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Sunday, December 18

Day 59 – Something you could never get tired of doing.

Walks around Daybreak.

Sitting in front of a fireplace.

Road trips with friends.


Sleeping (oh the irony).

Friday, December 16

Day 58 – A quote you try to live by.

Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance.

Taken from THIS talk by Neal A. Maxwell (I believe it's around the 11th paragraph)

I love this quote because of the imagery and alliteration.  I've never forgotten it since a companion on the mission shared with me.  Gracias H' King.

I try to live by this quote, but I have to say that I think I will have reached any amount of perfection I could accomplish in this life when I can fulfill this quote on a daily basis.  In other words, I would love to just pause for a moment anytime I feel a measure of frustration/discouragement/impatience and just appreciate the "unfolding purposes of God" and His timing (as opposed to feeling trapped by what I can't control).

Thursday, December 15

Day 57 – Five words or phrases that make you laugh.


Dead meat


Making eyes at someone

Potent Potables

Some Words








Something else that made me smile.

I was teaching this class of 22 sixth grade boys (don't ask me how I ended up with a class without a single girl).  JG raises his hand and says, "I'm a little concerned that we will be competing against the 9th graders with this christmas carol.  I believe are voices are a little less consistent than the older kids...if you know what I mean?"  Picture him with a furrowed brow and his hand on his chin like the thinker.

Wednesday, December 14

Day 56 – A photo of somewhere you’ve been to.

This is a place called El Volcan.  It's in San Luis, Argentina.  I spent 2 or 3 p-days there on the mission.  Of course, I had to go back and visit with the Navarro's when I was in Argentina in '09.  These are not my personal pictures, I never could seem to capture what I was seeing on a camera.  But this place has always had a little magic for me.  I often think of THIS (read verse 30 in particular).

What Makes Me Smile Today? Seventh. Graders.

How cute are they????

All this when we are trying to learn Jingle Bells in Spanish.  We didn't get very far.  It's amazing what you can do with some tape, string, gold tissue paper and some ADHD.

Tuesday, December 13

Day 55 – What’s in your purse?

This is a post I've been waiting for/dreading for awhile.  My purse is usually chock full of every random thing you could possibly expect.  It's nice because I always end up having something that someone else needs.  But today actually wasn't so bad.  Here ya go, have a looksie...

On purse (l-r) pen, bombilla (straw for drinking mate) and wallet.
On desk (l-r) hand sanitizer spray pen, cell phone, cocount lotion, receipt, lip gloss, pencil, glasses, 2 chapsticks, eyelash wand, mint lotion, forever sunshine lotion.

Monday, December 12

Day 54 – Things you like/dislike about yourself.

I like that people come to me for advice and I like that people tell me things.

I like that I can laugh and (when the occasion permits) cry.

I dislike that I have such a hard time sleeping.

I like that I usually have a good perspective and outlook on life.

I like my sense of style.

I like that I'm a likable person.

I dislike that sometimes I lack the patience I need to not get discouraged when disappointing things happen.

I dislike that sometime I can be a real airhead.

I like that I can be an entertainer.

I like that I can handle being a middle school teacher.  We are a saintly breed.  I really do think.

Day 53 – What you wore today.

My favorite red coat!  And who care about the rest.  I live in this coat all winter.  It's been really good to me.

Sunday, December 11

Day 52 – A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.

In case you haven't figured it out.  I'm really trying to crank out the blog entries so that I can meet my goal of answering all 60 journaling prompts by the end of the year.

DISCLAIMER:  This "letter" is a little on the negative side, so you may want to skip this one.

Dear ____________,

Let me be brutally honest.  

I have no more patience for you.  And...I'm done being annoyed at you all the time.

One thing I've learned about myself is that if someone no me cae bien, I just need distance.  Physical distance.  It's the only way I can get perspective.  It's the only way I can feel safe around you again.

Saturday, December 10

Day 51 – A photo of something that makes you happy.

Riding really fast on the back of a motorcycle (I wouldn't actually drive one myself even if you paid me, but it's fun to hold on tight and let someone else do the driving).

PS.  I don't recommend googling "girl riding on the back of motorcycle".  It ain't pretty.

Friday, December 9

Day 50 – Who gave you your name and why?

I'm actually not sure why my mom and dad chose Amanda.  I think they told me at one point that they really liked the name Sarah too.  My middle name is Joy and that's because my mom's middle name is Joy too.  I didn't like this name as much when I was younger but it has really grown on me.  Plus, when people say to me, "Well, aren't you just super happy today?" I can respond, "it makes sense because Joy is my middle name!"

Thursday, December 8

Day 49 – Something you always think “what if” about.

What if I just up and moved to Argentina?  Where would I live?  How would I make money?  Could I really just pull it off?  Would I really be happy living so far away from friends and family?  I usually conclude that I couldn't possibly pull it off until all of my student loans are paid for.  But it's fun to contemplate.  And hey, only 9,000 more dollars to go.  Soon it won't be "what if" but rather "why not".

Wednesday, December 7

Day 48 – Something you feel strongly about.

I get very passionate about the way that Latinos (and other darker skinned people) are often treated/misjudged/generalized in this country.  I feel like skeezy human beings come from all races, religions, cultures and countries.  And yet people in this country show a disproportionate amount of mistrust towards darker skinned people.

And while I'm at it, let me say this: I get tired of constantly hearing illegal immigrants get blamed for every problem this country has.  What power do these people have?  The illegal immigrants that I know are good people who are completely powerless to do anything to change their situation.  People who are dishonest and cheat the system will continue to do so whether they are legal or illegal citizens.  Let's talk about the lack of integrity and fiscal responsibility of those people in positions of power for a change.  Not that I think placing blame on anyone actually helps any bad situation.

Did you know we educate ALL children in this country regardless of their citizenship?  Unfair?  Not really.  Whatever children are in this country, will most likely grow up to be adults in this country.  I think we can all agree that it would be nice to have better educated adults throughout society.

I don't like ANYONE who lives off the government.  BUT I don't have a problem if my taxes go to help ANYONE who really needs it.  I don't like welfare leaches whether they're citizens of this country or not.  I don't like people who steal things, whether it's social security numbers or skeezy business practices.  

I guess I get mad when people say that illegal immigrants are sucking up all of our money.  I don't see how anyone can honestly determine that.  Don't even get me started on how impossible/expensive the process to gain citizenship is.  

Ok.  I've ranted enough.  I'm done.

Tuesday, December 6

Day 47 – A photo of you and your family.

Joel is missing from this one, he had to work that day.  This was on my 28th birthday at Silver Creek Falls in Oregon.  A pretty great place to picnic and hike.

Monday, December 5

Day 46 – Something you’re proud of.

Well, I guess if I can only choose one thing to mention it would be this:

I'm proud of the way that I was raised.  I think my parents are pretty great people.  They allowed me/trusted me to do my own thing and be as independent as I could be as early as possible.  They let me make my own decisions (and in many cases, make my own mistakes).  My mom would write me sweet notes and tell me how much she loved me (and still does).  My dad taught me how to laugh and play and enjoy the simple stuff in life.  Additionally, I'm proud of where I was raised.  I think Oregon was a great place to grow up.

Sunday, December 4

Day 45 – Five items you lust after.

1.  Okay, I mostly lust after clothes...and comfort items.

2.  It's just that I love dresses.  So much.  So so much.
3.  A bed with this kind of frame/headboard.  Please oh please.  It's like a couch.  But it's a bed.
4.  I own this makeup and I still lust after it.  Is that possible?
5.  I love all the Ralph's.  It's so much more that just another perfume, I say.

Friday, November 25

Day 44 – A TV show you’re currently addicted to.


Okay, I love this show!  I love the acting, I love the writing, I LOVE THE MUSIC.  Me and this TV show are music soul mates.  

Thursday, November 24

Day 43 – Your favorite musician and why?

Alejandro Manzano and his brothers of the band Boyce Avenue.  I'm not sure how well known they are throughout the country but I was introduced to their music by my friend Andrea about 2 1/2 year ago.  I've loved them for a long time because they do some amazing covers.  For example THIS one is better than the original in every way.  Boyce Avenue is kind of a youtube sensation.

They also came out with an original album about a year (maybe year and a half) ago.  I hadn't really listened to it much until recently.  I absolutely fell in love with THIS song!  I just thought the lyrics were absolutely beautiful.  In fact, I discovered that the lyrics from every song on the album were awesome.  So, here's an explanation of the lyrics to the song:

Wednesday, November 23

Day 42 – Five ways to win your heart.

1.  Smell good.
2.  Surprise me...with anything.  One thing that wins my heart is when a person surprises me by being quite different from who I thought they were before I got to know them.
3.  Love good music and share it with me.
4.  Look me in the eye.
5.  Tell me that I've won yours.

Tuesday, November 22

Day 41 – Five weird things that you like.

1.  Quinoa (read about it if you don't know what it is)

2.  This youtube video


3.  Seeing the inside of my ear canal on a computer screen.  This one is thanks to my friend Kim who is an audiologist and brought a bunch of her equipment over to our house the other day to look in Ashlee's ears.  Of course we all wanted to look.  Did you know ears have hair on the inside?  Gross.

4.  Sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth graders.  They are weird.  Smelly.  Strange.  Awkward humans.
Redheds are a personal favorite.

Tuesday, November 15

Day 40 – A photo of your favorite place to eat.

Favorite place to eat???  Well, maybe that's stretching it a little too far, but it's a new favorite.  The mole is incredible.  Read more about it HERE.

Monday, November 14

Sunday, November 6

So I couldn't sleep and I took this quiz...

You can hover over the boxes above to see what each character trait is.

Not sure if this is me or not...

about you

you are a director

  • As a DIRECTOR, you combine an unusual openness and passion for beauty and style with confidence and a down-to-earth sensibility that allow you to realize your vision.

  • You are practical and pay attention to the details that others tend to miss.

  • By focusing on what is real and concrete, you achieve more than those who always have their heads in the clouds.

  • When it comes to what really matters in your life, you are confident in your ability to succeed.

  • Having beautiful things in your life gives you pleasure and satisfaction - you have a keen eye for style.

  • Even when problems present themselves, deep down you know you will overcome these challenges.

  • When routines get too familiar, you become bored and start looking for ways to spice things up.

  • You are open to new types of experiences – you are not afraid to take a risk on something new.

  • You have a highly developed sense of taste – you know what looks good on you, in your home, and in the world at large.

  • You tend to believe that things happen for a reason, and that not everything is under our control.

  • If you want to be different:

  • Occasionally let yourself dream a little more, even if it doesn't seem practical or efficient.

  • how you relate to others

    you are considerate

  • You trust others, care about them, and are slow to judge them, making you CONSIDERATE.

  • You value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds.

  • You enjoy exploring the world through observation, quietly watching others.

  • Relating to others so well, and understanding their emotions, leads you to trust people in general, even though you're somewhat shy and reserved at times.

  • Your belief that people are generally well-intentioned contributes to your sympathy regarding their problems.

  • Although you may not vocalize it often, you have an awareness of how society affects individuals, and you understand complex causes of people's behavior.

  • You like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people's lives.

  • Your close friends know you as a good listener.

  • If you want to be different:

  • Because other people would benefit immensely from your understanding and insight, you should try to be more outgoing in social situations, even when they make you uncomfortable. Others will want to hear what you have to say!

  • Thursday, November 3


    Why do all guys disappoint me?  The only man that hasn't let me down is my dad.  Seriously, how am I ever supposed to believe or trust what one says to me.

    Tuesday, November 1

    Dream Man

    Since we talked about my dream wedding...pintrest has also got me thing about what I find endearing about some males.  Here you go...

    Cute Nerdiness

    Scruff and Sweaters

    Ok, so maybe I like beards.  Don't be a hater.  
    It might just be a phase I'm going through.
    (Also, the hair on his head is nast...try to disregard)

    Sunday, October 30

    Day 38 – A song to match your mood.

    When you try your best but you don't succeed
    When you get what you want but not what you need
    When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
    Stuck in reverse

    And the tears come streaming down your face
    When you lose something you can't replace
    When you love someone but it goes to waste
    Could it be worse?

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    And high up above or down below
    When you're too in love to let it go

    But if you never try you'll never know
    Just what you're worth

    Tears stream down your face
    I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
    Tears stream down your face
    And I

    Lights will guide you home
    And ignite your bones
    And I will try to fix you

    Saturday, October 29

    Day 35 – A photo of yourself two years ago.

    This is actually 2 and half years ago, April 2009 I'm pretty sure.  Did a road trip with Claud and Ash down to San Diego.  Good times.  Sunburns.  Yogurtland.  Bonfires.  Beaches.

    Day 37 – Your dream wedding.

    Well, I would get married here...

    The reception would obviously be here (it's a barn, hello)...

    There would be some awesome flowers and colors like these...

    Or maybe these...

    There would be something fun on the tables,
    I like it when olders and wisers give me advice...

    And if I'm gonna have people sign a guest book, 
    I don't want it to be a book at all...

    This could maybe be my ring?...Yeah, I think so.

    I don't think I want a long dress....

    It just wouldn't be right if I wasn't wearing some rose earrings, 
    but maybe a bright yellow, turquoise or green instead...
    THE END.

    Thanks to pintrest for getting my obsessed with weddings when for so many years I couldn't have cared less.

    Day 36 – A photo of an animal you’d love to keep as a pet.

    Thursday, October 27

    Day 34 – Your favorite photograph of you and a friend.

    This is Aileen and me.  Aileen is a cool girl.  It's unfortunately been years since I've seen her, but I will never forget what a great friend she was to me when I needed her most.  Without her, I never would have experienced "party weekend" and other great post-mission-still-in-college-memories.

    Wednesday, October 26

    Day 33 – Your idea of the perfect first date.

    Oh, well, let me tell you.

    Pick me up at my house with a cooler (filled with drinks and sandwiches) in hand.  Then let's walk a few blocks down to the lake.  Lets sit on the dock and dangle our feet in the water while we are having a picnic lunch.  Then let's walk around to the other side of the lake and rent a canoe and paddle out on the water and feed the ducks leftover pieces of our sandwiches until the sun sets.

    I love where I live!

    Inclement weather plans/wintertime:

    Play board games in my living room in front of the fireplace and bake some banana bread or something else delicious.

    Tuesday, October 25

    Day 32 – A photo of something you ate today.

    This is not the actual BBQ chicken I ate, but it pretty much looked like this.  It was a school lunch.  It wasn't that great.  But it wasn't that bad either.

    I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about life lately.  There's a song by Augustine that goes, "bad news doesn't hit me like it used to."  So maybe it's not ambivalence necessarily but lately some dissapointing things have been happening, but I'm not as affected and discouraged as I would have been in the past.  Yeah, these bummer things in life happen but I have to keep on moving through life, I might as well forget about the dissapointments rather than dwell on them.

    Thursday, September 22

    Day 31 – A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.

    How was my day?  I lectured 2 of my 7th grade classes and 4 of my 6th grade classes today about putting their first and last names on their assignments.  After 10 minutes of talking about all of this, I then said, "so what do you think you should write on the top of your homework before you turn it in right now?"  "Our names," they all said.  'Cept then after school I still found 10 papers that either had no name or just the first name written on it.  Do you know how many Madi's, Gabi's, Kaden's, Taylor's and Addi's I have????

    Saturday, September 10

    Tag I Found On A Dress I Bought This Week

    "The irregularities and variations in the color and texture of this fabric are characteristic of the fabric adding to its natural beauty, and is in no way to be considered as defective."

    It was plain black fabric.

    I wish I could have a similar tag on myself:  The irregularities and variations in the personality and appearance of this person are characteristic of this person adding to its natural beauty, and is in no way to be considered as defective.

    Sunday, September 4

    Day 30 - Anything you want to post about your day.

    Today I got to go see Asher Jacob Loveland's baby blessing.  Then I got to see Claud's family.  It was awesome because both of her parents and all of her siblings were there, for some of them it was the first time they'd seen Asher.  Pretty cool.

    Of course, very few things could have made that experience any more awesome, but having some delicious Mexican food afterwards didn't hurt.

    Thursday, September 1

    Day 29 - Ten life goals

    *I have to post a disclaimer and say that I feel like I've already accomplished so many things in life that I've wanted to accomplish, it's hard to come up with TEN WHOLE GOALS that I haven't already achieved.  Hopefully this doesn't sound cocky, I don't mean for it to be, I'm just happy with the opportunities God has given me.*

    Here they are in no particular order:

    1.  Go to Mexico.
    2.  Accomplish/see miracles in my family history work.
    3.  Have saved enough retirement to send my kids and me and my spouse on missions.
    4.  Temple sealing.
    5.  Raise kids.
    6.  See my siblings make good choices and be happy.
    7.  Become a "Master Teacher"
    8.  Own a hybrid.
    9.  Live in the south or mid-west or east coast.
    10.  Fulfill the measure of my creation.

    Wednesday, August 31

    The Sweetest Thing

    I guess a tender mercy right now in all of this craziness of life is that today I had student after student leave class today and give me the most sincere thanks.  One boy in particular came up to me today and said, "thanks for teaching me today."  At the moment I was in a little bit of a rush to make sure all of the kids got out on time and mentally prepping for the next class, but for just a second I FELT SO GOOD.  I'm so grateful for my cute students who appreciate their teachers!

    Tuesday, August 30

    Day 28 - Career goals

    My very most current (short-term) career goal is to remember all of my students names.  While this is a short-term goal, I realize that this will take me quite a long time, probably until December (and then hopefully I don't forget over the Holiday Break.

    A couple of longer-term goals that I have are to get all of my IB training/certification and help my school become completely IB official.  At that point I would love to teach in another country (I think you all know which Spanish-speaking country I'm dreaming of living in again).  Another goal I have is to get my masters at some point.  Thanks to my super cheap ESL endorsement I'm 1/3 of the way through a Master's program @ SUU and it would be cool to finish that--but not until I get my undergrad student loans paid off.  To be honest, I feel like right now, getting my Master's will cost much more than it will actually benefit me salary-wise, which is another reason I'm holding off for now.

    I guess another career goal I have is to stay in contact with old students and go to their High School graduations and missionary farewells and all that good stuff.  I suppose this is more of a hope than a goal.

    Monday, August 29

    Day 27 - College you are attending or want to attend

    BYU-Idaho was absolutely my dream college.  Going to school there was one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life.  I think people think I'm weird when I tell them this (by-the-way, isn't weird a weird word?  I always spell it wierd, thank goodness for spell check).  It's hard to explain to someone who didn't attend school there.  But if you're a current or past student, you know what I'm talking about.  You can't go to BYUI and not LOVE it.

    *DISCLAIMER*  I'm sure there are a few people who might have something negative to say, most likely because they either hated the honor code, broke the honor code and got in trouble, or both.

    BTW my school made the top 20 list of of best value for your dollar...came in at #9.

    Sunday, August 28

    Day 26 - Favorite book

     I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens. 

    Growing up I was definitely a book whore.  I had a great vocabulary as a child thanks to being such an avid reader.  I once read the entire Work and the Glory series in a week and half.  As I started getting busy at the end of High School I stopped reading for pleasure and that is really sad.  I kind of forgot all about fiction (though I must say I'm glad I got to experience and learn to love non-fiction in college).  However, I rediscovered the public library this summer.  My love for fiction is back!  I'm really liking the mystery genre at the moment.  Truthfully, I think I began to rekindle the reading flame about this time last year when someone lent the me Hunger Games trilogy and I devoured them.  By October I had set my sights on the Harry Potter series (I'm so glad I hadn't seen the movies first).  I feel like life is going to get very busy again and that sad because I love being lazy and lying in my hammock all day reading a good book.

    Saturday, August 27

    Day 25 - Favorite stores to buy clothes from

    Oh goodness.  I LOVE finding fun dresses from Thrift Stores, but for some reason the DI stores in Utah stink.  I always seem to get lucky in Oregon though.  There's a really fun one in my hometown called Red, White and mom goes every week to check out the "new" merchandise.  Other than thrift stores, I really enjoy Ross, Downeast and department stores for dress shopping.  Pants I buy almost exclusively at Old Navy.  Shirts, Old Navy and Downeast.  And those are my favorite stores to buy clothes (I will not end this sentence with a preposition even though whoever created this topic did).

    Friday, August 26

    Day 24 - If you could change your first name, what would you change it to

    Honestly, after 28 years, I've really gotten used to the name Amanda, it's hard to imagine anything else.  I will say that I really like androgynous names, I could dig a name like Micah or Levi...I think they're cool names for boys or girls.

    Wednesday, August 24

    Day 23 - Five people you are annoyed with right now (no names)

    I don't want to answer that question, instead I'd like to tell you that I really thought the log ride at Knot's Berry Farms was scary and my smile is very fake.  I'm a good faker.

    Tuesday, August 23

    Day 22 - Anything you want to post about

    I am having a very cranky month.  I don't want to get into it beyond the fact that August has been a crappy month for me since 2008.  It just sucks and now I dread Augusts, I don't know if it's now become one of those self-fulfilling prophecy deal-things (I just kinda hyphenated two words that really don't go together, hopefully you follow me anyways).

    On to other news, just got my class lists and I have 325 students that I teach Spanish to on a M-W schedule or a T/Th schedule.  The breakdown of those 12 classes is as follows:  4 classes of 6th graders, 7 classes of 7th graders and 1 class of 9th graders.  I'm scared to teach little kids, they're not even teenagers and when they do turn 13 they're like the awkward smelly teenagers not the cool 15 year olds who are excited to be getting their permits.  Then on Fridays I have about 85 students that I teach either cooking or creative journaling.  It's just underlined the word journaling in red, so apparently journaling isn't a word.  If you had a Friday elective class called "Creative Journaling" what do you imagine that would entail?  Seriously, I want to know.  I have no idea what I will do next Friday with these kids.  Also keep in mind that I will most likely not have access to portable computer lab and definitely no access to digital cameras, an lcd projector or basically any other kind of technology.  Oh yeah, and no art supplies.  Charters schools are an adventure.  BRAND NEW charter schools are an adventure.  They built the facility in 26 weeks and it is gorgeous...just no technology.  Hopefully we have some VERY generous parents.  I wish I could say I am thrilled about this new chapter in my life not working for the JSD, but alas, I am not thrilled.

    Wednesday, July 20

    Risk Taking?

    Read this article about how safer playgrounds are destroying society and then weigh in on my comment board.  I'm interested to hear what you all have to say about this guy's opinion.

    Tuesday, July 5

    Sunday, July 3

    Day 20 - Five people you are happy with right now

    Whoever came up with the idea for Daybreak
    Whoever invented project free tv

    Okay, some of these questions are lame-sauce and I may be (in the future, veto-ing) some of these.

    In other news, I had another great 3 days up at Camp Fife.  Monday and Tuesday we had cubs and Wednesday we had girls.  Usually I hate girls days but there were these awesome 10-11 year olds from the Ogden area who noticed that I had a Spanish patch on my shirt and started striking up a conversation.  None of them are native Spanish speakers but they have been in a dual immersion program for most of their elementary school years and their Spanish is AWESOME.  Just another testament to the dual immersion programs that Utah is trying to implement

    Staying in Logan with the Labarge's was so fun.  I love feeling like I have honorary family in different parts of the country and even the world.  Peter has gotten TALL and Mary is such a rock-star.  She has so much style and is just hip...what more can I say?  I'm happy she'll be close by in Provo.

    Sunday, June 19

    Day 19 - Random fact about you

    I am a cougar.  I try to hide from this fact, but my cougar-ness always comes sneaking back.

    Friday, June 17

    Just really liked this quote

    "Faith is living. If faith does not motivate action, well, then it isn't. I hope my faith drives everything I do; working, playing, delights and quotidian drudgeries alike, to say nothing of worship, both the focused purposeful consciously directed kind (prayer, singing, study, meditating) as well as the incidental, unanticipated surprise kind (being suddenly rescued from danger or mortification, or suddenly being aware of how unspeakably beautiful something or someone is, or suddenly realizing quite independent of my own virtue or intention I am being involved in something that God intends). I think the first sort of worship prepares me to experience and notice the second kind." 

     Quote found HERE

    Wednesday, June 15

    Day 18 - Favorite class/school subject

    I have two basic favorites and anyone who knew me in high school or college should be able to guess at least one of the two of these.  Actually, anyone who knows what I'm certified to teach should be able to guess both of these.

    I remember Senora George in Jr. High who taught my intro class.  I think I learned the alphabet and a little bit of vocab and that's about it.  It was fun because we always got her off on some tangent, I think she had lived in Peru and she liked to tell us about living there.  Senora McLean was my high school Spanish teacher.  I had her for 1st, 3rd and 4th year.  Good times...she was spunky...she made me feel like I was good at Spanish...I didn't always get A's (I blame all of the school I skipped as a Junior and Senior)...I use a lot of things I remember about her classes and implement those techniques into my own teaching.  In college I loved my Professors of Spanish for the most part.  I'm thinking particularly of Brother Ivers who was always so good about making ties and connections to the culture.  He was actually the first Spanish teacher I ever had at BYU-Idaho (as well as the last).  I remember he called up to my house as a freshman to find out why I wasn't in class and asked me to make sure I was getting to class.  He always said, at the beginning of each course, "Even if you fail every part of this class, I'll still like ya."  I always enjoyed Brother Clark who would have us sing hymns at the beginning of each class and talk about the gauchos of Argentina and all sorts of fun literature and spit when he talked. 

    Okay, I really started to like Geography after Mr. Arends Global Issues class in 10th grade.  I don't actually remember having a Geography class before that.  Then, to get out of taking a science class/lab I took Geography instead from Brother Madsen.  Holy cow, was he just the coolest professor ever!!!  He loves his subject.  I decided to make Geography my minor after taking one of his classes.  Ok, so the maps and remote sensing/GIS stuff isn't my cup of tea...but I love the cultural geography stuff.  I also took a great class called writing for the social sciences and it was delish, I learned all about semiotics and fun stuff that I wouldn't normally have looked into.

    Thursday, June 9

    I'm back from the dead.

    So, life got a little hectic the past few months as you can see by my lack of blogging.  I still intend to finish my year long goal to answer the 60 blog questions I mentioned back in January.  Since getting out of school last Thursday, I have packed up my classroom (oh, by the way, did I mention I got a new job and will be teaching at a different school next year?) and headed up to Scout Camp.  Not working there this summer, just volunteering this week.
    I love cub scouts.  Eight and Nine year old boys are the cutest.  I seriously want one some day.  I just adore them.  Okay, well some are a little pouty and a little whiny, but some of them are so spunky and fun and others are just so sweet and lovable.  I also want kids someday that are like the youth staff they have this year at camp. Today was our first day with cubs and it was a little crazy, everything we do is outside and it was pouring down rain this morning.  By lunch time it was so crazy that our staff didn't get to meet together and sing and say grace before we ate.  Emma (15) reminded us that we hadn't blessed our food and the 4 of us at our table in a sea of cub scouts and leaders bowed our heads while Emma prayed.  It just made me smile and hope that I have a daughter like her some day.
    Suffering is a topic that has been on my mind.  Reading some things written on some other blogs and just something I've pondered this year as it has been a particularly challenging one for me.  We know that suffering is a part of life.  Some of life's difficulties last seconds or days or weeks while other hard times last months or years.  To try and quantify or categorize someone's suffering is difficult.  The types of pain we experience are varied.  All of these pains and sufferings are understood by the Savior.  Relief from our suffering ultimately comes from Him (it can be via other people).  I would add that relief is rarely immediate and that is when humility is developed.  I have a hard time when someone tells me or another person, "cheer up, snap out it, get over it, don't worry be happy".  People who say these things mean well, and sometimes that's exactly what I need to hear.  Other times, I need to suffer for a little bit (or a long time) to develop humility and to realize that I can experience peace even during times of pain and suffering and trial.  It's hard to watch other people suffer, we want to fix it and somehow find the right things to tell them to make it better but are we robbing them of the opportunity to develop greater humility and experience the peace of the atonement?  Don't ask me how the people of Alma submitted CHEERFULLY and with patience to all the will of the Lord.  Mosiah 24:15 (this is something my mission president once pointed out to me).  I don't know that life is always cheerful and peppy and upbeat.  I don't know if God expects anyone to put on a happy face and pretend to be cheerful when they are suffering.  I do know that God expects to have hope despite our suffering.  I believe that real hope is manifest through optimism, patience and persistence.  So maybe faking a smile and pretending to be optimistic (when we have nothing in our reserves) couldn't hurt?  Sometimes I don't even realize the moment when my forced optimism tranforms into genuine hope.
    When I walk around the beautiful neighborhood where I live, I see these gorgeous homes.  They are charming and lovely and quaint and just seem to emanate goodness.  The thought occurred to me today that just because the house on the outside is beautiful and lovely and charming, doesn't mean the family on the inside is just as quaint.  I realized that even though these homes on the inside might be perfectly decorated and homey doesn't mean that the people living inside feel at home.  I've always said that I want my home to be a place where my family wants to be and I'm realizing that has a lot less to do with the caliber of my decorating skills or how fancy and expensive the furnishings are, and a lot more to do with the person that I am.  We don't enjoy being in homes because of the bells and whistles they might boast, we enjoy being in homes because of the goodness of the people that are there.

    Monday, April 18

    Day 17 - Favorite Genre of Movie

    Oh goodness, how could I ever pick a favorite genre of movie.  If I have to go see a movie in the theater I want it to be an action/suspense movie.  I like it when I can get that kind of movie with a little comedy and romance mixed in.  I've appreciated the movies Inception, The Adjustment Bureau and Source Code because I feel like they've got a little bit of everything.  I also like movies that make me cry.  I either REALLY cry at a movie or I'm fine through it.  A lot of my friends talked about how they cried at Toy Story 3 or Up...not me, but I don't care how many times I watch Finding Neverland, I will always bawl at the end of that movie.

    Well, here's a list of some of my FAVORITE movies:

    What are some of your favorite movies?  What movie could you watch over and over again and never get sick of it.  I think mine would be Father Goose or Frequency.