Monday, February 27, 2012

First Meetings and Unexpected Blessings

This was my devotion for the day, from 'Take My Heart, Oh God'.

"Being alert to the possibility that God may bring a person across our path will change our attitude toward first meetings."  - Dee Brestin

We have many first meetings.  Some blossom into lifelong relationships, other last only a few minutes.  But that first "hello" becomes important when we consider the possibility that God wants us to minister to that person, if only for a moment.

Haven't we all received a smile from a stranger just when we needed one?  Or a helping hand?  When we've been encouraged out of the blue in that way, we praise God for the unexpected blessing.

You never know whom you might meet today.  Your smile may light up the day for a woman who is hurting.  Your kind offer of help may rebuild someone's trust in the human race.  Even if you're dealing with sorrow, perhaps you'll meet someone who's been there and she can have the joy of ministering to you.

Be alert to your first meetings today.  See what surprises God may have in store!

Read 2 Thessalonians 1:11


This was a great reminder for me.  Often it is so easy to be stand off-ish in life, but what message are we sending to those around us, even if just for a moment.  I know at times I am guilty of this.  Perhaps I have a bad attitude and I allow it to get in the way of my manors.  I will be more aware of this from now on!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Being a Teacher

I am a high school art teacher.   Currently only part time, but I am hopeful that I will move into a full time position at the same school next year.  I have really enjoyed teaching this year.  I have really been able to develop friendships with my students, that I do not think would be possible in a traditional public school.

I work at a charter school.  We are really into developing the entire student at this school, mentally and emotionally.  We not only prepare them for college, but we allow them to take college courses in concert with their high school classes... which is really cool by the way!

This week, I have been extra grateful for my job and how my relationship with my students has developed.

At the beginning of the school year, I was one of 3 new teachers, on a staff of 8.  There were 2 students that really did not like me from the beginning.  They would not do what I asked or told them to do.

I made a breakthrough with one of them, when he was injured and I told him I would ask my mom (She's a nurse) about what he could do to heal faster.  A light must have gone off in his head... realizing that I was there to see him succeeded and grow.  At that moment this student decided he liked me.

The second student, would curse at me 'under his breath', he would get loud and very defensive.  I truly believe that he hated me!  This was really trying for me, because I want all of my students to like me.  A little ridiculous, but I am just being honest.  I started giving this student responsibility... hand out lunch cards, run this errand for me, explain this project to the class, etc.  I gave him more space.  I praised his art work more.  I made sure that I greeted him at the classroom door everyday with a smile on my face and a big hearty Hi, welcome to class, I am glad that you are here!

I do not remember exactly when his feelings towards me changed, but I am so glad that they did.  This student is great.  He is battling a lot in life, and I believe he is pushing past that.  And in doing so his attitude has changed.

If he sees me on our tiny campus, he is all smiles and always greets me, "Hi Miss Hargrave!"  This makes me very happy.  A new adventure has come from this, as he asked me at lunch yesterday, if he could be my TA.  He said it so politely, I could only say yes!  I confronted him later and explained that he would be my right hand man, that he would sometimes run errands for me, and if needed he would help out in the office.  His response, "That's ok!"

Wow!  How did we get here?  How did we get to this point where we can both speak to each other, without voices getting a bit higher?  I don't exactly know, but I am happy that we did.

My students are so amazing!  We have all developed a student/ teacher relationship that is welcoming.  They know they can tease me and ask me questions and I will answer them to the best of my ability.  I don't shut them down.  They need to ask questions, that is how they gain knowledge. And boy do they ask me questions!  In fact, yesterday as well, in my last class of the day, two students called me over.  I thought they were going to ask me a question regarding their project, but this is what they decided to ask me:

"Miss Hargrave? Are you from Compton?"
"New Orleans?"

Basically asking me if I was from places they thought Black people lived.  Ha ha.  They do not see very many ethnic types where they live.  It is nearly 100% a Hispanic community.  Many teachers might become incensed at these questions, take offense, but I saw that their quest was for understanding... and I  found it to be pretty funny.

I told them that I was born in San Diego and they both erupted with "Oh, we were way off!!  Ha ha"

I love this school.  It allows all of us to be people together.  Yes, I am teaching them and I hope that they are learning, but I believe that we are all learning how to be people... honest, reflective, creative, and kind humans, together.

I take incredible joy in seeing my students thinking, questioning, developing their minds.  Would I rather their questions be about art?  Sure, but I won't stop them from being curious about their world.  Even though they sometimes seem caught up in celebrities, music, technology and struggle with academic focus, I am confident that many will join the ranks in their communities and offer it something wonderful...  love, time, and talent.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My blogaroony

It is hard to believe that I have had this blog for a year now!  I was so hesitant in the beginning to even start a blog.  I am glad that I did start this journey, though because it is pretty fun and there is an entire world out there of amazing blogs!

For a year, I have been dying for someone to become a follower of my blog.  No one... not a single soul.  Then, after reading 'Gone with a Handsomer Man' and reviewing it here, I got a comment... from the author herself!  How awesome is that?!  And she, Michael Lee West, became my first follower.

I am over the moon.  I never knew getting a follower would be so exciting!  To top it all off, I gained a second follower today.

Thank you so much ladies.  I appreciate it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Book in Review: Gone with a Handsomer Man

I just finished reading 'Gone with a Handsomer Man' by Michael Lee West... literally, like 5 minutes ago.  I got this book for my mom as a Christmas gift.  She read it quickly and passed it on to me.  I am glad that she did.  Yes, it is a quick read, but it is fun.  I did not know what to expect, because I had never read one of Michael Lee West's books before.

I do not like when I find out things early on in the book.  In this one, I didn't figure stuff out until just before the book revealed it to me.  I have read that other readers figured out the whole story at the beginning and they were sad about this.  I am glad this did not happen for me.

I believe that I was in the mood for a light read and this did the trick.  I am looking forward to reading other books by Michael Lee West and definitely her sequel to 'Gone with a Handsomer Man' titled 'A Teeny Bit of Trouble'.

If you would like to read a quick and fun Murder mystery, pick up 'Gone with a Handsomer Man'.

3 out of 5 stars, I liked it

Here is a list of Michael Lee West's other novels:

Crazy Ladies
Mad Girls in Love
American Pie
She Flew the Coop
Mermaids in the Basement
Consuming Passions (A food memoir)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lukas Nelson and Jimmy Cliff

A few weeks ago, I won two tickets to see Jimmy Cliff at the Belly Up Tavern in Carlsbad.  Wednesday night was the event and I was happy to take my friend Tamara.

Reggae?  Yes, I enjoy reggae.  My mom was a huge fan of Bob Marley, so I grew up with that influence.  However,  I never really claimed my like for this musical genre.

I do not know if it was the venue, the people, or all of it combined together, but I had quite an enjoyable time at the show.

It was an acoustic night, which is always pretty awesome.

Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson opened up and played some great songs. Some he wrote, some his father wrote, and some the Beatles wrote.  Lukas can really sing and play the old guitar.  He is pretty easy on the eyes as well.

Jimmy Cliff was fantastic.  For being in his 60s he sure can belt out those high notes and his lung capacity is amazing!  Tamara and I were right at the stage... with the exception of one tall guy standing in front of us.

Jimmy's drummer was crazy and really got into moment.  My body has never been rocked harder than it was with that drum going straight to my bones.  I thought my heart was going to malfunction, that's how hard the sound waves from the drums were hitting me.

Thanks to Sophie 103.7 for the tickets!  A great night was had.

Lukas Nelson

Jimmy Cliff

Unfortunately these are not the sharpest photos, but that is impossible to do when you cannot use flash photography and your are bopping up and down/ swaying to the music.

I have a few videos as well.  But, I cannot get them to load here.  Boo...  :(

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Book in Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

What to say?  This book has been getting a lot of attention, for a while now.  Is it because the author has passed and thus falling into the category of, 'once your are dead you become really popular', or is it because the book is good in its own right?

I am going to say that it is a mixture of both.

I actually saw the new film adaptation with Daniel Craig before I read the book.  I thought the movie was pretty good and was expecting the book to be better.

What I found, was that the book moved smoothly and kept my attention.  I would have liked a little more action, like the movie, but I still enjoyed the overall plot and the idea of this mystery 'murder'.

I am not going to say this is the best book I have ever read, and that you absolutely have to read it.  But, if you want to try something a little different, give it a shot.

3 out of 5 stars, I liked it

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Reach Toothbrushes

Has anyone seen the cool new designs for Reach toothbrushes?  I have been really pleased with the fun look.  Below you will see two designs that I have used already.  I have a couple more in line and my mom gave some to my best friends in their Christmas stockings that were equally as cool.

Check them out if you can!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Study of Nehemiah

At church we did a study on the book of Nehemiah.  We talked about the building of the wall and how it brought people of that community together.  To connect us as a church to that, we all got to decorate a tile and it was placed on this wall in our entrance lobby.  This also coincided with a major fundraiser for our church, in order to fix the leaky roof and repair the parking lot.  Two months later the roof is fixed and the parking lot is in the beginning stages of being fixed as well.

Here is my tile: