Sunday, September 28, 2008

New class and a funny story

Well, today, we officially moved out of the Newlyweds Class at our church (Houston's First Baptist Church). Hard to fathom...we're not technically "newlyweds" anymore. It still feels like we are just starting out sometimes but then when I think of it, it's hard to imagine life differently. So, anyways, today we graduated and moved on into a new class called Blueprints for young married adults. It's a brand new class that just started today. Ben is going to be one of the teachers along with another man. I will be a part of the teacher support team (I just made this up) where I will give ideas, feedback, insight, prayer, possible co-teaching and any needed encouragement or lifting of spirits. I'm so excited about this opportunity for us. The other husband and wife duos in leadership with us are wonderful and I'm really excited about getting to know some new couples on a deeper level. So, looking for a class for young married adults? Just let me know and I'll give ya all the details!

So, the funny story. The characters in this story will remain nameless to protect their identities...but you know who you are :). And I do have permission to tell this story, so don't think I'm being mean. So we ate lunch today with our wonderful new class at Goode Company BBQ (yummy!). Afterwards, of course, we were some of the last to leave, standing around talking. Moving from table, to then door, to then outside, and eventually to car, stopping at each to talk for 10 minutes. I love it when that happens! So, we've made it outside and are talking about light stuff - the wife and I having a separate conversation from our husbands. Well, we started talking about being politically correct and saying "a woman walked in" instead of "a girl walked in" and I said something that made the girl I was talking to think of something hilarious in her head. Unfortunately, she had just taken a big gulp of tea and bursted out laughing at the same time. I'm sure you can only imagine the result. Yep...tea all over me sprayed out of her mouth. It was one of the funniest things ever. I didn't care at all - really it just made me laugh til I had tears in my eyes. It was one of those good bonding moments when really any pretenses or fronts just kinda go away :). A blessing in disguise I think.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A perk to the job

Well, the first few days back have been pretty good. I must say that beyond the high possibility of stress, impossible tests, and a never-ending to-do list, teaching has some major perks. Yes, there's the obvious ones - summers off and...(maybe that's the only obvious one), but anyways there's lots more that are pretty great. One, I realized anew today. It's been tough getting back - hard to return after getting a taste of a summer-like schedule again, and then the kids are very focused and are out of their routine. But today, there was a bright spot! One of my tougher kids started getting my jokes. I usually will say random things here and there throughout the day that most kids don't catch b/c they're not paying attention or they just don't understand so they just stare at me. I don't know what it was, but this one kid just thought I was so funny today. He would laugh when no one else was even getting it and it was just fun. They say one of the best ways to motivate children to get them to do what you want them to do (i.e. learn!) is to simply love and respect them and in turn earn their love and respect. This takes time and intentional comments, conversation, and actions but the returns are immense. So this gave me hope into the feat of earning this sweet but tough little boy's admiration. All in all, a good day and good to be back. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

We're back

Power's back up at BCE and school's back on! I'm making lesson plans and getting ready for school to keep going full steam. It'll be good to be back.

Yikes! Still no power!

So, my school, Bear Creek Elementary, is the only school in the district that doesn't have power. I am praying the power comes back on by Monday...teaching in the dark would be difficult and ineffective. We'll see!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Close to normal...

Well, we got back to Dallas safely and were welcomed by electricity and water in our apartment! We are so thankful. We were also welcomed by a very foul smell of rotten chicken we had accidentally left in a cooler on the counter in our rush out of town last Saturday. Absolutely nasty. Apparently there really is a great need for food to stay in the fridge.

So today and tomorrow I have no school. Seems a little like I'm playin hooky. Ben's at work as are most people but I guess the schools had to be a little more conservative. If half their employees don't come back they don't just have an empty spot but an empty spot with 20-30 kids bueno! I'm ready to get back and hear the stories from my kids. It is nice though to have the time to catch up on laundry and cleaning in our apartment. We left it a mess last Saturday. Things should be back to normal soon...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Heading Back

Well, the time has come. We've been in Dallas since Saturday night and its time to return home. Ben has to go back to work tomorrow but for me, school has been canceled until Monday. For the rest of the week, I'll probably just clean up our apartment and try to get some order back, maybe see if there's anywhere I can help out.

God has been so gracious to us. It's definitely not desireable to be in a hurricane, lose power etc but He has blessed us during this time emensely. We've been with my family and had a lot of fun and sweet times. My mom and I took my sister Anne out to a birthday breakfast yesterday at La Madeline (delicious!). I love my sister. Ben and I got to hang out with Dennis and Alecia Doty last night because they had come up to Dallas as well to get away from the storm. Also, we played 42 (dominoes) with my parents for the first time. And I had coffee with Jamie and then went to Target and had a great time together. It's just been such a sweet time with my family and friends and I'm so thankful for it. We were going to go to Dallas next weekend but we moved our plane tickets to the weekend before my birthday and will stay in Houston next weekend.

We're looking forward to being back in our apartment and getting back to some sort of normal. I don't think we have power at our apartment but I'm not sure...we'll see! It'll be another adventure :).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Safe in Dallas

Well, we decided to stay in Dallas with my family for a little while. No power, no water, limited food...Dallas was looking better by the minute. Saturday night in Houston, we decided to go out for food, just to get out of the increasingly hot apartment. We went by the only open McDonalds on Westheimer but the drive-thru line was wrapped around the building almost twice. We kept going to Double Daves. They were turning people away because they had flat run out of food. We drove around some more and found a random Chinese restaurant we've never even considered eating at before. It's amazing how good things look when they're the only option and you're hungry. Haha. We stood in the line out the door for about a minute with the other stinky, unshowered people. We started to think...hey, we've got family in Dallas. It could be like this for a while...let's just go to Dallas!! So we jumped out of line and into the car, zoomed home, packed enough for several days (including essential items like golf clubs and books and snack food) and headed to Dallas. Best decision ever!

We went to church this morning with my parents. The pastor asked for any evacuees from Houston to stand up and the entire congregation applauded us for being courageous and just for what we came out of. We were very honoroed.

When we were driving around, we took some pictures. They were all through the car windows while it rained, but it gives a picture of the state of Houston. It makes me think of someone just grabbing Houston and shaking it back and forth really hard and then setting it back down. We didn't have any damage in our apartment besides trees down and we're thankful that neither of our cars were damaged. God was very gracious to take care of us.

Pictures to come...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Serious stuff

Ok, this hurricane is serious business. Starbucks was even closed this morning! We went out for breakfast to take advantage of possibly our last chance to get food outside of the house for a few days (turns out lunch would have been fine too) and headed first to Panera - it was closed - and then thought oh well surely Starbucks will be open, they're even open on Christmas! Ha but no, they are closed today and tomorrow.

Well, so far, its just windy. We've watched news most of the day, watched one movie, played 5 games of speed, tidied up, graded papers, read, took a nap, and had random conversations. It's been a good day. Everyone be safe tonite.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the huricane!

Everyone else was posting about Ike so I decided I should too. Yes, school is canceled tomorrow. An announcement like this is absolutely disastrous to all hope of productivity or concentration for 8 and 9 year olds. I waited to tell my kids until about 2:00 when we were about to take a test we usually take on Fridays. Some of them cheered, others got a little scared. Then the questions started. Trying to teach rounding to kids who are thinking about hurricanes was not desirable. Haha some of them got it though amazingly...but only after I danced and rapped to the "Rounding Rap". We were singing "Slip to the Side, and Look for a 5!" the rest of the day. Anyways, somehow I managed to hold off all questions until about 3:15 when we had a class "Hurricane Talk". They didn't seem to scared. Most of them were just excited for a 3-day weekend.

We're planning on just staying in our apartment all the closet if necessary. Church is closed, the baseball game canceled, and we had to cancel a birthday party we planned for Ben. But we trust the Lord and are praying for safety.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Style

So, I was getting tired of my old blog layout and it ceased to be exciting to me. I have a new look now. I just love yellow, but I can't decide if its too hard to read or not. What do you think? Well, I hope its not too hard on the eyes. I might change it to white or a lighter yellow if there is one.

In other news, Ben had a wonderful birthday this past Monday, September 8th. We went to PF Chang's for a delicious special dinner on Monday night. On our anniversary in July, I wrote a post about the things I love about Ben so I thought this time, in honor of my sweet Ben, I would tell you 6 things that he does that make me laugh and smile.

1. Funny facial expressions
2. Impressions of me and my habits (I can do a pretty good Ben as well)
3. Fake laughs and clever jokes
4. Startling me when I have the hiccups to make them go away and it works! (For some reason, I have very frequent hiccups)
5. His astonished and unbelieving reactions to girly things I say and do
6. The complete randomness of some of the things he says and does

He's just so fun and a pleasure to live with. I'm not saying life is perfect around here - we both have our ups and downs but God uses him so much to teach me and grow me and to simply bring me joy and comfort.

He keeps me smilin, that's for sure.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Car Rides

I love car rides. The not so long but not so short ones. Especially with Ben. We have some of the most random conversations about the widest of subjects on our car rides. They get into some interesting topics along with topics that we really need to have conversations about. For example today, we talked about finances but also how America (along with ourselves) focuses a lot on numbers and data, sometimes looking past other aspects of something. I love it.

Since both are families live in the Dallas area (Arlington and Allen), we are not strangers to the I-45 four (traffic turns it into more like five) hour trip back and forth. At least we get to make the trip together now! When we were dating and engaged, I lived in Allen, and Ben in Houston so one of us made the trip EVERY weekend. I can't believe we did it really. It was my first year of teaching and Ben's first year in a real job but somehow the Lord graciously gave us both strength, energy, and a non-complaining heart to be able to make the drive so often. Both of us look back and think "How did we do it??".

So anyways, our first year of marriage, living in the same city, the thought of that blessed drive was unbearable. So we took very few trips back and forth. This year, I think we'll make the drive a little more often. This weekend, was one of those trips. Ben's birthday is tomorrow...(birthday post to come!) and so we went to Arlington to visit his family and celebrate. They are such a precious sweet family. I leave feeling special, loved, and like a very important part of the family, just like I do with my own. The car ride was totally worth it and even a bit of a treat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

So gracious

God is so full of grace. He is so kind and so loving. When I am messing up, getting mad when I shouldn't, being prideful, and am not acting in a way that would please Him, He still blesses me and shows me kindness. There are so many things He daily blesses me even though I am daily sinful and fall short of His glory.

Speaking of blessings, I am loving my students. They are a precious group. I love not being a first year, or 2nd year in a new school. I've paid my dues as all must do. I must say I have tons more to learn and improve on but I actually feel competent and am enjoying my job a lot more so far.

In other news, I got very very close to getting a new baby kitten. Finally we decided it could be ok to get a pet, even for a small pet deposit price. Before we asked about the price, I started to look up the costs of adopting at the SPCA...not too bad really. Then I started imagining this sweet little kitten walking around our apartment, playing, and being really cute. I pictured myself sitting with it, taking care of it, the whole nine yards. I started to get very attached to the idea and to our future family pet. Then, the final piece - find out how much the pet deposit is at our apartments. Should have found this one out first. It was exorbitant and all non-refundable. I even made Ben go in and ask again as if he were someone new who didn't know already cause I just didn't believe it. Needless to say, we're not getting a cat anytime soon unless our living conditions change in the near future. I will just have to trust the Lord on this one. The Cooper family pet will just have to wait.