Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Knee deep in costumes, sequence and hot glue.
With slightly burned fingertips.
Papers scattered all over the classroom.
A stack of Kinder diplomas threatening to topple over.
But I'm still alive!
Just thought I'd let you faithful visitors know!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Reflections of the third decade, part V

I still think it's staggering to see how much has changed in 10 years:

Me at 22:
Look, Ma, no brains!
Me at 32:
Look, Ma, financial independence!

Me at 22:
Ah, the joys of Ramen noodles!
Me at 32:
Ah, the joys of leftover chicken casserole and veggies!

Me at 22:
Exhausted from walking to work (which was especially tiring when I had 2 part-time jobs).
Me at 32:
Thankful to still be driving my first car!

Me at 22:
Mistaken for a homeless person (probably from all that walking in a not-so-pretty part of town).
Me at 32:
Writing a novel about homeless people.

Me at 22:
Always ready to translate for anyone who needed a Spanish/English interpretor.
Me at 32:
¿Sabes qué? No me gusta hablar tanto español. (It strains my brain.) But I'll gladly sing in Spanish anytime. :)

Me at 22:
Me at 32:
Apparently it's possible to go 14 straight years without a date and still hold your head up high. :)

Me at 22:
Skating dangerously on the thin ice of my mental health.
Me at 32:
Extremely thankful to be free from the slimy chains of depression. (Really, it was horrible.)

Me at 22:
A book? What's that??
Me at 32:
You know, a book -- that beautiful bundle of pages that you can curl up with on a rainly night next to your favorite lamp with a cat napping next to you (and another cat trying to nap on top of your book).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thankful Thursday, Abridged

1. I'm alive.
2. I got 3 hours of sleep last night! (more than I thought I would)
3. I may get 3 hours of sleep tonight! (again, more than I thought I would)
4. AMAZING friends who do whatever they can to help alleviate the stress -- from gluing sequence, to making up dance steps, to buying food, and that's not even all of it!
5. This funny antic:
I walking into the classroom and the aide who's so graciously watching my class and another is singing, "Where is Tumbkin." They're on the pinkie and Little Luis quickly turns to me and scandalously says, "Ms. Gayle! We showed the middle finger! We showed the middle finger, Ms. Gayle! She made us show the middle finger!!!"
6. Melissa went through surgery ok. She's back home recovering, and in a lot a pain. I'll share more details later. Thanks for praying!

Ok, that's all for now. Still have some work to finish up before awards ceremony tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keep Praying, Please!

Melissa hasn't had the surgery yet. They're waiting for her blood pressure to go down. Most of last week it had been 220ish over 180ish, which is EXTREMELY high, and I can only imagine that it's just as high since she's in lying in the hospital thinking of everything that needs to get done.

I talked to her for about 2 minutes yesterday and my friend Tihiti talked to her a bit longer this morning. Basically she has a hernia that's pressing into her intestines, causing toxins to leak into her body. So it's very dangerous and surgery definitely needs to be done.

Please pray:
1. That her blood pressure would go down so they can do the surgery.
2. That the surgery goes well with no complications; wisdom for the doctors.
3. The Melissa would have peace of mind and not worry about all the details that we're working on here at school (this is probably the most difficult one for her).
4. That her family, especially her three kids, would have peace.
5. That all of us at school will get everything accomplished without her so she could rest easy.
6. That I won't lose my mind managing two classes for the spring program.

Thanks for your prayers! I'll keep ya posted.

*****UPDATE @ 3:50 P.M.*****
Melissa is having her surgery at 5:00. I'll let y'all know how it goes. Thanks for praying!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Please Pray!

About an hour ago my friend Melissa was wheeled out of here in a wheelchair! She has a pain in her side that the nurse thinks might be either her ovaries or appendix. We've all been under a lot of stress, especially Melissa who had extremely high blood pressure readings all last week.

Please pray for her.

And at the risk of sounding selfish, please pray for me! She's my partner teacher for our end of year program and since our song was changed up at the last minute (like, it was only approved last week) we still are working out the details of our dance and even costumes. To make it worse, only half of our budget was approved. She and I were working overtime to get it all panned out, but now that she's out I have to figure it all out by myself.

I almost feel like crying. But somehow, I'm not.


Around lunch time they did a catscan to determine what was going on. They discovered it was a hernia, so bad that they had to rush her into emergency surgery! She actually hasn't had the surgery yet. They're monitoring her to determine when will be the best time (I imagine it'll be sometime w/in the next 24 hrs).
I don't know details, but what I understand from hernia surgeries they are VERY painful to recover from. So I expect her to be out for the rest of the year (which ends next week, anyway!).
Please pray for her and her family -- that she would have peace as she's prepped for surgery, for provision since her husband will be the only one working; for grace; for a speedy recovery.
I want to go visit tomorrow and take her some books. Does anyone have any suggestions? It can be fiction or nonfiction. I'm thinking of giving her my copy of Lies Women Believe... from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, even though I haven't read it all yet. And maybe a fiction book or two. Any other suggestions???

As for me, I have some wonderful friends who helped me fine tune the dance and my class is picking up on it rather quickly. I just need to get it down perfectly so I won't mess them up when they look at me. Now I just need to work out costumes. Plus all the regular end of year stuff -- grades, report cards, portfolios. Not to mention the kiddos. Mercy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's past midnight

And I'm still awake.
Therefore, the Thankful Thursday post shall be posted tomorrow.
Thank you for your understanding and patience!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Ms. D was walking down the hallway and her water broke! So we're about to have a new baby on our Kinder team! How fun!!

But boy is that a good excuse to get out of all the end of school activities! Why didn't I think of that???

In a few hours I'll start getting my 3 kiddos ready for the Speech Competition. I'm not that nervous yet. Only about the weather -- the sky is looking ominously cloudy. And I'm wearing a skirt and open toe shoes. I hate getting my feet wet in my shoes.

The kids know their stuff, though, so that's good! Even Marlon manages to make "The Gettysburg Address" a bit more lively. Quite a feat for a 2nd grade LEP student, huh?

I had a restful day of test administration yesterday. Yeah, you read that right! There were only TWO kids retesting, so I just sat in a desk between them and read a book. I finished it around 2:30 but still had 2 more hours to kill. It was torturous! But the other teacher came to my aid and gave me a Sudoku puzzle. Anything with numbers makes my brain go wacky, but I actually managed to finish 3 of them.

Ok, time to go off and educate America's future generation. We only have 10 days left together!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Science Fair Project

Yeah, I know it was over a month ago when I stayed up all night and promised to post good pics. That's how long it took me to upload the photos. Oops.

I found out Thursday afternoon I won 3rd place in my grade level, which means I know move on to the district science fair. Woohoo!

I'm actually a bit annoyed because they told us so last minute. Someone came round my room Friday, 30 min before dismissal mind you, to look at my board and suggest what I might need to add. Did I work diligently all weekend to spruce up my project? Nope. I went out for sushi and coffee Friday night. I played in the pool and cooked carne guisada for my bro & his fam on Saturday. And I had my extended family over to the house for Mother's Day today. So, no. Sorry Mrs. B, but I put my family before my job this time around. And don't regret one second of it!

Anywho, here are pics for your viewing pleasure.

The board:

The plant:

What it looks like now:

I really do love my project! And I would obviously do things different next time. Oh well. Ya live and learn.

Here's a link for those of you interested in trying this at home!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


This is one of my all time favorite worship songs from Vineyard UK.

My friend Sarah talked about walking down the aisle to this song -- the bridesmaids will come down as the song is starting and then when it picks up at 2:43 the doors will open and there she'll be! But since she didn't do it, I might still her idea! I would have to fly my friend Marcus in to play guitar and sing it, of course (listen to "Hit Me" if you link to his space). And Tirzah can play the djembe.

Ok, true, I'm not planning my wedding yet (or even a date, for that matter), but I just wanted to call dibs on the song and the musicians! HA!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thankful Thursday!

1. Turns out I'm not one of Greta's bridesmaids in June -- I'm her MAID OF HONOR! Whoa!

2. Cinco de Mayo was such a chill day for me and I felt no stress leading up to the kids performing. Plus it helped that after the performance half the class left and we just got to chill and do crafts for the rest of the day.

3. Temps are breaking into the 90's -- which is only good because that means the pool won't be freezing!

4. My dad is a SUPERstar -- he always runs any errands I ask him to. Just the other day I asked him to exchange some shoes for me and he actually did it with no problems!

5. This time next week I should know whether my visa app was approved. Scary. The main thing I'm nervous about is they didn't ask for a letter from the organization I will be working with and I'm worried I may have overlooked that detail. I mean, how else will they know what I will be doing??? So, prayers are much appreciated!

6. My dear friend Elaine will be coming to Houston at the end of June and will soon start planning her wedding. As soon as her army boyfriend comes back from Africa and proposes, that is! Oh, and I'm definitely making it a priority to return to the States in November for the big day!

7. This week FLEW BY -- which is both terrifying and exciting. Only 14 days left with the kiddos! Unbelievable!

8. The students graduating this year were my PK-3 babies two years ago, so I'll actually be quite sad when this year is over and I'm gone. It's so much fun coming back to school and seeing all your former students after the long summer, seeing which classes they're placed in and how they're progressing. *sigh*

9. My time in Waco last weekend was restful and fun. Now it's time for Bird & co to come down to Houston this weekend.

10. Sushi night tomorrow!!! It's actually us 4 lead teachers going out to finalize graduation details and we'll be joined by two former coworkers (and fellow lead teachers) who moved on to greener pastures. Sadly, we haven't all gotten together since last fall. But half priced sushi rolls, esp the S & M Maki at Miyako, is the cure! Yay!!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What am I doing???

It's 11:09 and I should be going to bed. Instead, I blog.

I had a lovely weekend. Bird and Brandi renewed their wedding vows in a very touching ceremony on Friday night. Bird was even baptized right before the ceremony. At that point I knew it was a bad idea that I wore mascara, but thankfully Sheer Cover mascara holds up remarkably well! But seriously, I'm very happy for them. Bird looked like a completely different man when he came up out of that water. With a peace and gentleness I have never seen in him before. God was definitely with all of us crammed inside that bathroom. And I was reminded, once again, of hearing God assure me that 2008 will be "The Year of Restoration."

The best part was I proved Bird wrong by showing up to the house (in Waco, mind you) on time, despite not being able to leave work until 2:00. Boy, was he ever stressed about that!

Speaking of stress, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo -- Mexican Independence Day (but not really because it really should be 16 de septiembre, but whatev). We'll have an all day party outside w/ games and rides and food and hot sun. Thankfully, we can retreat to our classrooms. AND parents are welcome to come and take their children away. YIPPEE!!! We'll perform, of course, but I'm not stressed about it.

I am stressed about our kids having to say their speeches in front of our principal sometime this week. That woman could be wretched in her quest for excellence and I don't want my poor babies caught in the crossfire!

I also caught a taste of summer this weekend. I did nothing school-related! I just hung out w/ my nephews, niece, brother, parents, and Uncle Mark and his fam, who also went to Waco for the ceremony. I took the kids to see Horton Hears a Who Saturday and then to Barnes & Noble to buy them the book.

Catching up on reading was the only thing I didn't do, even though I had books galore with me AND bought two classics (A Tale of Two Cities and The Illiad) at Mardel's, of all places, for only $2.50 each! I guess reading is something I'll have to save until the summer. I can't wait to lay on the beach and read -- we already have the beach house reserved for June 6-10. Hopefully we won't have to work that last Monday & Tuesday and can stay in Galveston.

Hmm . . . I'll have to be careful about tanning, though, because the dress I'm wearing for my friend Greta's wedding in June is strapless. So those tan lines will definitely be seen! She informed me tonight I'm her maid of honor! So exciting! We have yet to tell Abigail, my niece, that she's the flower girl. She's gonna FLIP OUT! Not only does she get a new dress and shoes to match, she's getting her hair done, her nails done, a tiara AND a limo ride! She'll definitely be calling herself Cinderella!

Ok, it's coming on midnight, so this Cinderella must find her bed before she turns into a pumpkin. We must leave for work no later than 6:15 since the Harris County Transit Authority decided to shut down the south-bound ramp from I-10 to Sam Houston Tollway just 4 weeks shy of summer vacation! GRRR!!!! We almost made it through the whole year! Darn Houston road construction! I better make it to work on time tomorrow, or else!

Ok, it's time to depart! I'm glad I was listening in advanced writing class and am now able to use the tools for transitioning paragraphs so many years later . . . in blog posts. Dr. What's-Her-Name would be so proud!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

(More) You know you're getting old (or just sleep-deprived) when...

1. After a long day at work, while driving home with the cruise control, you try to hit Ctrl+S on your steering wheel.

2. You get mad at total strangers who call you "sweetie."

3. You start talking at the fast-food commercials: "It's a taco! They put non-Mexican food in a tortilla and call it a wrap."

4. You think Sheperd Smith from Fox News is kinda hot.

5. You think guy actors on old 70s cop dramas are hot, and then you realize that they're probably older than your dad. But you still think they're hot.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thankful Thursday!

1. I haven't had a migraine since SUNDAY. Yay!

2. Trip to Waco tomorrow for . . .

3. . . . Bird and Brandi's renewing of their wedding vows!

4. My formal observation went rather well. It's nice to have one less thing to worry about.

5. The kids training for the speech competition are nailing their speeches! I'm SO proud of them! I surely couldn't memorize "The Gettysburg Address" in a WEEK!

6. I got a cute letter in the mail from my nephew, Daniel, and he even drew me a map of England!

7. My bridesmaid dress for my friend Greta's wedding came in and I was quite happy that it fit and is even too big! So I don't even mind having to pay for alterations.

8. My tax return came a week early! Granted every penny went into savings for next year.

9. Speaking of which, I got all my paperwork together for my visa. I just need to put it in a pretty envelope and mail it to the British Consulate in LA. Yay!

10. TAKS testing went well and I only had to test Tuesday. It was exhausting, though, being there and having to walk around and monitor for SEVEN HOURS. I heard from everyone but my substitute that my students were HORRID while I was gone. I think one too many people told him to tell me how bad they behaved and he thought I would be too harsh on them. *sigh*
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