real.
35. Always do your best.
36. Love to the best of your ability.
37. Look for the best in everyone everyday.
38. Take someone on a surprise outing.
39. Read with someone.
40. Allow people to make innocent mistakes.
41. Sit and talk with a friend.
42. Watch a movie with a loved one.
43. Send an email to an old friend.
44. Say "I'm sorry" when you're wrong.
45. Tell someone that you believe in them.
46. Encourage others to love others.
47. Take a walk with a friend.
48. Frame a picture that you made.
49. Cuddle with your dog.
50. Tell your parents how cool you really think they are!
51. Take a second and tell your siblings that they are cool. (sometimes)

I am contemplating others, but I honestly have a book I want to go read before I crash!

Have a GREAT night!


A Little More At Home!

Today was REALLY cool! I started the reading series that I LOVED to teach in my previous district with my fifth graders! I had SO MUCH FUN going back to the basics and really teaching reading again! I need to remember to send a huge Thank You Note to the big-wigs in the district who financially supported the curriculum! I felt a flashback to the year 1995 when I first taught the series, and remembered how much TRAINING goes into getting the curriculum delivered appropriately to the little people. They were getting it though, and I was SO PROUD of them!

Ah, today I felt a little more at home by teaching the series again!



I Made A Deal

Dear Family,

Yes, it is true that I wore an MU shirt to school today. BUT, it was only because I made a deal with one of the little people. Please do not kick me out of the family. Tomorrow I will be back to wearing Crimson and Blue!



I'm pretty sure that every time Laura comes to see me, I post about our visit. Laura was here less than 24 hours, but it was a WONDERFUL addition to my break. Out of nowhere she called yesterday morning and said she was thinking about coming to see me! I was SO EXCITED!

The thing is it's great to have a friend like a Laura who LOVES the Prayer Room and IHOP-KC as much as me. Last night we went to service together, and it was SO MUCH FUN to have someone beside me in worship. We have such similar hearts toward the Lord that we were there from 6pm-11pm, and it felt like ten minutes! It was SO much fun!

Of course, my favorite part was when Matt came out to lead worship! It was AMAZING! I was closer to God at the end of the night than I was at the beginning, and it was because God used Matt!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what a WONDERFUL way to end break!

Jay is laying at my feet asleep. THAT'S the best way to end break!



I am thoroughly enjoying this break. Okay, well, now that my migraine from last night is over, I am thoroughly enjoying this break. I went to be super-early last night due to the migraine, so I was up super-early this morning. On one hand I was bummed because I didn't sleep in. On the other hand, I got plenty of sleep, so it's all good.

I spent the morning cuddling with Jay and watching made-for-TV-movies. I LOVE days like today when I get to begin the day VERY slowly. Jay loved it too, as he is a cuddler!

I spent the afternoon/evening cleaning house. My house wasn't in horrible shape, but I will admit I needed to dust in a MAJOR way. At this point, the house is the cleanest it's been since I moved in! *grin* Now I am ready for my favorite older brother and parents to come see me tomorrow! Woop!

Jay and I did enjoy a walk this afternoon. We're limited on decent weather days, so I try to make sure we have one every chance we get! It was fast, as he was cold, but it was fun anyway!

Tonight I have been relaxing with Jay. It's weird to think that we're already on Friday of the break. It's going by ENTIRELY too fast! *grin*

I find myself tired tonight. I was up early and had a BUSY day. I look forward to tomorrow with the family! *grin*



Today I have contemplated all the things I'm thankful for. After all, that's what today is all about, right? The most bizarre twist on it all is that I've been the most thankful for today. I am INCREDIBLY thankful for headache medicine. I started my day with a headache, and it grew to a full-blown migraine by the time I returned from our family thanksgiving celebration. If you have never had the migraine headache experience, you are one blessed person! I came home, let Jay out, let him back in, gave him a rawhide chew, and plopped down on the couch with the heating pad and slept. Jay eventually climbed up to cuddle as I slept. I woke up with him beside me. My head still aches, but not like it did. I am blessed to live in a day and time when medicine is available to alleviate pain. I could have been born in a day and time when medicine was readily accessible like it is today. Fortunately, I was not. *grin*

My other huge blessing today was receiving "Happy Thanksgiving" greetings from people via text. A couple of them came from people that I didn't expect to hear from, so that was a HUGE blessing.

One of the expected ones stated, "I am thankful for our friendship and the beautiful fragrance that is coming from your life." Where's the LOVE button for that one? *grin*

Yep, I am one blessed gal who has a lot to be thankful for!




Today I was semi-productive, but was able to rest too. I enjoyed sleeping in, which was a highlight for me. I love to sleep, so that part was REALLY nice! Jay and I lounged around and cuddled this morning. I LOVED that! My favorite kind of days are the ones where I can slowly begin the day. *grin*

This afternoon I went and took care of my car tags. I had been dreading the joyous experience because it always takes so much time. Today I was pleasantly surprised when it only took about 30 minutes from start-to-finish. I was prepared and took a book for my wait, and I felt a huge weight lifted as I walked out with my little stickers for my car.

Tonight I put in a bad movie and worked on Christmas Cards. I still have quite a bit to do, but it was good to get ahead of the schedule on the card craziness. I turned off the movie, and am glad I do Netflix. I would have felt ripped if I had paid full-price for that movie!

My highlight of my day came via text from a friend. She told me, via text, that I am one of the blessings that she will share tomorrow at her family's Thanksgiving Dinner. I was/am touched. I am one blessed gal.



Dear Grandma and Grandpa!

Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

I have thought about you a lot today. I know you're up in Heaven with Jesus, but I wanted to take a moment and write you tonight.

I remember being a kid and coming to your house to play with Tinkertoys. You remember the tin can full of Tinkertoys that Scienceguy and I loved? Dad told me tonight when I was over at his house that Uncle Leon actually gave that to him, but I obviously don't remember that part. I do remember looking forward to going to your house and playing with them, even though I wasn't great at it.

Today, as you probably already know, one of my students used those Tinkertoys in a project. Not all of them, obviously, but several of them were used. He LOVED the Tinkertoys, and truth be told some of my other students did too. I kept telling them about playing with them at your house, but they didn't really get it. And, that's okay, I did.

I was thinking today that those Tinkertoys have blessed a lot of kids over the years. I have had them sitting in my closet, collecting dust, waiting for my chance to have kids and have them play with them. And while that hasn't happened yet, some of my students liked them a lot, so I think I'll let them play with them sometimes too. (You wouldn't believe how hard some of them will work to earn time with those things!)

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and I miss you a lot.

Lots of Love,

Post #800

It is SO HARD to believe that I am on my eight-hundredth post! Wow! I have come SO FAR since I started blogging. I began this blog in March 2006, and this has definitely become a favorite hobby of mine. I have pondered what to type all day, wanting this to be a memorable post.

I was thinking this afternoon about Thanksgiving coming up this week. Over the years I have done several posts about what I'm thankful for, but tonight I wanted to post about Jay.

In the last chapter of my life, the one I now call The Beech Road Experience, I experienced loneliness in a way no one should ever live this side of Heaven. It was the hardest thing I have walked through.

Going from Beech Road to where I'm at now, a lot has changed. A LOT. I NEVER experience loneliness anymore because of my furry little kid. He's the BEST best friend I could ever ask for! Sure, I'm still waiting on a spouse, but I tell ya what, this guy loves me in a way that EVERYONE should be loved. While he's never actually vocalized "I love you", I know he does. He shows me daily how much he cares, and we have a lot of fun together.

Today I was laughing at him as he scooted out from under the bed! I was folding clothes in the guest bedroom, and he felt the need to go underneath the bed. He moved out in such a funny way, I started laughing at him! He just came out with the tail wagging wanting to be petted. It was GREAT.

Right now, he's asleep at my feet! I LOVE IT!

I am thankful for the furry kid. I have heard it over and over again that dog is man's best friend, and for me, it's true!

Thank You God for Jay. And thanks to the family that blessed me with him. It's the greatest blessing I have been given as an adult!


Waiting for the Shuttle...

Tonight I arrived at FCF late because I had a WONDERFUL dinner with a friend. Being late for FCF is never a big deal, because it's part of the culture to come-and-go at any time. After driving around the Blue Ridge Parking Lot, I went to the Overflow Lot to ride the shuttle. After parking the car, I walked over to the shuttle stop and waited.

I was standing there on my own, and 5 young men came over and stood by me. The following is what was said:

Guy #1: Hi
Me Hi, how are you?
Guy #1: Fine, you?
Me: Great.
Me: Hi, (Guy #2) how are you?
Guy #2: Fine, you?
Me: Hi, I'm great.
Guy #3, walks by and says; Hey, how are you?
Me: Great, how are you?
Guy #3, Fine.
Me: Great. Hi, (#4), Hi (#5)
Guys: How are you?
Me: Great.
Guy #3: Your leg's not great.
Me: Pause. Pray. Pause.
Me: Yeah, it is. It's a gift from God. See, I teach Special Education, and my students can relate to me in a very special, unique way, because of the limp. I've talked to God about healing, and have told him if He wants to heal me, He can, but I would rather keep the limp, because He has used it repeatedly in the lives of so many people. The limp is a gift. The only time it bugs me is when people judge me because of the limp. Some people think I have limited cognitive ability, but I don't. I have an average IQ. I live on my own, pay my own bills, and drive my own car. So, the leg is great.

To which the guys just stared at me. Silence. Then one guy said, "Wow."




God Always Knows

Tonight I went and spent some amazing time with a new/old friend. Sometimes in life we have slip-ups with friends. I think after my Beech Road experience, (Where I learned more than I can ever explain in a single post, that's for sure!) I learned the value of second chances. Over the Summer, God told me that SuperMom (A friend here in town.) would be my friend again. Last Spring, we had a bit of a miscommunication, and I prayed over it, and walked away. I told God at the time that I wanted time to heal things, and it did. When He told me this Summer that we'd be friends again, I was cautiously optimistic. Tonight, I was glad I was open to His leading. She's an amazing Mom, reaching for the things that are right instead of turning to the things that could hold her down. I am so proud of her!

Hang in there, SuperMom! I am praying for you!



You Wouldn't Think....

...that a CD would make such a difference, but it does!

I have been praying for some new music lately. It seems like when I buy stuff and don't think much about it, it's not what I need at that time. These days I really ponder and pray before I spend my hard-earned money on music. It's been several months since I bought something new because I have really been enjoying "This Is Our God" by Hillsong United. Last weekend, I realized it was time for something new. When I realize that, I turn on K-Love Radio to see what new stuff is available for purchase. Today I realized the new Chris Tomlin Album was released last week. I almost felt weird because I ALWAYS know when his new stuff is out, but I guess the HIllsong Music was what I needed. *grin*

Tonight I have LOVED the new Chris Tomlin music. Ah...............while there's nothing quite like a new book, there's also nothing quite like a new worship CD to draw me nearer to God.




Reading Fun!

Today I was reading with my fifth grade students, and I realized how much I enjoy reading with students. We're reading the fifth installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. I find myself looking forward to that group everyday because they are ALL engrossed in the book. I also enjoy it because we LAUGH as we read the story. It's a lot of FUN!



Way to Go!

I used to think that I wasn't very creative. I mean, if you ask me to draw a picture, I draw stick figures ALL THE TIME. My students laugh. (It's not that funny!) I also had a friend once that could make the coolest bulletin boards ever, meanwhile, I always bought the store-bought ones because I couldn't think of anything creative. Between the bulletin boards and the stick figures, I thought I wasn't very creative. What I have discovered recently is that I am creative, just in a different way.

A little while back, I was praying over something, and the Lord spoke to me that I was to take over a project for someone. At first I was a little perplexed. I mean, it's not like you can go up to someone and say, "The Lord told me I am supposed to take over YOUR project." So, I prayed some more, and went in to meet with the person and simply offered to help. When the gal in charge of the project heard my offer, she asked if I would be willing to take it over. I just grinned. She went on to say that I was the answer to her prayers, as she is too busy to do the project this year. *grin* I just told her that I was glad to help. In my mind though, I did a happy dance because I LOVE IT when I'm an answer to someone else's prayers.

Over the weekend, I finally got around to doing the first part of the project. I started working on it, and found myself REALLY enjoying myself. It took about 3 hours on Saturday, but in the end I was REALLY proud of the work I had done. I looked at the project and realized how creative I am, it's just not with paper or pencil tasks. I thought that was really cool.

I emailed her the beginning of the project and checked email a few times, hoping to hear "Way to go!" I still find it amazing how I can be 37 and still care what approval I receive from certain people. I have a feeling that never ends, this side of Heaven. When I went into work today, there was an email today, and she said she "love, love, loved it!"

I was SO EXCITED to hear that!

God taught me in a lot in the project, and it's only in the beginning stages. I learned that I am creative in my own way, and that I shouldn't compare myself to others. (I think the comparing deal is a challenge this side of Heaven, daily.) I also learned that at the age of 37, I care what others think. Obviously, not what everyone thinks, as you have to choose the right people with your heart. But in this case, I cared.

It made me think a lot today, as my students cared what I thought about various things throughout my day. And, I consider it an honor to be someone that others care what I think. I pray that I am responsible with that.

Kinda cool if you ask me.




This morning I got up and headed to go drive shuttles. Slim had said last night that he had plans this afternoon so he couldn't hang out. Which was fine, I had homework to do. So, after driving a little while this morning, Slim invited me to hang out with him this afternoon. I said, "Sure." We went to IHOP (pancakes) and had great chat time. It was a lot of fun. It feels so good to be cultivating friendships here. Slim is one of the happiest people I've ever met. Truly happy. I am blessed to have such a happy, Godly friend, in my life!

Now, I guess I should get my homework done that I've been putting off all day!



A Good Day

Today was great. I slept in, cuddled with Jay, cleaned up, cuddled with Jay, walked Jay, cuddled with Jay, went to FCF, came home, and cuddled with Jay.

The highlight (second to cuddling with Jay today) was walking out of FCF tonight. (FCF was GREAT!) As I walked out, I saw Slim was driving the bus. I am always glad to see Slim. He's such a happy guy! Anyway, he opened the door to the bus as I was walking up to it, and the passengers (there weren't many, but this still was neat to me) yelled, "Jesus Loves You, Shortone!"

I grinned ear-to-ear.

It feels good to be at home with friends here.



Anita Renfroe

Okay, I will openly admit, I have been living under a rock. I feel like it's a rather big rock actually. A little while back, I heard an ad on K-Love Radio for a Christian Comedian, Anita Renfroe, who was coming to the KC area. I will admit, the idea kind of appealed to me, but I didn't go for whatever reason at the time. (I think I had something already scheduled for that night.) Well, the ad they played on K-Love made me laugh, so I went into my trusty little NetFlix account and found three DVD's available. I reserved them all.

The first one I saw was "Momsense" and it was pretty good. I am not a Mom, so it wasn't as funny as it probably was for real Mom's, but it did make me laugh. I was glad I had reserved it.

Today I had a rather character-building day, cancelled all plans for this evening, came home, and put in the next Anita Renfroe DVD that was waiting for me in my mailbox. I had already decided that tonight was a night that I needed to just chill out and cuddle with Jay. The DVD, titled, "It's Probably Just Your Thyroid", was a little over an hour, and it really made me laugh A LOT. I highly recommend it for women of all ages! (Sorry guys, it's mainly for gals.) It has really lifted my spirits and made me grin a lot!

Now I think I will watch the KU basketball game and read my new book!



Another Podcast *grin*

Tonight I had Sign Language Class in Independence, so I listened to another Louie Giglio podcast that I had on my ipod on the drive there and back here. I realize I just said this last week, but it really is true, I LOVE HOW GOD KNOWS WHAT WE NEED AND WHEN WE NEED IT! Tonight the message talked about self-talk and how sometimes when we're in a battle, not only do we need to pray to Him, but we also have to take authority over our own lives and SPEAK into that. I realize I can't do the 60 minute podcast justice, but suffice to say, He met me right where I am tonight. I do spend massive amounts of time praying, but I don't always take time to speak into my own life things that I'm hearing and feeling. It gave me a new perspective, so to speak. *grin*

Once again, I am in awe of Him.

And, I love that.


A New Book!!!

I went to school today looking forward to getting a new book that I had ordered. At our Book Fair a little over a month ago, I ordered the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book! It came out yesterday, and we received them today. I am SO EXCITED to have the new book!

I walked down the hall reading the book, and kids got a big kick out of it seeing me walk down the hall reading. I laughed as I walked by them, and they were staring at me. I plan on beginning the book as a Read Aloud on Friday.

There's nothing quite like a good, new book!




Okay, before you flip out, there wasn't a fire. Okay, well, not one that affected me. I have a small story to share. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)

Tonight I got home earlier than usual to walk Jay. With the sun going down earlier now, I make it a point to get home and walk the furry kid. The evenings are rough if he doesn't get his usual walk. *grin*

So, tonight we were doing our usual walk, and I saw light coming out of a bush across the street from where we were walking. I thought that it might be a lighting system since it was almost dark at that point, but I saw that it was fire. It was small at the time, but it was a bush on fire. The bush was right next to a town-home just like mine. Meaning, four families live in homes that share ONE roof.

My initial thought was the burning bush story in the Bible, but I knew that wasn't the case at that moment. *grin*

I stood there a moment and wondered what to do. There were lights on in the house that had the bush on fire, and I looked at Jay. I knew I couldn't take Jay over there to tell the people, so I tied him up to a fence by where we were standing. I crossed the street, looked at the bush, and went up to the porch.

I rang the doorbell, and waited for someone to come to the door. I am pretty sure the guy who answered had looked out the window before answering the door because he ran past me to put the fire out. I calmly said, "Were you aware of this?" To which he replied words that can't be repeated on this blog. He wasn't aware of it, I'll just put it you that way. He ran and grabbed a water hose and put it out. I walked back across the street, got Jay, and we continued our walk.

As I walked, I pondered. God knew that bush would be on fire when I walked by. God also knew I would stand there and debate about what to do. (I've seen so many NCIS episodes to make me ponder if I should be involved in anything that might be suspicious.) God also knew I would go up to that porch and ring the doorbell. God also knew I would walk across the street, get Jay, and walk on.

I didn't know any of that prior to my walk.

God used me to stop a four-family-town-home from catching on fire. He could have chosen anyone. But He chose me.

That made me smile the rest of the walk.

Some of you may think that God doesn't care about the details of our lives such as a walk with the dog, but I honestly believe He cares about EVERY detail of our lives.

He can use anyone and anytime.

Today, He chose me.



Talk About Perspective...

So this morning I got ready for work and headed out the door, earlier than usual to make it to a meeting I had before school. I turned out of my neighborhood and started toward school. As I came upon the road construction area, I noticed something very unsettling. I couldn't see! Okay, well, I could see, but it occurred to me that I didn't have my glasses on! I started laughing, and then started praying. I debated about turning around and going home, but I didn't want to be late for my meeting. So, I went to school.

I started the day as usual, and the lack of glasses didn't affect me very much in my meeting. Everyone got a kick out of it when I told my story. Rockstarpara offered to take me home to get the glasses, but I refused. I didn't think it would be a big deal.

At a little after nine 'oclock, I went into a classroom for my typical school day, and then my eyesight became a problem for me. I was also beginning to get a headache, which is never a good thing. As it turned out, Rockstarpara and I wound up in the same classroom because of a switch in schedules, and I asked her if she would drive me home. She said yes.

We cleared it with the correct people, and she brought me back here to get my glasses.

Once I put them on, I realized how much I take for granted my glasses, as well as my eyesight. Things were no longer fuzzy, and I could see things with clarity.

It brought to mind one of our chorus's at IHOP-KC. We sing, "Give me eyes to see, and ears to hear."

I silently prayed as I went back into my classroom that God would give me eyes to see my students. And within that, I would continue to treat them as He does.

Talk about perspective...all because I left my glasses at home today!



Why, oh why?

Yo, Humans!

Jay here. Shortone has been so busy lately that I've been living in that crate A LOT! Today she got home from shuttles and took me for my first walk in several days. She apologized for not walking me lately, and we did our usual walk! It was fun! Then we came home and got in the car and went several places. It's been a while since I've been on a road trip! It was AWESOME!

We got back here, and Shortone was busy doing laundry and such. I just followed her around the house. I didn't want to miss anything important!

After she ate dinner, she turned to me and said, "It's your turn!" I had no idea what she meant and I was SO EXCITED that I was hopping and dancing around as we went into the upstairs bathroom and she got 3 towels out and a bottle of that weird-smelling-stuff. She took off my collar and it hit me...I HAD TO TAKE A BATH!

I tried to escape, but she had already shut the bathroom door before I realized what was happening! So, I just sat there. I mean, I figured that if she couldn't pick me up, then I wouldn't have to have a bath! Unfortunately, I have lost weight, so she was able to pick me up and put me in the tub! Then she said that I smelled! Me? Smell? Really, I didn't smell bad! I smelled like a dog, which is what I should smell like!

So, I stood there while she got me wet and put that smelly stuff on and then rinsed it off. I didn't move. I just wanted it to be OVER! She worked fast, which made me happy!

Next thing I knew, she was letting me out of the tub-thingy and using a towel to try to dry me off! Why do humans do that? I mean, I can shake it off faster, so why put a towel on me too? She worked hard at it, and was really nice through the whole thing, but I just wanted out of the bathroom!

Finally, she said, "Okay, go." She opened the door, and I was FREE! I ran outta the bathroom and downstairs! I mean, she could change her mind and make me do it again! That would be awful!

Since then, she has given me a bone and told me that I did a "good job". I like the bone, and after that experience, I deserve it!

Well, I think I'll get back to my bone!

Have a GREAT night all!


Speed Stacks!!!

On Wednesday, I was taught the full cycle of Speed Stacks. As I shared the other day, Speed Stacks refers to a cup game played by many children (And adults I am sure) in tournament competitions. Prior to Tuesday of this week, I had never really learned the game. In fact, I had never actually seen the game either. So, I was curious.

I will also admit, I can be very competitive too. So, one of my little people finished their work on Wednesday so that he could teach me the game. We had a lot of fun laughing as I kept messing up on the game. It isn't hard once you learn the pattern, but if you don't know the pattern, it can be a challenging.

So, today was a long day for some of my little people. So, I made a deal with them. IF they got all their work done, then we would have a Speed Stack Competition at the end of the day. Needless to say, all the work was done on time! *grin*

The top scorer came from a fifth grade boy who did the full cycle in 39 Seconds.

I came in third with 44 seconds!

This is only the beginning. I plan on practicing more and more as students get their work done correctly and on time!

Make note: I was good and didn't bring the cups home to practice. I thought about it, but didn't do it!



LIfting My Eyes Up!

I find it amazing how God ALWAYS orchestrates things in such a way that we ALWAYS know that it is Him at work. Tonight on the way to my Sign Language Class, I listened to another podcast that featured a sermon by Louie Giglio. If you've been a reader of the blog for any length of time, you know that podcasting is somewhat new to me. I have heard the term for years, but it wasn't until this past May when my brother gave me an ipod that I got to experience a podcast firsthand. And, now I listen to at least one sermon a week.

Some of you are thinking, "Really, you're in the midst of IHOP-KC, and yet you're listening to Louie Giglio's stuff from Atlanta?" Yep, you betcha!!! IHOP-KC is incredible, but I will admit, I am not encouraged in the Lord like I am when Louie preaches. He preaches right where I'm at, every time.

Tonight's sermon talked about lifting my eyes above, regardless of what is happening in my life here on Earth. He talked out of the Psalms and reminded me that while circumstances here on Earth may not change over night, standing firm in the Lord and keeping my eyes up above instead of on the situations here on Earth is what I'm called to do today...tonight. While it's not earth-changing, it spoke to me right where I'm at with the Lord tonight.

I am in awe of God tonight because of that. He knew I would need that sermon right now, in the season I am in right now.



November 3!!!

Every year I pause and thank God on this day. Well, okay, I pause and Thank God for a lot of things each day. But November 3rd is special to me because it is my younger brother's birthday!

Scienceguy is an amazing teacher, husband, son, and brother.

I am proud that Scienceguy is my brother. I am convinced I have the BEST younger brother EVER!

Happy Birthday, Scienceguy!!! You are my hero, in ways you don't even realize!

I love ya!

Speed Stacks

This morning I entered the building and our P.E. teacher was outside the gym waiting for her first class to show up. She said, "Good Morning" to me and I inquired as to what they would be doing in P.E. today. She said they were doing "Speed Stacks." I paused and said, "I have never seen that, can I come in today?" She said sure.

I went in and I was introduced to a game with cups. Our P.E. Teacher showed it to me, but I honestly didn't have a lot of time to really learn it. I was interested in it because when I was in college we played "The Cup Game" at conferences and I LOVED that game. I plan on going in before school and learning it tomorrow. She said that after they end the unit, I can borrow the cups and challenge my students to do it. I see a lot of kids motivated to work so that they can play me in the Speed Stacks. I'll let you know what my beginning time is tomorrow, and we'll see how much I progress this year.

I love it, as I'm always looking for motivational strategies to use with the little people in my world!




Today the highlight of my day was reading a book with a student. The young man is a boy who doesn't enjoy reading, and I'm on quite a mission to change that. So, we made a deal that we would read one chapter in his book and then he could take a break. We got to a really funny part in the book and we were both laughing pretty hard because of what happened in the story. I realize it loses a little bit in translation, because you sort of had to be there. For me though, it was really cool, and it was the highlight of my day.



16 Months Later....

I am in awe of God tonight. I went to evening service tonight since I'm driving shuttles for morning services tomorrow, and LOVED IT. I will admit, that for the last several months I have attended Sunday Night Services, and that was while I was driving shuttles. So, what that means is that right after the sermon, I left to go drive shuttles. Which was good, and God graced me for that season. Tonight I started a new season in services, and LOVED IT.

After Lou preached, I stayed for the Concert of Worship held in the same auditorium. Matt Gilman came out to lead worship, and I was SO excited. I haven't been in one of Matt's sets in a LONG time. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

It felt great to just soak in His presence. I felt at home in a way I haven't felt in a while at a service. As I sat there tonight, it hit me that I have lived here sixteen months, and I am still in awe of God and the fact I live here. As I've shared before, it took seven years of prayer to get here, and it is still AMAZING to me to be here!!! I told God tonight that I didn't want to take any of this for granted.

I realize IHOP-KC isn't perfect, but I tell ya, it's home. God's in the middle of it though, and I'm right where I'm supposed to be.




This morning I was sitting in my classroom doing paperwork. It was quiet and I was getting a lot of stuff done as my students were with their regular classes for most of today. A teacher came in and asked if I would help with the Kindergartener again. She told me what he had done, but I honestly can't remember what she said. All I knew was that the goal was to get him out of the classroom again. As I walked, I silently prayed. *grin*

I walked into the classroom, and my principal was in there with him. When I walked up, she left. I immediately started voicing and signing again. Initially, it didn't work. He was working very hard at ignoring me. He picked up a folder, and started to color on it. I calmly put it back in his desk, without saying a word. Then he started coloring HIS DESK. I calmly took the crayons away. I didn't say a word during this time. (This is something that often works out at camp.) After taking the crayons away, I signed for him to "stand". Then, I voiced and told him it was time to get up and walk. Then he mumbled something. I asked him to repeat it, and he said he didn't want to leave his classroom. I explained that we had to leave the room for a little while and then he could go back. At that point, he stood up, and we WALKED out of the classroom!

We entered the hall, and I had no idea where the teacher was that requested I get him out of class. So, we started walking. As we almost turned the corner to her classroom, she saw us! In the end, I got to spend 15 minutes with him while he worked on his books. He's a neat kid!

Two days in a row God used me with that kid! I love it!

I think it's cool when God orchestrates things in such a way that you get to know someone that you wouldn't have gotten to know otherwise. Those 15 minutes were precious to me today.



Application of Knowledge *grin*

Today I was walking by a Kindergarten Room that has a couple tough students in it. They are not labeled Special Education Students, but they are on behavior plans. I walked by yesterday and got to help, and today I was invited to help again. Yesterday I helped with a little girl, and today I helped a little boy. And honestly, I felt like I was back at camp both times.

Yesterday as I turned the corner, the girl was rolling around on the floor, refusing to get up. I signed to the teacher at the time and asked if she wanted help. She nodded "Yes." I knelt down, and started signing and voicing what I was signing at the same time. The kid just looked at me for a moment. I used some sort of verbage (can't really remember what I said in words) and she got up and walked. I signed to her the whole time we walked. *grin* It was so cool!

Today I turned the same corner and the teacher invited me to help. She said the boy (Whom I had a never met before, even though I had heard stories.) refused to get out of his seat and go with her. She followed with saying he is a biter, kicker, etc. I looked at her and said, "I'll do it."

As I approached the kid, I prayed in my head, and honestly felt like I was at camp. Out at camp we have to get kids to move from one place to another, especially when they don't want to do so, all the time. And, out at camp, we don't carry them out. They walk.

I approached the kid and the Lord gave me peace, and I honestly forgot he was a biter, kicker, etc. I did the same thing I did yesterday. I signed and voiced what I was saying at the same time. The kid had been crying, and looked tired. At first he didn't get up. I wasn't going to give up though, and at that moment I felt like I do out at camp. Sometimes you have to change the logic around so it's the kid's idea. I honestly don't remember what I said and voiced, but the cool part is that he stood up and walked out of the room with me! That's right, he wasn't carried, he WALKED! And just like out at camp when we finally get a kid from a cabin to the dining hall, I felt like God had used me in a HIUGE way!!! I wanted to do a happy dance. I didn't, but boy did I want to!!!

All night I have pondered the whole thing. It's God. It's all God, using me to reach His kids, which is what I pray every morning as I get ready for school. I also think that the signing is less intrusive. It's like it gives the kid a way out, without feeling like he's lost the battle. I'm not sure, either way I pray it continues.

Who knew that my camp knowledge would help me at school? Usually it's the other way around!

God is so cool like that! He can use anyone at any time.

I'm just glad He chose me.



The Beginning

I assist one of my students in a Regular Education Classroom each morning, and yesterday the students were given an assignment. It was an assignment that I chose to do since I couldn't assist my student on the assignment because it required him to write on his own. T.J. was actually excited that I was doing it since I'm an adult. He gave me paper and loaned me a pen.

The class was told to free write for five minutes. That was something I haven't done in a long time. I blog often, but I think about what I'm writing, who will read it, edit it, etc. For those five minutes, I wrote a fictional story with some factual details from my life. What I found was that it was REALLY fun. In fact, it was one of the highlights of my day yesterday.

Today I went in and we were allowed to write for five more minutes. I LOVED it. After writing for five minutes, we got in small groups and did two stars and a wish. That means that everyone in the group read their stories and they were told two good things about the story, and one thing that the readers wish the author had in the story. It was GREAT. It is something I have never actually experienced, and I thought it was GREAT. I plan on using it in my own writing classroom as well!!!

I decided that once I get the story back from the teacher, I will write more. I think there's something inside me that's worth writing.


Love. It.



This past weekend we had a camper named Courtney who made me grin a lot! Courtney is a sweet gal who shows love very well. Courtney has Autism, but that isn't what I think of when I think about her. When I think about Courtney now, I think about what God showed me through Courtney. Courtney has an AMAZING laugh. She also has a loud voice, that could often be heard throughout camp from time-to-time. It wasn't so much that she was being bad, it was just that Courtney struggles to use her words to vocalize what she is thinking and feeling. She would stem through yelling to communicate. At one point, I turned to Courtney and said, "Use your words" and that stopped the yelling and she used her voice correctly. At another time, she was getting worked up during teeth brushing time, and I said, "Courtney, settle down." I wasn't mad, I was just matter-of-fact about it, and it worked.

Courtney didn't just yell, but she also laughed a lot. She's a very happy young gal. And God showed me that the annoying yell wasn't what I'm to remember about her. I am to remember her laugh, smile, and hugs.

As I was thinking about it this afternoon, I realized that I'm not much different than Courtney. Sometimes I yell and carry on with God, and sometimes he has to tell me to "settle down."

And, amazingly, it works.



From Start To Finish....

...this weekend was FANTASTIC! I have contemplated doing this post in several small ones, but I honestly have decided to do it all in one so I can go to bed early tonight and get to work early in the morning. I don't really want to be back in the real world, but hey, here I am. *grin*

I headed out Friday Morning for camp after dropping Jay at the KU/MU family's house. They have a dog, so I pretty much dropped him off, said "have fun" and left. *grin* Jay doesn't like to be around other dogs, so I figured they could get the dogs acclimated on their own.

I made it down to camp, and was excited when I arrived. I was expecting it to be a low-key kind of weekend, as most Barn-A-Breaks seem to be pretty laid-back. We always have fewer campers during Barn-A-Breaks, and it's typically more intimate and less busy.

Imagine my surprise when I got there and found out I was with my cabin staff from this Summer! We made such a GREAT team this Summer that I was REALLY excited when I found out I was going to serve with them again!!! All they told me at that point was that we had 4 campers this weekend in our cabin. That made me happy. I didn't think much about it when they said that because we always have fewer campers than we do in the Summer at Barn-A-Breaks.

Things shifted for me when Cyndi Teas got up to speak during Orientation. She gave an AWESOME analogy about the campers that were coming this weekend. She said that most of the kids coming had Autism and Down's and that these children were crafted by God with a special, unique recipe made just for them. They each have gifts and talents mixed in with the challenges they face each day. It's like God used a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and made the amazing little people that we had this weekend. I have to say that her analogy fit PERFECTLY with our campers in our cabin.

As Cyndi continued, she called out B-6 (My cabin for the weekend, on Barn-A-Breaks we use the boys side of camp for everyone since it's less walking and fewer people. Don't worry though, girls in girls cabins, boys in boys cabins. *grin*) and one of the guys by me said "Martha Grace". I paused. Then it hit me, we had four campers because we had the TOUGHEST cabin this weekend. I paused and prayed because I wasn't really prayed up for a tough weekend. I had expected it to be like the other Barn-A-Breaks I had attended that were easy. Then the Lord spoke to me and told me that this was actually what I had always wanted.

I had always wanted to be in Martha Grace's world for a little while Everyone out at camp knows Martha Grace. Pictures and stories do not even begin to describe how AMAZING Martha Grace is, and what a precious daughter that God created when He made her. God taught me SO MUCH this weekend through this young lady who spoke very few words, but could show love in amazing ways. All in all, the weekend was a lot of fun. It was a lot of work, but I will say I loved EVERY moment of it.

I learned a lot this weekend about what I take for granted. The girls in my cabin this weekend cannot do daily living skills like most of us. I mean, we typically get up, get ready for work and/or school, and go. For the girls this weekend, getting ready for bed or waking up and preparing for the day, or taking a shower, or using the facilities, takes effort. And while I don't consider these young ladies as "less" than me (They're NOT!), it did make me realize how much I take for granted. I walked away this weekend realizing that God made us all exactly how He wanted us to be. And for the four AMAZING campers we had this weekend, life is just different for them. EVERY single time Martha Grace took my hand to walk, even if it was for just 15 seconds, I grinned ear-to-ear. Yesterday I drove away from camp thanking God for letting me in her world (as well as the others) for this weekend. I am different because of them. I will write about the other girls this week, as they all touched my heart in their own unique way.

After leaving camp, I met the Kellogg's in Joplin for lunch. I LOVE every moment with that family. We laughed and talked, and I got to hold Christian, the youngest. I LOVED it!

After that I went and saw Karen at work and then shopped for some new shoes and tops. (Found some good stuff on sale!) After shopping, I read a book while I waited for Ronni's Mom to call. Honestly, I was so excited about seeing Ronni that I could barely sit still. She called and then I headed out for the next part of my adventure. *grin*

When I arrived, Ronni came out in her pretty dress to greet me. I could hardly believe that standing in front of me was my FAVORITE camper of all-time. We went inside and watched some disney you-tube videos in a foreign language. Ronni really knows how to use a computer! After a little while, I took out my camera, and we had a GREAT time taking pictures of us. I showed Ronni the video feature on my camera and she proceeded to sing and dance as I recorded it. It was SO MUCH FUN! I think we did that for about an hour, but to be honest we were having so much fun that I lost track of time. *grin*

Eventually we went upstairs to eat dinner. I had a WONDERFUL time getting to know the rest of her family as we ate. They are a WONDERFUL family that blessed me immensely throughout the evening. Ronni's Mom made FANTASTIC homemade pizza, and after a while Ronni brought me a vanilla ice cream cone as well. It was fun. In the end, the family invited me back anytime, and said I was part of the family. *grin* I can't wait until the next Barn-A-Break so I can stop by and see her again!

After seeing Ron-Braun, I headed back to Joplin to see Karen. If you've been a reader of the blog for any amount of time, you know that Karen is tied with Laura at the top of my favorite people list!!! WHENEVER I spend time with Karen, I walk away closer to God than I was when I arrived. That was definitely true this trip as well. We had a lot of good conversation that encouraged me AND challenged me in my walk with the Lord. I LOVE THAT!!! God has really blessed me with my friendship with Karen. She is one AMAZING gal.

This morning I went and spoke to the students at MSSU. I spoke to a class of future teachers, and really enjoyed it. I feel blessed that they invited me back to speak, even though I now live in the KC area. It just seemed really special today, in a way that can't really be articulated in words. *grin*

All in all, this weekend was AMAZING. From start to finish it has been great.

I went to pick up Jay at the KU/MU house, and he went NUTS. I was just as excited to see him, as he was to see me!

It is great to be home, with the furry kid beside me, asleep.



I Can't Wait!

One of my favorite things about parent-teacher conferences is the fact I get to hear stories about my students. Some are heart-wrenching stories, and others are inspiring. I experienced both during this conference season. It was a good week. A VERY good week! And now I have a four-day weekend! Yea!

I wanted to share a story tonight that I made me grin.

One of my former students was standing outside in the hallway while his parents were inside having their conference. I told him that I am headed to Camp this weekend, to which he replied, "The camp where you're not allowed to have Pepsi?" *grin* I thought that was GREAT!

So, I leave about noon to serve at Barn-A-Break, and to spend some time with my favorite camper EVER! After that I get to spend some time with a GREAT friend and will speak at the college on Monday.




Yesterday and today I have been pondering something. I have blogged about it before, several times, but once again I was challenged this past weekend with something.

This past weekend was a conference weekend at IHOP-KC. Typically I attend several services during a conference weekend, but that wasn't the case this past weekend. I am preparing for parent/teacher conferences, and did a lot of work this weekend.

I will admit, I did go into the Conference Center at one point to use the Restroom. Other than that, I stayed in the shuttle and had a GREAT time. After driving shuttles for about seven hours, I parked my shuttle and got ready to leave. I put the clipboard, keys, and radio in the office and checked my backpack to make sure I had my cell phone. I didn't see it, so I went back out to the shuttle to make sure I hadn't left it there. I saw some people crossing the parking lot and headed toward the Conference Center. I knew before they even got to me that they were going to ask to pray for me. People who come to the conferences ALWAYS want to pray for me because of the limp. Over the years I've had MANY people stop me and want to pray for me.

As it turned out, I was right. Two ladies walked up to me as I was about to go back into the shuttle office to put keys up and check my backpack again. I was kind, let them talk, and sure enough, they asked if they could pray for me. Now, I believe that their hearts were somewhat in the right spot. So, I let them pray. I always get caught in that "I don't want to hurt their feelings" spot, and let people pray even when I'm not up for it.

They began praying, and a prophetic word came forth that was really cool. I was grinning ear-to-ear. Then, it happened. The phrase that I HATE when people pray over the CP. "Heal her body so she can be whole." I always stop when people say that. (If you're a regular reader of the blog, you can stop reading here, you know what's coming!)

I wanted to tell her I'm already WHOLE. I live on my own, pay my own bills, teach little people, and am enjoying my life! Ugh. I wanted to tell her that I was chosen to walk out life this side of Heaven with CP, and IT'S NOT SLOWING ME DOWN!!! God uses it DAILY with my students. DAILY!!! God chose me because He knew I could do it!!! (Ask Ms. H. She has plenty to say on the subject! *grin*)

Of course, my typical response was to just let her finish. Then I prayed over them and they left.

There are days I want to yell at people to look past the limp, because there is a WHOLE LOT more to me than the way I walk!

Anyway, that's what I was pondering today. *grin*

By the way, the cell phone was in the bag, it just wasn't in the pocket I had checked. Hum...


Sunday Night Crew!!!

While I have a lot rolling around in my head tonight, I have decided to give a SHOUT OUT to the Sunday Night Shuttle Crew! In my 14 months of driving shuttles, I have gone through several teams on Sunday Nights. The Lord brings people to drive along side us for a little while, and then moves them on to other things in their lives. Which is cool.

The current Sunday Night Team has been the most FUN team I have been a part of! Cherokee, Slim, Papa Bear, and/or Kentucky are such a fun crew to drive with on shuttles! I laugh more with those guys than I ever have on any other team. It's been a true gift from God.

Tonight was our last night to drive as our official Sunday Night Team because we are ending Sunday Night Services, and moving them to Saturdays. All night we were joking about the end of Sunday Services, and how we were losing our team. It made me grin A LOT.

The cool thing is that I won't stop driving with those guys. I mean, all of us are regular IHOP shuttle drivers, so it's not like we'll never see each other again. That is the only thing that really kept me from being sad tonight. It's not the end, it's just a shift in teams. I like that!

So, Slim, Cherokee, Kentucky, and Papa Bear, you guys are GREAT bunch to drive with! I can't wait to drive again with you guys again! You're my FAVORITE people on the Base!

Sidenote: Rich, your name was brought up tonight. We miss you! *grin* Blessings!

Ah, now I can't wait to see what God has in store for us next!

As for me, I am going to keep driving on Sunday Mornings or Saturday nights. I like that! On Sunday Nights, I will be joining a homegroup, so I can meet more people!



Back in the Shuttle!!!

Today I spent the day driving shuttles. From 12:15 until about 7:15, I drove shuttles and LOVED it! This is a conference weekend and we were BUSY! It was so much fun! I met so many amazing people!!! It was really cool.

It won't surprise you to find out that my favorite rider was a boy named Benjamin. Benjamin is ten and I predict he is Autistic. It was SO MUCH fun talking to him. He lives in North Dakota, and he's a kid I won't forget. He has a smile that shines. When I asked him what grade he was in he said that, "I'm smarter than the education system thinks, but I am in a 4th grade." I just grinned. He sat right behind me and we talked the whole way to the Prayer Room from FCF. I was hoping to see him again, but I didn't. I'll be praying for him, and I'm sure he'll come back someday. As he was about to step off my shuttle, I said, "The Lord has something great for you here," and he replied with, "Thanks, I need that kind of encouragement," and just walked away. *grin* LOVE. IT.

My second favorite rider tonight was a gal from St. Louis. She is a pediatrician, and after I shared that I am a Special Educator, she shared that she has a daughter with Down's Syndrome. Next thing I said was that I volunteer out at Camp Barnabas during the Summer and go during the Down's/Autism/Developmentally Delayed Week. She shared that her daughter went to Barnabas this past Summer during July. I just looked at her. Through a series of questions, we figured out that she was in MY CABIN this past Summer! How cool is that? She also shared that she had prayed that she could meet someone from that Cabin to see what she was like at Camp. How cool is THAT? I just grinned and silently told God, "Thanks" as she got out of the shuttle.

Ah, I love this place!!!



NICE! *grin*

Have you ever had a day when so much happened that you wonder if you can remember it all? That was my day today! It was a REALLY cool day, and one I don't want to forget.

First, it began with our staff meeting. Our students had the day off while we had Professional Development. And honestly, the Professional Development in my building is ALWAYS good. I ALWAYS walk away with someone new to use in my classroom, which is amazing! It was fun.

At the tail-end of our morning meeting, we had a team builder. Normally, when a person uses the word "Team Builder" to educators, they groan. I will openly admit that I am a geek and love team builders!!! In our instructions, we were told to predict what music the people at our table listen to regularly. The two songs that were given to describe me/that I listen to were "Don't Worry Be Happy" and "I Can Only Imagine." It made me grin ear-to-ear! How cool is that?

Tonight we had our school carnival. I'll be honest, I don't recall school carnivals when I was growing up, but what we had tonight was AMAZING. Our PTA is an AMAZING group of people who work hard to bless the students at our school. We had games, inflatables, horse rides, ticket redemption, food, and a Silent Auction. It was so much fun to see the parents and kids at the carnival, having a fun time.

Many of our staff had donated things to the Silent Auction. Most teachers donated seeing the new Harry Potter and getting the book. I debated and decided that it would be fun to do something interactive with a student, so I donated a round of Mini-Golf with me at Paradise Park! While I wasn't a high bidding item, a family paid $15 for their child to play mini-golf with me! That made me grin ear-to-ear.

I attempted to buy a pizza pass for a free pizza each month for a year from Waldo Pizza, but one of our fifth grade teachers out-bid me. It really was a competition between us for a while, but I lost! I tell ya, that would have been PERFECT for me. *grin*

At about 6:30, I went to the Redemption Center to work my shift. The kids brought in these little red tokens and could exchange them for prizes. I wound up putting on a goofy hat and playing a silent toy guitar. I tell ya, I got some weird looks, but even more smiles. It was FUN.

After my shift, I went to the cafeteria to hang out with our P.E. teacher, and a guy tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around, and a man began signing to me! It was SO COOL! After he signed the basics, he started talking to me, and we both used our hands a lot to sign as we talked verbally to each other. (It's a habit I'm into now that I'm in Signing Class!) As it turns out, he is a parent of one of our 5th grade students, and he and his wife are interpreters! It was SO MUCH FUN! He taught me some new signs and really encouraged me to learn more. It was definitely one of the highlights of my day!

The highest moment though came tonight when I got home and there was a message from Ronni's Mom saying I can see her next weekend after the Barn-A-Break! (Ronni isn't attending, as they already have a family outing for the weekend!) I get to see my favorite camper next weekend! Woop!

What an amazing day!!!