laugh often

Our sermon series at church currently is "One month to Live." Last weeks sermon, love deeply, was very emotional as our pastor talked about the events that happened in the Steven Curtis Chapman family last May. He talked about how, as they were pulling away to go to the hospital, Steven Curtis Chapman yelled out the window to his son who had been driving the car that struck Maria, "Will Franklin, your father loves you." Later when asked why he yelled this he said, "I was in the process of realizing I was losing one child, and I did not want to lose another one." Our pastor used this to illustrate God's love for us: "Kelsey Lynae, your Father loves you. I've lost one child but I'm not about to lose another one." It was, like I said, emotional and very captivating.

So after that sermon last week, we didn't quite know what to expect when we walked in today. The sermon was titled "Laugh Often," and that is exactly what we did. It was such a great reminder that as Christians we have a joy that no one can touch, and that the church should be a refuge of that joy. The sermon was, as you can imagine, very funny [our pastor def. has a gift for this in most sermons], but the gospel was also very evident. It made us thankful once again for this church that God has placed us in. You can check out this sermon series at the church's website:

http: //www.southeastchristian.org/sermons/?id=808

[This week's and last week's aren't up yet, so keep checking back. You can also check out the past sermon series, "gods at war," which is a powerful series about idols in our lives.]

At the end of the sermon, he played this video...enjoy[ don't know how to get the videos but just the links, sorry]:


Here are a few other videos that Brent and I always turn to when we need a good laugh. When you have a minute, take a look:






a first paycheck... and finally some pictures

Today was exciting for 3 reasons:

#1: It is the beginning of a three day weekend...obviously a reason to celebrate.

#2: I received my first real paycheck...and realized that my work is worth it :). Even though people always say teachers don't get paid enough, when you haven't received a paycheck that big in your entire life, all is well.

#3: I received my results [FINALLY] from my Praxis and PLT. I passed both!!! My praxis for middle school English I got a 190/200-- I felt pretty good about that. For the principles of learning and teaching I received a 172/200-- and I passed and that's all that matters! :) Thanks to everyone who said prayers that day!

Here I am after receiving both in the mail today:We were both very happy [and Micah, this is one of the shirts I got with the gift card :)]:

I also realized that I never put up the few pictures I took from Dad's brief visit. He showed us the finished product of the painting he did of Brent:

After church on Sunday, dad and I snapped a few pictures. The first one isn't very good, due to the lighting. It was a quick trip but I think we all really enjoyed it! [I like the second one a lot.]:


an email about missing things

I just sent an email to Aunt Linda. Now that the college is starting back up, I am realizing more and more the things I am going to miss. I thought I'd share, as this isn't necessarily specific to A.L., although a few things are. I realize also that this list is not exhaustive...I could write for 2 more hours about everything I miss:

"Hey there,

been thinking about you and oc and nwc and moc and all those other acronyms that i left behind up there in the north. now that i know nwc has started, the college-sickness i didn't expect is slowly creeping up on me. i miss not having anything until 9 oclock. i miss having every meal ready to go. i miss being able to walk to the "post office" or the nurse, or to borrow an egg, or a movie, or a shirt, or shoes, or a hair dryer.... i miss having you to call and say, "hey, can i just come take a bath?!" i miss having you call me and say "The hut tonight?" i miss having dutchness surrounding me. i miss double a's and v's being present in my life. i miss knowing that within 100 yards of wherever i was i could find about 400 other women my age, who wouldn't mind hanging out, even if i didn't "know" them. i miss going to ball games and knowing the players, and coaches, and managers...and occassionally the refs. i miss uncle alan's comments. i miss someone teaching me instead of the other way around. i miss being able to read a book. i miss curling up in a ball under a bunkbed in the darkness of 2 pm in the afternoon. i miss not really having to shower but once or twice a week :). i miss the smells, the sounds...yes, the smells even :) i miss singing the doxology. i miss being able to put on a hat when i accidently woke up 5 minutes before i had to be somewhere. i miss the quiet streets. i miss taking kids for walks in strollers down friendly sidewalks where everyone waved and cars let us cross in front of them, even if we didn't have the right of way. i miss tulips, even if i couldn't pick them. i miss coffee shops. i miss the freedom of walking in late to class. i miss people knowing me. i miss being known. i miss scheswans, which i still don't know how to spell. i miss the bibles for missions thrift store that came 3 years too late. i miss the very friendly cashier in caseys. i miss chicken parmesean on sundays in the cafeteria. i miss the pre-made cookies you have. i miss you. i miss everything, really. just thought you should know.
love you


middle school

I don't have much time today as I need to put together a lesson on the personal essay! I got a copy of this great book of poems by a man named David Puckett. After teaching middle school for several years, he began to write free verse pieces at the end of his days as a way to "reflect the full range of emotions experienced by all those lucky enough to call themselves middle grade teachers."

They are, in my experience thus far, very accuracte and insightful. Here are two that I wanted to share today:

Middle school learning is...

gum hiding
pencil breaking
toe tapping
hair tossing
seat squirming
pocket searching
make-up checking
window watching
note writing
mind changing
note crumpling
allegiance shifting
girl dreaming
boy dreaming
day dreaming.

Middle school teaching is...

aiming the learning gun
at a moving target.

In the past of every successful human being
Stands a middle school teacher
with a
smoking gun.

The Middle School Workout

Neither Jane Fonda,
Nor Richard Simmons,
Could improve upon the daily workout
Performed by middle school students everywhere!

They are amazing!
Their rules are few...

1. Don't walk when you can run!
2. Don't whisper when you can yell!
3. If it is overhead, jump and hit it!
4. If it's underfoot, kick it!
5. If it's flat, wad it up and throw it!
6. If it's breathing, write a note to it!

No wonder their parents complain
That their children come home too tired
To do their homework!


no one told me...


I just looked and realized that the last time I posted was last WEDNESDAY...and it's now MONDAY...sick. Time flies. This weekend was wonderful as Brent treated me to supper out on Friday (something we rarely do), and then a movie at the cheap theater with our friends, Eric and Rachel. Saturday we went grocery shopping (we actually enjoy this, but not the bill part! yikes!). This trip was very much needed as it had been a long time since we bought groceries...paycheck to paycheck baby! Luckily I get my first one very soon, and yes, I'm what one might call "ecstatic." :) Then we went to the mall to hit up Old Navy sale's racks. Back home and we received a phone call that Eric and Rachel got engaged (congratulations, guys!). Yesterday we had a wonderful service at church. Our current sermon series is "One Month to Live," and each week focuses on a different aspect of how we would live differently and more passionately if we knew our time was shorter. (I hope to blog about this later). And then last night we were invited over to the music minister's house for supper with the other interns and their wives. It really is a fun group and we enjoyed a night of fellowship and great food, which Brent and I will never pass up!

Now for the title of this post: "No one told me..."

When I realized it was Monday already I thought to myself, "Wow, Mondays really are horrible. No one ever told me just how much teachers hate Mondays (and probably every occupation for that matter!). This made me think about some other things that "no one ever told me..." (or things that maybe, just perhaps, I didn't take notice of when someone did tell me :))
-- ...it is so hard to think of something to cook for supper every single night! (I know mom always asked me for suggestions...but now I understand! What are you all making for supper tonight? Suggestions...:)
-- ... my body would be ready for bed at 7 o'clock every night.
--... that eventually you stop caring what tv shows are on at night.
--... that even at the age of 22 I still need to write everything down or I forget what I'm doing.
--... that "multi-tasking" as a teacher is not just an option, but survival.
--... that "parent-contact" was going to be about #2 on my priority list under "Teaching students."
--... that your "planning period" really is just a slot in your day in which other people feel the need to schedule meetings.
--... that you'll always just want to go home, you always want have your mom cook you supper, and have your dad read you a bedtime story as he tucks you in to bed, you'll always want your mom to pick out your outfit for the next day, and you'll always want to be able to use the excuse, "I'd love to do that, but my parent's just won't let me, sorry."

I'm sure this list will only grow with time! Here's to another week :)


in the news


A quote or two of mine made Louisville's newspaper this week {The Courier Journal}. The link is above, but here is the article:

Special pep talk

'New' teachers urged to connect with students

By Sara Cunninghamscunningham@courier-journal.com • August 20, 2008

There are warehouses full of research that says high-quality teachers matter the most in education, Oldham County Schools' Superintendent Paul Upchurch told a roomful of teachers earlier this month.


"What you believe and what you do over the next year makes quite a bit of difference."

Upchurch and several other Oldham school officials spoke during an Aug. 8 orientation for teachers who are either new to the profession or new to the school district this year.

The district has about 70 new teachers, said Rebecca DeSensi, a district spokeswoman.

Kelsey Irwin attended the event, which was held at the Holloway Conference Center in Crestwood. Irwin, a first-year teacher, is teaching English this year at South Oldham Middle School.

"It's nice to see the faces of the administrators because they won't really be in your building," she said.

Irwin said she appreciated some of the inspirational or motivational parts of the day.South Oldham High School Assistant Principal Nicole Adell spoke to first-year teachers and those new to Oldham County during an orientation Aug. 8.

Nicole Adell, South Oldham High School's assistant principal, got the audience fired up with her animated talk focusing on making connections with students.

Adell used examples from her personal life and from her interaction with students at school. One example was about a student last year who she befriended by commenting on how he always had a breakfast burrito with him in the mornings and by "talking baseball" with him.

Rather than saying "give me a moment, give me a moment," when things get busy, Adell told the new teachers to "take a moment" by putting students first.

The simplest way to start is by greeting students at the classroom door every day, Adell said.

Children spend a majority of their day under the care of Oldham County Schools during the year, she said.

"You have to acknowledge that our influence while they're under our care is huge."

Irwin said that as a new teacher, everything can get overwhelming when there's so much to learn about the districts and schools. However, Adell's talk helped simplify things again.

"This was a good way to remember why we're really here," Irwin said.


all work and no play? never.

So, yes, I have begun teaching. I just sent out a mass email about that endeavor [if you didn't get the email and want it, just let me know and I'll shoot it your way]. But there have also been other fun things going on in my life!!

Last weekend we had our friends, Eric and Rachel, over. After supper we went golfing. The boys golfed and Rachel and I walked with them. It was actually quite a bit of fun. They are very relaxed and great to hang out with. The boys didn't do as well as they wanted to, so we headed back to our apartment and I made Orange Julius' to lighten the mood :). [This was actually another recipe from a freshman student!]. It reminded me of the times that Grandma Ann would make Kali and me Julius'...I would hide when she ran the blender! So with our drinks in hand we watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It was a good night to just relax and have fun.Saturday, Brent helped me out by making cookies! He likes to take them for lunch everyday, and I wanted to have some for this weekend when Dad and Derek would be here, but I just didn't have time as I had a few last minute things to prepare for school. So I talked him through the recipe and then left the kitchen and he went to work...they turned out perfect!! He was very proud of himself and is enjoying them!

Wednesday was the big day as I started school, but it was also the night of our second slow pitch softball game. So after school I drove my tired body over to the church and changed into my uniform [sorry no pictures]. We had played really well the week before and we were all planning on another great night. We started out pretty well, but then during the second inning, I was running from first to second and about half way there I felt some sharp pain in my quad. I limped to second before the ball got there and then got a pinch runner. I got myself off the field but then I realized how much I was really hurting. Brent ran and got me some ice and I sat down and then the tears started....yes, I hurt, but I just kept thinking about not being able to walk for day 2 of school. It has just been an emotional and long day at school anyway, and then this on top of it all?! I couldn't believe it. Everyone on our team must have thought I was the biggest sissy because I just sat and cried. I consulted Micah and Dad, received medical advice :), and was feeling a little better.

Our team had planned the week before to meet at one of our teammates houses [she is actually the mission's intern at the church, and is staying in a house owned by the church. It has an awesome back porch!]. We grilled out and everyone brought sides, and after a long day I sat there and felt so blessed to have already been able to have made such great friends. One of them even called Brent the next morning to see how my leg was doing! We enjoyed the food and fellowship, and after several hotdogs and burgers and bugbites...I crashed into bed!

Dad swang through on Thursday night and we had some enchiladas, and Derek has been here for a week now. Dad will be back tonight, and both will head out on Monday, as I begin my first FULL week! Keep me in your prayers as I know I will be exhausted!

I can't get on blogspot at school, so I will try and keep up with posting as much as I can. Hope you all are enjoying the olympics...I can't get over Michael Phelps! Wow. Time for some floor scrubbing!



I've been trying a lot of recipes lately to see what we like and what works well. When I finished student teaching my freshman gave me a lot of recipes. Some have been hit and miss, but some we have found that we really enjoy.

our favorite [this is definitely not a "light" recipe:
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced [I didn't put these in ours :)]
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed [I used minced]
2 T margarine, melted
3 c chopped cooked chicken [I lightly seasoned]
1 8oz pkg. fettuccine, uncooked
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 c margarine
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/4 t ground white pepper [i used black]

Cook first 4 ingredients in 2 T butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until veggies are tender. Add chicken, and cook until thoroughtly heated. Set aside and keep warm.
Cook fett. according to pkg. directions; drain and place in a large bowl.
Combing whipping cream, 1/2 c butter in a small saucepan; cook over low hear until butter melts. Stir in parmesean cheese, parsely, and pepper.
Pour whipping cream mixture over hot fett.; add chicken mixture. Toss until fett. is thoroughly coated.
Yield: 6-8 servings.

[This makes a lot. Brent and I enjoyed it for a few days...we were HAPPY to stretch this one out. Delicious. On the back of this recipe my student wrote, " I'll miss having you in class. Thank you for making it so enjoyable. Best of wishes!" What a special gift to have.]

Another good one, and it's super easy:
1 1/2 lbs. beef
1 pk taco seasoning
1 can cream/mushroom soup [I used cream of chicken and it was also good]
1 cup cooked tomatoes/ tomato sauce
Taco chips
1 cp cheese

Brown meat; add taco seasoning, soup, and tomato sauce. Grease casserole dish [I believe I used a 2 qt.], put slightly crushed chips on bottom of dish. Pour in meat mix. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts.

[I also found that adding rice to this stretched it, and we both really liked the taste with the rice as well. The bottom chips do get soggy, but we just add a few fresh ones on top after re-heating it and it still tastes good as new!]

I got this muffin recipe from Carrie. She makes them for her son, as they are from the cookbook Deceptively Delicious and have veggie and fruit in them! Brent can't get enough of them and they are so easy to make!
1 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C carrot puree
1/2 ripe bananna
1 large egg white
1 C wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Mix all ingredients well.
Drop in greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. [mine are usually done at about 13!]

That's all for now. As I discover more I will add them :) ENJOY! YUM!


grandparent's visit

We were so happy to spend some great time with Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Jay during their trip to Louisville [Brent's grandparent's on his mom's side]. They had always been wanting to get out this way to visit one of Grandpa's ship buddies from the war. So during their time here they were able to visit John and his wife [who live just over the river in Indiana], and also traveled to Virginia to research some family history. Brent and I spent several evenings with them, and were able to do a lot of fun stuff.

After church on Sunday they treated us to lunch at Cracker Barrel. Here we are waiting outside before being seated.

After a very good lunch [I ordered breakfast like I always do at CB], they wanted to show Brent and me their friends' house. He owns a ton of land and even has some corn fields smack in the middle of the city. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet them, as they were out for lunch that day. Grandpa Jay got some good pictures of their house though.
Doesn't really look like we're in the city, does it?
His friend had collected these rocks, which I thought looked like cauliflower...they were really interesting.

Afterwards we went to the Louisville Slugger Muesem. Walking up to the main entrance, there are bats and plates of famous ball players. The mini statue of the bat is cut exactly like they made it for that particular player [each player has certain alterations they like to have made].
The biggest bat in the world [i couldn't even get the whole thing in the picture!]

They have a huge wall when you walk in that has all of the ball players that have ordered bats from them, with their signature burned into the wood just like it was sliced off the bat. here they have a display on black wood of all the hall of famers that have used their bat. Bottom left is OZZIE SMITH [took this for you, Paige and Torri]. In the right is George Brett.
We then took a tour through the factory, and they show you how they make bats. Very interesting.
Unfortunately you can't take pictures in the actually factory, so here I am i nthe giant glove!
You get mini bats after your tour, which is dangerous when 200 people in the museum, half of which are children, are all walking around pretending to swing their bats!
We really enjoyed spending the time with Gma and Gpa! It's always nice to sit down with family.


very quickly

I am completely overwhelmed and overstimulated with a thousand pages of brand new information. I feel as if I have 38 different internet windows up, and just when I start to look at one, another one calls my name. Countdown until the first day of school : 6. We've had meetings all week, and although they've been mostly positive and have greatly excited me and encouraged me [and helped me get to know what I believe is going to be an incredible staff], they have also bombarded me with too many things at once. There are too many acronyms that are used that I just have no clue what they mean! Today one of the teachers asked me what I am most nervous about for the first day, and I honestly answered and said, "Ya know, I haven't really let myself think about it that way." And I haven't. I know I am still in control and I am still looking forward to meeting my students.... but there is a lot to do yet. I'll be okay, but just pray for me when you think about it. Tomorrow is my last day of orientation, and Monday is family night, and classes start on Wednesday.

For you teachers out there, how do you prepare for the first day every year? Do you remember your very first day as a new teacher? Advice?

In other news: Brent and I won our first co-ed slow pitch softball game last night. We put together a team with some other interns from the church and we had so much fun. We're planning on winning the league, but I'll let you know how that plays out :)

Tomorrow is the summer intern's last day. Eric and Brent have become good friends and have golfed many times together :). Brent is beginning to wonder what he'll do at work without Eric. Tomorrow night we are going to have him and his girlfriend, Rachel, over for supper. And then the guys are going to go golfing and Rachel and I will just walk to the course with them, and then we will probably get a movie or something. I'm looking forward to a fun evening. I need it! [and I believe Shepard's Pie is on the menu! Yum!]

AND...the beginning of next week our friend Derek is coming [best man at our wedding]. He has a missionary convention here in Louisville and will be crashing at our place for a full week [monday to monday]. I know I'll be a little frazzled, but of any of our friends I know he'll understand :). AND.... DAD IS COMING NEXT WEEKEND! Which we are really looking forward to. So it will be a full house and a very busy week, but I think being with people who know me well will help ease the stress!

This weekend I hope to blog about:
-Our time with Grandpa Jay and Grandma Hazel
-An excellent Chicken Fettucini Alfredo recipe
- My unguarded thoughts about school starting.
[I wrote all these out so you all will keep me accountable].

AND...HAPPY 2 MONTHS TO BRENT AND ME! :) Can you believe it?!


books need a new home?

The first day of school is quick approaching. Today I might with our journalism students [did I mention I'll be doing yearbook-- YIKES!]. It was an all day marathon, but it went very well. I am oh-so-tired though.

This post is quick and for one purpose:

My bookshelf is in desperate need of books for my classroom. If any of you have old boxes filled with books from the days of yester-year [aka something suitable and level-appropriate for middle school to high school level] and you want to donate to a good cause, I would be happy to be the recipient! I know throughout the year I will order some via book-orders, but I thought to get started and pack the shelf with some used but loved books would be fantastic!

I called mom and dad and asked them if dad could bring my "box-o-books" when he comes to visit in two weeks [which I am thoroughly excited about]. This box is mostly filled with BabySitter's Club books, but also some of my old favorites, which are worn and torn, but I can still tell you all about them! Growing up I felt like these characters were my friends, and when I look back, they were just as much a part of my childhood as Gak! [Remember that stuff?] Two of my favorites that I hope are resurrected in the box include:

Too Soon To Say Goodbye by Deborah Kent, about a young girl battling leukemia. I brought it to my fifth grade teacher for her to read the class [she was always asking for us to suggest good books]. She started reading it and by the 2nd chapter was in tears and decided it wasn't a good idea for her to read it in front of the entire class. [I couldn't find a picture of this one!]

Nothing is Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements. You can just imagine what this book was like! Drama. But the reason I love it even more now is because I checked it out so much from the school library...and I was the only one that checked it out...and it was in such bad shape because it was so old... that the librarians decided to just let me keep it one time. It was like Christmas.

Do you have any books you remember reading as a kid and loving so much you read them over and over and over? Do you still remember the main characters' names? [In my books they were Jill and Elsie :)]


my classroom

I finally got my room put together enough to take some more pictures. You'll hopefully notice some changes! :)

The bulletin boards are still bare, but that is my goal for early next week; I at least have the background and borders up. You'll also notice that I now have desks instead of the previous tables. Brent says he thinks it looks more like a classroom this way...? Who knows. For those of you that are teachers, do you think this was an okay move to switch? Alright, I'll put up the pictures now.

Obviously, my desk [and corner]

One of my education friends from college suggested using clear contact paper to hang on the wall. Here I wrote some tips for writing [hard to read]

This is where I will post pieces of the students' writing

In the front of the room I taped off this calendar with electrical tape; I'll continually update it with assignments and projects that are coming up. Since it is on the white board it is very easy to maintain. I also listed rules for procedures above it.

The rest are just pictures of the room. You'll be able to figure out the angles.

Now I just need students...

a week and a half!