Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dinner and a Lesson

I know, two posts in two days... That's gotta be a record or something. But, this story MUST be told because it's just too good to keep to myself. :)

So tonight, I decided to make this yummy new dinner from a recipe that I found on Pinterest (where else?). Here's the link to the recipe so I don't have to retype it all.

Cooked noodles laid out to try to keep them from sticking to each other

The recipe called for chicken, but I used ground beef instead - added with various cheeses and some milk

Spread the cheese and meat mixture over the noodles and rolled them up

Topped with more sauce and some parmesan cheese

And then came the problem.... It said to cover the dish and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Joe walks in the door with about 10 minutes left on the oven timer. About that time, I said "Something smells burnt... Did you turn on the heater?". I head to the oven and open it to find a pretty good amount of smoke and this...

So sad....

I pulled the pan out as quickly as I could and at that point, I was certain that my hard work had all gone to waste. Thank goodness I was able to lift the lid off before it actually touched the food and our meal was saved. The funniest part is that we have the most sensitive fire alarms ever, and they didn't even go off! They go off when I'm baking cookies and the oven door is open, but not when our apt fills with plastic-smelling smoke. Go figure...

Two positive things came out of this experience, besides the awesome meal, which I'll definitely be making again. 1.) I now know that plastic melts in the oven (Who knew?). And 2.) I have something to add to my Christmas list because I ruined one of my favorite wedding gifts! Oh the joys of a new cook in the kitchen. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks

Just a small list of things that I'm super grateful for right now (and an update on the life of the Thompson's):

1. As always, I'm super thankful that my family is healthy and happy. Joe and I have been blessed by time with different parts of our family in the last few months, and we're so looking forward to all of the various family gatherings in December!

2. Our new home!!! We have been looking/researching homes over the past month or so, and we found one, fell in love, and bought it in a matter of a few days. Crazy, I know. People keep telling us we are so lucky at home quickly this process has gone so quickly and smoothly. For those of you that don't know. The house is in Forney, and we are set to close on December 29th.
We can't wait to move in and get all settled. I guess we should start packing, huh...

3. Fun times - I've gotten to spend time with different friend groups over the last few months, and every one of them has been so special to me. From the fair weekend when Mal came in town, to the Taylor Swift concert, to the Halloween party, to the rockin' awesome Spazmatic's 80's concert we went to last weekend. I'm so blessed by so many amazing friends to enjoy all of this fun stuff with!

4. And today I'm thankful for Christmas music. I LOVE the anticipation of waiting for Thanksgiving to be here so that I could officially allow myself to listen to all of the joyous sounds of Christmas music. My awesome mother -in-law bought me the new Michael Buble Christmas CD this past weekend, so I got to kick off the season with a fresh new Christmas playlist. Next up on the Christmas list is Glee and N*SYNC! Don't judge me :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gentle Reminders

**I'll warn you ahead of time, this is a long post. I just feel like this is something I need to document for myself and my fellow teachers. I tried to shorten it several times before posting, but it was pointless. :)

Today, I was reminded of why it is that I became a teacher, and what my goal is when my students leave my room every day.

Here's the back story:
On Friday, this young lady really frustrated me. I actually wrote my first office referral of the year because of what she did. She's one of those kids that teachers get annoyed with very easily. She's a kid that makes small bad choices here and there and you really worry that they're going to come back to hurt her in the end. Despite all of this, I give her the benefit of the doubt, more often than I probably should. Some might think this is because I'm naive about her intentions when she asks for something, but really it's because I feel like she needs someone to be on her side. There are always kids that stick out each year as someone that you would "go to bat for" because you want to see them be successful. This is my girl.

On Friday, however, she broke my trust. She asked to go to her locker, and instead decided to skip part of my class so that she could roam the halls for 15 minutes. Needless to say, I was very annoyed by this. When I got her back to my classroom (after having to track her down on the other side of the school), I had a talk with her in the hallway, and I let her know how disappointed and upset I was. This particular incident bothered me the most because I do always give her the benefit of the doubt, and I felt like she made a fool out of me. After lunch, she came up to me and said "I'm sorry that I made you mad. I realize what I did was wrong. I don't want you to think that I'm one of those kids that doesn't care". I accepted her apology and told her it was ok, but that she had broken my trust and that it would take a while to build that back up.

So, back to today. The student came in for some after school tutoring. After we discussed her grades, she sits down in front of my desk and says, "Mrs. Thompson, I never knew that you felt that way about me". (I should also tell you that English is her second language, so sometimes it takes a few tries to really say what she's trying to say). I asked her what she means, and she began to cry. She goes on to tell me that she didn't know that I trusted her, and that no one in her life has ever trusted her, not even her mom. She said that she didn't like that she had disappointed me. My heart simply melted. Our conversation continued and I encouraged her to learn from her mistakes and to remember that life is full of choices, and now is such a pivotal time in her life to decide what paths she's going to go down.

All I kept thinking was here's this young lady that God has placed in my classroom for a purpose! This sweet 12 year old girl is just looking for someone, anyone, to give her a chance. What an amazing reminder of why I have a passion for teaching and a passion for children. They need me. I need them. God needs me to be their beacon of hope. As a friend put it tonight at dinner, "You may be the only Jesus that she ever comes in to contact with." How powerful, and scary! I'm not so sure that I am always ready for that big of a responsibility, but I'm so glad that God is a good God, and He gracefully sends me reminders of what my purpose is. If I can teach a kid math, I'm doing good in the eyes of my administrators and the school district. But if I can teach a kid to make good, moral choices and to learn from their mistakes, I am doing what God has designed me to do. I'm leading them to Him. It's a slow process and I rarely get to see the end result, but how rewarding to see glimpses into how my influence can make a difference.

Thank you God for today.