Because this is what I do when I'm behind...

Here are pictures from the past month. They are in reverse order again for whatever reason. And yes, you would think now that I am on summer vacation that I would have tons of time…but not the case. Hopefully things will slow down a bit soon? We'll see. So here is your update:

The first picture is a new set up in my "formal dining room." I put that in quotations because we don't use it as a dining room. Right now it is just an extension of our living room/ office/ new sitting area. I got these chairs at a garage sale [Thanks, Carol! :)] and she had recovered them and the colors match perfectly! I am still looking for a table, but for now this works…and the peonies in a teapot just added the perfect touch, right? :) So come on over and sit with me!

CJ was here for Paige's graduation [see below]. I took a lot of pictures on my dad's camera, and will maybe get a few of those…but here is what we spent most of our time doing…chasing Scout. As you can see, she is really warming up to her and does not hesitate to attack. Because of this, Scout now runs the opposite direction when she sees/hears Caroline coming :)
FINALLY we remembered to take a family picture. Caroline was not cooperating but at least she is looking in the right direction.
With the graduate. Still doesn't seem like she should be this old!
And Caroline was all dolled up for the occasion. I lOVE this cheesy picture of her.
Such a beautiful little lady.
Begin sequence of awesome Torri + CJ pictures. As you can tell by this first shot, I don't know who enjoys the others presence more :)
Candid shot…well, I think Brent knew I was there :)

And no, the coordinating outfits were not planned :)
Because these two never take a picture together…
Love this picture so much.
I had to put this one up too because the wind in Torri's hair is SO America's Next Top Model.
Just the girls.
The pre-photo shot…this is more like it. :)
Paige's boyfriend. As she calls him.
The graduate!
And remember, we're going backwards. This year I hosted mother's day at our house! We pulled in two additional tables and more chairs and had our parents, plus 5 grandparents over. We are so blessed by our heritage and it was a wonderful day.
The "spread"
Brent's grandmas chatting in the living room while we finished getting everything ready. These two are wonderful, wonderful ladies. [And TULIPS on the coffee table…I love spring]

And that wraps it up for now. I'll actually write later. :) Thanks for stopping bye.
And I would still encourage you to pray for Joplin.


my heart is here

I had a wonderful blog post planned out. But I just can't bring myself to write it because my heart is here right now :

Brent lived in Joplin for the four years he was in college. His sister, brother in law, and nephew currently live there. Many very close of ours are still there. We have heard from everyone, but we are struggling to know how to process all of this. Many of our friends could barely speak from the shock when we talked to them. Brent's sister was here visiting with Henry, but her husband was home. He is okay, but the major destruction occurred just blocks away. Some of our friends lost their home. Please join us in praying and supporting those that have been affected by this storm, and those that are still waiting to hear from loved ones.


counting down

book done
letters done
grad night chaperoning done
grading…will get done
corralling kids like wild beasts…in the process for the next two days
summer vacation…within sight.



I lost all the comments from yesterdays post before I had a a chance to read them. Lame. That is all I have time to say today.



Endings are always bittersweet.

Currently I am wrapping up the school year [can you say, "Six and half days left, baby!"?]. These means cleaning and planning and grading and moving things and making my students feel special before they leave my room and I don't know if anyone will ever make them feel special again. I am working on my end of the year letters for them, and I am trying to tackle something new for them this year because I am crazy: I am taking a writing activity we did and creating a book for them. They voted on the title and cover art and dedications of the book [title: Our Life Between the Lines] and I am a busy bee trying to get it done and make copies for ALL of them before next Thursday. UGH! I think I can…I think I can. Their writing is so honest and it breaks my heart and opens something in me that is fresh and young and new all at the same time. I wish I could post the book on here, but because of the true "copy and paste" nature of the project, that won't be possible. If you would like to see a copy though, let me know.

Also, we just finished reading "Of Mice and Men." That ending is ridiculous and they all are mad at me for having them read it :-) [If you haven't read it, it's a classic. It has an awful ending but that is what makes it classic. It is a short book…pick it up sometime.]

And on that note, I have some other things I need to do. Time is precious! More writing to come. Thanks for stopping by.


Happy Mother's Day

I posted this a couple of years ago. I wrote it in college when I was putting together a collection of writing pieces about my family [most of these can be found under the "my writing" label to the left]. This particular piece I wrote about my mom, and the gift that she gave me growing up. I thought I would repost it, as it seemed pertinent the day we will be celebrating tomorrow. Thanks Mom, for everything. I love you deeply. [And HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY Joan, Grandma Pat, Grandma Ann, Grandma Hazel, and Kali…and all the other wonderful examples of mother's in my life!]

The Gift

When I was younger I always knew the things that were expected of me: Buckle up before we're out of the driveway; If you dribble on the toilet seat, wipe it up; Wash your hands with soap and HOT water; Keep your shirt tucked in all day; Don't hit, bite, scratch, pinch, or provoke your sister; Set the table-- forks go on the left-- and eat with the family; When it's bedtime, it's bedtime and don't come back downstairs.
Rules and requirements for living.
Battle lines.

When I was living in them I didn't necessarily think of escaping, but I didn't necessarily think of obeying. My sister was a great rule follower. If she ever felt she had broken a rule, she would rat herself out, usually with tears and a lot of remorse. I, on the other hand, admitted my fault only when caught, kicking and screaming.
At the age of six I went forward during the altar call at our small Baptist church. It was revival that week, and something must of hit me and I remember shaking slightly as I stepped out into the aisle on the faded mustard carpet. My pastor was up front and I waited my turn to talk and pray with him. I'm sure my parents were praising God as they sat in the pew-- not only because I made a decision to accept Christ, but because this might mean a little more peace would now enter their home.

I'm sure the first few days were alright. I remember I even read my bible when I thought of it, my six year old mind wondering over the titles like Habakkuk and Zephaniah. I traced the maps in the back with my small fingers, not sure who Paul was or why his "missionary journeys" were important enough to follow.
But soon I was tormenting my sister again and finding myself in trouble. I couldn't always help it though. One time we were going to play Operation and she wanted to play upstairs, which didn't suit my plan of playing downstairs. Before I knew it she was already walking up the staircase and I panicked and I grabbed her arm and dug in my fingernails. I don't think she has the scar anymore.

Although my misbehavior eventually grew less as I grew older, I soon found another source on which to target my mischief-- my mother. Junior high was rough for her and me both. I thought it was just me going through puberty, but I realize now I forced her to go through it with me.

I knew at this point in my life what was expected of me as well: Don't laugh when I'm getting on to you (but it was just too funny when I looked in her eyes); Don't hang out with her too much, she'll get you in trouble (But you don't even know her!); Don't wear that tight skirt out of the house-- leave something for the imagination (But Valerie, Lacy, Jackie, AND Ashley all got this dress).
And so on.

One day though we had a fight and I don't even remember what it was about, but she came back in my room later that night. She said, "Kels, you wear that WWJD bracelet, but do you even think about what that means?"
This is all she said.
I know it's probably unrealistic to say that from that moment on I was a changed person-- but it was a pivotal moment. I recall her words many times and the waves crash against my body the same..."Do you even know what that means?"

I respect my mother now beyond what I can show her. I'm turning into her and I don't even care. I've had students laugh at me when I'm scolding them and I know what she felt like when I did the same and I wonder why I'm still alive. That girl she didn't want me to hang out with ended up with drug and alcohol problems and there isn't an outfit I put on that I don't run through a filter that sounds a lot like her voice.

As I am preparing to soon be out on my own and be a mother some day, I realize the gift my own mother has given me.

She gave me the gift of motherhood.

On the nights when she could have skipped a fight and let me stay out an hour later. On the days she could have turned her face and skipped the discipline that would result in her seeing my actions. On the years she could have dropped me off at a daycare and worked and skipped the struggles with a discontent, impatient, and crying two year old at home.

All the times she could have tried to be my friend, she instead chose to be my mom.

She gave me the gift of motherhood and I look forward to passing this gift along to my children, in the hopes that they will one day look at me in the way I look at my mom now-- as a friend.


cleaning my mind

Every month, thanks to my mom and dad, I receive the magazine "Real Simple." I love it. Love. It. Everything about it. The smell, the writing, the pictures, the creativity…Everything.

I knew I would like this month's issue when I pulled it out of the mailbox. The front cover shows dishes on cabinets/shelves. And the cabinets are TURQUOISE! Sound familiar? And the dishes are a variety of bold colors. Sound familiar? It made me proud of what I have created in my own kitchen :)

Anyway, I open up the issue and see this quote:

"When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings…As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects." - Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin

This is very true in my life. I have found that since I have begun working I really enjoy keeping my things in order. In my classroom I am notorious for being organized. I keep my students notebooks in tubs organized by class period and they are also color coded with tape on their spines. I have all of my "crafting" supplies in tubs with labels, and my colored pencils are even separated by color. At my house I like things to be organized too. I have different crates with different items, I like everything in it's place whether it is my toothpaste or my books on the shelf. Now, this is not to say I don't have a few locations where I cheat: my bedside table and my "junk drawer" in the kitchen at home, or my middle desk drawer at school. It is just to say that when I am really stressed, finding a place for everything seems to help me organize my life a little more.

What about you? How do you operate when it comes to stress?


hello, MAY!

These are my "Hello, May!" new blog colors!

May is lilacs and tulips.
It is being barefoot and opening windows to let the breeze stir the curtains to life.
It is sunshiney mornings and leaves singing a new song of life.
It is restless students and countdowns to the last day sprawled on the white boards throughout schools.
It is charred burgers on the grill and "buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, cause it's root, root, root for the home team!"
May is Bath and Body Works and it's new and lovely.
It is wanting to be outside every moment; wanting to brush your teeth in the fresh rain and wash your hair in buttercups on the hillside.
It is sunburns on skin coming out of hiding.
It is warm afternoons when you lose the jacket and cool evenings under blankets on your front porch.
It is foggy early morning turkey hunting and mushroom picking by the pounds.
It is pastels and sandals and skirts and mowing new grass and mulching and robins and no longer needing the down comforter at night.

May is everything wonderful about spring time. And I'm SO glad it is here!