Saturday, May 17

A trip home

10 years ago.

Laying backwards in my bed. Trying to catch up on my assigned The Hiding Place reading for Mrs. McMichael’s class the next morning.

My mom comes to my room and shares news about my classmate. I shook my head trying to clear the confusion and shake back to reality. She said the same thing, again.

It couldn’t be true.

I went next door to my friend’s house to confirm the news.

It was true.

I went to Spencerville today and my mind flashed back to that night ten years ago—the night that my classmates and I grew up and closer as we mourned the loss of a friend.

I thought about the lessons we learned and the memories we shared. I thought about what seemed so important then and what matters now. Being a high school teacher, I feel as I’m in a bit of a unique position to watch that cycle play over and over again. My student’s experiences are so incredibly different than my experiences. In so many ways, I wish for my students to have my experiences. Today, I think I realized why.

Friday nights dressed ridiculously in order to support the best team, even if that meant we lost.

Life lessons in Calculus that began with, “When you’re in college, friends are going to come and ask you to go out for root beer and…”

Dressing up for every basketball game, never passing but always handing off the ball to the ref, and striving to create a repetition of a class act.

Reciting commitments to “Make the best better” and “…pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.“

While that only scratches the surface of what flooded my mind as I drove back to Lima today, I realized the building blocks of my foundation. It was more than team spirit and clubs. It was life lessons. Lessons that impact my life.

I don’t know that those teachers and leaders knew then when they shared stories or managed their classrooms how often tidbits flash before me still now 10+ years later. But they do. They are an inner voice. A reminder. A goal to strive for.

I guess that’s what brings me back to my students. It has been a trying year. A very trying year. One class period makes me want to quit my job nearly daily. A combination of that and upperclassmen making “next step” decisions, I’ve been asked a lot, “Why did you become a high school teacher anyway?!” In many moments I want to respond, “I don’t even know.”

But today, I was reminded.

I want to be a part of the building block foundation for my students’ lives. I want them to know that they are cared for. I want them to know what it means to be passionate and committed, even if that happens in the 53 minutes they are in my class each day. I want them to know that they are a part of something bigger.

I want it to be 5 or 10 years later and they make the right decision because of an inner voice, a reminder, a goal, a lesson from my classroom. 

Saturday, April 26

Spring Is Finally Here

Spring!!!  Seems to be the time of year when I (Chris) feel like starting things up blogging and gardening and running.  This post counts as one of those three, and I have pictures of the garden's progress.  That means I have yet to start up on the running!  In time.

My neighbors haven't started mowing their yards yet, so I haven't enjoyed the smell of fresh cut grass yet.  As soon as my neighbor begins cutting his yard, I will have to play catch up.  He keeps his yard looking very nice, with short cut grass and good looking landscaping.  I just tend to not mow all the time when others do.  Oh wait, I looked out the window and my neighbor is getting his mower out.  I guess it's time!

I have been busy with the garden though.  Jacoby and Ainsley received some garden tools from Jake and Joie for Jacoby's birthday, so they have been putting them to good use already.  I don't use a tiller to loosen the soil in my garden.  I do it by hand with a garden fork and a cultivator. Every day for a week and a half both kids helped me work up each raised bed so they would be ready for planting.  It made it more enjoyable only working up one bed at a time.

As of today, I have peas popping up and asparagus popping up!  Very excited for the asparagus soon.  The strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also budding and growing well.  Here are some pictures of their progress.

Peas, caged to keep Jacoby out!




Barefooted Soil-Sampler

Big sister helping her brother up
In this last picture, you can see my homemade compost.  My mom gave me a compost bin tumbler for my 29 and 2 month birthday last year, and this is the first batch to come out.  I screened out all the big chunks so that it was only the fines.  I'm looking forward to making more batches and seeing how well it works and adds to the garden's health.

Well, this marks the end of a good day!  Farewell until next time.


Sunday, March 23

101 in 1001 Final Update

On June 24th I created a list of 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days. And while I accomplished a lot, I got no where near accomplishing them all! Friday marked 1,001 days, so in hopes of kickstarting the habit of blogging again, I figured I’d update this ol’ list before starting fresh with a new one!

Start Date: June 24th, 2011

Goal Completion Date: March 21th, 2014

Goals Completed: 60/101


6.       Do the “Daniel Diet” for 14 days.  Perhaps soon with the Biggest Loser competition at work!


14.   Do 50 real push-ups in one sitting. Short breathers permitted. Ha! No where close! More like 25 girly push-ups!

17.   Do the splits. See above comment. :)

18.   Complete a duathalon. Pregnant two out of the three possible summers didn’t help with accomplishing this one!


26.   Limit my closet to 20 pairs of shoes. Accomplished!

27.   Get a new Passport with current last name.

31.   Deposit a dollar outside.


33.   Host a dinner party.

34.   Invite friends—outside of Girls Group—into our home 6 times over the course of 3 months.  We were intentional about having family/friends over, but I don’t think this one was actually accomplished!

35.   Read 100 complete books to our child. Not a 100 different ones!

36.   Go on a double date.

37.   Plan a surprise party. Accomplished! After really dropping the ball for Chris’ birthday last year, I planned a surprise 29 and 2 months birthday party for him in September. His mom even made a cake with “Happy 29 1/6th Birthday, Chris!”

38.   Take a “flip coin” road trip with Chris.

39.   Stay at a bed-and-breakfast as a weekend getaway. We’ve got one in the works for our anniversary!


45.   Read 43 books from BBC Top 100 books. [2/43] This was like pulling teeth to enjoy them at first. Now I barely make time to read! :S

46.   Sew an article of clothing and wear it in public. [Beyond a simple seam and hem.] Nope, sewing machine’s a bit dusty!


48.   Blog about each of my 101 accomplished goals, unless supposed to be anonymous or uber personal. Accomplished. ;)

50.   Answer 50 Questions that will Free Your Mind, perhaps blog about them. I started with questions 1-5.


51.   Read the Bible every day to our lil’ bean for 30 days. Accomplished! We ready the Bible every night for two months before bed, but haven’t been doing so well in March!

52.   Pray every night with Chris before bed for 30 days. :(

54.   Memorize the books of the Old Testament, in order. [27/39]

55.   Study a book of the Bible with Chris.

Outdoorsy Stuff

56.   Sleep under the stars.

58.   Go fishing.

59.   Play in the rain.

61.   Camp out in our backyard.

62.   Build a fire without a match/lighter.

63.   Build a snow_____ [fort, man, etc].

64.   Go skiing.

65.   Go sledding.

Just For Fun

68.   Complete a photo challenge. I tried to accomplish this one about 5 times, each time a failure!

70.   Submit a post to PostSecret.

72.   Learn to tie a tie.

73.   Create a font in my handwriting. I printed the paper work to do this one about 5 times, but never actually did!

75.   Go to Cedar Point. Accomplished! Chris and I went! We were only there a couple hours before it started to rain so we decided to leave without getting our hands stamped. As we left Olive Garden for lunch, we walked outside to an absolutely gorgeous day. We kind of kicked ourselves for not getting our hands stamped, but decided not to be upset about it and enjoyed a leisure ride home!

Giving Back

78.   Pick 5 people who have changed my life and write each of them a letter. I wrote one!

79.   Leave 25 Operation Beautiful notes.

80.   Write three “Dear Stranger” letters and leave them in random spots around Lima.

81.   Donate blood 3 times. I donated twice. Pregnancy took me out so much on this one!

82.   Plant a tree.

84.   Write our Compassion Gospel for Asia sponsor child once a month for a year. Ugh! This was much more difficult and more ambitious than I thought it would be!

85.   Send hand-written notes of encouragement to 10 friends/family members. I probably got close on this one, but didn’t really keep track.

87.   Leave a 100% tip.

89.   Put together 5 Christmas shoe boxes. I got the boxes this past Christmas but never put them together! Perhaps I should do it now, so I’m actually ready for next Christmas!

90.   Contact 5 managers about the good work a specific employee has done. Only once did I do this!


93.   Pay off 2 student loans. Accomplished! We’re doing well with this! Looking forward to throwing a party when they are alllllll paid off! For.real.

94.   Continue to have $0 debt outside of Mortgage and Student Loans. Accomplished! Yep! Yep!

96.   Save half of my “Rachel Money” every week for 2 months. I changed the way I budget and no longer have “Rachel Money”.

97.   Do not buy anything for myself for one whole month. Eek. Nope!

98.   Teach someone the basics of couponing. I’ve given pointers and tips but not actually sit down and teach anyone. I’ve kind of fallen of the couponing bandwagon now too.

99.   Make no withdrawals from savings accounts [excluding possible car purchases]. Accomplished!

100.   Save $5 for each completed task. I didn’t do this as I went! I should of!

101.   Donate $5 for each incomplete task. Accomplishing. I didn’t do this either as I went, but am going to donate now!

Looks like it’s time to make some more goals!! :)