Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When my cousins were younger, they had a dog. I'm not sure what it's name was, but I remember that he was small and annoying. We'll call him Fred for this story. Anyway, Natalie and Nicole (my cousins) really aren't dog people. (I should say weren't, Natalie has recently become very much a dog person.) So they didn't really love Fred. They enjoyed playing with him every now and then and took him for the occasional walk, but he was not their best friend. Well, like I said, Fred was annoying, and my aunt didn't like him very much. One day she decided to find Fred a new family. She gave him a loving home with kids who would actually play with him and feed him. Natalie and Nicole got home from school that day and did not notice Fred's absence. The same thing can be said for the next day, and the next day and the next two weeks. Yes, Natalie and Nicole did not notice Fred being gone for 2 whole weeks until one day when my aunt fessed up and told them she had given Fred away. Both the girls started crying and carrying on about how much they loved Fred and missed him, even though they hadn't noticed for 2 weeks that he was gone. 

My relationship with Kody is nothing like Natalie and Nicole's relationship with Fred. In reality, Fred has nothing to do with this post, but I thought it was an amusing story. Kody is a 110 pound German Shepard who has decided to take residence here at The Double 9. (That's what I've started calling my house since my house number is 99. Try to keep up, Internet.) 

Let me tell you, Kody is a pain. When I say something is a pain, it's not a bad thing. It's my way of saying you're-a-little-high-maintenance-but-not-so-much-so-that-I-don't-love-you-in-fact-I-have-come-to-find-you-quite-endearing. Let me tell you why Kody is a pain.

He constantly thinks it's time to play fetch. It doesn't matter if we're in the house or out. He brings me his bone or ball or random stick. He is a playful dog. One of his favorite games are when I lock him in the bathroom and go hide his bone. Then he comes out and searches for it. Trust me, he loves it. He makes up his own games, too. Such as putting his ball at my feet, then grabbing it just before I do. He also steals my dad's tools, and my bear, and my shoes. Sometimes I walk into a room and he has 3 or 4 things around him that he has found around the house. He doesn't destroy them, though. He's a good dog!

He also gets hair everywhere. Momma is constantly telling me that Kody is an outside dog because of all the hair. I tell her that Kody is old enough to make his own decisions about being an indoor or outdoor dog. I'm just going to have to train him to vacuum.

Kody is all about being loving. He does so by jumping up and giving you kisses when you enter the door. Sometimes he shows his love by laying at your feet so you can't get up. Other times he does so by scaring away the random door to door solicitors. 

Granted, there are times that I have to tell him to man up, like when he cries like a baby for being left outside, or when he crosses his paws like a girl, but all in all, Kody is an amazing dog. And I promise it wouldn't take me 2 weeks to notice if someone decided to give him away.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Single Life

When I was in junior high, I had two best friends, Katie and Natalie. The three of us grew up in church together. Natalie and I are cousins, and Katie was like our adopted family member. The three of us were together all the time. Sometimes we would have sleep overs and stay up until 3 am talking about boys and playing Truth or Dare. Other times, once we were older, we would all pile into the front bench seat of my 1988 Buick LeSabre, roll down the windows, and drive around town with nothing better to do.
   Every now and then, though, Natalie and Katie would get together with out me. I would find out the next day at church when they would show up in matching red skirts, and I would completely clash in my pink skirt. They would have all kinds of new inside jokes from the past 12 hours that were hilarious to them and left me clueless. In Sunday School they would gush over what they did the night before, while I sat there gushing over the fact that I had been forgotten.
   Forgotten, out of mind, ignored, left behind: I still feel these things. Granted, it has nothing to do with my 2 best friends showing up at church in matching outfits while I miss out on all the fun. No, instead it usually has to do with being single. I see all of my dating friends and think: What about me, God? Did you forget me? I watch my friends with their adorable babies and ask: Will I ever know what that's like? Will anyone ever call me Mom? I watch as friend after friend walks down the aisle to the man of her dreams and wonder: Will anyone ever choose me or will I just continue to be overlooked, disregarded, forgotten?
  Singleness can be a lonely road, but I'm not writing this post to gather your pity or sympathy. I'm writing it to remind myself that God has a plan. (And because Raylene told me to write it.) He knows over 3 billion guys and can hand pick one just for me. He has only good things intended for my life. God is God and there is nothing that He cannot do. I know these things. I believe this things. I have faith in the Lord. But, I can't sit here and tell myself that He has a husband waiting for me. I don't know that. You don't know that. Only God knows that. Sure, odds are pretty good that I will end up married someday, but nothing is for certain. Regardless, God has a plan. A good plan. A plan that is perfect for me.
   Right now I feel like the Isrealites while they were wandering the desert. I'm sure there were many among the group that thought God had forgotten them. They were ready to stop wandering and head right back into the slavery of Egypt, but they didn't. They followed God through sandy dunes, and around Jericho a few times, and up to the borders of the promised land. They didn't stop looking, they didn't settle for pseudo Promised Lands, they didn't join an internet site that guaranteed they'd be in the Promised Land within 30 days. They trusted in God, and walked by faith. He was there in their midst doing the best thing for them.
   I know I haven't been forgotten. It's like Kari Jobe sings:
I know that you are for me
I know that you are for me
I know that you will not forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are
   God is for me. He loves me. He is the author of my story, and not a single word will be forgotten.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Camera 411

This post is dedicated to my friend, Stacey. She needs help with picking out a camera. Apparently she learned how long division and grammar rules in school and missed the part about picking out the perfect camera.

Okay, let me break this down for you. There are 2 types of cameras: point and shoot and SLR.

Point and shoot:
Everything is built in and compact. I call these purse cameras. I have my P&S in my purse at all times.


The main difference you'll notice is that the lenses change. I call this my "real" camera.

So the first thing you have to decide is if you want and point and shoot or a SLR (often called DSLR for Digital SLR)

The price of DSLRs have dropped dramatically in the past 5 years, so people are tending to buy them more. Your average person doesn't need an SLR camera. If you're just going to leave it "on the green square" or in automatic mode, I'd recommend a point and shoot.

If you are wanting to get into photography, or you just feel the need to spend extra money on a camera, I recommend Canon SLRs. For the following reasons:
  1. The lenses haven't changed in years, and their high end lenses are FAST
  2. They are at the front of the curve as far as new technologies go
  3. If you look at the sidelines at any sporting event, they all have Canons

I have a Canon 40D (pictured above). I love it. I also recommend Canon Rebels. They are good cameras, light and the low end of the Canon SLR price point.

Some people choose SLRs because they do better in low light situations. Few people realize that Canon makes a camera that has the same insides as their SLR without the changeable lenses.

The G series from Canon is my #1 recommendation for anyone on the market for a camera. This one is the G11. They started with the G9 and have progressed up to 11. The best thing is you can learn how to shoot manual, but you don't have to deal with the lens thing. Additionally, it still does well in low light and is a fast camera. So, this is my choice if you're looking for an excellent point and shoot.

Let's say that you want a good camera, but would like video as well. Canon also has the PowerShot series. It has a video focus - with INCREDIBLE zoom - but still takes nice photos.
The one pictured is the PowerShot SX20IS. (The IS on the end stands for Image Stabilizing. You want that.)

I've also heard good things about the Olympus point and shoot line. They have some really cool cameras at a slightly cheaper price point than the ones I mentioned above.
This is the Stylus 1050. It comes in a lot of colors, and can shoot underwater! Olympus and Kodak have been concentrating on their point and shoot lines, while Canon and Nikon focus on their professional lines, so that is something to keep in mind.

One last thing, I don't recommend Sony digital cameras. They created this thing called the memory stick. It's not compatible with the other memory cards, and is an all around pain. The cameras are fine, but the fact that you have to buy a special memory card, so you can't take advantage of some great card deals turns me away. Just my personal opinion, but thought it was worth mentioning.

There are a lot of other things to take into consideration when shopping such as f stops and megapixels. This is just a quick run down of my recommendations. Maybe I'll do episode 2....

If anyone has recommendations to share, feel free!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Dining Room

My dining room has undergone some changes in the past few months. Want to see?

It started out very bare and a bit dirty.

This light fixture found a new home in my entry way.

And it got jealous of the kitchen, so it decided it needed a make over, too. Never mind that the dining room was actually finished before the kitchen.

What we did: laid down new hardwood floors, stripped wall paper, cut arch into the kitchen, replaced outer wall sheetrock, painted, changed the light fixture, and made it pretty.

My bother continues to remind me that the captain chairs do not go with the table.

Here are the four corners. Sorry the photos are so grainy. I should stop using my point and shoot for pics I'm putting on the blog!
This was my great-grandma's flour cabinet. I think the tecnical term is a Hoosier Cabinet. It's over 100 years old.

The oil painting came from a garage sale. For a $1.

I bought this yellow chair at a garage sale when I was 16. I loved it. Everything else in the picture, from the Kitchen Aid mixer to the tea set is also from a yard sale. Yep, even the cake plate. Yes, Internet, the wall hanging too. I said everything...okay, I think 1 of the cookbooks was a gift from Momma, but the others are from garage sales.

This is incredibly blurry, but it's the 4th corner, so I didn't want it to feel left out, and I'm too lazy/it's dirty, so this is what you get. :)

Hope you enjoyed the peek into my dining space!


A Little Help from my Friends

I had a hilarious intro to this post, that somehow got deleted. I think some crazy lady with red hair accidentally hit the backspace button and then didn't hit ctrl z in time to save her work. I don't know, Internet, that is just speculation. Anyway, I was asked to contribute to one of my student's birthday book. Her mom is putting together a scrapbook of sorts for her daughter's 13th birthday because she would like to do something significant to mark her tranisition from childhood to young adulthood. So here is where I need your help.

If you could tell anything to the thirteen year old version of you, what would it be? What advice would you give? What words of wisdom would you share?

Thanks for being part of my brainstomring process!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm going to blog about this....

It's my new phrase. Whenever anything happens that I find remotely amusing/thought provoking/entertaining/embarrassing for others involved I find a need to blog about it. Maybe that is why my family and friends haven't been inviting me to as many gatherings. This weekend, I went to Arkansas, or as Momma calls it, God's country. It's where she was born. Every now and then we pack up our things and head south for the weekend. It always results in a lot of fun.

I really wish I rode with Grandpa though because he always provides good blog material. For instance, last trip we were pulling onto a highway under construction. There were orange cones as far as the eye could see, and he kept saying, "Verna, do you see those orange cones? Watch out for the orange cones!" As if she were oblivious to them. He also was learning how to text, and his phone kept going off. So he tried to answer it, but it was a text message. He couldn't differentiate between when his phone was ringing and when it was an incoming text. 

Anyway, this time I was with my parents. Not nearly as much blog material, minus when Mom drove right through the middle of the pumps at the gas station. You know how you are supposed to pull through vertically when there are 2 pumps side by side? My mom just cut right through the middle of the 2 pumps. She is starting to become a lot like Gpa. It's a bit worrisome. Enough stories, on to the photos.

This was Cash's first time to Arkansas. He love it very much. He really liked my necklace that day.

My cousins playing Ring Around the Rosie.

Eva and Jenner playing with balloons.
This is my cousin and my favorite aunts. (My other favorite aunt, Marie, is not pictured.) (They may or may not read this blog, so I have to tread carefully.)

How did you spend your weekend?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teacher Gifts

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner
I'm so excited about Kelly's topic this week because I feel like I can really take a stance as an expert on this one since I am a teacher. Whereas during the cleaning and organizing weeks I felt like a poser. Kind of like the weird talking mannequins in the Old Navy commercials. Speaking of which, the other day I walked into Old Navy and there was a girl standing with the mannequins. At first I thought one of them had come to life like in the commercials, then I realized it was just a girl. Yes, Internet, I am admitting that I am a bit of a ditz at times. There is no shame in that.

I teach middle school, so sometimes we don't get the stash that elementary teachers get, and that's okay. I'm not in the job for gifts, I'm in it for June, July and August the children. Regardless here is my top 10 list of gifts.

1. Gift Cards -- They never go bad, and I don't have to worry about if the kitchen they came from was cleaned. My students know me so well that I ended up with $35 to Starbucks, $40 to Borders and $20 to Chipotle at Christmas time.
2. Office Supplies -- Teachers are obsessed with post-its, pens, paper clips, and any other organization tool, so a cute package of note cards or a nice set of markers makes our week! My friend Ali got 4 reams of bright orange paper from a student last year. I've never seen her happier.
3. Jewelry -- This Christmas I got a pair of earrings that I love! The girl told me that she saw them in Target and had to get them. It made me happy, and proved that the kids probably pay more attention to what I wear than what I say.
4. College Gear -- Most teachers are quite loyal to their alma-mater, so we welcome gifts sporting our mascot.
5. Christmas Ornaments -- Pretty ornaments are always nice at Christmas time, but I personally am not a fan of the apple themed stuff. Apples are a fall fruit, maybe a fruit cake ornament instead....probably not.
6. Classroom Items -- Sometimes the best thing is to ask a teacher what they need for their room. This could end up being anything from chart paper to children's books.
7. Candy -- Instead of getting expensive candy just for the teacher, get a huge bag of random candy that she can use in her classroom. Although, I'm not the type of teacher who would bribe my kids with candy. I'm above that. (Said in my sarcastic tone.)
8. Cutsies -- This is just my term for random cute things that you might find on Etsy or in Hobby Lobby. Your child probably knows his or her teacher well enough to tell you if she would like it or not.
9. Socks -- Okay, I know this sounds stupid, and you're probably thinking that I'm just trying to fill in 10 things, which I am, but I really do like getting socks. Not a pack of 6 from Hanes, I'm talking cute socks. They are such a great gift! They always fit right and add personality to my otherwise normal wardrobe. 
10. Notes -- I LOVE it when my kids write me notes. I have binders full of them. I never throw them away, and I go back through and read them when I need motivation. Definitely the best gift in the world!!

Now, all of these tangible gifts are great. I will never turn you down if you want to give me a spa gift certificate. In the end though, it's all about the kids. Just knowing that parents trust us and support us in the classroom is what is important to us. I am grateful that I get to be part of making your child the adult they will become. I don't take that lightly. I love seeing my students everyday and getting to know them and their unique qualities. There is no doubt that it is one of the most stressful jobs in the world (come meet my 2nd hour!), and has the highest drop out rate of any career, but there is just something about those stinkin' kids that make it all worth while!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coffee Table Reveal

About a month ago I had a major decision to make about a coffee table. The winner ended up being the cart version. Of course, Dad ended up making it for me for about $992 less than the Pottery Barn version. I think he nearly had a conniption fit when I took a hammer and a plethora of other destructive things to it to beat it up. Regardless, I love it.

At first I was afraid it was too orange, but I think it adds just enough funk to my living room.

In case you've forgotten, it used to look like this.

But now it is much better.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Recipe Door

Confession: I'm obsessed with Sharpie products. I love Sharpie pens, but more than anything I love their markers. The fact that they can write on almost any surface amazes me. I've used them on my camera case and tennis shoes. In the back of my classroom, I draw where the students should return the Kleenex, pencil sharpener, stapler, and any thing else that sits back there. 

My latest Sharpie endeavor has been my kitchen cabinets. I decided tonight to write recipes on the inside of the door. I'm happy with it. :)
I wish I'd drawn more, so I might go back and add a few little graphics. We'll see. I want to write quotes on the inside of my closet door next. 

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Today is my dad's birthday. 

I could tell funny stories about him, like how he thought he wore a size 10 shoe for years and years, but it turns out he wears a 12 once his foot was measured.

I could tell you about how he used to tease my brother when we were little by moving his My Pet Monster around, so that Justin would think the stuffed toy was alive.

I could also tell you how he has a hidden talent of finding the most quiet place in the house when ever we have huge family functions.  

Instead, I'll tell you that he is super. Whenever I put anything on my Facebook status about my dad, everyone comments about how great he is. 

Whenever I talk about my house and how he did all the handiwork, everyone talks about how talented he is. He is pretty much amazing. 

I'm lucky to have such an incredible father. I'm often told that the real reason I'm not married is that I will never find someone who could measure up to him, and that is probably a little bit true. It's like that Loretta Lynn song, "They don't make 'em like my daddy anymore. Guess they've thrown away the pattern through the years." Especially the line that says, "My daddy wasn't one that tried to make no big impressions, just one heck of a man that worked for what he got." That describes him perfectly.

He's great and I love him. And he'll hate this post, but it's his birthday, so I get to do whatever I want.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


This is my nephew in his Easter outfit.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Is...

When I was little, my favorite thing about Easter was getting a new dress. Easter dresses were always excellent twirling dresses. You know, the kind where you would spin in circles and the dress would wave around you making the simple act of spinning look like a dance. So when I was a girl, Easter was a new dress.

As I grew up, my favorite thing about Easter was the Easter Bunny's baskets. My brother loved Cadbury Eggs, the other loved Reese's peanut butter cup eggs, and I just loved candy. There was something about the candy nestled in the neon green tinsel grass that made it that much better. So as I grew up, Easter was getting candy.

I began to realize that Easter also meant time with my entire family. We would eat a big meal of ham, cheesy potatoes, and Gma's deviled eggs. Then we would hide Easter eggs and hunt them down until we were so tired we couldn't hunt anymore. Easter was a big meal and fun.

I got a bit older and began to understand the reason for the season (oops, wrong holiday) I knew that Jesus came and gave his life, and I knew that meant a special service at church. There were more songs than usual and more people to look at during service. Therefore, Easter was a different order of service at church.

I've now began to realize that all of the above things are what most people think Easter is. When the world hears the word Easter, the first thing that comes to their mind are bunnies and eggs, not love and sacrifice. Not a brutal cross or a Heavenly Father's gift.

I'm reading a book by Beth Moore. The following is a paraphrase of then end of one chapter. She tells a story where her daughter turned to her and said, "He knows it's scary to be us." He does not take lightly that some of us were raised in a broken home. He does not take lightly that some of us have been mentally, physically, or sexually abused or simply abandoned. He does not take lightly that some of us have broken hearts or spirits. He does not take lightly that some of us have legs that don't work, bodies that don't cooperate, or eyes that can't see. He does not take lightly that some of us have had to endure the deaths of our parents, siblings or even, Lord help us, our children.

He knows it's scary being us. He came to earth. He lived life. He took it upon himself. Beaten and bloody hanging between two thieves He cries from the cross, "It is finished!" Because He did, one day God will wipe away every tear from the eyes of those who trusted Him, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away and our hardship will be finished.

I have come to see that Easter is a reminder. A reminder of Christ's sacrifice. A reminder of God's love. A reminder of the Holy Spirit's guidance in our daily lives. A reminder that we are all sinners. A reminder that He knows me, and loves me in spite of it all.