April 30, 2012

i'm not a momma, but i sure love my kids

This post is mainly a reminder to myself—I think everyone is more than ready for school to get out for the summer, and I've sensed it in myself more this year than ever before. At times, I hear my tone of voice when speaking to a student and inwardly cringe. So this look back at the kids I love will hopefully help me remember again why I do what I do!

I know I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again: The reason I continue to work at NC, year after year, is because I've fallen in love ... with a bunch of Asian kids. I distinctly remember the first time I realized just how much I cared about these kids who came from across the globe to learn English. It was in the spring of my second year working full time at NC. I was walking across the lawn from my office in the boys' dorm to the administration building. I don't know what exactly was on my mind, but suddenly the realization that I loved "my" internationals hit me like a ton of bricks. I even teared up, which is unusual for me. In all the years since that day, as students come and go, there's always a special place in my heart for our international students.

Here are a few of this year's special students:

Part of my Reading II class with The Light Across the River, our first book of the year. It's the sequel to Across the Wide River, which I reviewed for Kregel last summer. I have so much fun with this class! Left to right: Hannah, Mia, Rae, Natalie, Kyle. Poor Kyle was the only boy in the class for the first semester!

One of the advantages of being assistant speech coach this year (as opposed to head coach, which I was for the previous seven years) was that I had more time to work with the international students on the team. This was a good thing, as we had 30 kids on the team, and 10 of them were internationals! I can't help but admire the students who will go out for speech—daunting for any student—when they'll be speaking in a language they're just learning! One of my favorite moments of the speech season was when Yena (front row, center, red dress and black shoes) won serious prose at our conference meet. I was so proud! Above are the junior and senior speech team members at Honor, the spring formal.

Some of my favorite times of the year are when the kids need to find homestays (American families to stay with over breaks). I love opening my home to one or two girls. This Easter, I had two girls stay with me: Mina and Lindsey. We had so much fun together, and we talked about some serious stuff, too. Here we are at the Advance Dessert the week after Easter: Mina, me, Lindsey.

These aren't the only students special to me. I could talk about Janet, a girl I'd been praying for ever since I met her, who called me one Saturday morning with exciting news: "Miss Becky, you'll never believe it, but I am a Christian now!" Or Joey, the boy who fell in love with speech and qualified for state each of his three years on the team. Or Elaine, the girl who learned she really could get good grades and who went from F's to B's in my class in less than a semester. Or Wai, or Jay, or Ency, or any of the other 35 international students we have this year. 

They have my heart.

April 27, 2012

thank you, fox!

I am super pumped about this!

Fringe's pickup also virtually guarantees that Hulu Plus will have my business for the months that Fringe is airing ...

April 7, 2012

goals for 2012: march update

"Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." Psalm 37:5

No, that verse doesn't really have anything to do with this post. But when I read it this morning, God used it to speak to my heart, so I wanted to share it!

In the month of March, I feel like I just kind of ... maintained. Made some strides in some areas, slipped back in others. It definitely was a better month goal wise than February, but not as good as January.
  1. Read through the Bible. Well, I'm still "on track"—meaning I still have two months of catch-up days I can use! I pretty much maintained in March—I definitely didn't read every day, but I did read more than in February. So far, April is going better!
  2. Exercise four times per week. The Ja-La-Sta Walking Challenge ran through March 31, and I averaged 5,406 steps per day in March. I stopped marking my exercise time on my calendar a long time ago, but I think I exercised about four times per week. Here's to an even stronger April!
  3. Lose 30 pounds. My diet went really well for the first three weeks. Then I went on a trip. Then I went on another trip. I've found that it's virtually impossible to follow this diet while traveling ... or else I just don't have the willpower to make it happen! Still, I'm down four pounds, so just six to go until I can start watching Monarch of the Glen :-) Also, I can tell that my clothes are fitting better!
  4. Travel somewhere new. It depends how technical we want to get here. For Blendy's birthday, we went to Wichita, a city I've visited many, many times. But the purpose of our trip was to visit the Warren's balcony theater, a place we'd never been. Still, I want to travel to a completely new city or state this year ... right now, I'm thinking maybe Wisconsin or Arizona. (I don't know why, and I'm still open to suggestions!)
  5. Complete one crafting project a month. I failed. Completely. The end of the month just snuck up on me, and I didn't even get one picked out, let alone completed! Maybe I'll double up in April ...
  6. Learn to say "no." Yes! About a week ago, I had the following conversation with our Activities Director:
    AD: Do you have a minute? I need to ask you something.
    Me: Does this have to do with coaching drama? 'Cause the answer is no.
    AD: Good meeting! 
    In the end, we talked a bit more, and I agreed to help with drama—but I made it very clear that I would not be the coach!
My goals have definitely suffered a bit in the last two months. How are yours? Are you still going strong? Have you given up? Or, like me, are you just maintaining?

April 3, 2012

blendy's birthday bash

You only turn 21 once.

To celebrate her 21st birthday, Blendy and I spent a fabulous weekend in Wichita. This was supposed to be a surprise, but she guessed it months ago when I said, "You'll never guess what I have planned for your birthday!" She proved me wrong with the very next words out of her mouth: "You're taking me to the Warren to the balcony theater."

I hate when my sisters guess their gifts! I suppose I could have changed it to something else, but I was anticipating it as much as she was, so I just went with it.

Due to our crazy schedules (work and speech), we couldn't actually go for her birthday, so we went a month later. And it was the perfect weekend to travel—temps in the 80's the entire time!

We left on Saturday morning and arrived in Wichita around 3. Our first stop? Chick-fil-A, of course!
Forgot to take the camera or phone inside the restaurant ... and apparently we don't know how to turn our cups to show the Chick-fil-A logo, either. You'll just have to take my word for it that we stopped there!
Then we checked into our hotel—The Hampton Inn & Suites on Greenwich. Nice hotel. It was also the site of a wedding reception on Saturday, and when we arrived, several guests were well on their way to getting wasted. Fortunately, we had our own plans on Saturday night, so they didn't bother us at all!

We met up with cousins Jon & Lauren for shopping, a movie, dinner, and drinks. (Never fear, Mom—Blendy and I drank Diet Coke!) It had been a long time since we'd spent any real time with them, so it was nice that they wanted to come hang out with us!
We saw Mirror Mirror at the Warren ... it had a decidedly Ella Enchanted vibe to it,
thus ensuring cousin Jon's enjoyment!
We had supper at Il Vicino Wood-Oven Pizza. It was excellent pizza. And the cannoli? To die for! 
We went back to Oscar's Lounge at the Warren to hang out a bit longer. The paintings on the wall are of movie stars, and there's one that I swear looks like Chris Harrison ... I didn't snap a picture, but if you follow this link and scroll to the last picture, the painting of "Chris" is on the left. If you know who it's really supposed to be, please tell me!
On Sunday, we got down to business—the business we went to Wichita for—we saw The Hunger Games in the Warren's balcony theater! Ever since we started going to the Warren several years ago (I think Pride & Prejudice is the first movie we saw there, so it's been a while), Blendy has wanted to go to the balcony theater. Since you have to be 21 to get in, we had to wait. Until now.
Trying to decide what to order. She ended up with a pizza; I got a grilled chicken sandwich.
I think it was everything Blendy was hoping it would be—huge screen, food & drink service at your seat, and a great view. However, she didn't get carded, which I think was slightly disappointing!

Then, we went shopping at Bradley Fair. Following a fair amount of window shopping, we ended up at Cocoa Dolce, a local chocolate shop, where we each purchased three $2 chocolates. They were really good, but I'm not sure I'd pay $2 for a tiny chocolate again!
Left to right: Sinful Mint, Lemon, and Mocha.
Then we made my favorite food stop of the weekend—Marble Slab Creamery, where I got a scoop of lemon frozen yogurt. It tasted exactly like the lemon ice cream my grandma used to buy me at Braum's. Speaking of Braum's, why on earth didn't we stop there on the way home?
Given a choice between lemon and chocolate, I'd choose lemon nine times out of ten.
Why isn't there more lemon ice cream in this world?
Next, we started the serious shopping—Barnes & Noble, World Market, and Target ... with another movie thrown in for good measure! After spending more money than either of us intended, we headed back to the hotel to relax and snack on the insane amount of food we bought at Target. (If you're wondering, I took a complete break from my diet over the weekend. As if you hadn't gathered that already!)
Time for snacks, Battleground, and toenail painting!
On Monday, we slept in, hit Chick-fil-A once more, and headed home. We stopped at the visitor's center in Belleville (the last town before the Nebraska border), where I picked up some Jayhawk earrings to match the ones Blendy bought on our way down. I had high hopes for the championship game ...

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend ... and I'm pretty sure Blendy will always remember how she celebrated her 21st birthday!

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