Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reasons 11-13

Life doesn't get any better than this~

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reason for the Season No. 9 & 10

After hours of finishing up my Stanford class (the third and final portion of my six month CLAD program), I am tired of typing so brevity is the order the day.

Reason for the Season No. 10 -

Today is Ellie Beth Collette's 1st birthday. It is unreal to me that a whole year has gone by since that sassy little girl came into the world, but I love her (and her fabulous family) dearly. I can't wait to see what she becomes. Have I mentioned before that I'm hoping for her and Mae to be best friends? Dare to dream!

Reason for Season No. 9 - At the risk of sounding like "omg, like I'm totally grateful for my phone," I have to say I really am grateful for my phone (not to mention a ridiculously large amount of minutes each month). The telephone is in my top five favorite (and essential) inventions because it gives me the ability to talk to all those people that I love so much who live far away. Even though phone conversations are not as wonderful as face-to-face chats, they help make the time in-between much more bearable.

*On a random, sad sidenote - I promised to keep a few of your updated on my student who has been struggling with less-than-perfect decisions. His parents have decided to send him away. I thought things were getting better, but he came in today while I was teaching another teacher's class and told me. To say that I am crushed sounds dramatic, but the teacher version of myself really is-- I think sending this kid to boarding school is like admitting defeat, but obviously (and for good reason) my opinion is not significant. I hope they let him come home soon--

Monday, December 8, 2008

A few more reasons...

Reason for the Season No. 8 - Today is actually my mom's birthday. One of the things I love most about my mom is that she makes everything beautiful. My mom wants everyone to be happy. And she embodies the idea the concept of "girls just wanna have fun."

Reason for the Season No. 7 - Mae just might be left-handed. Now, I am not saying I will love her less if she is right-handed, but I will love her more if she is a south paw. Can't help it. Lefties unite!

Reason for the Season No. 6 - I love temples. They are a constant reminder that God loves us and that there is a plan in place for each of us. We just need to slow down and take a minute to listen. Temples are the perfect place to do that.

Reason for the Season No. 5 - Making plans is one of my favorite things to do. I love planning trips, projects, lunch dates - you name it. Making plans is fabulous. A few of the most recent schemes include a trip to Georgia with Jewels next summer, a grading weekend with Katie to Tahoe, and a craft day with Tracy and whoever wants to come while we watch a few essential chick flicks. Can't wait!

Reason for the Season No. 4 - I love my cousins. Most recently, I saw Chris, the youngest of the infamous Jackson brothers, at a Stanford women's volleyball game. Granted, he does coach for USC, but he makes up for that by being Chris. Without a doubt, the cousin I am closest to. Love him dearly. Also on the cousin radar - Jeff just got married and is having a baby! Eric looks like a grown-up (he is looking like a southern Logan Huntsberger for you Gilmore fans) - what is that? How come he looks like a grown-up, and I still get told to go back to class?

This is Action Jackson competing against Mr. Colby Jackson - Mike's youngest (until baby no. 3 arrives!)

The new Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Holtz - can't wait to hear details on Baby Holtz!

Mr. Blades out on the town in Athens, GA - this guy just gets cooler!

Reason for the Season No. 3 - Nostalgic memories can be both a blessing and a curse, but I was wrapped up in one yesterday that made me relax and appreciate the intricate beauty in the world around me. It goes back to my second winter in college when I was living at Raintree - it had to be early December, that time of the semester where people are scrambling, panicking, and living on a prayer that they make it through the last days of class. And one school day, it snowed all day - big, fat flakes covering everything. Mel and I bundled up to go for a walk - gloves, beanies, scarves - still freezing, but it was so beautiful. I stood outside after our walk and just watched it snow - and I knew in that instant how much God loves us (and that I was a Californian through and through - who else would find frozen water pelting out of the sky so amazing?).

(There's no picture for that one - just the snowy images drifting across my memory lane...)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reason for the Season No.2

When I came up with the idea of writing the things I am most grateful for this holiday season, I had a few specific ones in mind. All of those slipped away today as I met the new custodian who cleans my classroom each day after school He was optimistic and had an energy that I rarely see in our overworked custodial staff. We got to talking and I learned a bit about Sergio's life as he emptied the garbage cans (and complimented my classroom - extra points ps and by the way, since I just decorated for Christmas). I learned that Sergio works at San Ramon from 3pm to 11pm, Monday through Friday, and works at a local country club from 5am to about 1:30pm to support his wife and baby. Yet, he was grateful for his job and for his new little one. What a humbling experience for me - I thought that some of my days were long. They are nothing compared to Sergio's, and still he greets everyone with a smile.

So my Reason No.2 is two fold - one, I am so grateful for my job--that it's secure and what I want to do. I chose it - I'm not forced into it. I can take time off and not worry about having food on the table or heat in the winter. Two, I am grateful for optimistic, can-do people that help set the pace for rest of us. If Sergio can do it on four hours of sleep and two jobs, I can certainly do it too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Reason for the Season No.1

When Patti Mortensen told me two years ago, "Oh you have to meet the Katies," I had no idea what she meant. I was barely out of college and teaching in Utah. When was I ever going to cross paths with Patti's Saint Mary's students? Fast forward a year, and I was teaching at San Ramon with the infamous Katies. I was still in shock over my divinely orchestrated move to California, and just as Patti had forseen, instant friends. The Katies were the first people to come meet me at my new school. They were my first connection to "the group" (our quirky, but cool clique at SRV - yes, high school teachers are still caught up in drama of their own). They listened to me, laughed with me, and agreed with me with I thought the "higher-ups" were going to force me into early retirement with their "collaborative" ideas. Now another year later, Katie Milner has made the trek to Colorado to be with her fiance leaving Katie Finegan and I as the sometimes good humored, sometimes sarcastic pair that creatively tries to make it through the joy that is public education (not to mention life in general).
Fin is everything I need in a friend and coworker - she loves movies and books. She grew up watching Dr. Quinn and Anne of Green Gables. She loves trivia and is close with her family. Katie is funny, honest, and brilliant. Truly, each school day is better because I know Fin is just down the hall. She is a reminder that God is mindful of our needs, and so she is one of my reasons for the season.

ps. From left to right in the picture taken just before halftime at the homecoming football game - Jaclyn, Julie, Katie, and Echo (Zach is our lone wolf on the second row). San Ramon won that game by the way - a crushing victory over Granada. Go Wolves!