Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Ok, there actually hasn't been any rain today (it was a balmy 70* today). The title referrs other things in life... doesn't it seem that with trials, blessings, opportunities and ideas it feels like a drought when suddenly a downpour comes along? I have been thinking a lot about what I'll be doing for work (and self-satisfaction) next year. For a while it was a big fat question mark, then little ideas/possible options started popping up slowly, and then today at lunch it seemed that potential opportunites came pouring from the sky... literally multiple offers/suggestions came in a 15-minute span. It has given me a lot to think about and a lot to pray about, but I feel blessed to have opportunities come my way. We'll see what happens!

On a very different note, I encourage dancers and nondancers alike to watch this incredible video. A friend posted it on facebook and it wasn't until the credits that I realized some of my friends and teachers at BYU were involved in creating it. What a cool and beautiful piece of art. WATCH IT. I bet you've never seen anything quite like it. http://vimeo.com/14803194

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pray for Ashley

Dear anyone who reads this,

My student, Ashley, could really use your prayers. She is having some serious problems with her stomach and is meeting with a doctor in Austin on Monday. That is exciting but also a little scary as it could likely lead to another surgery. Yesterday she asked if I could pray for her. Today she told me, "I could use all the prayers I can get." So dear family and friends, will you keep Ashley in your thoughts and prayers?

Thank you! She has become a very special friend to me and I want her to have as much peace as possible as she faces these nerve-racking days ahead.

Love,
Cami

Monday, November 22, 2010

"There's So Much to be Thankful For"

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up I have been thinking a lot about home. During the holidays I think of being in the kitchen with my mom while she played Josh Groban music. Her favorite is the song "Thankful." In honor of her and of the holiday, here are the lyrics. Sing the song in your head if you know it...

Somedays we forget
To look around us
Somedays we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Look beyond ourselves
There's so much sorrow
It's way too late to say
I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth
It's so long overdue

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And every day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Even with our differences
There is a place we're all connected
Each of us can find each other's light

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more
There's so much to be thankful for
.
Isn't that beautiful?! It's always a good reminder to me that I have so much and I need to do so much. Today I am especially grateful for Bret. He is just the sweetest guy and I love him. I don't know what his trick is for keeping me so happy, but he is a pro at it and I can't wait to have Thanksgiving break to spend together.
.
Now obviously Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday because it reminds us to be less selfish and more appreciative, but a happy bonus is that with Thanksgiving comes CHRISTMAS!
"Elf" was on TV last night and I couldn't help but cut out paper snowflakes while we watched just for fun. Its 75-80 degrees here, but I'm already dreaming of a white Christmas (and if my snowflakes be the only white... so be it!)
.
Have a happy Monday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Old Fart, Curses and Countdowns

Last week my handsome husband turned 25. He insists that he is starting to feel old. I agree. Thanks to our wonderful parents and grandparents, he had some really nice gifts to open. I made him his third annual birthday scrapbook (with pictures and memories from our past year together) and got him a couple random suprises.

I also attempted to make him a delicious cake. For those of you who have experienced my past attempts at making lovely cakes, you know that they are usually less than successful. I have a cake curse. This cake was no exception. I made the cake from scratch... mmm, delicious. I made the chocolate frosting... mmm, delicious. BUT both the cake rounds had chunks that stuck to the bottom of the pan and when I tried to level the tops I made them more uneven. (I blame part of this on lack of a long enough knife, but still, it was pathetic.) I did do a much better job frosting it than normal (no crumbs getting carried along as I spread), but because so much cake was lost in trying to doctor the layers and I got so excited about the frosting success, there ended up being a SERIOUS disproportion of frosting:cake. Yes, even I feel there is too much frosting. It was a phenomenal mess that took me hours to ruin. SIGH.

I also seem to have a computer curse. I have no memory left on my hard drive... to the point where I can't even download a new cd. I have deleted tons of files and even programs. Doesn't really help for more than a few hours. I finally took my computer into OfficeDepot and after taking a look at it they convinced me to buy a $50 external hard drive. After spending many hours in frustration, I CANNOT get my computer to recognize the drive. So, I guess it is back to the computer store for me (or in the trash for the computer! Just kidding, its a great computer, it just needs to go to the doctor because my home remedies just aren't working!).

On a positive note, this week is a normal week, next week is Thanksgiving, the following week is my birthday, then it's final's week for Bret, Nutcracker week for me, and then.... GO HOME!!! I can't wait to see our families! I just want to cozy up in my living room, sit and chat with my mom, play games with the Wardles, watch movies on their comfy recliner couch with all the nieces and nephews, visit my girlfriends, see the St. George condo, remember what snow looks like, and enjoy family traditions galore. "Christmas is Coming, the goose is getting fat!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ShE sAiD "yEs!"

My BBABFF (a silly but lasting term Becky introduced in high school that to our little group of gals means "Best Buddies and Best Friends Forever") is getting married. Yes, Lauren has finally found the boy she wants to spend forever with and I couldn't be happier!

Today I just wanted to take a minute to thank her for the friend she has been to me. We met our first year in high school (2003) and became friends in AP Euro (thanks to Mrs. Ide). Since then we have gone to high school dances, run summer camps together (Lauren always managing the finances, of course), roomed through all of college, cried together, laughed together, and cooked together, and taught each other a lot of important life lessons.
We've seen eachother through blind dates, boyfriends, break-ups, boredom, and the blues. She was so supportive of me when Bret and I were planning our wedding and I wish I could be there to listed to all the details of her wedding plans, too.
Laur, I love ya and am so happy for you and Nate. Thanks for being my wonderful BBABFF!
PS- If you are snoopy and want the story or pictures of her fiance, there is a link to her blog to the right.



Friday, November 5, 2010

In Keeping with the Trend

Last week I read through every post I've put on this blog (just one of the many ways I have discovered to waste time). I noticed that there seems to be a trend: although my our lives and our weeks have ups and downs, it is always more fun to record the good things, the happy times, the little moments, the things I'm grateful for. I think its because writing down the good things simply makes me happy.

On Sunday, Bret and I spoke in sacrament meeting on Gratitude. Bret did such a great job. We also got to follow a new member who really did a fantastic job in sharing how the gospel has helped him be grateful for the blessings in his life. After church we had two families over for dinner - the Millers and the Jeppsons. We were so happy to have a full house with lots of fun adults and cute kids. It felt a little like home. We really miss our families and are so excited to spend time with them at Christmas, but we know this is exactly where we are supposed to be right now.

Heavenly Father has truly blessed us. As Bret and I have been thinking about the upcoming holidays (Bret's B-day, my B-day, Christmas) and trying to decide what gifts we'd like to get for each other, we realize that we have plenty and then some. Although a little extra cash always sounds nice, we have learned to LOVE this simple life and know that just spending time together is what makes us the happiest.

And so in keeping with tradition, let this post simply give this update: We are a HAPPY family.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank You, Isaac

Before leaving for San Angelo, my grandma insisted that I borrow and read a book called "Remembering Isaac, the Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp" by Ben Behunin. I told her it would probably be a while before I got around to reading it, but she forced me to take it. This week I started reading it and have been so blessed. I won't tell you too much about the story, just that it is embedded with nuggets of truth and wisdom on how to find faith and joy in this life. I hate putting it down but always feel happy when I do. This book just confirms to me that life is wonderful, all people are children of God and worth our love, and that one person's humble but willing heart can make a big difference in the world. Thank you, Isaac, for the lessons you are teaching me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Plain Happy

Today I'm just plain happy. I am grateful to have 3 jobs I love, a church calling that is both challenging and fun, a husband who makes me laugh and lets me be silly, and lots of tender mercies that make me realize how wonderful life is.

School was great today. There is a particular girl at the high school who I have been praying for. She is the sweetest person I have met here, yet she has some huge challenges in her future... ones that will be rewarding if they work out right, but could cause a lot of trials as well. I have been trying to be a kind face that she knows she chat with when she need a friend and turn to when she needs an advocate. Today I had an opportunity to help her out, something really small but that made a big difference to her. A few minutes later she came up to me and asked what church it was I went to. (We had briefly talked once about how she and her boyfriend are looking for a church and I invited her to come to ours any time.) I wrote down the name, address, time, and my phone number and I really think she is going to come. I know Heavenly Father is watching out for her, and even if she doesn't come to church I'm so glad that I'm having an opportunity to be a mini-missionary, and even more importantly, a friend.

Now I'm off to collaborate with Elena, the director for Annie Get Your Gun. She has been so fabulous to work with and has made me feel more confident about my ability to choreograph for this show. Plus, she reminds me of dance professors at BYU: passionate about what they do, full of energy, willing to mentor. I love artists.

And finally, I can't wait to top of the night by baking yummy treats with my best pal Bret and delivering to some church friends for FHE. Not only does that sound great because I get to spend time with Bret, but I'm sure we'll consume our fair share of fat and sugar in the process, which sounds FANTASTIC right now. :)

Autumn is in the air, blessings are everywhere I look... I know I'm a cheese-ball but I just can't help but share my happiness. To anyone who reads: I wish you a very happy day, just because.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HoT sAuCe!

(and other random happenings)

Ashley has an admirer. His name is Hunter. He asked her out on the bus last week. She didn't have her dynavox so she couldn't really answer him, but when she told me about it she just said she felt so bad that she couldn't date him. I asked her why she couldn't. She so sweetly said, "He's special needs." This coming from my dear, special needs Ashley. I pointed to my head and asked, "This kind?" Yes. And he's a freshman. Two strikes.

Turns out Hunter is a little mentally challenged, but most of his difficulties are in his speech and communication. It can be difficult to understand what he's saying, and if he gets excited he'll repeat himself over and over. I have met Hunter twice. Both times he has asked me, "Is Ashley hot?" "Yes Hunter, Ashley is a pretty girl." "No, is she HOT? She IS hot. She's Hot Sauce!" Today he asked Ashley if she like him. She smiled and shook his hand. Then Hunter asked me, "Miss, does she like me? Does she like me? I like her. I like her a lot. A lot. She's hot. Tell her I like her. Tell her she's pretty and beautiful. Tell her I like her. Ok Miss? She is pretty and beautiful. Pretty AND beautiful. Will you tell her, Miss?".... on and on and on. Funny, but really sweet.

Then Ashley spent the next 10 minutes periodically saying, "I feel so bad. I just feel bad." Isn't it interesting to think of how those two cute kids have those same desires to date just like everyone else. They get nervous to talk to each other just like everyone else. They don't want to hurt someone's feelings, just like everyone else. Its times like this when I love my job.

Other random happenings today:
*I took a jazz class at the ballet studio and it felt so good to dance (in a class I wasn't teaching). I got really dizzy doing pirouettes and fuetes (sp?) - that was a weird sensation!
*I locked my keys in my car at Walmart - and the spare doesn't open doors, apparently it just starts the ignition (my mom called it a vallet key). The good news is that I learned how to call the insurance company and ask questions. Turned out they provided a locksmith totally free in 15 minutes. Woo Woo!
*My wonderful husband found out that it is National Dessert Day (I thought he was kidding but he googled it for proof!) and made pizookie for us to eat while we watched an episode of "the Office". Mmmm. What a sweetheart! He's "HoT sAuCe"!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tender Mercies

My last post (which was much too lengthy) was about the little moments that make us realize how blessed we are. Today I had some more tender mercies. Yesterday a lot of responsibilities/projects landed on my plate... things I was already planning on doing, but deadlines got bumped up and related work appeared. I didn't get as much sleep as I should have and was stressed about finishing the choreography I needed to teach at tonight's Annie Get Your Gun Rehearsal. I just prayed that I could feel calm and find a way to maximize my time to finish the choreography while at work. And...

Someone came to work on Ashley's dynavox for 40 minutes so I got to sit there while they worked and choreograph in my head.

Ashley had a GREAT, playful attitude today, even though she felt like poop.

Ashley decided to go home after lunch, and although I tried to assist other teachers, it gave me some down-time and think time that added to a calm, confident feeling.

MY DANCE CLASSES WERE WONDERFUL! My Tuesday classes are always easier than Wednesdays, but today I just enjoyed every minute with them and felt so lucky to work with these sweet children.

The musical rehearsal ended up going well. We didn't even get to the piece I was so worried about choreographing!

I'm grateful that God sends us tender mercies, whether they are packaged as a few extra minutes, a good laugh, or a three-year-old in tights. He knows us and blesses us in small but generous ways.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Living for the Little Moments

This week's "Little Moments" that made me smile:

1. A girl at Lake View named Marca came into class today and said, "Miss Cami, someone told me I look like you and it made my day." Marca, YOU made my day. Thanks for saying that. (By the way, all of Ashley's teachers and their students refer to me as "Mrs. Wardle" EXCEPT for one class in which the teacher must feel I am too young for such a title and consistently calls me "Miss Cami". My 4-year-olds call me Miss Cami. It's kinda weird at the high school.)

2. Last week Michael was working on his picture for art class during activity period. I asked him about it. This week he proudly caught my attention during 4th period to show me his completed picture. He was so proud. Today I asked him about his plans for college, since I know he is one of the few kids at this school who is really serious about going AND succeeding. He was excited to tell me that his goal is to beat his sister and be the first in their family to get a college degree. He wants to go into architecture and business. Way to go, Michael. Set your standards high!

3. At lunch some teachers told me how wonderful they think the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is. I agree and am grateful for the chior's ability to do missionary work through music.

4. Teaching my Creative Movement class today was NOT a fun little moment. At the time I wanted to cry, but looking back, it was rather comical. I have two DRAMA queens... whiney, crying, pouting, drama queens. They play off each other and it is very obvious that they do it all for attention. I can't adequately discribe how abnoxious they were today. "Miss Cami, [erupting into immediate tears] I want a turn!" "Lauren, you just had your turn." "But but but I don't know how to have high knees [or something ridiculous like that]... waaaahhh!!!!" "Wow Lauren you're standing with a tall back though!" She stands up tall and is ALL SMILES. The next girls' turn begins and immediately, "Miss CAMI!!! [tears]. I'm not good at tip-toes... waaahh!!" WHEW! The best part was after class she got her sticker and was TOTALLY HAPPY, then ran out wailing to her mom, "Dance is OVER... I don't want to be done... Baaahhh!! WAAAHHH!!!" This from the girl who pouted, screamed, and cried through the last 45 minutes of ballet.

5. Yesterday the mother of a student in the musical came up and said that her daughter always comes home happy on Tuesday nights and said that I make her feel good about herself and life. I don't know how that is possible, as I am a spaz at musical rehearsals, but I sure love those students and was so pleased to hear that rehearsal was a bright spot in her week. Its a bright spot in my week too.

6. Bret and I had FHE on Monday and spent a half hour talking about birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yay for holidays to look forward to. Then we had a great discussion about conference and ended with ICE CREAM!

7. A tender mercy: I needed someone to cover my afternoon hall duty and was a little stressed about it. I planned to ask a teacher who I had helped study for a dance ed certification test last week but was nervous to impose on her time. Who pull up right next to me at school that morning and ask for a favor? That teacher. I was able to get up the guts to ask for her help in exchange. Heavenly Father knew I'd need some extra help and provided it.

8. Last night I had an idea for the dance lecture demonstration I'm planning. Finally out of my stump and excited to get going on this project!

9. This weekend my friend Maddie (one of Bret's classmates) called and invited me to go on a walk. We don't see eachother often, but feel a common respect and appreciation for one another. Our walk was just what I needed and we ended up having a great conversation about our religions and faith. It was the first time I had really tried to explain some gosple concepts to someone who truly didn't know a thing about the church. I was nervous but was grateful for a friend who let me speak openly and share my feelings. Thank heaven for good people everywhere who exercise their faith in Christ and try to emmulate His light. She is a light to me.

10. General Conference! Need I say more?

Those are the ones that come to mind right now. Counting the little moments of joy (or humor) in my life always makes me realize how blessed I am. What have been your little moments this week?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Jazz Affair

Tonight I watched half of the dress rehearsal for the Civic Ballet's "The Jazz Affair". It is a fantastic collaboration project that brings together local and guest artists, dancers and jazz musicians.
Half of the show is choreographed by the ballet's director, Meghann Bridgeman, and performed by the advanced dancers (most of whom take my modern class once a week).
WOW. I am very impressed with her choreography - she keeps it ballet enough while eally capturing the feeling of the music and contemporizing things. The dancers make me want to cry - they are so talented, so young, and so genuinely sweet. They have inspired me to start taking ballet classes with them so I can continue to learn and improve in the art form I am so passionate about.
I didn't watch the guest artist half of the show, but I have watched them rehearse throughout the week, as Ashley has been doing her job shadowing at the ballet for last few weeks for a couple hours. I have been impressed with what I have seen from them, too, and watching them gives me that twinge of missing Dancers' Company and being part of a group of artists involved in creating and performing together.
The music is fantastic. When Bret and I were dating we played a version of the "Newlyweds" game on a group date. The question was, "What is your date's favorite genre of music?" I thought for sure he'd put country, as we both enjoy country music and had talked about that fact many times. But no. He answered ,"Jazz." Well I don't listen to jazz much, but when I do I am always mesmerized and fall in love with it. The band is great and the guest singer...Aaaahhh... she sounds just like Ella Fitzgerald (not that I really know anything about Ella Fitzgerald!).
Anyway, it is a fantastic show and I am excited to watch the real deal tomorrow. I love dance. I love art. !!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Little Miss Dramatic

Who? Me. Sorry for my overly-passionate post about school. It was a little over the top. There are a bunch of fantastic teachers at this school and they are working with a particularly challenging population of students. Its easy to criticize when I sit through their classes each day wishing I could be hired as a teacher... I start thinking I could do things better but I forget how challenging teaching can be. And the teacher I subbed for probably thought she made things a lot more clear than she did. I just got a little frustrated in the moment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

7th Period? Ok.

Dear Whomever,

It's 7th period at Lake View High School. The student I assist has been gone all day getting her braces tweaked. I have spent the day doing random tasks for other teachers, getting some paperwork sorted out, and attempting to stay busy. This morning I offered my help to some of the teachers I know and one of them sighed with relief and asked me to help cover her 7th period class. All she told me was, "I need to leave for a doctors' appointment but didn't want to get a sub since I'm just heading out a little early. They're just doing a worksheet and then they can go to the library." Hmmm.... sounds good. I assumed I'd see her at the beginning of 7th and went on my merry little way.

What she neglected to tell me was that she would NOT be there when I showed up. Luckily this is a Special Ed Support Facilitate class with only 7 students. After waiting a few minutes to she if the teacher would come, I found a folder on her jumbled desk with a sticky note that read, "7th-finish bridge then this." The students explained what the bridge was and convinced me that they all finished it yesterday (I made them show me their assignment but couldn't tell what "done" was supposed to look like so I just trusted them). I gave them their new assignment. I took roll on a sticky note by asking them their first name. They finished the worksheet in about 10 minutes and I wrote them all passes to go to the library (hopefully my scribbles on a sticky-note were enough to count as a pass).

Now I'm sitting here thinking, "What the heck just happened? What am I supposed to do now? Hope I didn't mess anything up horribly, but if I did it's not my fault." It bothers me that this teacher didn't give me more information - that wasn't fair to me - but what bothers me more is that she didn't care enough about her students to help me help them learn. She left me high and dry, but more frustrating, she left THEM high and dry.

I might never be a high school teacher, but I can tell you what... If I am, I will do a lot better than a most of the teachers here. That is not a statement of pride or cockiness, that is a statement of committment and dedication. These students deserve more.

Sincerely,
Irritated

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Hour in Dance Education Heaven

When we moved to San Angelo I realized that all my hopes and dreams of saving the world one public school dance class at a time wouldn't come easily. Then I started to think it wouldn't come at all. But today I found myself spending an hour sharing all my lofty ideas for ways to bring dance to elementary school children with someone who actually wanted to listen and who bounced ideas back!

Her name is Tara Rainey, the new executive director at the San Angelo Civic Ballet (not to be confused with Meghann Bridgemann, the artistic director, who hired me). Tara asked last month if I would be interested in helping with the ballet's outreach in February. Today we sat down to chat about it... turns out she's about as ambitious as I am. She believes strongly in the importance of arts in the public schools, although she doesn't know much about dance. As she put it, "I can get you money and get you in places, but I just don't have the ideas." Well how great... I have the ideas but no ins and no money. We have some cool plans and are going to work on writing some grants soon. Yay! Even if all our wildest dreams don't come true, I'm just so happy we could share that hour talking together.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eye Heart You

Today Ashley taught me an important lesson... good things come from saying "I love you." As I was feeding her she tapped her upper cheek, then her chest, then pointed her first finger knuckle at me. I smiled (not sure exactly what she was trying to communicate to me). She did it again... cheek, chest, point. I put on a funny face and said, "Ashley, do you love me?" She got this giant smile that I have learned to recongnize which says, "Yay... you got what I was saying!" and then she repeated the three actions one more time as if to confirm, "Yes. I love you."

How many people get to hear that each day... at work? I got a little tear in my eye and said, "Ashley, I love you too." A conversation opened up where we were able to discuss a lot of things including faith in God's plan for us, and why we are given trials... even ones as difficult as living in a handicapped body. I never expected to bear my testimony in a bathroom, but today I did just that... and all because someone chose to say "I love you."

I know that God loves Ashley and that He is mindful of her needs and wants, her dreams and desires. He doesn't make mistakes and she is exactly as He intended her to be. We are all His beloved children and He has an incredible master plan for each of us. I'm grateful that I could be reminded of that today.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blessed

"As we learn to trust in God we realize that He can make a lot more out of our lives than we can." I can't remember who said this and I know it's not a direct quote, but it sure is true. This weekend I've been reminded of what a wonderful life I have and how little I have done to deserve it. Bret and I are so blessed!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The LONG and SHORT of Things...

LONG:

This day has felt long. Remember those classes in High School that would never end? Each time you looked at the clock you had to grimace? Well I'm no longer the student, but I still have days where I grimace... especially when there is nothing productive going on and the hooligans around me are cussing up a storm and talking about things that make me feel dirty inside. Ugh.

The day feels long when the cute girl I assist has numerous events during the day that try to get her down (frustrating math test, personal "incidents", not feeling well, situations where her handicaps are accentuated, etc.). I love cheering her back up... really, I love that part of my job! But after a while it gets difficult to stay peppy when I feel a bit sluggish myself.

The day feels long when a three year old has abnormal amounts of energy and distracts the other 3 dancers from skipping, and pointing their toes, and... well just about everything! Good thing she's cute.

The day feels long when you realize much time it will take to do all 5 loads of laundry that have mysteriously accumulated in just one week. (We must have stashed a bunch of towels somewhere because today there are an awful lot that want to be cleaned.)

On a plus side, the day feels long when you get 40 minutes of lunch instead of 25 (I guess some of those "incidents" worked to my benefit). And since time was moving slow, those 40 minutes seemed more like an hour, which was fine by me!

SHORT:

Short is... the amount of time it has taken us to eat this delicious loaf of bananna bread.

Short is... the list of things I HAVE TO get done tonight. (I emphasize HAVE TO because the list of things I should do is very lengthy).

Short is... my memory. Should I be worried that I have to ask myself (and sometimes Bret) how old I am on a bi-weekly basis?

Short is... a long weekend. Bret and I went to San Antonio this weekend and LOVED it, but now that we're back to the grind it seems like it went by so quickly! (We'll post pictures soon.)

Short is... my list of short things.

So there you have it... the LONG and SHORT of things. But when you add together long and short you end up with average... and that's what today was... not bad, just average. Here's to an above-average tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The End of an August

I just have a couple thoughts to share on this final day of August (which is really not significant, but pointing it out makes it sound more interesting).

First, today was a busy day. I left the house at 6:50am (20 minutes later than I intended) and got home around 8:45pm. School with no lunch break, straight to the studio to observe and then teach, directly to the theatre for a cast meeting, then to Institute. Whew! No real breaks! When I glanced at facebook my student Ashley's status said something about how tired school makes her. My first thought is, "I AGREE!" But after thinking about it more, I started remembering all the great things that happened today... Ashley and I laughing for 2 minutes straight, eating lunch with Ashley, my cute little dancers, etc... and realized that the day was long, but wonderful! Its like I told Ashley today, "Its hard to have a bad day when I'm around someone so fun." Well, I think sometimes we complain about our long days or our busy days when really they are wonderful... and since they are so wonderful we should be grateful that they are long... more good stuff! Does that make any sense? I've just been feeling very tired and very blessed simultaneously.

Second, Institute had some great messages, but my favorite was a simple thing that Brother Jeppson said right as class was ending: "I just love what He has done with this little life of mine." I wish we all had that attitude more often... one of gratitude and recognition that God is in control of our lives and He has made much more out of them than we could make on our own. "I just love what He has done with this little life on mine."



And finally, BRET AND I ARE GOING TO SAN ANTONIO THIS WEEKEND! If the other thoughts listed aren't enought to make me smile, this certainly does the trick! We're excited to see the Riverwalk and the Alamo, but mostly we can't wait to spend the day in the temple... its been far too long! If anyone has suggestions of wonderful INEXPENSIVE things to do there, let us know!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Week Down

The first week of school felt extremely long, but not in a bad way. I just can't believe that I've only been working with Ashley for a week! I feel really blessed to have this job. She is a sweet girl and a fun friend. We get along really well, and though I'm sure we will have our days, I think the fact that I am young and goofy and optimistic makes me a good partner for her because I get what it's like to be a teenager. (Well... mostly... I hear a lot more about drugs and teen pregnancy and terrible language here, even more than in student teaching, and I don't understand that stuff AT ALL.) I appreciate how independent Ashley is trying to be and that she is patient with me when I don't understand what she is trying to tell me the first time. Even though I come home worn out some day, I feel like I am really lucky to be having this learning experience.

Teaching is AWESOME! I love dance. I love dance. I LOVE dance. Do you believe me? I like my bity baby classes and I honestly fell in love with my advanced modern dance class last night. They are incredible ballet dancers, better than I am, and all of them 10-15 years old. However, I have a lot to offer them in modern... they need to learn to let go, breath, think outside the box, etc. But they are sweet, funny and well-behaved and teaching them gives me an opportunity to do what I love: create challenging movement, teach it, and DO it.

Choreographing for the theatre (ACT - Angelo Civic Theatre) is going to be a fantastic opportunity. Today I taught a 30 second sequence for auditions and had a blast. I love the acting and music directors and know they will be great to work with. The kids (8-18) auditioning were really talented and I can't wait to challenge them with dance (their weakest point). You all know I'm secretly a musical nut and I've been singing "There's no Business like Show Business" at the top of my lungs each time I get in the car for the past week. :)

Life has gone from blah to busy, but I'm loving the change of pace. Coming soon... a post from Bret about his week entitled, "Going from Busy to Blah." (I'll see if I can get him to actually write a post!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow... but not by 5:30 am!

Tomorrow is a big day for the Wardles...

Bret has his Neuroscience exam. Neuro has been a really difficult class but a really interesting one. I wish I could comprehend all the little things Bret tries to explain to me... our brains are incredible. He has studied hard and will do great!

Tomorrow is the first day of school for me and I have tried to take my own advice about anticipation to heart. On Friday, about an hour before going home for the weekend, I was taken out into the hall and introduced to Estella and told that I would also be assisting her. She also has Cerebral Palsy and has a wheelchair, but she doesn't have the same speech impediments as Ashley does. I keep checking my email for info on how they expect me to aide two students at once, but I think the final conclusion is that we kind-of have to wing it. For now I will be focusing on Ashley, but taking Estella to the bathroom between each class. I don't even know Estella's schedule so I guess I really will be winging things... wish me luck!

On another note, church was wonderful today. Two sisters were called to be nursery workers so we can finally implement a Jr./Sr. plan and have more helping hands. Yay! Our Sacrament meeting was also fabulous. Our friends, the Jeppsons, spoke and provided a daddy/daughter duet. It was so sweet and my cheeks got very wet. With the nursery lesson being on how Heavenly Father and Jesus love little children, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming love for all the children in our ward and their parents who set such good examples for Bret and me. When little Meg and her daddy sang to us I felt the spirit testify so strongly that families and children bring us the most joy in this life and that when we focus on making our homes happy places we will feel the Savior's presence there. I know He loves ALL His children... even his children who are "all grown up." What wonderful feelings to have on a Sunday and what a good way to prepare for our manic Monday ahead.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! You're only a day away!" (from "Annie")

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Anticipation

Anticipate:
to think, speak, act or feel an emotional response in advance
dictionary.com

I chose this word as the title of today's blog because much of my time lately has been spent anticipating my two and a half jobs. I like the definition because I really have been thinking, speaking and acting based on the emotional responses I am feeling in advance.

Some days, for example, I get this proud, confident feeling about my jobs based on the premature assumption that I'm going to be fantastic at all of them. I feel relieved because I picture Ashley and I getting along perfectly, her teachers respecting and utilizing me, and my colleagues being impressed by natural "gift" as a Special Ed aide. I also picture myself teaching incredible modern dance classes, having ballerinas fall in love with their bare feet and beg me to teach them more contemporary dance. On these days I speak, think and act with optimism and confidence. I am so excited for work and feel like I have the best jobs in the world.

More often than not, however, I feel a bit of anxiety and fear, topped off by a huge "U" that screams "YoU are Unqualified! Ashley will get frustrated with you because you're going to be a horrible aide who doesn't know how and when to help, and who is really nervous about feeding and changing her incorrectly. And those little 3-5 year old dancers you're teaching tomorrow morning will be upset that you don't know what 'marshmallow walks' or 'the bouncing song' are (since no one has explained the syllabus to you yet) and tell you that the activities you planned instead 'are not what our other teacher does.'" Yikes. During these moments I do nothing. I feel trapped because I can't really plan or prepare for these situations... I just have to show up, do my best, and THEN adjust and plan from what I LEARN.

My "half" job leads to these feelings of anticipation, too. I was asked to choreograph for the San Angelo Civic Theatre Children's Production of "Annie Get Your Gun." I am incredibly excited and feel lucky to get involved in a musical, since that has always been a passion of mine. Some days I picture people shaking my hand after the show, complementing the great dancing... other times I envision stressful rehearsals where the director tells me it stinks. (I consider this my "half" job because I'm barely getting paid, so its more like a fun project that will give me another foot in the door with the arts in San Angelo.)

And speaking of trying to increase the level of arts in our lovely little town, I also find myself feeling anticipation about things that don't even exist... my future dance club at Lake View (which will probably happen in a few months as the administration is making a huge push for more clubs)... my future dance company at Lake View (which is very unlikely, but I'd like to try)... my future dance program, complete with Dance 1, 2, 3 and Company classes (nearly impossible for many reasons)... and finally, my future career as a star dancer on the exquisit community performing company I single-handedly create (ok, just kidding about that one). Really though, sometimes I find myself feeling elated because an imaginary future dance club member wants to start a petition for a school dance company... and sometimes I feel dejected because as hard as I try, my future dance program is not as well recieved by the students here as it was at Westlake (where I student taught) and I feel like I'm failing all my teachers and mentors who modeled such perfect classrooms and programs.

PHEW! Isn't my brain exhausting?! (Actually, I think all women's brains work this way, more or less... maybe men's brains do too... maybe we all wear ourselves out thinking about the future!) But although my brain truly is in a constant anticipation mode, I am so happy. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I know whose examples remind me that no one has to be perfect, they just have to try their best. I find inspiration in the words of Elder Wirthlin who taught us to "come what may, and love it," and President Uchtdorf who reminds us that "happiness is [our] heritage." A rather cheesy poster hanging up at Lake View has the meaningful quote, "If you don't succeed today, try again a different way." And I think the most comforting bit of advice comes from our Prophet who always encourages us to be a little more kind and thoughtful. I have memorized this poem he quoted in a conference talk and it runs through my head often:

"I have wept in the night for the shortness of sight that to somebody's need made me blind. But I never have yet felt a tinge of regret for being a little too kind."

This doesn't exactly seem like the right kind of advice for someone with anticipation issues, but it gives me hope that by being a kind, genuine, respectful person my shortcomings will be forgiven, my lack of qualification forgotten and my efforts appreciated. Hopefully as I try to compliment the good in others they will do the same for me (or at least try not to look for the bad). The truth is, none of us is truly qualified or prepared for every circumstance in life, but we are always capable of learning new things, choosing an optimistic attitude, and deciding to be the best, kindest, most Christlike person we can be regardless of whether we succeed or fail.

So for all of us with a little bit of anticipation... for school, for a test, for work, for a church calling, for ANYTHING... let's not let our premature emotions dictate our thoughts, speech, and actions, but let it motivate us to look to Christ as our rock, put on a happy face, and go for it!

PS- To my most avid (maybe only) reader, my wonderful husband, THANK YOU for making me happy and showing incredible patience when sometimes anticipation leads to sudden mood changes and self-centered, repetative conversations. I love you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Book-Ends

Beginnings:

I started work on Wednesday! Yay! We've just been doing faculty training so far and I feel like I've been walking around with a big question mark on my head. I've learned a million names and failed to learn a million acronyms. I am quickly realizing that half the meetings we have don't apply to me and that I have a very rare job. While most of me aches to be starting a dance program at this school, actually teaching students and creating movement, I'm getting excited to work with Ashley and know that it will be a good experience. I really love how friendly, helpful and encouraging the faculty have been and am glad to be working at Lake View High School.

Endings:


Bret took his anatomy final on Wednesday, thereby finishing his first class at ASU with flying colors. I am so impressed with how well he has done in this class (an I know his peers look up to him too and appreciate how humble he is about his success). Anatomy ended early because his professor has been asked to go to Korea for a few weeks... something military related. This is great because it means that anatomy is out of the way so they can really hit Neuroscience hard. (By the way, aren't these pictures crazy? People wearing their anatomy on their skin...? Luckily Bret gets to study the real deal.)

In-Betweens:
Most of the other things that happened this week revolve around food. On Monday I felt like baking and wanted to make some thank-you treats for people. I made a silly mistake with one of the recipes and accidentally doubled one major ingredient because I had extra sitting on the counter. The dough was WAY to sticky when I tried to spread it into the pan so I caught my mistake and doubled everything, leaving me with a kitchen overflowing with treats. The treat total: one huge Texas sheet cake, one large and two small cookie sheets of pan sugar cookies and a whole bunch of cracker candy. I delivered 8+ plates of treats and harly made a dent. Let's just say our freezer, fridge and bellies are enjoying the leftovers.

I also tried a lot of new meals this week that were a big success. Wahoo... that doesn't happen very often (new meals OR big successes!). We had southwestern crock-pot chicken, chicken fajitas and bbq ribs. Mmmm. If you want some new recipes try sisterscafe.blogspot.com. We've really liked the two recipes I've tried.
Finally, Bret and I ate out for the first time in about 2 months. We joined his classmates for a celebration at Bonsai. It's just like the Bonsai in Salt Lake... they make the food at your table on a big grill. We were skeptical about using our splurge dinner on Japanese cuisine, but we loved it. I even tried a shrimp (yes, for the first time ever, please don't judge me). It was alright so I ate the other one on my plate too. I just wish they weren't so pink and swirly... its hard to get over. Take the picture above for example... can't you just picture it's little head sitting right on top? Luckily mine was cooked more than that so it looked less creature-like.

We are loving life... the beginnings, the endings, and everything in the middle!

Monday, August 9, 2010

High Points and Little Moments


A few days ago a friend and I had a conversation about how things we see in the media (especially our favorite: chick flicks) give us a skewed perspective about love and relationships. Often we find ourselves wishing our lives could reflect those seemingly romantic, dream-come-true stories. What we fail to remember is that those movies are just snipets... just high points and key moments that are universally appealing. We don't see the mundane, everydate encounters, the frustrations or the regular conversations. The scene ends right after the kiss, the wedding or the incredibly well-spoken phrase. There is always background music, good lighting and a perfect wardrobe.

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Let's face it... this is not real life!
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However, we talked about how real life, though different, is so much better. Each of us could compile our own movie-worthy story if we were to take the high points of our relationships and glamorize them a bit. They might seem more appealing this way, because they would mostly include the good stuff and just enough drama to make the good things seem even better. But real relationships aren't made up of a string of high points with a few dramatic challenges. High points will always be great, but relationships are built upon the everyday occurances, the small and simple things that make us smile.
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Today I just wanted to thank Bret for all the little things this weekend... for dancing with me when I was frustrated, singing to me in the kitchen because I was in a silly mood and giving me a little backrub because I really wanted one. For the fun night of watching "The Office" on my computer and for being patient while I told him all the details about the movie "Amazing Grace" last night. For not caring that we ate dinner at 9:15 and had to put the chicken back in the oven when it was still pink; for telling me it was delicious anyway. For being so sweet about helping in nursery and for being so cute with all the little kids (he has his own 2-year-old fan club!).
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I love all the little things that make our marraige such a blessing. Individually, these moments were small and simple; they passed quickly and could easily be forgotten. However, I think that when we take the time to remember the little moments they do seem special and they start to add up and you realize that life is wonderful... REAL life is SO WONDERFUL.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

I've Got The Urge...


TO CHOP!
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This urge is nearly impossible to predict and always comes on strong. I am not an impulsive person, but when it comes to cutting my hair, I act fast. If I can hold out for even two days it is a major triumph.
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Recently I told Bret that I was pretty sure I'd keep growing my hair out this time since it's already to my shoulders. NOPE. Can't do it. Getting it cut just sounds much more fun!
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So today I am doing what I always do when the urge hits... scouring the internet for that "perfect hair style." However, there are some problems with this:
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1. Having a great cut is futile unless you know how to style it well, and that is not my forte.
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2. All the pictures online are either celebrities (who are going to look good in ANY haircut, even if its not that great) or hair salon pictures (which are usually way too extreme).
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(Cute, right?! Or is it? If my hair looked like that would I love it or would I be irritated that it was flipping in different directions? Did she have to have a hairstylist do it for her? Could I do it? etc etc.... Get the problem?)
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Another set-back in deciding how to chop is that I always want to be daring yet I want to play it safe. Can you do both? I think you can but I have yet to venture over to the daring side.
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In the past 5 years I have gone to a different hair-cutter nearly every time. I am always going for the best bargain, which means beauty school students, which means a little less experience. I am usuallypleased with whatever cut I get, but because I don't know how to describe anything other than "a bob with a slight A-line and some simple bangs," the only thing that really fluctuates is length.
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So today should I pay $6 for a cosmetology student to try something daring or should I dish out a little more dough and have a more experienced person chop off my hair? I know the smart answer, but I'm so cheap! What a dilemma!
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I need something new. I need something that makes me look older (don't want to be mistaken for a high school student at my new job). I need something easy to do. I need something that's still me.
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But mostly I just really need to cut my hair!
I'VE GOT THE URGE!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Learning a Lot

That seems to be the best summary of this week... Learning a lot.

Bret, as you would expect, has been learning a LOT in school over the past three months. He just aced his anatomy test last week. (He won't be happy if I tell you HOW good he did, so I'll just say that if you assume he really did ace it, you'll only be one percent off!) He perfers that I don't brag about him so I usually don't, but I am really proud of how hard he studies. He takes his classes really seriously and I appreciate how much effort he puts into everything he does.

My mind has mostly been turning to mush, but this week I tried to combat that by reading a good book, "The Scarlet Pimpernel." I'm all about re-reading books (I'm so forgetful that it never feels redundant) so I pulled this one off our shelf and got hooked. It makes me want to see the play now! "We seek him here, we seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere..."

I have also attended two work-related meetings and learned more about my job and the things associated with it, although I seemed to leave both meetings with nearly as many questions as answers. The first meeting was three hours of payroll, insurance, etc. It was a lot of new vocabulary (deductible, PPO, workers' comp, etc) but I feel really lucky that I get such great benefits even though I'm not an actual teacher! The second meeting was with the girl who I'll be "aiding." My biggest concern, however, is figuring out just how much "aiding" she wants me to do. I will feed and change her a couple times during the day and will be in her classrooms, but I will be more of a classroom aide unless she needs my help. She's awesome though. She has cerebral palsy and is in a wheel-chair. She can make some noises and can whisper some words, but if she needs to say more she types it into a machine that speaks for her. She's really smart and expressive though. I feel like we'll get along great, but I really don't want to let her down. I know Heavenly Father wanted me to get this job (because I can't think of any other reason why I'd qualify for this over Target) so I hope He doesn't let me down either! :)

One more thing I learned to do today: PAINT WALLS! I helped my visiting teaching companion, Robyn, paint her soon-to-be-nursery today. We only did the first coat, so it looked a little rough, but I think I did a good job and I'm glad that someday when I have a home to paint I will have had some experience!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As Missionaries Do

We love the missionaries here in San Angelo! On Saturday I went teaching with the Sisters while Bret went teaching with the Elders. (They just so happened to ask each of us, individually, to join them on the same night!) I loved being a tag-along missionary! Today the Sisters called to see if I wanted to come teach another family. Of course I had nothing else to do so I was excited for the opportunity. But...

After such a great, spirit-filled lesson the last time I joined them, I'm afraid I got a skewed perspective of missionary work. The truth: IT IS HARD! They are teaching a woman who is eager to learn and can feel the spirit. However, her husband sat in on the lesson today and he was all over the place. He had lots of questions, which was GREAT, but he countered each answer with his own biases which were extremely inconsistent and confusing. He went on major tangents and told awkward stories; it was hard to feel the spirit. He wasn't trying to argue, but he wasn't willing to really listen. The Holy Ghost will always confirm to our minds and hearts that this gospel is true, BUT ONLY if we have "a broken heart and a contrite spirit." We must earnestly want to know the truth and be willing to act on the answers we recieve.

Teaching with the missionaries, praying for the investegatorts, and studying with a new perspective has really strengthened my own convictions of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only religion containing all the components that existed when Christ was on the earth: Prophets, Priesthood, Faith, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion, the Holy Ghost, Covenants, Revelation and Temples. I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation, for a just and merciful God who gave us the opportunity to come to this earth to learn and grow. Graciously he provided us with a Savior whose perfect example and incredible sacrifice give us hope for an eternal life with him. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost who testifies of truth and comforts us as we go through life. I know these things are true and I look forward to sharing this testimony with others.

"I want to be a missionary, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do!"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thought for the Day:


“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

- James Barrie
(Author of Peter Pan)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

These are a few of our FAVORITE THINGS...

Beautiful Fresh Flowers.
Maddie brought flowers when she came over for dinner on Sunday. Isn't that thoughtful!

Late night snacks. (When too many things sound good, eat them all!)

1. Our bread-maker. I tried a new recipe today and made cinnamon-swirl bread.
2. Buying mega-amounts of meat to freeze it. I won't have to buy ground beef for months!
3. "Lemi Shine." This one is the BEST ITEM OF THE DAY! Our dishes have been getting a terrible residue on them and I thought it was the detergent but it's actually the hard water build-up. A woman in my ward recommended "Lemi-Shine" so I drove stright to the store, bought it, used it, and REJOICED. My dishes are shiny and clean. Yay!
4. Also featured is the "Kitchen Witchen" who watches over our food and magically prevents kitchen catastrophes. (Sometimes she gets lazy though, because occasionally they still happen!)

Our Bread! Yummier than it looks.

Suprise packages from the Wardles!
Bret's mom sent us a package with t-shirts from the Wardle Olympics and a DVD of finest moments. Our favorite part was when Jay, Millie, Karina and Marissa came out dressed like zombies doing the "Thriller" dance for the family talent show!

The new addition to our family: George.
Yesterday I was bored and went on an adventure to Goodwill. That place was like a gold mine! I got this George Forman for $5 plus a black dress, a retro pink skirt, and a chunky belt for $10. Rock it.

Bret wondered why I was "all dressed up with no where to go." I told him it was kind-of like playing dress-ups. I was happy 'cause he told me he liked my new skirt! He's a keeper.

And here is a picture of Bret heading off to his first day of "Executive Secretary duties." I just put it up 'cause I think he's so handsome. :) I'd also like to mention that he did very well on his Neuroscience test this week and I'm really proud of him.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are okay, but these things have made us really happy this week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

One More Thing Biting...

I neglected to mention one thing that's biting in the last post... the misquitos! I have 23 bites below my knees! I woke up around 2am this morning frantically trying to itch my legs in my sleep. I got out of bed and sat on the couch, trying to think of how to get the itching to stop. I decided to try the Cortizone cream again, even though it has never worked. As I sat in half-sleep-mode on the bathroom floor, trying to will the cream to magically cure my crazy itching, I realized the cream expired in 1998. Yep, my grandma gave it to me a couple years ago when I had an itch and apparently we never checked the date! Needless to say, I gave up, scratched a little more (which only made it worse... it always does yet its so tempting!) then got back in bed and exercised extreme self control as I stared at the ceiling thinking, "Don't itch, don't move, don't even readjust. Fall asleep. Fall asleep. Don't itch!" Whew!

Tonight I made Bret come to the store with me so I could get some REAL anti-itch cream. Wish me a peaceful sleep!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Biting into Arms and Brownies

Yes, that's right... today in nursery a little boy who was visiting BIT another little boy's arm. 2 mintues later I could still see the marks. 15 mintues later it was still red. That is NOT what kids are supposed to do in nursery! Then again, they're also not supposed to dump 5 cups of water on the table, pull eachother's hair, or steal toys from someone and then hit them on the head with it. I love being in nursery, but 17 kids (including the aggressive visitor boy) plus 2 nursery workers equals not a very peaceful Sabbath.

Bret's Sunday was pretty eventful too. He taught the Priestood lesson today and got called as the ward's Executive Secretary. He also has a new best friend, a two year-old named Tyson. He's one of the Skidmore kids who I babysat on Friday and who came over this morning before church and sat with us through Sacrament since their mom was out of town and dad was at Bishopbric meetings. This little boy thinks Bret is the coolest thing ever (and I agree). Bret's gonna be a great dad someday, that's for sure.

And finally, our day ended by biting into some delicious brownies that the Skidmore girls helped me bake. Yum! We had Maddie and Luis over for dinner and feel so blessed to have such great friends. We admire both of them.

What an interesting and wonderful day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

We've Finally Got a Social Life

Usually this is me...
Doing little projects by myself in our house. I get a lot of quality time with myself! But this weekend I had so much company! On Thursday, Bret and I went swimming at the apartment pool.

We had a blast soaking in the sun. I love spending time with my best friend in the whole world!
Later that day I got to play tennis with a friend in Bret's program. We're getting pretty good! And like Bret predicted, we girls wouldn't be able to socialize quite enough over the net, so we eventually took a walk and had a much needed "girls chat." Thanks Maddie!
On Friday I babysat for the Skidmores, a family in our ward, all day. It was really fun! We played lots of games and spent about 3 hours at the pool. An added bonus was that I got to drive their golf cart around!
I got to see these kids again today (plus many more) at the Primary party. (Whose idea was it to celebrate Pioneer Day on the 17th instead of next Saturday on the 24th?) I ran the relay race where they took pioneer/cowboy clothes on and off. I've gotta say, my experience teaching dance and running summer camps really comes in handy when things don't go as planned and I have to improvise!
Tomorrow the Skidmore kids are coming over before church while their dad is at meetings, I get to hang out with all my 2-year-old buddies in nursery, and we're having Maddie and another friend, Luis, over for dinner. FHE with some church friends on Monday, Relief Society activity on Tuesday, and Sister missionaries over on Friday.
I LOVE HAVING A SOCIAL LIFE! Whether it's with my husband, his school friends, adults in our ward, or a bunch of kids, its SO NICE TO HAVE FRIENDS!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Never Supress a Generous Thought"

I remember hearing this advice at one of my favorite devotionals at BYU, given by sister Bonnie D. Parkin. It's hard advice to follow. I often think about doing something nice and then decide not to. Sometimes our generous thoughts seem impractical, but I've often found myself wishing I had followed through.

Yesterday was a special day when I decided NOT to supress a small generous thought and recieved a great blessing. I was going for a run through our neighborhood and passed an old man who looked like he was getting out of his van. We waved hello and I kept on running. I realized though, that he still hadn't gotten out of his car and wondered if he needed help. There was a handicapped sign in his car and he looked pretty frail. I ran past one more house, listing all the reasons why I shouldn't turn around, then decided it couldn't hurt to offer and went back to the van.

I asked if I could give him a hand. He said "No, but I can give you one," and started clapping. Very clever. He told me he was just waiting for his daughter to come pick him up. We struck up a conversation and I stayed there with him for about 10 minutes. He was very chatty but not overbearing; I could have left but didn't want to. I found out he is going to North Carolina this week to hopefully get a lung transplant. He said, "God is good. He knows what we need and He watches out for us." We talked about San Angelo and where I was from. He asked if Bret and I had any children and when I said, "Not yet," he told me to, "Get on it!" He showed me a picture of his 5 grown daughters and told me a little about each of them. Two are married to pastors and one is a minister of children's education. I could tell they were a very religious family. He invited me to stop by their house anytime, and you know what... I think I will.

I am so grateful that yesterday I decided not to supress a generous thought and had the opportunity to meet Mr. Williams. Our little chat made my day and helped me remember that "God is good" and He loves me very much.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Selfish Post for Remembering

I'm getting really excited to start teaching dance again. It has made me reminisce about all of the dancers I love...
BYU Children's Creative Dance Class (the ones in white). These girls were young enought to be childlike and daring but old enough to have sophisticated ideas. They taught me a lot about patience (yes, they sometimes tested it just a little bit) and having personality.

My little jazz class at Orem Dance Theatre. If I could, I'd teach them forever. They are just as sweet as they look. Funny, nice, and good learners! I love them.

"Sugar, Sugar... aw Honey, Honey... YOU ARE MY CANDY GIRLS!"
(They were the "candy" in the studio's performance of Hansel and Gretel... very fitting for these darling girls who are as sweet as sugar and have lots of spunk.)

I don't have pictures of my older jazz girls but teaching them was a blast. We laughed and we learned a lot about dance and life. They accepted each challenge I threw at them, including the very technical jazz piece I taught them for Hansel and Gretel. (They were the "black cats" in the forest... everyone loved their dance!)

Makaela and Logan, two of my favorite Dance Co. students who performed a section of my senior project duet in their performance and did GREAT. It was a very mature piece and they are young dancers. I am so proud of them... still!

Westlake Dance Company! I can't believe how talented this group of high school students are. They have technical skill, but what makes them unique is their love for dance as an art. They know how to make dances that are funny, beautiful, complex, structured and artistic. Sometimes I want to call them up to ask for choreography ideas. They inspire me.

I think this is why I love teaching so much... because I get all these wonderful people influencing my life and teaching ME new things. I miss my students in Utah but I am excited to learn from a new set of students at the San Angelo Civic Ballet this year. Teaching is the best job ever!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good and Broken

As a couple, Bret and I are doing so good! Bret just found out that he did great on his anatomy test last week and I am still on a high from getting a job that I'm excited for. We love Texas and just can't get over how lucky we are to have a great apartment in a wonderful neighborhood. We are so happy!
We are also a little broken. Bret rolled his ankle pretty bad playing basketball today. He's been self-diagnosing himself. I've been messing up my knees running. Luckily its all just minor stuff... nothing a bag of frozen corn and some ibprofen can't help!

Another thing that was very good but very "broken" was this cake we made to take to a combined family home evening on Monday. I used a new recipe for Lemonade Cake (thanks Suz!) and it tasted delicious but looked... well...
It started out looking ok, but by the time we got to our friends' home the top layer had almost slid off the bottom. I tried so hard to make it look pretty. Sigh. Maybe I'll just have to make it again. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shew-be-do-be-do dance dAnCe DANCE!

Tonight I watched So You Think You Can Dance. I feel...

Amazed. These are phenomenal dancers. Dance is a big part of my life, but dance IS life to these people and it shows. The dancers are incredible and so are the choreographers.
Irritated. Who does the costumes this year? Or have they always been this bad? Sleezly, ugly, barely existent costumes. Yuck Yuck Yuck. And I have to say that while the costumes play a major role in the sexualization of the dances, the choreography itself is often extremely sensual. Let's just say that movement + costumes = not much left to imagination. Luckily not all the are this way, but way too many are. Ugh.

Antsy. I want to dance so bad. I'd love to take a class... but its summer and all the studios are closed. I'd love to teach a class... same problem. I'd love to dance in an open studio all by myself... not experienced in breaking and entering. I'd love to choreograph... I feel rusty.

While I'm babbling about dance, here are som other thoughts I've been having lately:

I am so grateful for my dance experiences at BYU. Even though I haven't been able to use my degree like I expected, I will never regret majoring in dance education. Dance is a silly, insubstantial, unimportant thing to many people. Not to me. Much of the dance we see in the media is silly and unimportant, but the potential of dance goes so far beyond those flashy, entertianment-oriented things we see on TV. Dance has a rich history, a powerful present and a promising future... you just have to know where to look and not be afraid to appreciate it when you find it. I feel like dance has given me the perfect opportunity to learn about myself, my capacities, my goals, my opinions, my standards, my beliefs and my desires.

I miss dance. Can you tell? Shew-be-do-be-do dance dAnCe DANCE.

Monday, July 5, 2010

*!~FiReWoRkS~!*

Here's to the strangest 4th of July ever. I already mentioned the dinky little parade on the 3rd. Well when we set off to the firework show over the lake we weren't sure how high to set our expectations. Having been informed that the show started at 9:30 we set off for the lake, not sure where we'd have the best view, but the crowds of people everywhere led us to believe that we were in the right place. We picked a spot right next to the water where a family was barbequing hamburgers in the trunk of their car and listening to Mexican music (yes, on the 4th!). People were setting off their own big fireworks all over the place so we kept thinking it was starting, then realizing that people here set off pretty cool personal fireworks.
Finally we saw a lot that kept coming from the same spot. It was after 9:30 and we thought that must be it. Half of the fireworks from that spot were hidden by a big cluster of trees that we just couldn't see around. Thinking we were missing the show, we decided to relocate, then decided they weren't cool enough to relocate for (rather sporadic, not that great). We went home feeling disappointed and realizing the fireworks were just like the parade: a big let down. We turned on the TV and watched an incredible firework display in Boston and tried to pretend we were there seeing them live.
Around 10:15 we started hearing lots of firework bangs. We thought it was just personal fireworks, but when they got louder and more consistent, Bret ran around the corner to find that the real firework show had started... and it was good. So we got in the car, drove a few blocks away and parked just in time to see the final booming eruption.
We clapped, got back in the car and went back home. Next year we'll know... the fireworks aren't lame, they just aren't on time!
PS- None of these pictures are of the fireworks we saw, they just represent how lame/cool the fireworks we saw were. (First pic-not real exciting, Second pic- HOLY COW!, Third pic- sweet.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Patience Gets You Points

We all have phrases that we fall into a habit of using frequently at times in our life. When we were dating, Bret's two favorites were "Don't overcook your grits" and "Patience gets you points." I'm still trying to figure out the grits one, but the second phrase has proven to be true. After two months of trying to find a job, I got a call this morning saying that they would like to hire me as a special education aide in the San Angelo Independent School District.

YEAH BABY!

I will be working one-on-one with a high school girl who is in great mental condition but is stuck in a very low-functioning body. I will go to all her regular, general ed classes with her to help write, hand her papers, etc. I have a feeling we will become great friends. This job will also be great because it will allow me to teach almost all of the dance classes I'm scheduled for! Patience gets you points. We are so happy.

What else is going on in San Angelo?
** It has been raining for the past week and we kinda like it that way. It has been muggy but perfect temperature.
** Bret got let out of class early on Friday and gets Monday and Tuesday off! He loves anatomy and told me today, "I just want to disect bodies for the rest of my life." I'm not sure whether to be happy that he loves his anatomy class or creeped out that he finds so much pleasure in it!
** My new hobby is running and I'm am so excited because I unintentionally ran 10 miles yesterday! My energy was great, but unfortunately my knees and one of my feet are really hurting. Any suggestions (besides streching and ice) from you runners?
** I ordered pictures from our wedding and am going to start scrapbooking that special event. Yay for projects.
** We made our most successful pizza crust ever yesterday! Perfect thickness and softness.
** Today we went to the Independence Day parade in San Angelo. Compared to Provo and Salt Lake parades it was pathetic... infact, Bret said that even Burley's parade completely dominates this one. But it was fun to attempt to celebrate the 4th with the community.

Well, that's what's going on in our lives lately. We couldn't be more blessed.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

They Ain't "Ghanas"!

Bret's quote of the day: "USA are gonners. England are gonners. But not Ghana... They ain't 'ghanas'!" Clever. (Incase you're confused, he's referring to the World Cup. Both England and USA were eliminated in this round. USA lost to Ghana, the only African team to advance to the quarter-finals.)

I'm happy to inform you that we ain't "ghanas" either. We both made it through an eventful Sunday.

Bret spoke in another ward with one of the High Council members. He refused to give me a pre-talk or a post-talk or tell me about the talk... but I'm absolutely confident he did a wonderful job and I can't wait until he gets called to speak again!

I made it through my first day as nursery leader. The kids were pretty good! I think the hardest part is getting them to calm down when they come in. If one kid starts crying for his mom then they all start crying! I'm going to brainstorm some ways to distract them when they come in.

Nope. Not "ghanas" and going strong. We have high hopes for this coming week... hopefully it will include a job for me and an A+++ for Bret's anatomy exam. Cross your fingers!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Suprise... Scholarship!

Bret finally found out that he will be recieving a great scholarship beginning next semester! Wahoo! He was told with much confidence that if he chose to attend Angelo State he'd qualify for the scholarship. However, his class ended up being an exceptionally well-qualified group and Bret ended up the next in line. The program director has worked hard to get another scholarship but the university's scholarship department has been somewhat "under construction" so we've been waiting for a long time, unsure whether or not they'd be able to make it work. Yesterday the email came and we couldn't be happier. I am so proud of Bret and am so grateful to our Heavenly Father. We are so blessed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just Happy - 10 Reasons Why

#1 - Bret. I know 11 days isn't long, but I sure missed him and love having someone give me a hug first thing in the morning.

#2 - Visiting Teaching. I was scared. I had never met the sister we were going to teach. I knew she was just starting to come back to church and I was going to give the lesson. We ended up just chatting for about an hour and needed to let her go before we ever got to a lesson. She is a sweet woman and a wonderful mother. I really look forward to becoming friends!

#3 - Isner seems like a decent guy. I've been keeping tabs on Wimbledon, especially the "epic" battle mentioned in the previous post. Today John Isner (USA) won the match and I liked his attitude and answers in his after-interview. I just felt so sorry for his opponent Mus....? Can you imagine playing 138 games in one set and then loosing. But I was happy for Isner and both of them should be proud.

#4 - Dana. She was the dental assistant who really took me under her wing as I observed/work interviewed at Dr. Henson's dental office today. I love the office atmoshere: friendly, Christian radio station playing, exciting. I would really love to get the job. My only fear is that I know so little about teeth. It would be a lot to learn, but I am secretly aching to study and learn so it would be great, just some stress of wanting to be perfect from the get-go.

#5 - MapQuest. How did our parents live without it?

#6 - Ryan, Jess and AnnaBelle. I was hired to tutor AnnaBelle in math twice a week. (For those of you who know how much I hate math, rest assured that I am still pretty capable of 3rd grade material!) Her dad has been so generous and grateful... it has given me lots of confidence. AnnaBelle is shy but we're gonna be great pals. Her step-mom has the same running shoes that I just got so I like her too.

#7 - Frozen pizzas. For $2 you can enjoy a semi-delicious, totally fattening, partially filling meal that takes zero effort and only 10 minutes. Sweet.

#8 - People who ask for help. Natalie and Dan asked Bret and I to watch Matthew for the night... actually just be there while he was in bed. I'm so glad they know they can ask. I actually got to hang out with the little guy for a while when he woke up and wanted to read some more books.

#9 - Blogs. I love reading thoughts from my friends and family that remind me to be more adventurous, show love more often, look for hidden opportunities and take time to be grateful. Don't worry - I don't spend all day living vicariously through reading about others' lives, but I truly appreciate the thoughtful insights you share.

#10 - Bret. I love hearing him sing Jack Johnson and watching him study (while I continually try to distract him). I love getting a hug last thing before going to bed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"EPIC"

Today we witnessed part two of an "epic" battle in the world of tennis. I don't know all the stats but many records were broken, including longest game ever played and most aces in one game. I'm excited to see how it turns out tomorrow!

Watching Wimbledon made me remember how fun it was to be there 2 years ago. Here are just a few of my pictures. The one of Serena playing on Center Court wouldn't upload, but I promise... I was there!