Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scaling the Wall

Have you ever felt like you've hit a wall?  I did last week.  I felt like I had hit the tallest, strongest solid brick wall with my emotions.  (In case you haven't guessed yet, the pic above has nothing to do with anything.  I just liked the picture of the super tall wall.)

When I decided that I really did want to be a teacher (and that this wasn't just a whim), a big part of it was that I love the fact that kids show so much affection.  They don't hold grudges, they love freely, and the younger ones give hugs.  Have I ever mentioned that I love hugs?  I think hugs may quite possibly be the greatest gift anyone can give or receive.  

Well, I miss hugs.  Most of the kiddos that I work with don't have the ability to give hugs.  Some days, I am not sure that they even remember who I am, and I found myself struggling with that.  I went to bed early, and cried.  I had myself a big ol' pity party.  I was doubting my ability to finish at the Children's Center, my abilities as a teacher in general, and any other abilities I may or may not possess.

In the middle of all my selfishness, I had the nerve to cry a little bit for the kids, too.  I decided to feel sorry for them.  I told myself all of the reasons that it wasn't fair that they have to live the way they do.  

Then, I scaled the wall, so to speak.  While I was crying for the kids, their faces started running through my mind.  I could see their smiles, hear their laughs, and feel their little hands holding my fingers.  It was during this mental slideshow that I realized how incredibly wrong I was.  Obviously I was being selfish.  The reality is these kids do deal with problems that I could never imagine dealing with, so what right do I have to feel sorry for myself.

On the other hand, in my time at the Children's Center, I have rarely seen an unhappy child.  I see lots of kids who are surrounded by lots of people who love them so much.  They have an amazing support system through the medical staff, therapies staff, education staff, and all the other departments.  On days when I forget to be happy, they make me realize how much we have to be thankful for.  The littlest things light up their worlds.  I think they truly get it.  I have seen kids take joy and express appreciation for the tiniest things--a fan, funny noises recorded into a device, walking outside for a couple of minutes in the courtyard--all things that I take for granted.

I also realized that just because I don't get to feel their love through hugs (which I still dearly miss), I do get to see their affection.  I know it's there.  I see it everyday.

I see it in this face...

and in this one...

and in this one...

and in this one.

I am blessed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Having Fun!

This is a mini update of sorts on my student teaching experience. 

First off...someone got bit by a snake.  Don't worry!!!  It wasn't one of the kiddos.  We were having a presentation and the animal handler got bitten by her own snake. It all happened really quickly.  Needless to say, that organization probably will not be coming back to The Children's Center anymore.  That's the most interesting thing that has happened so far.  I have also been able to go on two outings.  One to the Oklahoma Science Museum, the other to see Thomas the Train at the Oklahoma Railway Museum.

Second...(this could take a while, but hopefully not)...
There are several people whom I go to church with, that also work at The Children's Center.  I see 3 or 4 people everyday who I know very well and see regularly at church.  As I was walking down the hallway during transport the other day, I passed one of the ladies in the hall.  I said hello, and she said, "I just want you to know that every time I see you these days you look like you're having so much fun.  You just seem happy." 

I don't know if she was implying that I didn't look like I was having fun or happy before, but I have really been thinking about what she said.  When I found out I would be student teaching at The Children's Center, I was excited, nervous, anxious, scared, etc.  Basically I felt the whole range of emotions that one can feel when getting ready to experience something completely new.  The first few days were overwhelming.  Like I said in the earlier post, there is so much to learn and take in.  Even after three weeks, I am still making lots of mistakes.  I get confused and lose a lot of self-confidence.  I finally realized that, no matter how many mistakes I make, how many times I forget some procedure, how many times I feel like I will NEVER get it, she was absolutely right.  Whether or not she thought I was happy before, I am really happy at The Children's Center.  I am having a blast.  Definitely loving every minute of it. 

Seriously, though, how can you NOT love a kid like this?...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Time Marches On

Sometimes, when life gets going so fast, I feel like I need to crawl into bed and hide under the covers to make everything slow down (...because obviously, time stops when I go to bed.  I'm that my mind.)   Life has been like that lately.  It seems to be zooming by and I am not able to catch up with it all.  My little bloggy world has suffered because of it.  Not only have I not been able to write on my blog, I also haven't taken the time to catch up on the blogs I follow.

I have learned that time marches on, though, whether I am hiding under the covers or not.  So, now it is time to play catch up.  My last post was in June.  How sad. 

On August 25, I started my last semester of classes.  (Seriously, this time, no more school.  I'm tired of being in school.  It's been a long, long time.)   On September 1, I started student teaching.  As a special education major, my degree is K-12.  I have to student teach in two placements for around 7 week each. 

My first placement is at the Children's Center in Bethany, Oklahoma.  I can't describe the facility better than they already have, so watch this video to learn a little bit about the place that has stolen my heart. 

I have been there only two days already and I have fallen in love.  I wish I could tell you about each and every one of my students. (There are 23.)  Unfortunately, because it is a hospital, everything is extremely confidential and I can't share. 

I have already learned so much, though.  Teaching at the Children's Center is not just teaching.  There is so much involved with just getting students to class each hour.  Some students need oxygen tanks.  Some students have all kinds of extra equipment for their tracheotomy.  Most students come with a pulse oximeter that monitors the heart rate and oxygen of the student. 

It is so much to take in and so much to learn.  I'll keep you updated on how its going!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hard Work = Getting Dirty

Dad and the guys finally got all the tile laid.

After that, they applied the grout (not sure if that is the right terminology, but oh well).
After the grout is done, you have to scrub the tile to make sure that the black grout doesn't stain the gray tile. So, yesterday, the girls were called into action.

Mom, Lindsay L, and Vanessa headed down first to do the first scrubbing.
Mom~she got tired of waiting on my camera.

Lindsay L.


After Elisabeth, Tabitha, Lindsey H, and I finished shredding 25 pounds of potatoes, we headed down to do the second scrubbing.


Lyndsey H.



It was a dirty job. If you don't believe me, take a look at Vanessa.

Our fingernails are stained black from the scrubbing. Lyndsey H said she likes the black. It makes her feel like she really worked hard and accomplished something good. Hard work = Getting Dirty!

This morning, we went back to mop it. Sorry the pictures aren't great. I was using a phone and couldn't get it to focus correctly.

It will have to be scrubbed one more time, but we have all of the refrigerators and machines back inside. I didn't get any final pictures because I left my camera at the house, but trust me, it looks great!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Clean up! Clean Up! Everybody Do Your Share!

On Monday, we (Mom, Dad, and myself) came out along with guy staff, Carl Craighead and Michael Price, and two of the Melodies, Vanessa Rios and Tabitha Nehring. The Melodies are traveling on the weekends, and helping out at the camp during the week. That evening we met the Hoods to pick up Lyndsey, another Melody.

On Tuesday, we all (minus Michael, who was mowing) went down to the Snack Shack to get it ready for Dad and the boys to lay tile. Two girls worked on the picnic tables out front while the rest of us worked in side getting everything out and sweeping the floors.

On Wednesday, two more melodies joined us, Lindsay Larson and Elisabeth Cobb. We worked in the shower house - scrubbing toilets, showers and sinks, then moved to the cabins. Cabins are always a little scary at the beginning of the summer, because the mice have had several months to make nice comfy homes in the bunk beds. We got lucky this year - two of the boys had gone ahead and already chased out 5 mice. We still found 3. We had Sadie with us, and she is just as good a mouser as a cat.

Today, we worked on the kitchen. We moved all of the big kitchen pieces to sweep and mop behind them and scrub them down, cleaned out all of the refrigerators, did a boat load of laundry, and washed and put away all of the dishes.

Dad and the guys are still working on tile. They had to go to the store this morning to get more tile cement.

It's all coming together as the first week draws closer.

(Sorry I didn't have pictures of any of this, my camera is being moody.)

See you all next week sometime!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Work in Progress

Dad and the guys are working on the tile in the snack shack. Check it out!

Oh yeah, Vanessa helped too!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming Soon!

We are putting tile down in the snack shack. They started laying it today, and will keep working on it tomorrow. I will get pictures and put them up, soon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

So long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Goodbye

My brother got a job.

Most would look at this as a good thing. "Congratulations, Josh!" "Good for you!" "Way to go!" Well, I say, "STOP TELLING HIM THAT!!!"

My brother didn't just get any job. He got a job for which he has applied, interviewed, been thrice tested, and prayed over the last month or two. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he got the job he has been wanting. I don't begrudge him that. The problem's in Texas.

He got a job at Peterbilt Motors in Denton, Texas. It is a really good job, but it's over two hours away. Whatever will I do without him?

Who will I turn to to dress in ridiculous costumes at various family and public events?

Young Family Reunion 2011

Oklahoma Blizzard 2011

Easter 2011

This one turned out good...look how happy those kiddies are!

Who will I make fun of for doing this to two phones in less than a month?Not a cheap phone either. It is, er...was, a Droid.

So I guess it all boils down to this, my best source of local entertainment is moving far, far away.

(Great symbolism, right? He's sitting far, far away with a Texas flag above his head...)

In all seriousness, I love my brother, and I'm sad that he is leaving. I am happy he got his job and that he is getting to move back to Texas like he wants, but I'm still sad that he is leaving.

I will miss you, brudder!

Regretfully they tell us,
But firmly they compel us,
To say goodbye
To you.

(Sorry, I love "The Sound of Music!")

Saturday, May 21, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I tried to make some minor design changes to my blog. Something went terribly wrong. This amateur should never mess with the HTML code. I got so frustrated with it, I shut it down (or so I thought) and decided to just let it be for awhile.

Apparently, I didn't shut it down as well as I thought I did, and that resulted in a lovely post from my brother. What did we learn? That Josh can't spell "amazing." As revenge, I bring you this lovely picture of the hacker:

Special thanks to Anna Hogan.
I "borrowed/stole" this picture from her.

Anyways...tonight, or rather last night since it is now after midnight, I decided to try again. I've been working on it for about 5 hours and I finally think I got it situated again.

Camp is in just two weeks. Tomorrow, Dad, Bro. Robert Cartmell, and Bro. Dale Birchett will be putting in new pool liners. We've had the same liners since we got the pools 10 years ago. They were way over their life expectancy. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow.

The guy staff members will be out Sunday night after church to start their work weeks. The girls will be out the week after. Camp starts two weeks from Monday. Anticipation is building! We're kicking off the summer with Bro. Rick Dawson. What an awesome way to start the season!

I will do my absolute best (it hasn't been that great thus far) to stay updated each week on what is going on at the camp. I am not traveling out of the country, planning on getting pneumonia, or anticipating any car accidents that might keep me from being responsible and updating. {fingers crossed}

See you all soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Ok, so this may be Holli's blog, but this is what happens when you leave your blog logged into your wonderful, amzing, handsome little brothers computer!!! Love ya Holli!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Home Stretch

When it comes down to the last days of the semester, things get crazy. Proejcts and finals and can get a little overwhelming.

The last day of school for me is just a little over two weeks away. That means I have a little over two weeks to finish a final 25 hours of observations, write reflections/finalize journals for three other practicums, complete a photo portfolio for an ecology class, and study for a government final (this is my only final...but it's a doozy).

Yes, I am a little overwhelmed, but for the most part, I am super excited! This puts me just that much closer to finishing school completely! Yay!!! In August, I will begin my student teaching. I will have two different locations. I got to request where, but only one of those locations has been I'm keeping it a secret until I know for sure! (Sort of, some people already know.)

In other news...
Camp is just around the corner. Our first week of camp is June 6-10. It's a teen week and Bro. Rick Dawson is the speaker. Our theme this year is "Count the Cost - John 3:16".

Can't wait for it to get started!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

If you need me...

Spring break is in session. If you need me, I'll be on the couch.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Meetin' Someone Famous

Once upon a time, I started reading this blog called "Confessions of the Pioneer Woman." I stumbled upon it because I have a friend who posts pictures of these amazing-looking dishes and always gave credit to "The Pioneer Woman" for the recipes. I was intrigued. I had to find these recipes. So, I googled.

I was shocked by what I found. It is this massive blog that includes a page for her random blogs about daily life, a page with recipes she has made that include step-by-step pictures for each recipe, a page with photography, a page called home and garden where she blogs about everything from favorite products to hotel room tours, a page about homeschooling, and a site called Tasty Kitchen, a recipe-sharing site. Wowzah!

I was hooked, addicted, in love, with this lady who called herself The Pioneer Woman.
Who is she? Her name is Ree Drummond. She is a rancher's wife who lives in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

You may remember my Christmas blog post in which I explained how incredibly excited I was to get Ree's cookbook from my grandma. If not, you can read it here. Well, she recently published a new book. A novel of how she met and married her husband. Along with the new book, came a book tour. She made an appearance in OKC in February, but it was in the middle of that ugly ice storm, so I didn't go and I was sad.

Friday night, she was in Norman. My friend, Rachel, and I loaded up in Rachel's Hyundai with our cookbooks and novels and headed south. We arrived at Hastings in Norman considerably earlier than we needed to, probably around 3:00. The signing didn't start until 6:00. We shopped around awhile, then decided to get our tickets. There were orange tickets for
the first 100 or so people. Then blue tickets for everyone after that. They split us into groups of 25. We got blue tickets.

Around 4:00, we started getting a little bored. We were also getting a little excited. Rachel has a fancy new iPhone, so we decided to make fools of ourselves in front of 100 PW fans by taking ridiculous pictures. Enjoy!

Waiting happily!

Waiting creepily.

This is Cowboy Josh.
He lives on the Drummond's ranch.
I will marry him someday!

Rachel takes a picture with Cowboy Josh, too.
She will not marry him someday.

I won't allow it.

By this time, I have gone crazy with waiting.
In case you couldn't tell.

Well, it got pretty close to 6:00 and there was a crowd forming. So, we went to the area to secure good spots. Unfortunately, I'm short, so there really wasn't a good spot. Rachel, the giant, took this picture of the all the people before Ree got there.

There she is!!!!!! Boy, were we excited! She brought her second daughter, Paige with her. She is tall. She told us that when they did the Dallas signing, they stayed until 3:00 am. CRAZY!!!

She did a short little Q&A. Again, I am short, so this is the best picture I could get. She didn't talk for very long, before she got down to business!

Finally, our numbers were called and we made it to the front of the line. She was so sweet. She took the time out to have a mini-conversation with everyone. It was definitely mini, because I apparently lose the ability to speak when I am in the presence of someone "famous."

Don't I look so happy!

Rachel looks like she is sitting on her lap.
Haha! Precious!

"Black Heels to Tractor Wheels"
The Novel

"The Pioneer Woman Cooks"
The cookbook.

It was a great adventure! I loved getting to meet someone "famous," even though I became somewhat mute in her presence.

Oh, by the way, in case anyone else is a fan...Ree is working on a second cookbook!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sister of the Heart

God didn't bless me with a sister. I got a brother - a smelly boy. Now, my cousin, Rachel, and I were sure that we needed another girl. So, we pretended Josh was a girl. See...

Josh is the cute girl in the middle!

Don't get me wrong. I love my brother. I even blogged about how much I love my brother here. But still, a sister would have been nice.

However, the Bible says "...there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." And I found her! I'm not sure how or when it happened, but somehow my family adopted Mary Tran - my sister of the heart.
Isn't she pretty?

God obviously knew what He was doing, because I could not have asked for a better big sister. We have a relationship that I would assume is pretty much like most "real" sisters, except we don't live together. We have great fun. Most of the time when we are together, we laugh hysterically. People stare, but we don't care. We're having fun. The following pictures are all proof. We were in Garden Ridge.

I don't know what she was doing here.

I wanted that camel. And the flamingos behind it.
If I pushed it, it swung back at me. It was awesome.

This was right after I said she would be married in a year.
She collapsed and took her pulse.
I was wrong. (Thorry, thithter.)

Even with all of these great fun times, I know without a doubt that sometimes I annoy her to death.

See, I took this picture. She looks annoyed.

I know, though, that if I ever need anything, I can call her and she will be there. I can call her to ask for help with a project (because she is so much more creative than I am). I can call her in tears because I just need to talk. (Usually, I cry over dumb things, but it doesn't matter she will still be there.) And she always knows just what I need. The last time I called her, she showed up with a card and a Dr. Pepper. Boy does she know me!

So, I want to thank God for giving me the perfect sister of the heart.

And I want to thank my thithter for alwayth being there for me! I love you, thithter!