new part two,the down side

a few weeks ago i wrote about all the fantastic things of something new.

scrap it.

Last week I started a new amazing job. I kept waiting for the catch. the pay was better. My schedule was better. The oppertunity to advance was better. The setting was better. The support was better. Everyone was so nice. It all made me want to be even better.

And then the catch. Purely by accident I discovered that I will be teaching 2 TAKS math classes. Keep in mind this is Friday and school starts Monday and that I am a science teacher. Now to be fair, I am the TAKS girl on campus, but no TAKS classes, particuarly not non subject area classes were ever part of the deal. I fell apart. No materials, No background, and No time and 50 kids. I did what anyone else in my postion woulld do -- my chin started to quiver. I couldnt control it and next thing i knew i was doing something i had NEVER EVER done in my 8 years of teaching. I cried in front of an administrator ( and about a dozen others). Now, it is no secret that teachers (especially new ones) often cry on the way home....but you never lose it in front of your class or your principal. If I see a teacher crying before school even starts I start taking bets on whether or not she will make it to the end of the year. I am not usually a crier anyways, but here I was all red eyed trying to get a pull it together without much success.

I have confidence in my experience and knowledge. God wants me to have confidence in him.
I have all these great ideas and pursuits and goals. God has other ideas.
I am so excited about my new great kids. God says, these other kids, the ones some people think aren't so great, need you more.
I can write science lesson plans in my sleep. God has a new plan.
I am starting to regret coming here. God says trust me.
This isn't what I agreed to. God says I never promised it would be easy.
I was comfortable. God says to grow.
I am so scared. God says good, now maybe you will rely on me rather than your own abilities.
I can't do this. God says you're right, but we can.

I hate new and sure hope God knows algebra.

struggling to love my old socks

Last night my friend Tina threw a BBQ off. Her husband likes to, not what you are thinking......meat. He spent the day making a brisket and then they hit 3 of the most popular local BBQ places. She then put them all in cups, labeled with letters so we didn't know which was which and we had to taste and rank them. It felt a bit like the old school Pepsi/Coke taste tests ( whatever happened to those??).....but was fun and yummy. Todd came out the winner and I went home with a stomach ache. ( me and red meat are not friends).
Several partygoers mentioned something a bit odd. If they had bought meat from any of those places and put it out we all would have been happy. It would have tasted like BBQ and surely some of us would have commented on how good it was, even the one that came in last place. Side by side we noticed all kinds of things. One even seemed to taste like old socks to me, next to the others. Like I said, if I didn't have Todd's prize winning BBQ to compare it to directly, I would have been perfectly happy eating the old sock BBQ. Comparison seems to get me in trouble. Suddenly things that were perfectly fine before don't seem to be good enough. I worry that my son isn't talking enough when I compare him to Maddy who can speak in entire paragraphs. I don't feel skinny enough when I try on my friend's pants. I am definantly not pretty enough when I look at those dumb magazines. My home isn't big enough when I compare it to the one next to me. My clothes seem dull and old when I compare it to people I work with. Suddenly everything I have, that I used to be content with seems like old socks.
Paul, you know the guy who was knocked off his donkey, blinded, beaten, improsoned, mocked among other things, seemed to know the secret to being content.
Phil 4:12-13 "12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
I also suggest that Todd tone down his BBQ, my friends eat a lot, excersize less, clean less, and wear clothes from Goodwill.

down three, up one --the official weigh in.

I did my official weigh in on Monday.....but am a little late getting it posted.
151 -- down 3 lbs. No working out at the gym ( my knee was REALLY sore) and I only played one soccer game. Conclusion -- don't go to the gym if you are trying to lose weight. Some of it from last week probably finally caught up with me. One pound was probably hair, and another was probably just water due to all this freaking heat.
My face is always the first thing to lose weight. This positive because I look skinnier to myself in the mirror and feel encouraged to continue. Negative -- because it isn't my face that needs to fit into any clothes. I felt fine with my face before.........not so much about my thighs.
So it is Wednesday and I am already up a pound from Monday's weigh in. This is to blame on my new school. Monday's menu consisted of Chicken Red's for breakfast ( I split one with someone), and Babes for lunch ( i got a TINY peice of smoked - not there famous fried chicken, but didn't hold back on the sides or banana pudding). Then for dinner was burgers and desserts galore. An entire cafertia table covered with homemade desserts........I couldn't resist -- but I did try to stick to small portions.
On the up side -- no lattes or machiattos all week. I have not had a snack ALL freakin day and resisted those brownies at bible study. I am hungry and will go to bed with a headache -- but the occasional size 8 fits again making it all worth it.
My parents will be here this weekend and it will be a dad always means good free food.

sunday school update

So this sunday i was demoted to kindergarten. It was much smoother, but still no peice of cake. The lesson was on doubting Thomas, but it was lost to most of them who thought I was talking about a little blue train.


I just got a new haircut and am pretty enamored with myself. I kept flipping my hair and looking in the rearview mirror all the way home. It feels lighter, smells good and has that just from the salon style. You know the one I wont be able to repeat no matter how hard I try or how many different products I use from home. I wished I had made evening plans. This hair needs to get out on the town. This hair could use a new outfit ( although I will resist). It is more than the haircut, all of me feels new and fresh.
I like new things; they inspire. New shoes feel like they go faster and make me want to hit the gym. New pens write better words. Blank pages hold so much promise. New cleaning products make me want to dust (and trust me this is significant). New office supplies make me want to be a better teacher. A new outfit can change my entire self-image, at least briefly.
Yes I know this sounds like I am falling into traps of consumerism. And, I am, but that is not what this is about. I’ve heard that Micheal Jordan wore new sneakers for every game to get that same feeling. You would think night after night of new sneaks the specialness of it would wear off. New only has this power if it is a rarity.
That being said, new is easy to obtain occasionally. A treat. An indulgence. A new color. But God promises us so much more than a new haircut can give:

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

That kind of new is so much harder. It requires surrender.


I wondered in and tried to scope out the seating arrangements. I am new. I don’t know anyone. It’s been 5 years since I have been the new girl. Usually, a seat has already been saved for me at a crowded table full of coffee, candy and crosswords. We giggle and write notes and try to be quiet ( it is a struggle). But today I am searching for a seat near someone else sitting alone that looks friendly. Preferably near the back. I leave the customary empty seat between us and get comfortable. This is my first inservice of the year and an unwelcome reminder that my summer is almost over. I am not looking forward to my day of powerpoints and forced discussion. I am, however, on time. I brought a pen and paper and left my phone in the car. I was in the minority on all of those. Teachers, as a group, tend to be horrible students. I witnessed lots of text messaging, magazine reading and lesson planning. Some one in the back was rumored to be watching a movie on their laptop. The two girls ( ok, women) in front of me chatted so much and loudly that I could hardly hear the speaker. The teacher in me was tempted to shush them, but I suppressed this urge. Back when I had friends I was one of those girls.

The speaker isn’t so bad. She has a good sense of humor, gives lots of breaks and tells good stories. There are no powerpoints, and only a few forced interactions. We did not get out early. The bathrooms did not have toiletpaper. It is a good thing I can’t pee with a crowd anyways. After lunch I started having nap withdrawls. My chair got really uncomfortable and that teacher that kept asking a question about that one freak student was about to be taken out by me. If you have never been to an inservice the people that speak up to the entire group fit into a few categories:
1. I am the best teacher here, and this is how I already implement this.
2. Weirdo-Beirdo. Let me tell you about the cool robots my kids make ( did I mention this wasn’t a science workshop!)
3. The let me give you ever special case or exception girl. She interrupts every story or strategy to talk about this one kid she had 10 years ago. Finally by the end of the day the speaker starts to ignore this person or at least cut them short.
4. The teacher that needs help or counseling of her own. He/She has a comment so off no one is quite sure how to respond. Like now is suddenly the time to discuss her marriage problems or the likes.
5. Devil’s advocate. No one wants you to argue. Please shut up, even if you are right….we just want to get out of here.
Mostly I just sit there. Occasionally I will offer my 2 cents ( usually more in science than general sessions ) or ask a question if I truly think it is a legitimate and will apply to people besides just me. If only I had that attitude all the time. I came back from lunch with a cross word. Yes I know it is rude, but I mostly only did it during all those dumb out there questions and breaks because remember I didn’t have any friends and I wasn’t going to the restroom. The afternoon moved in super slow motion. She was still interesting, but my brain needs to be eased back into this kind of schedule. I drew little tally marks on my paper to mark off the minutes. By 3:15 I was catatonic and feeling a bit of sympathy for what my students will be going through in a few weeks.

one crummy pound: week 2

3 trips to the gym and 2 soccer games = only one less crummy pound. Making this week's weight 154. My sister is only down an eight of a pound so I have a slight edge.

Confession I am a cheater:
Wed - fried jalepeno slices covered in cheese w/ creamy ranch ( i paid for this later)
Sat- I went to a shower....pie, cookies, lots of ranch.
Saturday night - cooking out at a friends and more pie.
Today a kitkat and an oatmeal cookie
Now that I think about it, maybe I should be happy with the one pound. This week I will try harder to curb my sweets. I at least feel skinnier when I am hungry, but man I love pie :)

I also plan to get my haircut and have thought seriously that if I chop enough off I could lose almost a pound!

thank you mrs. gabbard

I did not like my first grade teacher. She used to staple notes to my shirt telling my mom that I talked back. She wrote messy on my ditto copied worksheets. She gave me a zero on a paper on greater than less than signs. I had them flipped, meaning I was 100% correct, just backwards…She should have taken off like 10 points or something NOT give me a big fat goose egg. She even made me cry once. I do not look back on first grade fondly.
After my morning teaching 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school though, I am considering writing her a big thank you letter and sending a bottle of wine.
So I seldom do my part at church, so when my friend Christy asked me to sub for her while she was out of town I accepted. How hard could it be. Last time I saw her class there were only 2 kids. I am a teacher by trade, send me the lesson plan and I’ll be good to go. If all else failed I figured we could just color.
I am a little nervous. I am used to much older and much younger kids, but I read my lesson in advance and it seemed easy enough. I got there early to lay things out and ask last minute directions…….and then the boys start trickling in. I should have known when they started jumping OFF the tables that it was going to be a long morning. A cute little girl walked in who was obviously unimpressed with these boys. She sat herself as far away as possible and crossed her arms tightly. 5 kids, I can handle this. Then a large family shows up with 5 more kids. They are new to the church and really want to keep their kids together for the first time. Visitors…..I want to keep them around so of course I offer to take them in. On there behalf, these 5 were shy, eager to please and overall easy, the other 5 were a handful. I mistakenly mentioned that I was a science teacher to one of the un-easy 5 while waiting to start. He got all excited and asked if I knew how to make slime, and if we could. Well…why not. I sent Shaun across the street to buy some. I read them the bible story ( about Jesus washing his disciples feet and serving others) while the new 5 listened quietly on the couch, one girl pouted and 4 boys wrestled under the table. I tried giving them the teacher eye. Completely uneffective. I tried to speak firmly to get them to stop, which they did, temporarily. Very temporarily. Like maybe 30 seconds worth. We got to the question/answer part and I got 3 types of responses: 1. Jesus 2. long rambling ones that didn’t really make sense, but they were sure proud of and 3. blank stares. Thankfully, Shaun came to rescue me with cornstarch. I related the slime to Jesus washing icky feet. For the record slime was a bad idea ( I am sure you saw this coming). White powder was everywhere and I prayed no girls got it on there pretty pink dresses. I know it was a bad idea, but it was actually the only 20 minutes I knew what I was doing. We cleaned up and I tried really really hard to get it all out of the carpet ( just white powder, no permanent damage, but we don’t own the building so I really wanted to be clean). Besides I didn’t want any evidence of my un-traditional Sunday school teaching style.
After a field trip to the bathroom for more clean up the lesson called for game time. Basically you roll a ball to someone in a circle and tell how you can be a helper to someone. I got the same kind of 3 answers as before. Half the group didn’t want to play, while the other half wanted to play crazy wild games with it that I had never heard of like “supersonic silent dodgeball.” I am pretty sure these were not meant to be played indoors, but the silent part did sound appealing. I was praying that they could not hear us in church and tried to conviscate the ball. As soon as I did they found another one. The wrestling increased. I used my firm voice and shot my teacher eye to no avail. Now I just prayed that no one broke a limb while in Sunday School.
Then I moved on to arts and crafts time, surely this would be much calmer. They were supposed to cut out shapes do crayon rubbings over them and write a verse from Phillipians. My easy 5 took this task seriously. 1 did not want to participate. 1 decided to practice his cutting skills before starting 2nd grade ( he told me this) by cutting paper into as small pieces as possible which of course fell all over the floor and I would have to pick up ( did I mention the lesson was on being a helper!) and another drew a pie on a sheet of paper and started shoving it in people’s faces. At some point, part of this paper pie even got eaten. The wresting resumed and I watched the minutes tick by ever so slowly. I felt helpless and completely out of control. Please preacher, end your sermon soon. I managed to get them to sit in a circle and asked if any one had any prayer requests. We prayed for scraped knees, sick grannies and the upcoming 2nd grade. I silently prayed for their parents to arrive quickly …..and thankfully they did. No broken bones, no stiches, I think I got all the powder out of the carpet and now I could go home and write that thank you letter I had been composing in my head for the last 20 minutes.

be careful what you pray for.

My plan for Friday was to move into my new classroom. This is a little tough with a 2 year old, but I talked Shaun into borrowing a big giant dolly and meeting me at the school for lunch. I figured one of us could carry tubs, the other carry Owen.

I got a phone call inviting me to storytime, lunch and then swimming. Dilemma, work or play?? I almost always pick play……but Shaun is meeting me, the room is open and we have a dolly. Maybe I can do both. I pack a swim bag with and take off.I make it to B&N ( did I mention it is the one in SW Fort Worth) in plenty of time. I did see an accident on the other side of the highway. Mental note, try and avoid that on the way back. So my plan is a typical plan a lot into a short time, I –can-do-everything-plan.
Go to story time, leave about 11:30.
15 –minutes to get home
10 – minutes to load the truck ( yes I know that was a lofty goal, b/c it is a lot of stuff. 2 cars worth of stuff, but 90% of it is in plastic tubs and I can really move under pressure)
10 minutes to get to school
20-30 minutes to unload ( I am on the second floor and down a few hallways…..)
20 minutes back to Tina’s. Back by 1. I miss lunch but there is still plenty of swim time.
On the way to B&N, I think if I leave Owen at Tina’s I can do the hole moving thing even faster – maybe pick up some sonic drinks on the way back as a thank you.

Most people would laugh at my plans, but I am Michelle. I am super fast paced. I read fast, I write fast, I talk fast, I eat fast. I have never been one for details…….I’m all about quantity. My friends joke that if you give me 15 minutes I can mow the lawn, go to starbucks and write a blog.
So story time sucked. Owen was screaming about the trains and we missed most of the stories and the craft. High pitched screaming and tears when he had to share the trains. I got him outside and slightly calmed down and into tina’s car and I was off. The clock was ticking.

And then I see the sign that says “due to accident, expect LONG delays”. Ughhhhhh. I start looking for my escape route. I remember the wreck and the problem was that the service roads by the wreck do not connect.. They take you right back on the interstate still stuck. I consider for a minute to just turn around and go back……….but figure it will just put me a little bit behind. When else will have help and the dolly. I finally make it off I20 and hit my back road. Lots of other people had this idea too. All I can see are cars, but at least we are moving ( occasionally) unlike the cars where I came from. I call Shaun and adjust our plan. I ask him to pick up lunch and meet me at the school. I take a minor wrong turn, but eventually make it back to my exit. I pull into my driveway and note the time. 12:20 --- it took me over 45 minutes to get home. Panic. I call Tina and tell her it will be more like 1:30. I also noticed that traffic was also blocked going the opposite direction behind the wreck. Mental note find a new way back.

I start loading in a fury. The tubs are heavy. Really heavy. But the stress of a time crunch has made me super girl and I lift like crazy. Shaun pulls in. What isn’t he supposed to meet me at school?? O-well he has a sandwhich with my name on it and we load in less than 7 minutes ( at least something is ahead of schedule). Shaun goes in and I eat and wait on him. 3 minutes tick by ( can you tell I am in a hurry) and I go in after him. He says he will meet me there and to go on ahead. I fly to school ( 1 minute less than I budgeted) and figure I’ll take a few loads up while I wait. A few turned into 5 and Shaun finally pulls in. He is feeling a bit ill, but that doesn’t stop me from loading up his dolly in a hurry. I want to show him my new beautiful campus but instead I am sprinting. We dump the load by the door and go back down for one more. Sweating and panting we are finished in less than 20 minutes. I check my watch, about 1:15 – I can almost make it.
Shaun advises me on the back road to take to get there. So far so good, and then I see one of those signs. Be prepared to Stop, and then brake lights. Lots and lots of brake lights. One side of the road goes for about 5 minutes, and then the other. Ughhh. Of course he stops my group just in front of me! The clock is ticking and I feel bad about them watching Owen. Swimming with 4 is no easy task, and when I last left Owen he was in an all out tantrum. I finally make it through and take the over pass onto 20. Odd. There are 4 police cars stopping everyone in front of me on top of the overpass. Crumbling bridges in the news start running through my mind, but sadly I think I am worried more about how long this delay is going to take rather than my own safety. Only a few minutes and then I am moving again. Of course there is a cop directly in front of me …so I can’t make up on any time I lost by speeding. I go through my ipod trying to find a good song. The slow ones don’t match my pumping adrenaline, the fast ones only make me edgier. And then it hits me. I asked for this.
I am doing a study with some friends. Last week’s was on the 1 corinthians definition of love. You know the whole love is patient, love is kind…thing. I need practical application so I suggested that we each pick one of those things and really work on it and come back next week with a solid example of how we practiced it. Mine of course was patience. I figured Shaun and Owen would provide me with plenty of chances. I, however, did not remember to practice my patience in any of them. I guess God figured I needed some extra help. I finally breathe a little bit easier, settle into a mellow song and drive the speed limit the rest of the way.

nonsense to the most of you

She questions her next move.
She isn’t the only one.
Age doesn’t provide all the answers.
It doesn’t protect us from fear
Or rejection or insecurities.

She is supposed to worry about these things.
We are supposed to know better.
Or at least we are expected to pretend we do.

It almost makes me wish for the advantage
Of that miserable ache.

lost in translation

Owen hasn't quite mastered the English language. I'm not worried, i still say a few things funny myself........these are my favorites.
1. wimming - translation swimming, it used to be just 'ming! must be said with much enthusiasm.
2. nack - translation snack, this is what he asks for when he wakes up from a nap
3. belbow - translation elbow. very cute. my new favoirte body part
4. nanny - translation banana, this is one of his favorite nacks.
5. waygo - translation frozen waffle, altertnate translation legos
6. mooey - translation movie, must also come with paw-corn ( popcorn)
7. meeelk - translation milk, yuck and he thinks so too!
8. dina-swore - translation dinosaur and followed by a big roar!
9. goodie -translation anything yummy like cookies, candy or icecream
10. peas - translation please, said cute enough guarentees he will get that goodie.

there are lots more, but some things he shouldn't say like frog...turns into another 4 letter f word. recently we just got back from the beach. At church on Sunday he kept saying, "mommy beach, mommy beach". We got a few funny looks.