Saturday, December 27, 2008


Christmas pics are up on Parker's site..

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

just a few random highlights/thoughts

  • the CHS football team.  Even though they lost Friday night to Destrehan, I am SO proud of them.  The football players I teach are truly phenomenal young men, on the field, in the classroom, etc.  Great job, kiddos!
  • taking Parker to the Messengers to see the Christmas lights.  I loved family time with Trent and our sweet baby girl.  It was fun to see her experience something new.
  • Central Christmas Parade yesterday morning with Trent's mom and his sister & her family.  Again, another "new" experience for Parker (since she slept through most of the parade last year).
  • my little sister is amazing, and she makes me proud.  Always. End of discussion.
  • I'm gonna make our Christmas cards this year, and I think they're gonna be really cute.
  • pancake dinner at church tonight.  I mean, really, can it get any better?
  • thinking about going back to school to get certified to teach special ed.  Prayers please.
  • praying that God opens the door for a dear sweet friend to work at CHS with me!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm thankful for:

  • an amazing husband who loves me and loves his little girl.
  • a beautiful daughter who blesses me and teaches me new things every single day.
  • the way that God has completely worked in and through Parker's life over the last year.
  • wonderful parents who are a great example of a Godly relationship, and who so selflessly give of themselves each day.
  • an incredible little sister who makes me so proud each and every day.
  • great friends who encourage and challenge me.
  • restored relationships- healed in ways that only GOD could have.
  • the greatest job in the world.
  • students who teach me as much as I attempt to teach them.
  • the way God continues to teach me new things.
  • a truly wonderful church family and Community Group.

The list could go on and on and on.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 21, 2008


So my last post referred to the superstition of the Spirit Ribbons.  

Today, we didn't have them.

Because we're in the playoffs, the cheerleaders weren't able to order any in time.

So we made one.  I said I wanted to, and D'Shea rose to the occasion.

I believe it says "Crush the Crusaders" "Go Cats" and "Come Get You Some."  Ha.

And guess what....

WILDCATS WIN!!  13-7 over Brother Martin High School. In the last play of the game, Brother Martin goes for a tie-breaking field goal.  Central blocks the field goal, AND RUNS IT BACK FOR A TOUCHDOWN!!!!!

I love my Cats!

Friday, November 14, 2008


So I mentioned yesterday that we had a pep rally for a playoff game. What I did NOT mention was how hilarious I think my football players can be! Let me give a little background.

I teach the majority of the juniors on the football team, so I've definitely taken more interest in high school football than ever before. And since Central is my alma mater, I decided to be a little more school-spirited than I was at Zachary. (As proven by yesterday's story, haha) So every Friday, I get a spirit ribbon from the cheerleaders, and use the little silver football sticker to tack it to my "What's Going On?" bulletin board in the front of my room. Each Monday morning, I take a permanent marker and write in the score from that game, and whether we won or loss. (Thankfully, there was only one loss, and instead of the "L," it just got a sad face, haha)

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my first hour football players were a little "concerned" if I hadn't posted the score by the time we started class. So I got to be pretty good at making that a part of my before-school routine on Mondays.

Last Friday, I was out sick, so the ribbon didn't get put up. This meant I didn't have the score up by the end of 1st hour on Monday. My players were a little antsy about it, but understood that I was "catching up" from being out. The coach who has class in my room 2nd hour even questioned me about it, so we fixed the problem and got the ribbon/score posted. *Crisis averted, apparently.* The quarterback, who is in my first hour, also informed me that the reason he threw 3 interceptions last Friday was because I was not at school, and I "threw off" his whole day.

Fast forward to today. The cheerleaders were running short on spirit ribbons, and were not going to have enough to make it to all of the classes. But they were informed that Mrs. Allen HAD to have a ribbon to put up, and made sure I got one of the first ones. I thought this was hilarious. Of course, I immediately stuck it up on the board.


Well, call it superstition, or sheer talent, or God's grace....

WE WON TONIGHT! (And yes, I say "we", because apparently I'm somehow helping the team.) Central won it's first home football playoff game since 1977!!! We will travel (well, they will... I'm not going!) to Brother Martin HS in New Orleans next weekend.

Guess what I'll do on Monday morning? 44-12 "W" Consider it done, boys.

I love my job. I love my Wildcats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I've Got Spirit, Yes I Do

Busy, crazy work week.  Our volleyball team made it to the state playoffs after winning the Bi-District Championship over Bonnebel High School (from New Orleans).  Unfortunately, fell to St. Thomas More in the first round, but I am SUPER proud of my sister and her teammates for the INCREDIBLE season they had this year.  

Tomorrow, the District Champion CHS Football team will be hosting a home playoff game against West Jefferson High (out of New Orleans).  In honor of this HUGE event, we had a pep rally today.  Yes. On a Thursday. Which means completely wild kids on Thursday because of a pep rally, and completely wild kids on Friday because it's Friday and the day of a playoff game.  But I digress.

Pep rallies are interesting events to me.  At Zachary, we had one for pretty much every home game.  I was always... and I mean ALWAYS... that teacher HIDING from the cheerleaders so as not to get conned in to participating in any games/dance-offs/otherwise embarrassing activities.  And I succeeded.  For three straight years, I was NEVER caught!

Which brings us to today, when I conveniently "hid" myself in the bleachers, amidst the children, next to my sister and her friends.  Most teachers don't brave the bleachers; they stand along the side wall and observe from afar.  Phew, safe.  Not with other teacher-y people. So when they call for 10 student volunteers, and 10 teacher volunteers, Mrs. Allen is safely hidden away in the stands.

Or not.  Thank you, football players that I teach/get annoyed by/know because they're CC's friends. Thank you, CC. Thank you, varsity cheerleader from my 1st hour class.  Thank you, every student who shouted "Mrs. Allen! Mrs. Allen!'  Thanks to you, I had to face my worst nightmare/biggest fear/most intimidating teacher situation.  I had to compete, with my colleagues, in a contest. Fortunately, it was not anything like "Who can 'Walk it Out' the best" or a pie-eating contest, or blind folded basketball.  All we had to do was stand in a circle, holding hands, and pass a hula hoop from one person to the next by stepping through it.  

I've got spirit.  That was for you, football players that I teach.  That was for you, oh Homecoming Queen/Ms. Senior/baby sister.  That was for you, B.  

Because I was shaking the whole time. And I thought I might throw up.

But I've got spirit.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Identity Crisis

For the last few weeks, our church has been discussing "identity." Specifically, our identity in Christ has been the topic at hand. (Which would make sense, being that it is church and all!) We've talked about how being in Christ totally changes our identity.  

I struggle with this.

When I first started writing this blog, I listed all of the things that "define" my identity.  They're all pretty much "surface level" things in light of my identity in Christ.  We've been singing this song in church called...  surprise, surprise.... Identity. I won't include ALL of the lyrics 'cause it's long, but here's part of it:

"You are love, so I am love;
You are joy and so I am joy
You are peace, so I am peace
Lord, everything You are now becomes me
And the line between where You begin
And where I end is gone

I'm in You- I know who I am
You're my true, born identity
And I'm not the one I used to be
'Cause now there is no separating You
From who I am"

Um, yeah, I love this song.  But I hate it. Because it's scary. And a little intimidating.  The line that says "Now there is no separating You from who I am"... yeah, that's a hard one for me.  I love the fact that nothing can separate me from Christ... but...  umm...  sometimes, I'm not so proud of me... and I wish I could separate Christ from that icky part of me that I'm embarrassed to tie him to.  That's what boggles me about God's grace and love for me. He doesn't care that I'm icky.  He knew I would be.  But, wow, how I struggle to not have guilt issues when I'm not so proud of who I am in the part of me that is sinful and... well... human.  Thankfully, God is God, and his idea of my identity is covered with SO MUCH GRACE.  

So I guess what it all comes down to is this...  do I accept my identity in Christ? Am I willing to see myself as He sees me?  I'm learning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History Today

The God in control yesterday is still in control today.  He was not elected and He cannot be dethroned!  

That statement came from a respected friend's Facebook status, posted this morning.  How true those words are.  Regardless of my opinions and viewpoints, God knew the results of the election before the first vote was ever even cast.  His plans are much greater than mine, and HE is in control.  Far be it from me to question or doubt His divine wisdom.

Regardless of my political preference, or my candidate choice, or my thoughts on things, I serve a great God who promises to "cause all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) I think these things are something that we all need to keep in perspective, whether we supported Obama, McCain, or another candidate altogether.

As for me, I will respect the authority God has put before me, and I will trust Him, because He is the King of Kings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


JOB: I haven't really talked much about my "new" job (not that it's new anymore), so let me just fill you in on things.  I LOVE being a Wildcat again.  As I mentioned in my post "Blessed" at the beginning of the school year, I truly am blessed to be at Central.  As much as I loved Zachary, I am ecstatic about my job now.  I am so much happier in general.  I feel less stressed, and I am getting more time with Parker, and it's also really fun to "go to school" with my sister.  I have a great boss, great coworkers, and I am really loving teaching English III.  I was really nervous since I hadn't ever taught juniors before, but I am having a blast.  Dawn and I work really well planning together, and Rachel's experience with English III helps us out so much too. (They're the other junior teachers.)

PARKER: Parker is doing SO well, as you have probably read on her blog.  She is such a sweet, happy little girl.  Right now, she is talking to me and eating fish sticks! (and sharing them with Jackson, haha) I am truly blessed to have such a great little girl who brings so much joy to so many people.

TRENT: Today is Trent's 26th birthday!  Happy birthday to him!  He is, of course, glad that it's hunting season and that the grass doesn't have to be cut as often, etc.  I continue to feel blessed to be married to him.

CHURCH: We also recently started going to a community group with our church.  We have wanted to be a part of a group for so long, but it hadn't worked out until recently.  We are so excited to meet with our friends at Cody and Brittany's each Tuesday.  I am really grateful to be a part of a small group Bible study again.  It's so encouraging, and it's really fun to be a part of a group who come from so many different places of life.  Newlyweds, married for a while, engaged, dating, single mom, foster parents, etc.  God really knit together a unique group of people to study His word and live out "Community" together.  I love it!

MY HEART: God has still been heavily placing adoption and related topics on my heart.  I follow several "adoption" blogs, and I get so excited about the things God is doing in this area.  We continue to pray about when we will hopefully adopt!  November is "Adoption Awareness Month," so expect to hear adoption related things on my blog over the next few weeks! 

Monday, September 29, 2008


Well, I survived my first CHS Homecoming as a teacher.  There are pictures on Parker's blog, and more to come soon.  I am SUPER proud of my sister for winning Homecoming queen.  Parker dressed up in a mini version of the Kittens' silvers (the dance team at CHS) and was super cute for the HC game! I've been really busy with work, watching CC play volleyball, and keeping up with Parker! 

I'll update again soon.. something a little more thought provoking.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Well, we survived Gustav.  We were really concerned about getting water in our house, because our ditch in the front yard has been backing up/overflowing into our yard after just a big rain.  Fortunately, unknown to us at the time, some neighbors had done some digging in the major drainage ditch on our street, and water drained off quite nicely.  We had a shutter blow off the house, a few shingles gone, and a few of our neighbors' fences went down, but all in all, we were very fortunate.  We lost power around 1:10 on Monday afternoon, and it was restored Wednesday night around 9:00 or so. (Not positive when exactly, since we were at Trent's brother's with the generator and window a.c. units.)

I have really been in awe of the amount of damage Baton Rouge has sustained.  For us, this was so much worse than Katrina, yet the national media keeps reporting things to the effect of "Louisiana really dodged a bullet on this one..."  Sure, there were no major levee breaches, and not thousands of deaths due to Gustav, but it has definitely impacted our state and the city of Baton Rouge in dramatic ways.  I have never seen lines to get gas so long...  or so many trees down (and on top of houses).  I know it will take a while to "recover" from this.  My parents are still without power- and as of right now, have no estimate on when it will be restored.

But, God was faithful, and protected our family.  Even though some of my family members have pretty extensive roof damage, trees down, etc., noone in the family was hurt in any way.  Thank God for his protection.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


To say the very least, I was EXTREMELY nervous about starting my job at Central.  However, I have been reminded EVERY day about how great God's blessings are.  It has been such a smooth transition for me.  I love my department, I love my administration, and I love (well, at least like) my students.... mostly. : )

The day before classes began, I found out I would no longer be teaching Business English- just 5 sections of English III.  My "duty" is to be the "Yearbook Advisor."  Basically, what this means is that I will proof the yearbook & help out as needed/as I want without having the full responsibility.  I LOVE it.  The yearbook teacher/sponsor is amazing and I think the yearbook will be incredible. I'm glad I get to be a part of it.

I'm still not "back in the routine"... I come home SO exhausted. I'm not used to the whole "wake up at 5:30" thing yet.  I miss my friends at Zachary SO much, but I know that I am right where God wants me to be.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Finished Classroom


HUGE thanks to my Mom, Dad, Grandmother, sister, Maw Maw and Paw Paw (for keeping Parker), and the CHS volleyball team (especially Coach Michelle and Coach Blanchard) for all of their help today! We finally got yearbooks, computers, etc. moved out and my classroom organized how I want it! Here are my "final product" pictures...

Make-up work board next to the door

Side wall

a view of the room from the door... note that cabinets are moved, desks are organized, and THERE ARE NO YEARBOOKS!

My "movie posters" from Erica... hard to see them, but they are for The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, and A Raisin in the Sun.


My desk.. now in the front corner of the room

My rules/consequences... I prefer "Expectations" and "Alternatives"

Friday, August 1, 2008

A few "in progress" pics...

(Please note that the stacks of books are actually two deep.)

Everything in the bottom half of this cabinet is to be thrown away. Yes, there was that much useless material in here!! (I'm pretty sure the scanner & printer in top shelf are trash-able too!)



(above)I swapped out the Farm Animal border for my books... they actually run the length of the chalkboard. And of course, my favorite poster in my classroom.... the "Warning" sign!
(below) This board is directly to the right of my chalkboards (which I still plan to replace with dry-erase boards eventually). I will post sports team schedules, announcements, etc. on this one.



This board has different words that are "themes" of American literature and American history as a whole... here's a close-up of a few. Others include: bravery, honor, freedom, struggle, non-conformists, education...

This is the panel directly to the left of the big "American Dream" bulletin board.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feeling Artsy Craftsy and Classroom "Before" Pics

As promised, I took a few "before" pictures of stuff in my classroom. I will take some pictures of the finished bulletin boards, etc. next time I go. Special thanks to Tiff and Carlee for all of their WONDERFUL help yesterday!

T.V. Barcoded with the Zachary High library barcode!

Barnyard Animal border.... special!

Blank wall- now has a cute bulletin board on it!!

Cabinet crammed full of books and junk I will never, ever use. Actually, there was more stuff in it than what is in this picture!

Yearbooks piled up in the back of the room!

Bookcase (where the poptarts and candy wrappers were found)

Front of room- the computers and printer will go. The board hadn't been erased (according to my sis) since April.

Today, I am NOT going to school- it's Laundry Day! So I decided that I was going to do a few fun "art projects" for my classroom. Here's a picture frame. It's one of those "floating frames..." and I just added the fun stuff.

This is a clipboard that I "prettied up." It was previously just a plain, ordinary, brown clipboard. Will I ever use it? Who knows, but it's cute!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Panic Mode!

So, it's beginning to "hit" me that school starts in less than three weeks, and my classroom is still a complete disaster area. I am planning to go up to the school in a few hours (after P's nap) to work some more. Just so you all have a better idea of what I'm dealing with, let me detail a few of the "finer points" of my room as it is right now.

  • The yellow-orange carpet in the room (complete with its duct tape to try to keep it together) is LITERALLY older than I am. NICE, I know!
  • Currently, the small bulletin board strip above my chalkboard has barn-yard animal border on it. Old MacDonald, anyone?
  • Yes, I did say CHALKBOARD. Only classroom on the hall without dry erase boards! Yay for me!
  • I found a curriculum guide yesterday that is dated 1986. I was three. Seriously?? SERIOUSLY???
  • I also found some wonderful things on a bookcase in the back corner of my room- candy bar wrappers, gum, and- oh yes- a blueberry poptart! (At least, I THINK it was blueberry.)
  • There is an entire cabinet full of teacher resources- FOR THE ENGLISH II CURRICULUM. I am teaching English III. Oh yeah, did I mention they're for the textbook that was being used when I was in English II?? In 1998???
  • There are still 6 computers and a laser printer in my room that need to be moved to the new yearbook sponsor's room... and I don't know who that person is going to be!
  • There are still about 200-250 yearbooks that need to be moved to the new yearbook sponsor's room.
  • Until above mentioned computers, printer, and yearbooks are moved, I cannot arrange my room like I want to arrange it.

Things that I want/need to do to make this a workable space:

  • Have said computers, printer, and yearbooks moved.
  • Move one giant blue storage cabinet from the front of the room to the back.
  • Move one blue bookcase from the back of the room to the front.
  • Move my teacher's desk into the corner where the giant blue storage cabinet currently resides.
  • Clean out giant blue storage cabinet and dispose of English II stuff and 1986 curriculum guide.
  • Bulletin boards- I need (want) to do one "The American Dream" space for American Lit (English III) stuff. I need to also do something Business English related (The Road to Success??) I also have one to do something calendar/news related.
  • Remember that even if I don't get it all done, I will survive.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Did you bring your t.v.?"

On Tuesday, I went up to Central to work in my classroom for a while. Mom and Carlee met me there. We did get SOME accomplished, but not quite as much as I'd hoped. I did snap a few pictures, which will be posted whenever I can remember to get them off the camera and on to the computer. We're cleaning out cabinets, desk drawers, etc. when Carlee asks, out of nowhere, "Janee, did you bring your t.v. from Zachary?" Of course, I did not, being that I didn't even HAVE a television in my room last year. Lo and behold, the television for Channel One in my CENTRAL classroom is barcoded from ZACHARY! There is a good reason- Zachary got rid of Channel One after the 2006-07 school year, so all of the Channel One t.v.'s were apparently moved to Central, who started the program this past school year.

(For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, Channel One is a nationally syndicated news broadcast schools can subscribe to, and part of the initiative is a t.v. in each classroom so this broadcast can be watched each morning.) Ironic, a little piece of Zachary will be with me at good ole "Dirty C."

Also on Tuesday, I had a wonderful "lunch date" with Sam and Sabrina, two of my "old" coworkers from ZHS. Sam will be there again, but Sabrina is going to be teaching at Southside Jr. in Denham. We had a great time at Olive Garden, then did THE most teacher-y thing possible- a field trip to School Aids. I love my teacher buddies, and will miss seeing my ZHS friends each day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I went up to Central yesterday to bring stuff to my new classroom. More on that later, but I had to update GREAT news...


Coach Wales (my boss) told me that he was giving yearbook to someone else, so I'll just be teaching English III and one section of Business English. I could not be more excited!

I'll be going back up there next week to work in my room again, and I'll take before/after pics at that time.

For now, we're in PARTY MODE. Parker's first birthday party is Saturday!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Tough One

There's been a lot going on the last few days. My extended family has been faced with a tragedy that is unimaginable. It is one of those situations that truly makes no sense in the world, and probably never will, so there's not much good rehashing it all here. I have really struggled with not having answers to any of the million questions running through my mind.

But I'm learning something about God. He doesn't always give us the answers. Doesn't do it because He doesn't have to. He's God, he's in control, and he's big enough to handle it without my help, or even my understanding. I don't have to know the answer to "why?". I simply need to know that He is God.

In the midst of all of this, God has also reminded me about His grace. He offers it to every single one of us, no matter what we do. No matter how "good" we are, we need his grace. No matter how "bad" the things we do, he still gives us his grace. But he also calls us to love as he has loved. To serve as he served. It's hard to keep that in perspective sometimes, but I think we must-- we must love. We must serve. We must extend grace. We must trust. We must NOT always understand.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Starting Over

In case you've missed the news, I am leaving my job at Zachary and taking a position at Central High School, where I will be teaching English III, Journalism, and Yearbook. Beyond the fact that it was difficult to leave the wonderful friends I have on the ZHS faculty, I will definitely miss teaching my little 9th graders who have been so much fun. In addition, I am completely nervous about having THREE preps, all of which I have NEVER taught before. But I think it will be good.

Things I'll miss about Zachary
  • the Freshmen Academy
  • my coworkers, especially the "Red Team," the "Lunch Bunch," and Erica Henry, who has not only been my mentor, but a great friend
  • 9th graders- they're so quirky and fun
  • my 7th hour boys from last year who promised to visit me once they're 10th graders
  • the "traditions" of ZHS that are so unique
  • but mostly, my coworkers and my kids
  • being a part of the #1 School District in the state for all 3 years I taught there
  • it's the place where I learned "how to be a teacher"

Things I'm excited about at CHS:

  • the chance to do something new
  • being at school with my sis for her senior year
  • working with some of the people who taught me and inspired me to become a teacher
  • working with someone I recently met and have already come to respect and admire so much- Mrs. Kahne Seidel- who is an amazing mother and Godly woman
  • learning new things- like, yearbook and newspaper
  • starting NEW traditions for those above mentioned "new things"
  • being a part of a new, upcoming school district
  • working for a principal I have respected since I was a high school student
  • being closer to Parker

Over the next few weeks, I plan to go up and start working in my classroom-- and really making it MINE. I'll post before/after pictures when I start going!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bring the Rain

I heard a song on the radio the other morning- "Jesus Bring the Rain" by MercyMe... and the chorus of it really struck me...

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I was really humbled by this. I am quick to pray the "bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free" part... Of course, that's human nature! "God, please make my life happy and comfortable." I do okay with the "Bring me anything that brings You glory" part... although sometimes, when I get so bogged down in "when this life brings me pain..." I forget to actually BRING glory to Him in those times too. I find myself really struggling with the part of that "prayer" that says, "Jesus, bring the rain." I think it's normal/natural instinct for us as humans in the "flesh" to want "Comfortable Christianity." You know the kind I'm talking about... the 1 John 4:16 "God is love" Christianity, the Joel 2:13 "the Lord is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love" Christianity, the common misconception of "God is a smiling old grandfather who wants us to be happy" Christianity.

I'm realizing more and more that having a TRUE, deep relationship with Christ can in no way whatsoever be "comfortable Christianity." We are called to be the kind of people in Luke 9:23, who follow Christ's command when he says "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." When I think about "taking up my cross," the only image I have in mind of what it is to take up a cross is the picture of Christ carrying his cross to His crucifixion. Carrying your cross is not supposed to be easy, pleasant, fun, enjoyable. Denying yourself means that all of those ideas of "joy" and "peace" I have in my mind don't really matter... it is GOD's picture of "joy" and "peace" in my life that I should be striving for. The encouraging part is that Christ also tells us, in Matthew 11:29-30 to "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Obviously, we are still doing something here-- picking up the yoke- but we have CHRIST walking alongside us.

So... what does that mean? Basically, I have to intentionally, daily remember to pray "If that's what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain." Do I think that Jesus will constantly "bring rain" in my life? No, I don't. I think the "rain" gives me a better perspective of how to not forget to praise him in the "sunshine" parts of life too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

With Hope...

I heard this morning about Steven Curtis Chapman's family experiencing deep tragedy yesterday evening. His youngest daughter, Maria, was struck down in their driveway by one of his sons as he was backing out. Maria was transported to the hospital, where she died of her injuries. My heart broke after hearing this. I have grown up listening to SCC's music, but have recently been inspired by him and his wife MaryBeth's heart for adoption and their ministry, Shaohannah's Hope, founded to help families fund international adoptions after they adopted their daughter Shaohannah from China. They had three China babies- Shaohannah, Stevey Joy, and Maria. I cannot imagine the pain and loss this family is experiencing. I only know that my prayer is that the same God who called Maria to her eternal home is holding each member of the Chapman family in his perfect, loving, gentle hands. As I read on a blog this morning, let us not forget to pray for her older brother, that (to borrow words from this other blog) he would not believe the lies the enemy will try to tell him surrounding this situation. God, in His ever perfect plan, knew Maria's every day before she even found her "forever family" in the Chapmans. May he give them his peace, hope, and grace as they walk through this time together. On SCC's album Speechless, he dedicated a song- "With Hope"- to the families of those killed in the 1997 Paducah, KY school shooting at his own alma mater. The words to this song have given ME hope at many times, and I can only pray them back over the Chapman family.

This is not at all how
We thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain; the pain of losing you, but ...
We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope (There's a place by God's grace)
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again
And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say well done
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
'Cause now you're home
And now you're free, and ...
We have this hope as an anchor
'Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true, so ...
So we can cry with hope
And say goodbye with hope
We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation- A New Beginning

Graduation for Zachary is Friday night. As a teacher, I am required to attend this joyous occasion. I would go anyway...  "my" kids are graduating.

Zachary High is one of the few places I know that requires faculty attendance- and gives them a specific "duty location" at the ceremony. Some people are "on duty" in the foyer of the church- deterring parents/boyfriends/grandparents from bringing balloons, flowers, and noisemakers into the sanctuary. ("We have the most dignified ceremony in the Baton Rouge area... including some of the universities."-- When our guidance counselor says this, it's true!) Some people are "on duty" at various locations throughout the sanctuary- keeping traffic at the entrance/exits flowing, preventing parents from getting in the aisle to take pictures (therefore blocking someone else's parent's view). I am lucky every year- my "duty" is to be in the back with the seniors before graduation, making sure everyone has their tassel on their cap, isn't chewing gum, doesn't have a non-school-approved facial piercing, etc. It's that one last chance to talk to these kids before they graduate high school and open a new chapter of their lives!

This year will be hard.  I've taught seniors all three years I've been at Zachary, but for some reason, this year has been the hardest year to "let go."  These kids are special!  They're amazingly talented, intelligent, wonderful young adults with SO many great things in their futures!  They have changed my life forever- taught me so much about myself. Every year I lose seniors, it's hard, but this year has been worse than ever! I think being a "mom" now, I just saw my students in a different light.  I saw them more for the potential they have and less as just "my students."  God blessed me with the calling to be a teacher.  I only hope that somehow, I have been able to truly "be Christ" in some small way.  

So Friday night, I will watch "my babies" graduate.  I will watch them as they experience the range of emotions that high school graduation brings (funny, looking back, it's amazing the way we change and grow between high school graduation and the 4 or 5 years following high school).  I'm not teaching seniors next year, and I am almost relieved about that, because I think teaching seniors carries so much responsibility!  I have loved every minute of this year (highs and lows and in-betweens), and I am thankful for the 21 members of the Class of 2008 who have forever impacted my life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Defining moments...

I am...
a wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, cousin, friend, teacher at Zachary High, member of the Ring Community Church, daughter of the King (therefore making me a princess!), reader, singer, reality-t.v.-watcher, chocolate lover, dog owner, steak-and-potatoes or sushi (not raw!) eater, scrapbooker, blogger, quirky, random, quiet, loud, content, loved, moody.... and above all else, BLESSED!

Defining myself is not an easy thing! (Try it! I'm willing to bet it's not terribly easy for YOU, either!)  There are a few things that I think define me more than others.  It's funny, at different stages in your life- and even in different situations- some definitions "fit" better than others.  I think, right now, I could best be defined as "Parker's mom," simply since having a 9 and a half month old seems to take up lots of time.  I truly love being defined as "Trent's wife" because I am truly PROUD to be married to him.  I would not be who I am AT ALL were it not for the fact that I'm "Chuck and Jean's daughter"-- they truly raised me in a Godly home with a great example of what God's love looks like.  It also makes me INCREDIBLY proud to be known as "Carlee's sister," mostly because I am so proud of the beautiful young woman Carlee has become!  My grandparents are awesome, Trent's family is amazing, my aunts and uncles and cousins are some of the best you could ever ask for.  

I have unbelievably amazing friends, especially Rebecca (my best friend since the summer after 8th grade), Erica (my closest work friend and mentor),  and Tiff (boy am I glad our husbands were friends).  I am unbelievably blessed to teach at Zachary High School, and at this point in the year, being a teacher definitely defines me as well.  I have really grown to love and appreciate our "family" at the Ring, and I am so grateful for the prayer support and friends we have there.  

Hands down, my relationship with God (and having been adopted by Him through his amazing grace) would be the thing that has changed my life the most.  It is that "defining trait" that affects every other aspect of my life.  Oh, how I fail miserably in so many ways.  Fortunately, God's grace is never-ending, and he takes my weaknesses as opportunities to show off HIS strength in my life.

Name Game

I had been thinking for a while about starting a new blog, one to separate just my random thoughts from updates on Parker.  Sunday night, while the band was leading worship at our church, the Ring, they played the Leeland song "Yes You Have," and it really struck me (once again).  This song was the "springboard" for the title of my blog.  Here are the lyrics:

Every tree and every stone; Every rushing wind that moans
They sing your praise; My God, they sing your praise
Every star and open sky tell of your glory divine
They shout your praise; They shout your praise, yeah

You've stolen my heart;  Yes you have
You've stolen my heart;  Yes you have
Wiped away the stains; broke away the chains
Oh yes you have

With your love you set me free; three nails gave me liberty
So I'll sing your praise; My God, I'll sing your praise
Oh, with your love you forgave my sin;
Forgot my past and brought me back again
So I'll sing Your praise; I'll sing Your praise, yeah

If I ascend into the sky or hide behind the night
I cannot run, your love is chasing me
If I fall into the sea, Your hand will rescue me
No one will take Your place because

This is all for You
Yes, this is all for You
You're the King of the World...

As I read through these lyrics, I thought that this would be an appropriate title for my blog.  Not only has God stolen my heart, my husband, daughter, parents, sister, in-laws, students, friends, etc. have stolen my heart as well.  Some of the things close to my heart are more trivial than others (like books, t.v. shows, food, etc.), but this blog is a reflection of just that-- my heart.