Monday, November 2, 2009

pumpkie pie oatmeal

Matt and I really enjoyed this delicious breakfast Saturday morning... maybe you'll like it too! I'd highly recommend it, especially to pumpkin lovers - Matt thought it was better than pumpkin pancakes even.

Here's a picture of mine:

Follow this link for the recipe...
just it case it doesn't work for some reason, here's the web address:

Oh yes, a PS... if you're like me and have never cooked in (or owned) "ramekins" any glass oven-safe dishes will work, as in my Corningware "French white" from a wedding gift (above) or even a small Pyrex (what I used for two other "ramekins"). I found out this would work thanks to my mom's always on-call kitchen and cooking advice, which saves me every time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

selfishness and God's self-sacrifice

I've been very convicted about my own utter selfishness lately. I'm too quick to share my complaints or daily difficulties. I'm less quick to ask about the struggles of others or to be prayerful on their behalf. I'm quick to plan things that I want to do, when I want to do them, as it is most convenient for me. I'm slower to consider the needs of others and the desires they may have to maintain their own plans as well. It all showed up yesterday in the simplest scenario.

I'd been invited to a play out of town with a friend.
She wanted us to go together as we don't see each other as often as either of us would like.
She realized she had obligations and couldn't attend the show I wanted to go to.
I didn't want to drive alone, or drive in the dark, or be away from Matt overnight... all things about "me" which made the other show times seem "impossible" from my perspective.
So I asked another friend to attend the ideal show time with me.
We enjoyed the play and began driving home in a rush...
because I had other previously made plans with other friends and Matt last night.
In our rush, I totally forgot that I'd mentioned to my first friend that maybe I could stop by and say hello when the play ended, since I was after all going to be in her new town.
So about 45 minutes into our drive home, she called and asked if I was stopping by as she'd been waiting to go to the grocery store in case I wanted to say hello as I'd mentioned.

Needless to say, because of time changes and a longer play I also didn't make it home in time to keep our plans with other friends - so those were canceled too.
In the end, I upset (and rightly so) my husband, a dear friend, and two other close friends all because I demanded to have things (and petty things at that) MY way. That's a terrible feeling which upset me greatly last night, as I cried and asked the Lord for His forgiveness.

So then God's self-sacrifice comes to mind as He displayed in Christ the most selfless act of dying on behalf of sinners who would lead selfish lives as I have been doing. I deserve at this time, and at all times, His wrath and condemnation and death. However, the Gospel has changed that, for God's great glory to be seen. And how thankful I am for this God who cares to know me, and made a way to do so. I clearly am undeserving as my faults are before my eyes and within my heart every day. He however reassures me that "For our sake he made him to be sinB)"> who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Each day I desire His righteousness to over take my sin more and more, that I might see evidences of grace in the fruit He bears in my life. May it always be so.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

why Kindergarten makes me happy...

As most of you know, I'm a Kindergarten teacher again this year. For me this is GREAT news! Kindergarten feels much more like my niche than 3rd grade did. I will say, I enjoyed some parts of 3rd grade, and I'll never have to wonder what it would be like to teach older students since, for a season that God gave me, I did! But this post is dedicated to Kindergarten.

And now here's my list... (maybe it will make you want to teach Kindergarten too)
~my former 3rd grade students act like I'm a celebrity when they see me in the halls, at lunch, or recess... they're happy greetings are much more loving than they ever were last year (distance must make the heart grow fonder for them too)
~my classroom is very spacious
~I have a wonderful full-time assistant teaching with me all day
~I only have 22 students currently
~one little boy went home and told his mom, "My teacher's pretty... she was wearing a new dress today" (I don't know why he thought it was new, I don't think it was!)
~I get random hugs all day long... some of them really like to squeeze you tightly too!
~my students are really excited to learn anything... "Wow! I can draw a 4, yay!", "Look I did it!" while practicing number writing on our white boards
~I get to start every day singing songs like "Rise & Shine" (a school version, not "Give God the glory, glory), "Hello, How are you?", "Days of the Week" (to the Adams' Family tune), "Macarena Months" (and we do dance), "Color Farm" (to Old MacDonald), and "Lettercize" (to the "Rocky" theme music)
~my students are very enthusiastic about learning and using their most polite manners
~guppies and goldfish will be arriving in a science kit for our room this week
~students say "I love you", "I really like school, and I'm coming back" frequently
~one little girl randomly chimes in "You're cute" throughout the day
~behavior problems are much easier to cope with and correct
~their small conversations and comments throughout the day oftentimes make me laugh... "Mrs. Peery I been to your house, really I have" "No, I don't think so J" "Yep, I been there - it's read" "No, J it's not red and it's an apartment" "Oh, well I been there too"... pretty interesting, the same boy also wanted to be line leader one day and told me "I'm the line leader, remember I called you this morning"... I have no idea what he's thinking about most of the time!
~apart from accidents (3 pukers and diarrhea in the room this week), and tiredness (no naps, that makes long days for some little ones) which happen more often in Kindergarten, the students are much more cheerful all day long!

*one amendment... I come home much happier to my dear husband (as in less stressed) than I did before, although Matt knows in some ways Kindergarten is much more tiring... I'm always moving during the day! This is the biggest perk for us both! :)

The Lord was so good to sustain me as He did during 3rd grade. I pray that my students and co-workers saw Jesus in me in spite of my weariness and complaints at times. This year, I also thank the Lord for His grace to keep me and give me perseverance each day as I teach these little ones!

Monday, August 3, 2009

a couple of easy and delicious dinners

These are a couple of easy and delicious dinners we've enjoyed lately. It's nice to cook at a more leisurely pace without feeling too tired at the end of the day. Soon I'll be back to school though, and I'll look back on these summer days with fond memories!

Both of these recipes can be found on their respective web-sites... my pictures may not look exactly the same as the ones on-line, but just think they're more "realistic"!

This one is called "Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating" from my variation was using ALDI's frozen salmon as opposed to fresh Alaskan salmon, but if you have that - go for it! I also made plain white minute rice (I never knew I could cook it in the microwave, which was very quick and easy), and sauteed asparagus too. We really love asparagus!

The next recipe is called "Lemon Shrimp with Parmesan Rice" from a "Taste of Home" magazine subscription someone gave us as a wedding gift. It was a great gift idea, that I really enjoyed and made much use of. Lots of our favorite recipes came from that year's magazines. (In this particular recipe I'd recommend using already peeled shrimp, although I can't find that at ALDI so I use the frozen pre-cooked kind, and we have to take the tails off before we eat it.) I also made a really refreshing "Peachy Iced Tea Sangria" (non-alcoholic) from a "Kraft Foods" magazine this evening. You can see it a little bit in the glass. It's also quick, easy, and tasty!

In a week or so, I'll post pictures of my newly (I'm in the process now) decorated and set-up Kindergarten class. Enjoy cooking if you decide to try these recipes... they may become favorites for your family too!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

beach reading

We just returned from our trip to Destin, Florida with Matt's family. It was so gracious of them to invite us along and provide a great condo for us to all stay in! I had fun enjoying these specifically Florida things (in my mind anyway, they may be related to other places too):

~ sunbathing on the beach
~ collecting seashells
(only a very few in Destin)
~ key lime pie
~ seafood (LEFT: crab legs)
~ boiled peanuts (RIGHT)

I enjoyed time on the beach, and especially reading time in the sun.
Two more books to add to the list of summer reads:

Outcasts United by: Warren St. John
This is a WONDERFUL and challenging read. Not challenging as in reading level, but challenging as it causes reflection upon our own prejudices and stereotypes which are oftentimes incorrect. This book is written by a reporter from the New York Times who follows a team of refugee soccer players from around the world who've relocated to Clarkston, Georgia a small town with a Southern and "traditional" mind-set. It's great to consider the world, the many peoples in it, and the way it is becoming "smaller" in a sense. This was especially fun to read and recall soccer playing days of the past (although I'm glad that they're over)!

Twilight Children by: Torey Hayden
Another book by a new favorite education-related author. This book follows Torey as she takes a job working with people in a psychiatric ward of a hospital. After one of my third grade students was admitted to a psychiatric ward this year I really began to consider what a hidden world it is. In many ways not only is it a hidden world, it is therefore forgotten and lonely to those who are hospitalized. This book shows with clarity the sad and terrible realities which lead children to a variety of mental illnesses causing such an outcome, along with great triumphs as therapies help to heal and mend their pasts.

and here is a picture of Matt and I getting ready
to make our way out to the beach...
check Facebook for more Florida fun pictures

Monday, July 13, 2009

peach season

Yay for peaches... last year at about this time we "won" a bushel of peaches at a Louisville Orphan Home's picnic (ask me about that sometime). This year, we enjoyed picking peaches at Huber's Farm in Southern Indiana, not too far from our Louisville home. We didn't pick tons, although they were plentiful on each tree we saw (it was hard to resist picking until we saw no more to pick)!

We also couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick some more blueberries since they're one of our favorite additions to all sorts of things. There was an amazing abundance of blueberries in these patches compared to our recent picking adventures in Kansas City.

Here are some pictures showing what we've done with our peaches (I'd estimate that we had about 30 peaches to start with maybe?)...

Yesterday's peach project was properly freezing the peaches for future treats. So we followed these instructions and used Fruit Fresh along with white grape peach juice to store them. Peeling them with the boiling water to ice water method was trickier than expected. We finally realized that things worked better the longer we left the peaches in the ice water. You can also see a Ziplock baggie full of peach waffles we enjoyed last night as breakfast for dinner. They were great with some of our strawberry freezer jam as a topping! I'm sure you'll also notice a massive bag of blueberries... only one of two we so happy to have. Last year we devoured one bag by mid fall, this year's goal is to ration them so that they'll last until next year's picking time!

And last but not least, today's peach project was making two peach cobblers. One we gave away, and the other I'm excited to enjoy in just a couple of minutes. I've realized that I really prefer my cobblers to have kind of a sticky-gooey topping... some (like Martha's) are more biscuit-ish or like a shortbread. Paula Deen's recipe (from her book Kitchen Classics, page 166) is my favorite for this... and it's not healthy at all!

PEACH COBBLER: 1 stick butter 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup self-rising flour (you can use all purpose flour and add baking powder and salt as a substitue for "self-rising") 3/4 cup milk 28 oz can peaches in syrup, undrained** Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in deep baking dish and place in oven to melt. Mix sugar and flour; add milk slowly to precent lumping. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir. (At this point the butter will rise to the top of the batter.) Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Still do not stir; batter will rise to the top during baking. Bake 30-45 minutes. Good with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. **FRESH PEACH MODIFICATION: Clean, peel, and core 2 cups of fruit (can use blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, peaches, or pears) and mix with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. In a saucepan, bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir often, making sure sugar is completely dissolved. Substitute this for the canned peaches.

All that remains of our "raw" peaches are serving as a decoration before we're ready to add them to cereal, oatmeal, or eat them as a juicy snack. Now I'm off to enjoy some cobbler with my dear and watch "Antiques Roadshow"!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

more reading highlights

As promised, I'll keep you up-to-date on my restful and delightful summer reading...

Radical Womanhood by: Carolyn McCulley
I finished reading this book this week. It was a great read that gave me insight into lots of background information (especially about feminism) that has contributed to the world today. This book reminded me of so may ways that Satan has waged war on women, families, roles, etc. for all of time. In that sense it was encouraging to remember that we are not to fight against "liberals" or laws, but rather to trust in the Lord and realize that these issues are spiritual and not grounded in politics or other disguises they may wear.

Excellent Women by: Barbara Pym
What a charming and quaint book! I'd highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a light and refreshing summer read. It reminded me a lot of the vision I had of my future when I was single and thinking marriage may not have been a blessing the Lord would have for me. The book follows one middle-aged single woman through her experiences in the church, with neighbors, and in her English town following World War II.

Shopping for Time by: Carolyn Mahaney and daughters
A very fast and helpful, helpful read. I highlighted lots that I hope to share with others as a future reference. This short and to the point book is designed to help women prioritize and organize their lives in God honoring ways as they serve family, friends, and the church. Her practical ideas were aimed at encouraging women not overwhelming them with more to do. I'm planning to implement many of these ideas into my life right away!


When I Don't Desire God by: John Piper

UPCOMING BEACH READING - for our Florida trip later this week (Friday through Tuesday):

At Home in Mitford
by: Jan Karon (I read this one in high school, but I'm hoping to start reading with the intention of the entire series... slowly during the school year)

Just Generosity, A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America by: Ronald Sider

Race Matters by: Cornel West

Outcasts United by: Warren St. John

Then after my choices of reading materials are exhausted, I'm going to dive into my stack of summer "teacher reading" related to strategies, best practices, theories, etc. of teaching... I'm delaying these (partially because I'm not quite ready to be in "school mode") because I do know they'll be full of ideas that I'll want to get going on right away!

**coming soon... pictures with an update including ways I've used an abundance of fresh picked fruits (peaches, and blueberries)**

Monday, July 6, 2009

summer reading!

So far this summer I've enjoyed all the moments I've had to read! The following is a list with a little review of each in case you'd like to join me and read some of these great books... enjoy!

Girl Meets God
by: Lauren Winner
I reread this book at the beginning of this summer. I think I liked it even more the second time around. Lauren Winner writes a memoir of her conversion from Judaism to Christianity. It includes lots of great thoughts about faith and tradition.

Mudhouse Sabbath
by: Lauren Winner
This Lauren Winner book I'd never read until this summer. It's another great one. Lauren specifically explains Jewish traditions and customs which relate to various topics and seasons of life. Her point in doing so is to challenge Christians to rejoice in the grace of God upon us through Christ our Savior, while also contemplating more thoughtful traditions which can impact our faith in practical ways.

Hope for Children in Poverty edited by: Ronald Sider & Heidi Unruh
This book provides a brief, but realistic overview of children who live in poverty here in the United States. Since teaching in many low socio-economic areas I have begun to consider the impact of poverty in ways I hadn't before. There are so many factors involved in the lives of these children. I'd really recommend this book, as it also offers great articles which highlight real ministries and organizations working to provide aid in various ways to so many children in difficult circumstances. As Christians I do believe we must not turn a blind eye, to this reality of so many.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by: Tracy Kidder
This book is a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer. He is a leading doctor in the fight against TB world-wide. Specifically his story is captivating as he serves amongst the most poor people in the world who live in particular areas of Haiti. His compassion and committment to serve all people with equality should be shared by more. Sara Groves was inspired to write and record her song "The Long Defeat" after reading this book and learning of a many who values all human life in such sacrifical and genuine ways.

Ghost Girl by: Torey Hayden
Torey Hayden is a special education teacher who has written many books about her students and their circumstances throughout a school year. This book is horrifying as it shares the real life story of one little girl she taught. While I think more people should be familiar with the daily occurances of public school life... this book wouldn't be the first I'd recommend because of its really graphic nature. I am looking forward to reading more of her books this summer.

The Penderwicks by: Jeanne Birdsall
A children's book of course must be on my list! This chapter book has always caught my eye because of its charming cover. I wish I'd known of it before, I think it might have made a nice read aloud for my third graders. If you know any children, or like reading children's literature yourself this is a nice book. It's filled with the adventures of four sisters one summer as they're away on vacation. It also makes me hope to someday have a "gaggle of girls" :)

Currently reading...
Radical Womanhood by: Carolyn McCulley
a Biblical look at the influence of feminism in the lives of Christian women

Excellent Women
by: Barbara Pym
a fictional story set in post World War II England about a 30 year old single woman and her life

My stack is big already, and still growing with more to read this summer. I'll update with more thoughts as I finish each book!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

being at home

"The place where God has put the wife is the husband's home.
Most people have forgotten nowadays what a home can mean, though some of us have come to realize it as never before.
It is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life's storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary."
~Detrich Bonhoeffer

I was just reminded of this quote by Bonhoeffer as I worked on a crafty project for a upcoming wedding gift. There is such truth in the statement! This week I have been thrilled to be at home and to make it a haven for us. Although I didn't follow my "plan" to a t, everything was accomplished. I enjoyed the opportunity to be productive in our home and in ways that could bless Matt. Since I'm home now without having to work (just for the summer), Matt has a break from helping with the laundry and dishes after dinner. I'm glad to relieve him of those things that he also gladly did to serve me during the more hectic school year. I can also use my days to clean the house, run errands, and grocery shop, thus leaving the Saturday totally free (that was my day to clean and buy groceries before... a full day)!!! Although these are really simple things, I am so thankful for the sweet rest and solitude of the days this week. I know that for many housewives, these days would eventually become less of a thrill and more of a monotony. But, from the other side of the fence, it is calling and season to be cherished. Even without children right now, I see great significance in serving Matt this way. I know that with children someday, the significance of being a mother and wife in the home becomes even greater (although it is not always possible). This week has given me much to thank and praise the Lord for. I hope that you can also find much contentment in your season right now and enjoy the Lord's goodness to you! The greatest part is... I have many more weeks of this bliss ahead :) And for now, I'll enjoy our Saturday reading the Word, going on a Border's date (with buy one get one free coffee coupon), enjoying good books, and a taking trip to Shakespeare in the Park (to see "Hamlet") tonight.

*I'd love to include pictures of the wedding gift creation... but, lest my dear friend see it, I'll have to wait until after the wedding to post them! So this picture shows the lovely flowers I bought this morning at the Farmer's Market... I really like fresh flowers on the table :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

big (but reasonable) summer plans

Well "I've got BIG plans" to quote a cute, cute children's book that was read aloud to the teachers at the beginning of school this past year. The point was that a little boy made BIG plans which never quite came to fruition. We were encouraged to plan BIG, but to also be realistic enough to allow for some flexibility. As a Christian, I think of "grace" in those scenarios. I remember contemplating grace a lot in college which was a good season. In many, many ways I need to continue each day those thoughts. I cannot just barge my way through life doing it all on my own, to the best of my abilities, and not be surprised that burn-out comes at the end of that road and that failure is a certainty in time. Rather, I must rely on the Lord who provides me with all opportunities, strength, and ability. He is a gracious God who responds to my failures and falls with compassion, forgiveness, and new mercies each day. So in that light (and with that reminder to myself mostly) these are my summer plans/goals. Aimlessness is not my strength, and without some specific goals I don't usually complete most things I set out for. So this summer I'm trying to be specific, but also gracious towards myself. Matt has also been very helpful in reminding me "not to over do it". I'm hoping for some accountability as I blog about my days, and share progress in these areas.

my plan:
Mon/Wed/Fri morning:
workout "women's fitness bootcamp" free in the Seminary gym, Bible study & prayer time, shower/get dressed, watch Martha Stewart on TV (iron during Martha on Fri), read until I'm hungry and eat lunch...

Tues/Thur morning:
walk on campus, Bible study & prayer time, shower/get dressed, watch Martha Stewart on TV (iron during Martha on Tues), read until I'm hungry and eat lunch...

afternoons (chore time & "project" time):
Mon- clean bathroom, do any CVS shopping (before the deals are gone), 2 loads of laundry
*Mon EVENING- Seminary sewing class bi-weekly (I hope to make curtains this summer)
Tues- dust, "practical pilates" free in the Seminary gym
Wed- clean floors (vacuum, mop)
Thur- 2 loads of laundry, "practical pilates" free in the Seminary gym
Fri- clean kitchen, grocery shop

GREAT NEWS!!! All evenings are essentially free to enjoy dinner, walks, and resting with Matt... that is a great and blissful thought. And weekends will be free also for fun times together like the Farmer's Market, hiking/camping hopefully, local summer events, Shakespeare in the Park, picnics, sunbathing, blueberry picking, day trips, etc.

"projects" may include some of these things:
*new cell phone, and new cell phone service when our contract expires (for many of you this is good news as we'll finally be able to complete a conversation without my phone dying 4 times within 5 minutes!)
*prayer cards with Biblical examples of prayer
*new recipes to try (one weekly)
*swimsuit shopping
*consigning old clothes, shoes, tote bags
*Country Living idea: lamp out of old china
*"deeply clean" couches
*make wedding gift
*clip magazine articles and file to reduce clutter of ever growing inherited magazines (mailed by my thoughtful mom)
*take Matt's car in for a check before road trips

books to read:
- Girl Meets God, Lauren Winner (REREAD, in progress)
- Shopping for Time, Carolyn Mahaney
- Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren Winner
- A Slow & Certain Light, Elisabeth Elliot (REREAD)
- Barbara Pym books (at the recommendation of a friend)
- teaching/school related books
- social justice books

other additions:
~ Vacation Bible School evenings, one week
~ Jefferson County Summer Professional Development, most days one week
~ Kansas City trip to visit family & friends, one week
~ Destin, Florida vacation with family, long weekend

You can pray for my efforts in these areas, and most importantly for my trust in the Lord that He would direct my plans and my steps, and that all rearranging would be considered from an eternal perspective recognizing His control and sovereignty over it all!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the fruits of our labors

Well, that title is probably a bit dramatic but still fitting in my mind. Anyway, I've really been enjoying our "urban garden" this year. We have two containers near our front doors which "pep up" the rust colored door (below). I've also had fun refilling the containers we had last year on our back patio (right), and adding a few more. These pictures were also on Facebook in case you feel like you're seeing duplicates.

My favorite of the flower containers on the back patio is this one containing cat mint - purple breezy looking flowers in the middle, violas pale yellow, snapdragons (not blooming when I took this picture) also pale yellow, and the fuzzy plants that are whitish and just make a nice addition. One of my friends described it as having "wild beauty" I'd agree with such a lovely description. (The watering can is also charming I think... a great $6 Big Lots find!)

We've also endeavored to plant some additional garden areas near our apartment. I found $1 boxes of wildflower seeds at Walgreens recently and decided to invest in two of them. After raking up the dirt and adding some topsoil Matt covered up the seeds I sprinkled in. We've been watering and are thrilled to see sprouts coming up. I'll be so excited if there really are wildflowers under the formerly bare stairwells in our complex. I hope the Seminary would be equally thrilled... but I'm not so sure :) Here's a small glimpse of those spaces...

I'll add an "end of summer" picture in a few months to show how they turned out, well I'm hoping!

Finally, the inspiration for my melodramatic title... I used some of our herbs today from the ever-growing herb garden containers to make herb butter which was a delicious addition to our first loaf of breadmaker bread.

(I found an excellent deal about a month ago when I bought a Pillsbury Bread Machine for $5 at a church rummage sale and finally tracked down the manual and instructions online... thanks to the "breadmaker guru" site.) Today was the first day to experiment with our handy machine and it did a wonderful job! I've been wanting to use my herbs frequently so that they'll continue to grow and herb butter seemed to be just the right addition. So I mixed some chopped thyme, oregano, basil, and chives with some softened butter. Here were the results (aka "the fruits of our labors")...

On an ending note - Does anyone know of something to do with sage? Its growing bigger and bigger because I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Any input would be great!

**many more frequent posts to come, my mind seems full of topics: last day of school; summer Bible study plans; summer goals; and for fun (this is an idea another teacher friend had) compare and contrast "summer Laura" and "school year Laura" :) **

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the world... according to my third grade class

It's been such a long time since I've posted... I couldn't resist sharing an update on my third grade life though. So, here it is:

As state testing has begun and the end of the year is coming, I've been trying to dream up creative (and still worthwhile) activities for my students. I decided during an "ah ha" moment that they could benefit from listening to a read aloud that would be much different than others we've read this year. I saw a review of the book: Three Cups of Tea (The Young Reader's Edition) and knew it would be perfect! My goal is that my students would recognize the privileged position they are in as children in America who are entitled to an education. I hope that by contrasting that with much of the world they would become much more interested in, and committed to their own learning... now and into their future lives. So we began with a little bit of "background" and are trying to build from there. It's been very exciting and interesting thus far!

All of these discussions have centered around our world map and the fascination it's created in our classroom. So we started out by locating Kentucky on our world map... from there:

"Where's the country on the map?... That's where I used to live." (country as in rural)

"Is Mars on the map?"

STUDENT: "If kids in other countries really want to learn why don't they just come to America?"
MY RESPONSE: "If you were a child in Pakistan and you were eight years old and wanted to come to America, how would you get there?" (while illustrating the distance by pointing to our world map)
STUDENT: "Walk."
ME: "Really!?! You would walk across the world? I don't think you could do that. What would happen when you got to the ocean?"
STUDENT: "I'd walk across it." (very serious response in fact, and none of the other students seemed to question it!)
ME: "You can't walk across the ocean. Look here's Florida. If I'm on the beach in Florida the ocean is the only thing I can see for as far as I look in that direction. Even then I'm only probably seeing about this much (showing about one centimeter of the ocean on our map) of the whole thing. How could I walk across it? You would have to fly or get on a boat to cross the ocean. If the kids don't have any money to go to school, then they definitely don't have enough money to buy a plane ticket or a ticket for a ship."
STUDENT: "You could still walk across it." (even still, adamant and unchanging)
ME: "Boys and girls when I tell you things like this I'm not lying. You can ask any adult you know and they'll all agree with me. You cannot walk across the ocean!"

So my goals for the final two and a half weeks of school... identify the seven continents, recognize the United States on a map of North America (the addition of Canada and Mexico would be a bonus!), and locate Kentucky on a United States map. I think we can do it!

The same students also explained to me that if they ever had worked in a sweatshop (as that term came up as part of a list of reasons that children don't go to school in some countries) they would have killed their boss. The comment was made that no one could make them work like that and treat them that way.

Finally, one of the more enlightening moments (a glimpse of hope)...
STUDENT: "So you're saying that these kids around the world can't go to school but they want to, and that we can go to school but we don't want to!? That's AWKWARD Mrs. Peery!"
ME: "Yes, that's what I'm saying... No it's not "awkward" it's really sad that you all feel that way. They would tell you that you're the luckiest kids in the world."

So they are quite interested in the Pennies for Peace program which was briefly mentioned in the book's introduction. I'm browsing that website and thinking about mentioning it to the other third grade teachers, maybe the principal and counselor also. Two and a half weeks isn't long for a penny drive... but it could help! 1 PENNY = 1 PENCIL in those school... we're very blessed, without a doubt.

I'll keep updating with other exciting glimpses into the life of Mrs. Peery's class as they come!

Monday, February 2, 2009


This week has given me a lot of time to think and a lot of time to experience "real" fellowship. I'm quite thankful for it, but I've realized some things about myself that the Lord must begin to change. We in Louisville have found ourselves in the midst of another HUGE storm (another because we had one wind storm this fall which caused similar damage and kept us out of school for a week). This time, the storm came in the form of lots of ice and snow. Last Monday night it began and continued. Power went out in most of the city on Wednesday sometime. School has been out since last Tuesday (we'll return tomorrow). And most of the Seminary campus lost power including most of the Seminary apartments. They suggested that students go home if they could, as LG&E (our power company) expected the city to be without power in some place for 7-10 days.

Unfortunately, its not that easy for some people to get home... and its expensive too! The good thing about all this was the breeding ground it created for fellowship. Beginning Wednesday night our small group friends from church became fairly communal in our living situation! Two couples whose apartments didn't have power, stayed with the others who did. Our friends Jeremy and Sarah (who's expecting a baby in April) stayed with us. Among all of us we often shared meals as those who were out of their homes had food they didn't want to spoil... and those who were in our homes were beginning to run out of groceries at certain points.

The Lord really showed me that "small groups" every other week don't fill the Christian's call for "fellowship" at all. In fact, it is a great step in that direction... and I'm so thankful for our friends there... but really we became so much closer through this trying time. No, I don't think I could very easily adapt to a communal life (nor do I think Christ is calling us to). Rather, I do think we must be open as often as we're given the opportunity to enter into such fellowship. We must talk often and openly with one another as Christians (maybe just women have the need to "talk often"). We must share our thoughts, ideas, and questions in order to receive and offer wise counsel and other insights. And most difficult for me... we must leave our "comforts" of an organized home, laundry washed often, a refrigerator and freezer with only "my" food, and time for my family and I to do as we please. In order to have real fellowship we must not think first of ourselves and our conveniences. Rather we must welcome those who are in the body of Christ and think much less of ourselves. I pray that the Lord will conform me as He desires in these ways.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:1-4

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Romans 12:13

I will have great memories of this week and all it entailed... walking around the mall to stop our lethargic feelings; eating at Chic-Fil-A and enjoying the perks of free refills, coupons, and WiFi; late night conversations about Reformed theology and ministry futures (until 1am in fact); SuperBowl parties; pot-lucks with lots of friends and very well-rounded meals; the perks of a pull out couch... list could go on!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

new home decorating

The following pictures show our latest decorating additions...
Matt's library shelves are becoming more and more full as each semester passes and his book collections grow. Therefore, we made more room for him, by moving some of my books and a lot of old Bibles out of the office and onto a shelf near our living room/dining room. It fit well in the space and clears some shelves for him!

The next pictures show our new Audubon additions in the bathroom. I really like them. We even found the frames at Hobby Lobby during one of their 50% off framing sales... what perfect timing!

Lastly, I finished my "punch needle" project. The box advertised that it was, "fun, easy, and a quick way to smile"... seems like kind of crazy 1950's housewife marketing... but I'll admit I would agree with all claims. It only took me about one or two weeks to finish as I worked on it in the evenings over our Winter Break off and on. Framing it was a bit harder, but it worked out well. Now our kitchen has a little more life!

These are fun and restful areas of life for me. I'm thankful that the Lord has given me a desire and joy in caring for our home!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Perfect Peace & Rest

In light of an especially hectic week at school and plenty of future-related thoughts, these songs were especially encouraging tonight at church. The Lord often brings me greater clarity through the singing of His Word and His truths... funny thing, because I really don't even sing-sing (as in singing well, or in choir). Maybe they will encourage you right now too...

"Like A River Glorious"
  1. Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
    Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
    Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
    Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.
    • Refrain:
      Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
      Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
  2. Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
    Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
    Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
    Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.
  3. Every joy or trial falleth from above,
    Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
    We may trust Him fully all for us to do;
    They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Verse 3 is especially challenging and settling all at the same time... I know that the Lord is enthroned at Sovereign even over room 213 at Semple Elementary. Tomorrow I must act on that belief and really let myself remain in His care without becoming so upset, frustrated, and full of complains and overwhelmed feelings in the midst of it all. I have such comfort knowing that nothing is beyond His wisdom, and indeed He is Sovereign (all-knowing and all-powerful).

The next song is a new one to Clifton Baptist as of tonight. I hope we continue to sing it more and more often. You can find it on YouTube here. It is written by Aaron Keys and Stuart Townend and is based on Psalm 62...

"My Soul Finds Rest"

My soul finds rest in God alone, My Rock and my salvation,
A fortress strong against my foes, And I will not be shaken.
Though lips may bless and hearts may curse, And lies like arrows pierce me,
I’ll fix my heart on righteousness, I’ll look to Him who hears me.

O praise Him, hallelujah, My Delight and my Reward;
Everlasting, never failing, My Redeemer, my God.

Find rest, my soul, in God alone
Amid the world’s temptations;
When evil seeks to take a hold
I’ll cling to my salvation.
Though riches come and riches go,
Don’t set your heart upon them;
The fields of hope in which I sow
Are harvested in heaven. (TO CHORUS)

I’ll set my gaze on God alone,
And trust in Him completely;
With every day pour out my soul,
And He will prove His mercy.
Though life is but a fleeting breath,
A sigh too brief to measure,
My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever. (TO CHORUS 2X)

O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah! hallelujah!

I am mindful and especially thankful of the Lord's abundant mercy upon me each day. I will trust Him and continue to pour out my soul into His loving care and faithful guidance.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

these are a few of my favorite things...

I wanted to show you via pictures some of my most recent (materialistic) delights...
First, I'm thankful that the Lord provides for us in big and small ways, and allows us to delight in Him in the midst of it all. I hope that gifts and things will never steal my focus away from Him.

* our simple winter centerpiece... I was excited to fill the "vase" (which was a gift from a student during my student teaching) with rice we had in the kitchen, easy!

* a great towel which is a new addition to our bathroom and began the inspiration to decorate with songbirds (that I miss seeing here in the city)

* the soap dispenser came as a set with the handtowel... I really do enjoy the birds!

* my newest creative decoration which my brother thought was quite creepy... hopefully guests in our house won't, anyway I loved the glass I found for only $3 at a little shop when I was home and decided to incorporate it into our bird bathroom... so I filled it with moss and a fake bird nest with a robin blue decorative egg my mom had! I love it, Matt assures me that he likes it too, which is nice!

* we brought candles back from home at Christmas so I added this one to our bathroom

* since I became inspired by the birds, we found on ebay 2 Audubon bird prints that were a great price (only $15)... once they arrive I'll find two inexpensive frames and add them to our bathroom to complete our project

* Matt's side of the bed now, with a new reading lamp (so that he won't burn down the apartment while trying to dim the light by covering it with a t-shirt... true story, I woke up to him asking me about the smell in our room, which was the smell of a burnt t-shirt and a burnt lampshade!) and little table for his ever growing stack of books to read!

* our Christmas gift from Matt's mom and step-dad... they had one of our wedding pictures blown up and printed on canvas! its a great addition to our room, and the wedding boquet is perfect right below it

* our anniversary present to one another... we had our painting of the bed & breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon framed, its hanging in the living room now

* my mom gave me a cobalt blue deviled egg platter... I used it for our friends' New Year's Eve party last night, and the eggs were a hit!

* the sugar and creamer set was also a Christmas gift from my mom... I'm hoping to use it soon for entertaining two great coffee drinking friends from Kansas City!

a few other favorites...
* my new stockpot "multi-pot" which dear Darcie hunted down with me... it has a steamer insert and a colander insert, very convenient!

* a punch needle project... kind of like cross stitching, but not really... I'll post a picture when I'm finished with it, I hope to buy a frame for it and hang it above my sink... its been a very fun and restful project

* new clothes from my favorite place thanks to my husband's thoughtful gift for Christmas

* a perfect chai tea mix which we've already so enjoyed:
1 c nonfat dry milk powder
1 c powdered non-dairy creamer
1 c French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 1/2 c white sugar
1 1/2 c unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp white pepper