Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

This week I re-read a book I read during high school called "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I'm so glad I did. It's a great book about life and growing up, and although it centers around the poor, immigrant Nolan family, its messages are applicable to anyone. I think more than anything, this book has a power of helping you see that actions and choices can be bad and wrong, but when we look close, almost all people are good. It reminds us that we can't be fair judges of people's character when we don't know or consider their history. It has made me think a lot about the comparisons and contrasts between Francie's family and some of the students I work with here. For example, Francie's father was a drunk, yet he was a singer and a caring father and had an eye for all things beautiful. So I pity Francie's father for the reasons he drank and for his inability to esacape alcohol. So should I pity the students who turn to drugs because they need an escape from their hard lives? Should I pity the ones who go out and drink and party all weekend? Some things earn my pity. Some thinks don't. But I guess what it all comes down to is trying to see the person behind the sins and love them for who they are. I don't have my book with me to insert my favorite quote, but it descrives Francie's grandmother and says, "She was a blameless, sinless woman, yet she knew how it was with those who sinned." While I can't condone what others do, maybe I can try to put myself in their shoes and at least feel compassion for them.

Anyway, it is a great book and if you haven't read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" I highly reccomend it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Beautiful. Lauren. Timmins.
Here's to my BBABFF and the beginning of her happily-ever-after.

Bored + Happy = Blog

I am sitting in my office during a particularly boring school-day, eating the most delicious lunch and since I am simultaneously bored and happy, I decided to blog about it.

Last night I got called in last-minute to teach a dance class for a teacher stuck in the Dallas airport. Bret stepped up and offered to make dinner. Did he settle for something quick and easy? No. He made me Black Bean Chicken Enchilada Casserole and it tastes much better than it ever has when I've made it. Now I am enjoying the leftovers and thinking about how lucky I am to have such a thoughtful husband.

A little update on our lives:

Bret has done great in school this semester. While he has still spent lots of hours in the classroom, he has also had about 12 hrs per week of time in the hospital learning about wound care, transferring patients, helping stroke victims and other patients regain mobility, etc. He has the rest of this week and then finals next week... AND THEN HE WILL BE DONE WITH HIS FIRST YEAR OF GRAD SCHOOL! He has been hired as a graduate assistant for new first-year class and will get to spend the summer disecting bodies with them again. Bret is a great teacher and will do fantastic in this position. We're still waiting to find out where he will be doing his clinical in the fall but hope that it won't be too far away so we can still see eachother on the weekends.

I have 4 weeks of school left. Yes, I am counting. Yes, I have senioritis. Next year I will be working for the school distric as a Job Coach for the Special Ed program that sends students needing hands-on work-place experience to volunteer sites. I will hop around town all day supervising these students. I'm excited because I need to get out of this school, but I am worried that I will still be bored. Meanwhile, the ballet is applying for grants to hire me as an outreach specialist (to implement various community outreach programs). I will continue to teach all my dance classes and maybe a few more. Hopefully I can do it all.

Other exciting things: My mom is coming to visit next weekend and we can't wait to host her and show her around San Angelo. Also, Bret's sister Karina is getting married in July! Hopefully we can both drive out for the festivities, but right now I have committed to pick a dance student up from a summer intensive in Chicago since her mother won't be available to do it. The plane tickets are already booked. We're hoping that Karina will wake up one of these mornings and decide she wants to get married a few days later. :)

That's our current lives in a nutshell. Well, now my leftovers are gone, my blog post is written, and I am coming to the sad realization that I'll have to come up with a way to fill the next hour and a half. Sigh... Here's to summer break just around the corner!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'll Have Another Slice of Dancer Heaven Please...

I just got back from teaching a master class for the BYU-I Dance Alliance team that is here on their tour of Texas. I don't know how to summarize it except to say that it was a slice of dancer heaven. For 60 minutes I was surrounded by people full of fun and life, with a passion for dance, a willingness to try anything, and a good deal of talent! They were so grateful for a chance to move their bodies (it is hard on tour to perform, eat, sleep, ride bus, perform, eat, sleep, ride bus), and I think they sincerely enjoyed my class! Not as much as I enjoyed it though. They will never know how much that hour lifted my spirits. And now to think that I get to watch them perform tonight, then go home to see my family and friends tomorrow... I am one lucky duck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Still Sunshine, but Spotted a Cloud

Just found out that a sweet, happy girl in first period is pregnant. Just another day at Lake View High School. How do we help these poor kids? They have so much potential...

Monday, April 11, 2011

There is Sunshine in my Soul Today

The weather has been gorgeous in the low 80s today and it has either influenced or reflected the way I feel today. Ashley was in good spirits, we got to go to the beautiful new library for her job rotation, my handsome husband ate dinner with me (that I didn't have to cook... delicious leftovers from yesterday!), I found out some more info on job possibilities for next year, we met a nice neighbor, and I wore a new happy blue cardigan. On top of all that, I have the excitement of knowing that I get to go home to Utah this weekend! I can't wait to see my family!

Bu the biggest reason I am so happy lately is my husband. Bret and I have been talking a lot about marriage this past week... why it can be so difficult for some people and so truly joyful for others. While we can never know the specific details of what happens in a couple's relationship to cause unhappiness, here are some things that I know have brought the greatest joy to ours...

* We have always said "I love you" more than necessary and given hugs multiple times a day... sometimes even to the point of annoyance :) but usually just the right amount.

* We talk. We talk about the good and bad things in our lives. We talk about what we learn in school, at work, and in church. We talk about our plans for the week and how we will schedule our time together. We talk about our future plans. We talk about things we appreciate in each other and the things we need one another to work on. We talk about our goals and the people we want to become.

* We like to read together. We wish we did it even more. When we were engaged we read "The Peacegiver" and we are currently reading "The 5 Love Languages". We highly recommend both. They both center on maximizing joy in marriage, and we have found that you don't need to wait until your marriage is broken to start fixing it... you can fine-tune it as you go!

* We eat sugary-deliciousness, watch movies, hold hands, go for Sunday walks, clean the house together, snooze 5 extra minutes to snuggle, and watch re-runs of "The Office". We smile and laugh and act goofy and laugh some more.

I know this is sappy. I guess in light of Lauren's upcoming marriage this weekend and some family and friend events that have reminded me how fragile marriage can be, I just wanted to give my shout-out to the world (or the 5 people who read this blog) that I believe that marriage is ordained of God. I know He intends for it to be the place where we find the most happiness in this life. It is not always easy, it requires work and patience and effort, but I know that God wants our marriages to succeed and that He WILL help us through if we are willing to turn to turn toward Him and toward our spouse. I am so grateful that God trusted me enough to let me marry such an incredible man for eternity. Bret is my best friend and I want him to know that I believe in happily (now and) ever after.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Achy Breaky Heart

Working at this school breaks my heart. Let me paint you a picture... Second period. Kid in the front blowing on his new tatoo (others frequently asking to see it and complimenting how cool it is). Kid behind him bouncing his head to the noise coming from his iPod, occasionally singing along to obscene lines like "two girls in the same hotel" or "same *** just a different restroom)" etc etc. Nice pregnant girl sitting next to me, about to pop any day. Kid in the middle of the room head down on his desk - never sure if he's just always tired or if he's on something. Two guys in the back consistently chattering... telling crude jokes, talking about inappropriate things, mostly just making dumb comments littered with foul language. Girl joking about buying drugs off someone else in the class. Kid just got back from the clink - telling everyone the story of how he got put in there (I didn't hear the story). Pregnant girl lying on the floor in the back, curled up in a blanked, occasionally sitting up to gag, spit and puke in the trash can (I am not kidding). All this in one class period in one day. You might also be interested to know that within this one class there are 2 pregnant girls (and one last semester who graduated early), and AT LEAST 3 Daddys (I have a hunch there are quite a few more I don't know of). I can't wait for summer! I need a break from this!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Too Darn Hot... here in Texas that is.

Did I see SNOW on the trees during the General Conference footage? You're kidding! So in Utah they are getting winter weather and here we are getting middle of summer weather. (By the way, its 9:15pm and has cooled down to a whopping 93*!) Luckily we're supposed to stay closer to 70* tomorrow, but what is the deal with spring? It seems like the older I get the more I realize that Spring is not so much a season as an indecision between Winter and Summer.

PS - Ashley is going in for a procedure tomorrow (they are trying to figure out what is going on in her stomach that makes her sick all the time). She could use some extra prayers if you're willing!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Too Darn Hot

When Megan danced at Winner School they did a piece to a broadway song (I don't know what it was from) called "It's Too Darn Hot". I haven't heard the song since but I often sing whatever I remember of it during the summer. Today, (the second day of April mind you) I started singing it in my car as I drove with the windows down (my AC is broken) in 97* weather. "It's too too too darn hot!" Luckily our apartment is staying at a decent temperature. I only gave in and turned on the AC for about the last 10 minutes of the 2nd session of conference when I was struggling to stay awake.

On a happier note, the sunshine is beautiful and I love that people are outside swimming, running, and enjoying life. It sure is making me itchy for school to end!

General Conference today was wonderful. I found myself taking less notes but listening with more enthusiasm. I have so much love for the leaders of our church. Last night I had a long conversation with one of my closest friends here in San Angelo about life and religion. She is a devout Catholic and yet we were able to have a great talk about faith and trust in Christ. Sometimes we asked questions, sometimes we made contrasts, and often we made comparisons about what we believe and how we worship. I was so happy for the opportunity to share my testimony. Listening to the Bretheren today was the icing on the cake and I guess it made me feel so grateful to be a member of God's restored church on the earth. I love knowing that we have prophets who hold all the keys of the priesthood, who are witnesses of Jesus Christ to the whole world, who lead the organization of the church and who can receive direct guidance and revelation for the church in this day and age. I can't wait to listen again tomorrow.