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This past week-end, I went on the youth ladies retreat. We attended The Revolve Tour in Baltimore! The Revolve tour is this really great, empowering and relevant conference for teen girls. The team travels around the country and is put on by the same people who do the “Women of Faith” conferences. At the conference there are speakers and concerts (which were great). One of the keynote speakers this year was Jenna Lucado, who happens to be Max Lucado’s daughter. She has written a book about the relationships that girls have with their earthly father and heavenly Father. Her introduction was that she was ‘weird’ and then proceeded to give a couple of examples to support this statement. (BTW… she is a little weird… haha… but who isn’t???)

So in honor of the Revolve Tour and the awesome girls that I spent some time with…. I AM SO WEIRD!!!

Here is my proof….

So what?????

OK, I LOVE the grocery store (GS). I do love all shopping. But, the GS is in it’s own special catagory!

I have officially visited every  GS brand i can find in a 20 mile radius. So here it means, Giant, Safeway, TraderJoes, WholeFoods, Roots, Harris Teeter, SuperFresh, Shoppers, and the food part of Target. I am sure there are more, but I haven’t been here that long! Each one has its own unique characteristics, for example, the Harris Teeter handles the groceries for you, no conveyor belts needed and Trader Joes is so shoppable and little. But, without a doubt, I love, love, love a good concept! My newest favorite thing is the Giant grocery store “do it yourself” possibilities. As you see in the picture above, you get a scanner and then proceed to scan your groceries as you go, bagging and all!!! When you are done, you don’t have to unload everything and reload a thousand times, it’s all done at once! I think it is great because it gives me more time to peruse the aisles instead of waiting in line to unload my cart. And, to top it all off, you can self check-out too!!!! Very fast, easy, fun, could it get any better??? YES!!! The great thing is, if you do your shopping this way (as it is not required) you get an extra discount and coupons as you shop, love that!

OK, so aside from great marketing techniques, I just love GS shopping in general. After all, it is food! I am not too brand conscious and like to try new things, so it is always a great adventure deciding what to buy. I always try to avoid lists, I mean, they are crazy restricting! I like to go up and down the aisles and look. (I do actually make lists, sometimes, so that I do get what I need.) I like to leave a couple hours for this activity too, usually take 1.5hrs but has been know to take 3! (I know!!!) I try to leave enough time so that I don’t feel like I am in a hurry and can take as much time as I want to check/compare prices, look for new products, and just decided in general! I love the details like: fiber in bread, price per oz., and a million pizza/ice cream choices. In fact, I love GS so much that when I visited some famous European Cities, I took the time to check out the grocery store culture, too!! I grocery shopped in Paris on my way to the TGV, in Nice on my way to the Mediterannean Beaches, and in Rome in between the Vatican and the Piazzza Navona. (That’s 3 times in 10 days, wait, it’s 5 because I went to the GS in Nice 3 times!)

However, there is one key factor for me: proper attire. Yes, I dress for the GS. You see, I tend to be “cold natured” and therefore, GS spells FREEZING!!! So in order to get the most enjoyment out of my trip to the GS, I carefully consider what I will be wearing on my expedition, comfy and warm! (Told you, so…)

Anyway, I call this ‘wierd’ because every time I tell someone that I love the GS he/she looks at me like I am from outer space. I just can’t help it if I find it to be a cleansing and empowering experience to make so many choices for myself!  I mean, how many of us struggle with simple decision making skills?

In the words of Tom Hanks as Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail: The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, $4.95  get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

In the grocery store, I get to choose how much fiber I want in my bread, how little sugar I would like to consume for breakfast, and which ketchup gives me the most condiment for my dollar. In a time where I feel so uncertain about choices and how to manage my time, life and money, the grocery store is a welcome relief.

So, if you ever need a partner to the grocery store, let me know, I’d be more than happy to accompany you! Or go for you, no problem, I don’t have to be there for my own purposes. ( I’ve been know to just visit, without even buying anything!!)

What about Cameron Diaz?

“I can spend hours in a grocery store. I get so excited when I see food, I go crazy. I spend hours arranging my baskets so that everything fits in and nothing gets squashed. ” ~Cameron Diaz

Yep, she gets me.

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One of the greatest things that a person can learn in their lifetime is to experience others. This seems silly I guess, of course we see and hear everyone. But, what I mean is more that that, I mean, intentionally, purposefully, and with respect. From time to time, I find myself purposefully looking away, not with the intention of respect, but with the intention of ignorance. You must know what “they” say, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, right? I wonder a lot in those situations what the good thing to do would be. I don’t say right because to me, right is subjective and good, not so much.

As humans we are naturally learners, so we tend to observe and consume bits and pieces of information just by looking, hearing, and experiences. I believe we link the experience with a necessity for action, so what we don’t see, we don’t have to do anything about. Right? Well, at least that is the way that I tend to operate. Avoiding the “now I have to do something” thoughts is really my intention. Being aware of this attitude has caused change in me. I sincerely hope that I have improved my ability to lay aside the guilt, and give people the dignity that they deserve and I would expect, myself.

And why? Because, if the norm was to live out under the stars, we’d stare at people who lived inside and set up programs to help the break free of their plight. And if the norm was to wheel around instead of walk we’d pass laws to make sure buildings included stairs and extra chairs so that “walkers” would be able to participate in daily life in an accessible way. We all have some challenge, we all have some strength. Some things stand out and some can be hidden. Look with respect, look and find yourself, look and learn. Listen to people, their story, their challenges, and wisdom.

I have found, that there is nothing that I HAVE to do, but for me, I choose to see you as I see myself: You’re not perfect, you have something to offer, something to teach me, something to learn from me, you have a story, a past, a present, a future, you can change, and be changed. (Even if it seems/is hard.)

Now what? Well a small step for me what this awesome website: http://www.r-word.org. It’s not only about equality, but about respect and that is probably the two best things anybody can do for their community, respect it and point out how much we are not in it alone.

Check out http://www.r-word.org/ (you don’t have to do anything, just look, and if you want, make a pledge of action)

One more thing, before you go… Galatians 3:28 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

dcbutterfly

*B.A.S.I.C = Brothers And Sisters In Christ

Check out Oreo’s Story at http://www.bissell.com/Happy_Tails.aspx?asa=1&a=1149

We are happy to share our “happy tail”!

Just in case you are wondering… I adopted the most wonderful cute dog named Oreo! She is so great! Here is her story: http://www.petfinder.com/adoption-stories/index.cgi?story=19511

My OreoMy Oreo!

Oh, and here is that Oreo song…

This semester, I have been student teaching. I loved every minute of it and learned so much. Today, I got an awesome surprise. My University supervisor (the person from FSU who gave me grades and so much more) called to let me know all my paperwork had gone through and that I was clear for graduation! (YAY!) But she told me something else that was very honoring. She complimented my final reflection and said that it had been given to the Asst. Dean of the College of Education because it was written so well. 🙂 Honestly, I had no idea that that would happen or even that it was a possibility. She told me that the people at FSU were so impressed that they sent it to the Dean to be reviewed and used as a future example piece in the program. I was so honored and excited. Now I can say there is still a piece of me at FSU, touching people into the future, which always was and remains to be my joy of life as a teacher.

I also must confess that I couldn’t even remember exactly what I wrote, so I found it and this is what I wrote:

(Also, side note: there are 12 accomplished practices that we are evaluated on from day one in the program, so that is what I am discussing in this reflection)

Of all the areas of accomplished practices, I feel that I have made the most progress in Communication. The reason I really feel that this is my greatest achievement is that it has been the most lengthy period of time since beginning teacher education that I have had the opportunity to express my voice as an educator and be heard and respected for my professional opinions. I also feel that practice is key to success. Short-term experiences in the classroom give the opportunity for new teachers to try techniques and ideas but do not provide the long-term practice and evaluation that really leads to mastery. One of my own goals for this semester was to become a fluent and confident communicator. In the beginning, it was difficult to be instructional and conversational at the same time. I had a hard time moving smoothly between questioning, instructing, and providing adequate feedback to students. In order to meet this challenge, I made a “cheat sheet” for each of my lessons, essentially a checklist that I constructed from my plans that included my objective, each part of the lesson in progression and three to four questions that I wanted to be sure to include in each section of my lesson. I began with a page for each lesson, then moved to an index card, and then to just a sticky note or two. I found that the more I wrote questions and focused on my skills as a communicator, it began to just come naturally to me. I also set weekly goals of specific things I wanted to practice. Specific praise was definitely part of that strategy. I spent time making sure that I gave excellent praise and it was directed to particular student using what he/she had learned from the lesson.
Other than classroom communication, I was also looking to develop my skills as a professional communicator, speaking to parents, administrators, and other colleagues in a confident and qualified manner. I had the opportunity to meet with other teachers weekly and took that opportunity to absorb much information and to give some of my own suggestions. Also, I took the initiative to meet with and interact with the administration and parents. I feel like this is a step in my professional life that had been lacking and was intimidating to me as a new teacher. But, now I feel much more prepared to interview and interact with administrators and parents. Overall, I have felt an exponential amount of growth during this past semester. The skills that I have now developed in communication are only a small part of the whole picture of progress that I feel I have achieved.

Florida Accomplished Practice #2

Communication — FSU Unit Indicators:

  • 2.1. Identifies and uses appropriate techniques for effective classroom instruction (e.g. listening, modeling/demonstrating, using examples and non-examples, checking for understanding, getting students’ attention, probing, summarizing student comments, set induction, and closure).
  • 2.2. Encourages students in a positive and supportive manner while communicating to all students high expectations for learning.
  • 2.3. Uses communication techniques (e.g. conferences, telephone calls, letters, newsletters, e-mails, and web sites) effectively with students, colleagues, school/community specialists, administrators, and families
  • Today I went on a hunt for electric pencil sharpeners that I need for my classroom. Everyone said, just go to wal-mart, but I don’t shop at wal-mart at all. (another post for another day) Anyway, went to Staples, Target, and finally Office Max, where thank goodness, I finally found one (two actually). **PS If you are looking for a sale on electric pencil sharpeners, go to office max, thier $22.99 mid-grade model is on sale for $10.00 Wahoo!!**

    But, that is not even the story. Here is the funny part… 🙂

    At Target, I got a few supplies and decided that I needed marking/grading pens.. they had a pack on sale for $.99 so I decided that that would be a worthwile investment. When I got to the check out, they wouldn’t ring up. They just read “item invalid” or something like that. So, to avoid a bunch of drama for cheap pens, I just said, “I don’t need them, don’t worry about it.” It wasn’t a big deal, I just thought it would be nice to have some back-up pens… Oh well. At this point, I had crossed Staples off the list and now Target, so I was off to Office Max. When I walked in the door, someone pointed me in the right direction, and I was met with three nice choices, I chose the middle price and then my eye was caught on a box of purple pens, yes, purple, a good choice for grading, in my opinion, so I picked up a box! At check out, I was plesently surprised that the pencil sharpener was less than half the normal price and the pens were only $0.01… no lie! So then, the cashier says “Um, I am not supposed to sell these (the pens) to you because there has been a recall on the product, do you really need them?” Of course, avoiding drama once again, I said, “No, that’s ok” So I had finished the classroom supply trip with two pencil sharpeners and NO PENS, not for lack of trying!!! I guess I didn’t need them!!

    Funny how sometimes things don’t work out… and sometimes they do! (I am still glad I did not go to wal-mart) 🙂