slice of my life

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, January 24th

This week's theme for Photo Hunters is chipped. B helped me think of something to take a picture of, and I got it done and onto the computer in the last 15 minutes. I love technology! ;-)
I have a set of Noritake "Stepping High" dishes I registered for when I got married. This was just before Target and Wal-Mart had bridal registries--can you imagine that? I registered at Dillard's and my college friend Janet was with me when I picked them out. I remember her telling me, "Just pick something already!" But see, I'm talking about my dishes 17 and a half years later. It was an important decision, and extra time than thought was needed.
This pattern is discontinued, so I was really upset when I chipped the first dish and broke a dinner plate completely. I had 9, so I'm still good to host a party of 8. (I'll take the chipped one.) By the way, do not set dishes directly upon a hot eye on the stove---that's how I got this lovely center cut of my plate. I think I will put it into a backsplash someday.

Happy birthday, Janet!!

Go to TNChick's site to see more chipped pictures or join in the hunt. Next week's theme is furry. I will be busy next Saturday taking a test for my teaching certification, but I hope to post my selection sometime that day.
Have a nice weekend!!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, January 17th

Today's theme is hats. Check out TNChick's website for more hats and learn how to join in.

This photo of me and my husband jumped to mind when I saw this theme. Here we are on our honeymoon in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and we're riding the Maid of the Mist boat, up close to the Falls. I know I've used this photo for the hunt before, and recently, but it's perfect for hats. We wore these hats on our honeymoon all across the USA.
In my mind, the hats were a symbol of Larry and I together. When I was taking a drawing class at UNT during the next year, I was challenged to draw a series of 6 self-portraits, and this next shot is one of those. It hangs in my bedroom.
I had a floral bucket hat I wore on the honeymoon, too, and it was green. I worked from life sketching it out and coloring it in using pastels. All the portraits were symbolic and many of them clothing----married life (this one), work life (my Taco Bueno apron---I really like that one), being a woman (pantyhose and high heels), childhood (my doll Gaga, some green overalls, and I think my flag corps gloves). I've forgotten the other two! I must have not liked them as much !! ;-) I was 21 years old and a newlywed when I did those, and I have a few more portraits I could add to that list. I've added many more hats to my life as I've added responsibilities. Mother, teacher, blogger!
Next week's theme is chipped. Hope you will come back and see what's found!!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Part 2

My next strength is Intellection.
People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual conversations.

One of the answers on the test I took for this was "My mind is always thinking." or something like that. I put YES. EXTREMELY. I have discussed this with Larry. My mind is always turning something around in there. I am thinking in the shower, while I am driving and especially when I wake up in the night.

The bad news is, it's great fodder for the devil to get me. I worry about stuff that possibly could happen or about things I'm trying to figure out! I second guess decisions I made. I am driving today, trying to figure out why they cone off a lane in front of the junior high, on the bypass, and why they need a traffic cop there and why my son's school that is built just the same doesn't do that, and is there more traffic there, or is it because they are on the feeder road of a freeway, or maybe because there's . . . . blah blah blah. Who knows where else my brain was going.

I'm totally introspective---I'm very introverted if left in a strange situation. I'm happy with my own thoughts. But I do love to have quiet conversations with others, and I do appreciate another thinker.

Larry was the valedictorian of his class. I found this out one evening when a group of us were at his apartment before we were dating. It upped his status in my mind a bunch. Made him even more attractive! ;-) The fact that he could keep up with me or excel past me was a necessary thing when I was looking for dates and spouse. But I don't even know if Intellection is in his top 5. Could be!?!

This strength is developed in quiet, though, which I do not give myself enough of. One of the suggestions was to schedule this quiet alone time. Made me think of the special I saw about Einstein---he would spend days just looking out the window. Being brilliant (not that I have achieved this!) takes some time to think---it's not automatic. It makes me not feel so guilty for wanting more down time.

That last bit flows well into my next strength: Connectedness.
People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a purpose.

See? I made a connection between something I saw on TV, this class's material, and myself.

Doesn't everyone think this?? I am sure things happen for a reason. I've been even more sure of it since I taught through the Old Testament a few years ago. To see the stories of Ruth (a foreign born woman), Rahab (a prostitute), and the family line of Jesus all come together, it makes me think about how I am part of a chain of events that God's controlling. I'm a piece of the puzzle that God is putting together.

I have always said Jamie and I were saved from harm in my 1995 wreck for a reason. Maybe I was saved for my own great plan. Or I was saved so that I can help raise a great child to manhood. Or maybe we are just pieces that had to be there for someone down the line that God will use in another way. On the other hand, we're here in the now for doing what God has put before us. I like what I heard about Mother Theresa: that she just did her little tasks to her best ability. That's what we all can do.

Another thing I do---if I hear about something three times from different sources, I try to pay attention to that thing. It can't be a coincidence that I'm hearing about it. It happened at school one day concerning a song that was running through my brain. It's base don the scripture in First Samuel---be strong and courageous and do not be afraid. The will go with you each and every day. I mentioned it to Jason, that I'd love for him to lead it in Chapel soon. he said he was thinking the same thing in his office that very morning. See? No coincidences. Who needed that song? Someone did, and God used me and Jason to make it happen. I like to think so, anyway.

Of course this strength is strengthened by my faith that God is up there, in control.

My number 5 strength is Belief.
People strong in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their lives.

Well? Doesn't everyone with a faith in God have this? Nope!

I've never thought that I have a stronger belief than anyone else. It goes along with how I feel about the connectedness of things. God is unchanging, so my beliefs are also. Well, sorta. I think I'm developing my thoughts and beliefs as I go along in life. But the core of it is the Bible. It has to be based on that. I'm still learning (my Learner strength again) and want to have a deeper understanding of the Bible.

I have never been able to read the Bible in a year. It's too fast for me. I like a more pondering study, where I can really think about something. (That's my Intellection talking.) But I really do want to acomplish that! (And that is the Input talking---one more collection of info for me to grasp.)

One aspect of this strength is that belief gives life meaning and that your job needs to be meaningful. I do have this in teaching. I'm supposedly "consistent" and friends view me as dependable and trustworthy. I hope so!

That's all ! Now I can go to class tonight satisfied I've done my homework. ;-)

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Monday, January 12, 2009

I may have to do my writing in installments because I think I have a lot to say about this, but it's overwhelming me to think about getting it all out! So I must start somewhere. Here goes!

I am taking a class at church using the StrengthsQuest materials. Our teacher has taken this secular training and added a Biblical perspective. I LOVE doing stuff like this.

StrengthsQuest helps a person identify his strengths and then has some training on how to capitalize on the strengths. It's being used in the corporate world and also with college students to help them get into work that suits them best. There are 34 strengths, and you're given your top 5 after you take a test. It's a long test---it took me 25 minutes to get through it.

Here are my top 5:

Each one of these Strengths were given to me by God. They're my talents, if you will, my unique qualities that help shape who I am. My homework is to write a bit about each one and what it means to me.

Starting with my number 1, I begin.

"People strong in Input have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information."

What is my blog except an archive of my life? I usually feel a little bit guilty when I blog because it's not "productive" enough, but I really do feel a drive to do it! I also love to scrapbook, and I have had them since high school. One of my biggest collections is my files for teaching---I have numerous boxes of Alphabet ideas, seasonal activities, Bible stories, information about countries, and everything else I think is useful. I also have some photo collections---Texas county courthouses and those trains we had around our town. Here are some more phrases the literature mentions----
  • You collect it because it interests you, and so many things are interesting to you. This is true of me!
  • You are inquisitive. Isn't everyone?
  • Why are these things worth storing? At the time, it's hard to say, but they might come in handy sometime. This has been my teaching file theory!
  • You don't feel comfortable throwing anything away. Yes . . .
  • Acquiring and compiling stuff is interesting and keeps your mind fresh.

This strength definitely applies to me. I am always asking questions about things and finding things interesting. I have said that if you watch any Biography show, you'll find something interesting about it. I like to watch the History channel, too. I'm not into war-type stuff, but even some of those shows interest me, too.

This pairs SO much with my 2nd strength, that at first, I didn't know what the difference could be. But I knew that my J had this same strength (his #2), but he didn't have Learner. And as I read more closely, learner is different. And it SO me, too.

People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

I LOVE school, a conference, a new class, the beginning of a new school year, a new idea. LOVE it!! I do like the process of learning---and I really do think that if the outcome still isn't as high as you thought it would be, it's still been beneficial. I do have a desire to learn---and I'm sure this makes me a good teacher. I hope I can inspire my students to want to learn also. I hope they can see that it's fun and interesting.

I am enjoying being a grown-up learner. I can't see ever NOT wanting to learn. I like that now I have the freedom to learn whatever I want! I was always excited to begin a new semester. I was excited about getting all my materials together and the books.

J has Input, but he doesn't like to do all the processes in learning. I do. I sort of like "showing my work" on math problems and diagramming sentences.

I really enjoyed looking at the "professional Action Items" from the website. These are things to point you in the right direction using your strengths. Some of the things in the Input strength that hit home are making time to read stuff that interests me, reading the dictionary and deliberately increasing my vocabulary, finding ways to share the information with others, and accept that I will never feel like I know enough. The professions they mention with Input are teaching, research and journalism. Hello! I'm a teacher! ;-)

The Learner Action Item that most touched me was that I should honor my desire to learn---and I am at a point in my life where I am really doing that, and not just for my certification training. I found that I really enjoyed reading "classic" books (books I think I should have read in college?), and that if I got the Cliffs Notes, I enjoyed learning more about the novels. I love the backstory, and reading the Cliffs Notes gave me that extra info I liked.

Well, there's more, but I am tired!! My last three are Intellection, Connectedness (which is on J's top 5, too), and Belief.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009


I am just now crystallizing my thoughts on resolutions. I am getting a late start on beginning the resolutions, but I have some good ones. Ones that I can strive for, and ones that will make a positive change.

*I will keep the top of my new dryer cleaned off.

*I will get my lesson plans typed up---and turned in on time! (This one is already late for this week!! But I am striving for the goal.)

*I will clean up the kitchen in the evening before I go to bed.

*I will cut back on soda consumption. This is the hardest one. I am saying what quantities, because I need to think on this a bit more.

*I will get my certification to teach EC-4th grade this year.

*I will cut back on my outside obligations. I have to do this or I'm going to implode.

We'll see how I do! Happy New Year!


Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, January 10th

This week's theme is aftermath. Besides my first thought about the aftermath of our flooded house (I am so ready to forget about that), and the aftermath of the most recent hurricane (which I don't have pictures of anyway), I thought about the aftermath of the forest fire in Yellowstone. The fire was in 1992 and I visited in 1993.

Here's my shot of the aftermath:
By this point, the underbrush was beginning to grow and the ground was all nice and green. The burned tree trunks were still standing in place. And the good news is, because the trees were not there, and we had some more spectacular views. In the aftermath, the earth benefited, I am told. I wonder if these wildfires are nature's way of replenishing the earth and have been going on for all of time.
For more aftermath pictures or to join in yourself, go to TNChick's website. Next week's theme is hat(s). Come back and see what I find!

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Good Things

Some really momentous things happened today.

I bought a new dryer! Hallelujah!!!! You don't know how long I've waited---longer than a lot of women would have. I really got used to "living green" and hanging the wash. Not as bad as you would imagine---you just had to plan ahead and learn to live with stiff clothes and towels.

B was riding a bike! She is determined to learn how, and at age 10, it's time. She is really proud, and I am too.

J shaved. Enough said about that.


Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt, January 3rd

Today's word is Hope. The first thing I thought of when I heard the theme was my children.This first one is J and the next one is B. They are each 13 months old in these photos. They are so full of potential! As they have grown, the possibilities for their futures are narrowing, becoming fine tuned. As a parent, you are full of hopes for your children. You hope they will live through their illnesses. You hope they will sleep through the night. You hope they will listen to you and learn to behave. You hope they will grow and become a strong child. You hope they make friends at their new school.

Above all the minor things, though, you hope for their future. You hope the world will be a safe and happy place for them. You hope they will fulfill their purpose in life, that thing they were created by God to do. With all the personality traits and struggles and experiences and love and ups and downs, you hope through it all they find a niche in the world that was made for them, and that they use their talents to do it the best they are able. At least this is my hope.
Some people feel great hope because of the coming presidency. Some feel hope every new year---I do this year. But these are things we're just wishing for. There is no certainty in this hope. No one knows what the coming year holds.
I love the verses in Romans 5 about hope:

We rejoice in the Hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

There are certainties about this life, but only the things associated with God--the unchanging great I Am, who is the same today and before time and forever. In him I put my hope---that He will continue to love me and work things out for the betterment of my soul---and the souls of my children.

My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness . . .

Next week's theme is aftermath. Go see other hopeful posts through TNChick's site---the hostess for the Photo Hunt.