Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Unstoppable

    One of the most recent books that have read is "Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action" by Nick Vujicic. If you have never heard of him, he is a man who was born with neither arms nor legs. He is a Christian and a motivational speaker. I believe this is his second book. This book does not focus so much on his specific story. Instead it is a motivational book on (as the subtitle says) putting faith in action to overcome difficult life experiences. You can read more about the book here (
    Overall I thought that this book was only ok. Some parts of the book were really enjoyable and encouraging describing how God can use the hard times in our lives and how we can get through them through faith in God. I also enjoyed the excerpts and stories from his own life as well as those from other people he has met in his travels.
    One thing I did not enjoy about this book was that it seemed very repetitive. He had a point, but seemed to make that same point over and over. In addition, at times he almost seemed wishy-washy on how important God is in the equation. He is definitely coming from a Christian mind-set, but at times faith in God almost seemed secondary to just "being strong." I've heard this guy speak (through video) and think that maybe he is just a better speaker than he is an author.

You can read an excerpt from his book here:

**I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Snowy January

      Coming into this week I knew snow was predicted for Tuesday evening, but honestly I wasn't expecting much. Maybe a few flurries, maybe a delay start for school on Wednesday (and a day off if it was really icy). What a surprise and blessing when we received several inches of snow! It started coming down on my way home from work and did not let up until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. I love the snow! I really do wish we got a bit more here in Hampton Roads, but its scarcity makes it more special when it does come. Due to the road conditions we actually got two days off of school. I've been enjoying the opportunity to get some rest and get caught up on some things such as grading and neatening up my room. I'm expecting to go back to work tomorrow to hear the kids full of excitement and stories of playing in the snow!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Goodbye 2013

This past year has been a very full one for me. It has also had quite the mix of good things and difficult ones (and events that are good and difficult at the same time)!

-I began and completed my student teaching internship in a 3rd grade classroom and graduated from ODU with my Masters in Elementary Education.

-I traveled to Rancho 3M in Guadalupe, Mexico. Unlike in previous years, I was able to spend two whole weeks there!

-Shortly after returning home from Mexico I attended a job fair where I got a job teaching 4th grade at the same school where I student taught! It has been quite the ride since then. The first year has been very, very difficult and stressful. Thankfully there have been bright moments mixed in, and I have really enjoyed getting two weeks off for Christmas. I'm hoping to return on Monday refreshed and energized! I have 23 students in my homeroom, but I only teach reading and writing so I do not have the same kids all day. I teach reading to my homeroom and writing to three classes of students. This makes for a lot of writing to grade, but on the plus side I only have to plan for two subjects.

One of the things that I enjoy about each new year is the feeling of a fresh start. Of being able to look back on the past year (good and bad) and look forward to what may come in the new.  Even though there really isn't much difference between December 31st and January 1st, it feels like there is! I don't have any New Year's "resolutions" per se, but I do have some goals. I would like to spend more time praying and reading my Bible (and learning to trust God more and cast my cares upon Him). I would like to eat healthier and exercise more often. It would even be fun to take up a hobby; getting back into horseback riding, dancing, or a musical instrument.

As we look back on 2013 and look forward into 2014 let us all remember that God has been with us through everything we've been through, and using it for our good and His glory! Not only that, but He has promised to ALWAYS be with us! No matter what comes, He is with us!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Burning Sky
     "Burning Sky" written by Lori Benton is one of the best books of its type that I have read in a good long while. It is the story of a young woman on the frontier who is returning to her home after having spent many years living with the Mohawks who had captured her. She meets (and helps) a wounded man near the border of her property. There is much tension in this story between herself and some of the townspeople who want her land and/or do not trust her after her time with the Mohawk who she grew to love. There is also tension between the man she nursed back to health and Mohawk man who comes to her aid as they both are attracted to her.
    The author does a great job of telling the story in such a way that make you want to keep reading. She is also able to keep the reader guessing to an extent (i.e. the story is not overly predictable). Her language/style is quite beautiful in many places as is the love story she creates.
     You can access the first chapter of the book by going to You can find out more about its author, Lori Benton, by going to her website at

**I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: Forever Friday

  I recently read the book "Forever Friday" written by Timothy Lewis. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It is the tale of a man who has a job running estate sales. He finds a book of postcards. These postcards were all written one week apart and spanned several years. This man, Adam Colby, has just suffered the end of his own marriage and wonders how this marriage depicted in the postcards could have endured and lasted so long. The story goes back and forth between the story of the two who loved each other and him searching for their story and for the answer to a long-lasting, loving marriage.
    One thing that I enjoyed about this book was that it depicted romantic scenes without becoming too detailed. The reader can tell that the people are very much in love without reading inappropriate depictions. I also enjoyed that the relationship between the couple, while still seeming somewhat "more perfect than normal" still had it's rocky points so that it was more believable.
     If you the romance genre without the "too inappropriate to read" scene depictions and are looking for a fairly easy read, you might enjoy this book. I loved the thought/idea of the husband sending his wife weekly post-cards for their whole marriage, and the book even includes some examples. If you would like to see a book trailer, click here. You can also read the first chapter here.

**I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Big Change

There has been a fairly big change in my life since I last posted. Most of you know what it is. I got a job teaching 4th grade at the same school that I student taught at! We are over a month into the school year now, and I am feeling quite exhausted most of the time, haha. Everyone talks about the first year of teaching being tough, and they are right! There is just so much to keep up with, do, and remember to do. There are many good things about it as well, thankfully. I am in a great school and there are a whole lot of people who are very supportive and helpful to me and the other new teachers in the school.

We have departmentalized in 4th grade. This means that the students switch from class to class throughout the day. I teach reading to my homeroom and three blocks of writing. While it does make for more students to keep track of and more writing to grade, at least I do not have to plan for all the subjects!

On an unrelated note; I am glad that it is finally turning towards fall! I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving, and even more so to Christmas (and not just because of the two week break, haha). I love this time of year.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cuan Grande Es Dios!

How great is our God! Just returned from a two week trip to Rancho 3M in Guadalupe, Mexico. My church, Redeemer Church, was able to send two teams down there on consecutive weeks, and some of us were able to stay for both weeks! So thankful that God provided me with the needed resources and time to be able to take this trip to serve the children at the Ranch.  The children are so precious and I got to interact with some awesome people from my church and among the interns and staff. It's pretty difficult to summarize two full week into one blog post, but I will try by describing some of the things we did while we were there as well as sharing some of the highlights.


One thing that we did every day was organized crafts and activities with the kids. Melissa did a great job heading this up with a different craft for each day, and the kids loved it! The rest of us, who didn't have a work project on a given day, took turns helping with the crafts and just spending time with the kids. There was quite a few work projects that were completed between the two weeks. These included: taking down some interior walls that were dividing classrooms (while conserving the materials), cleaning some of the outer walls of the school, putting up fencing around the school, cleaning, sheet-rocking the rooms of the new middle school building, painting playground roofs and picnic tables (the kids use these tables to do their homework on during the school year), and cutting and stacking wood to be used in the wood burning stoves to provide heat in the winter.


On this trip (at least for me) there were no "earth shattering/life changing/sky opening up" moments, and, just like with almost anything, there were things that were difficult. However, there are several things that stick out to me as highlights even beyond the fun of hanging out with the kids each and every night (which was awesome). I will share some of those here.

Walks to the cross: On both weeks we were able to walk up to the cross on a nearby hill with all the kids. The view of God's creations is quite amazing from up there.

Worship Night: The interns who worked at the Ranch this summer were some pretty awesome people. One night they invited our team to join them in a worship night so several of us did. It was a really refreshing night of worship, and it was also really cool because one of the Mexican staff members joined us so there was worship in both Spanish and English at the same time.

Del Rio: Once we all go to go to the local "Del Rio" (similar to a 7-11) and buy some sodas and snacks.

Church: Each Sunday we attended the church service in the chapel located on the Ranch.

Now I will post a few more pictures of our time at Rancho 3M. If you would like to see them all, check out my facebook page!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Closing a Chapter and Beginning a New

My last day of student teaching was last Friday and graduation is this weekend. I am DONE with school! At the beginning the semester (January) this day seemed so far away, but now when I look back the time has really flown by! There were many hard, difficult days, but I have learned so much about teaching, and it has been a great experience! I could not imagine beginning a teaching career without having student teaching to prepare me. It really helped that I was placed at a great school with a great teacher.

On my last day all the kids gave me some hand made cards (complete with pictures), and wanted me to read them aloud right then and there. They were all very sweet. I sure am going to miss those kids, and hope to be able to drop in for a visit :). Some of the kids even brought in some gifts, and my teacher also gave me a gift of some school supplies and a flash drive (pre-loaded with some of her great resources).

I don't think that being completely done with school has really sunk in yet. Now begins the scary process of entering the "real adult world." I need to continue to work on finding a full time job! I am also hoping to find some work over the summer to make some money for basic needs as well as for traveling to Rancho 3M at the end of July (for more information on that or on how you can pray and help see my blog post below this one).

The chapter of full time college has come to a close. The chapter of working full time as a teacher is, Lord willing, about to begin! Please be praying for me as I search for a job. I would love to get a job for the next school year in a good school! I also would love your prayers that whenever I do get my first teaching job that it would go well, and that I would work diligently. The first year of teaching can be very tough!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Summer and Rancho 3M

Dear family and friends,

            This summer we (Natasha, Alexandra, and Moriah) will be traveling with a group from our home church (Sovereign Grace Church, Chesapeake) to the Rancho 3M orphanage in school in Guadalupe, Mexico. Natasha and Alexandra have been on previous years, but this will be the first time for Moriah to go.  We will be traveling there at the end of July, and will all be there from July 22nd-29th, but Natasha and Alexandra are also hoping to be there the week prior as well.

While there we will be doing various projects around the "ranch" that are needed for its upkeep and improvement. Past projects have included painting, bathroom renovation, fencing, and much more. We also like to spend time with the children playing, talking, and showing them the love of Jesus. This is a Christian run orphanage and school, and the ranch relies a lot on short-term missions trips getting these projects done as well as assisting the staff in ministering to these kids.

We are writing to ask you to be praying for us, and the rest of the team, as we travel to Rancho 3M. Specific things you could pray for include safety (both from dangers of traveling internationally, safe traveling, as well as safety while working and protection from illness), as well as that we will be able to serve the orphanage well and demonstrate the love of Christ.

In addition we are asking that you prayerfully consider supporting us financially. The trip will cost about $800 (totaling $2400) each plus potentially some additional travel costs, such as for luggage. The first deposit of $200 each is due on April 14th. The next deposit, of $300 each is due on May 26th, and the final deposit of and additional $300 (each) will be due by June 23rd. Your donation is tax deductible if you make the check out to Sovereign Grace Church with “Short-Term Mission Fund” written in the memo field or a cash donation with an adult donor’s name.

To ensure that the donation is applied to our account you may send it to our home address (even with check made out to the church) [please contact me for address, just don't want to post it online :) ]. If you would prefer to send it directly to the church, please ensure you include our name with the donation and mail it to Sovereign Grace Church 508 N. Centerville Turnpike Chesapeake, VA 23320

Even if you are not able to contribute financially please still keep us, and the rest of the team in your prayers. If you would like to learn more about Rancho 3M you can go to their website or find their page on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break

My spring break has finally arrived! Because of student teaching, and the fact that my break goes by the public school schedule rather than ODU's schedule, it is a bit later than usual this year. So far I have mostly been relaxing and getting a few things done that get pushed aside during the school week. I definitely feel that this week will help me return to school refreshed and re-energized for the last few weeks of student teaching.

Here are some pictures from my classroom...

The first picture is a "game" I found to help students practice working with prefixes and suffixes. They sort the flies onto the various frogs, and then they have to write the words down in the correct category along with the meaning of the word.

Lastly, here is a picture of the classroom. I wish I could post a picture of the sweet kids, but for privacy reasons, I can't. I'm going to be happy to finally complete my student teaching and my degree, but I sure will miss this class!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Halfway Point

I have reached the mid-way point for my student teaching internship! By now I am teaching pretty much the whole day (with assistance from the teacher). It is going pretty well, but is crazy busy and my tendency to procrastinate is not helping me any! My Comprehensive Exam (required for my degree) is complete, and I am just awaiting results. I now have to focus on completing my Professional Portfolio in addition to all the requirements the teaching part of student teaching brings. Busy, busy, busy!

One of the things that I had to do as part of my student teaching requirements was to create some sort of behavior plan. I decided to create a tree on poster board and cut out lots of leaves from green paper. When I want to reward a student for good behavior, I give them a leaf with their name and a short description written on it (examples include, "good behavior in the hall" and "clean desk award"). The leaf is then taped on the tree. Once all the leaves are on the tree, the whole class will get a reward! The plan right now is to allow them to eat their lunch in the classroom while watching a movie (and I will probably bring in some cookies or something as well). You can see a picture of my tree, that I took before any leaves were added, below. If you can't see it, the writing says, "Together we're growing in GREAT BEHAVIOR!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Miss = Lady

A week or so ago the kids in my classroom took a reading test, and part of the test assessed prefixes and suffixes. On the test the students were given a word that had a prefix, and the were required to write what the base word was as well as the meaning of the whole word. One of those words was "Misspell." Now many of the kids were getting mixed up, and writing the prefix instead of the base word and/or giving the meaning of the prefix instead of the meaning of the whole word. The correct answer should be: Base word-Spell, Meaning-To spell incorrectly. I burst out laughing while grading the tests when I came across one which said: Base word: Miss, Meaning: A lady

 Oh, if only I could give points for making me laugh :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

First Week Student Teaching and More

This past week was my first week in the classroom as a student teacher! I was placed in a 3rd grade classroom in Norfolk. I really like my teacher, and the kids are great. This past week I have done a lot of observing, helping with managing behavior, working one-on-one with a couple of kids, and, of course, grading and entering grades into the computer (and on progress reports). As the weeks progress, I will take over more and more responsibility for the classroom. Overall, it was a great week even though it was very tiring (though I'm sure that will slightly ease once I am more used to it).

In other news, our family now has a new dog! We found her on Craig's List for a great price. She is an almost one year old Labradoodle, and we have named her Sophie. She is great, likes to play, and is good with the little kids. She really enjoyed the snow we had today.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Happy (belated) New Year! In case you have not noticed, I have added a page on the right where I will be keeping track of the books that I read this year. If you are interested please take a look throughout the year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

God With Us

 Christmas is the time of year during which we celebrate God's coming to Earth in human form. How amazing is it that a holy, righteous, and infinite God should choose to come to this Earth that has been tainted by our sin, and come in the form of a finite human being. Not just any human being at that; He began His life on Earth as a helpless newborn. He needed His earthly mother and father to provide for all His needs. He lived life, experienced hardship and sorrow to a degree much greater than any that we will go through.

A couple of Sundays ago, Eric preached a great sermon titled "God With Us". You can find and listen to that sermon here (and I highly recommend it). One of things that stuck out to me the most in this sermon was when he said that part of the reason that Jesus came to Earth as a man was so that when we are going through hardship and trial He can say "I know, and I'm here".

In Hebrews 4:15-16, it says "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. "

The last recorded words of Jesus while He was here on this Earth are, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).

This Christmas; enjoy the time spent with family, enjoy exchanging gifts, singing Christmas carols, and whatever other traditions you may have. Don't forget to remember and ponder on the amazingly, wonderful, all-to easy to take for granted fact that Jesus is Emmanuel. GOD WITH US! 

Friday, December 14, 2012


I have finally finished this semester! It was a long, and fairly difficult semester for me, but now it is over, and I am so looking forward to enjoying Christmas break before beginning my student teaching in January. Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I have not been able to enjoy it much yet so I am glad to have some time off (from school) before Christmas goes past. Next semester I will be completing my student teaching (I do not know which school or grade yet) as well as taking a comprehensive exam in February, and I will be working on my portfolio. Then, Lord willing, I will graduate with my Master's Degree in May 2013!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


100 meters [_running track with four lanes_]

I have finally arrived at the last few weeks of my last semester of classes (next semester will be student teaching only). I am so ready for a break, and so ready to be done with classes! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving break as a refresher to finish out the semester. From today, I only have about four weeks left in the semester.It has been a fairly decent semester; the work has not been too difficult, but I have really struggled with focus and non-procrastination. Hopefully I will improve in both of those things before I begin student teaching. I think it may  be easier because it will be a "real life" situation, and I will be working directly with the kids every weekday, and putting into practice the things I have learned. It's going to be hard, but I think that it will be fun as well.

I am also looking forward to the Christmas season! It is my favorite holiday. I love celebrating Christ's birth. I also love the lights, decorations, music, celebrations, and more. Only about a week until my family and I can begin decorating and listening to Christmas music! First we will enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving as a family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Month of Thanks

This post was inspired by the many people posting something that they are thankful for: One thing per day. I decided to do them all at once in this post. I also included some pictures to make it more interesting.

1. Thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

2. Thankful that God calls me His DAUGHTER!

3. Thankful for my family!

4. Thankful that I was able to travel to Rancho 3M this past summer 

5. Thankful for changing seasons.

6. Thankful for the right to have a say in the running of my city, state, and country.

7. Thankful for peppermint mochas! Mmmmm.

8. Thankful for my church.

9. Thankful for my pastors.

10. Thankful for my care group.

11. Thankful for the mountains and the trip we got to take there earlier this year.

12. Thankful the God is Sovereign over every aspect of my life.

13. Thankful that I have had the opportunity to go to college.

14. Thankful that I have a job.

15. Thankful for my friends.

16. Thankful that I have the Word of God easily accessible in my language.

17. Thankful for the many friends and family who have helped me out by providing rides during this time of me being unable to drive (you know who you are!)

18. Thankful that it is almost Christmas, my favorite holiday.

19. Thankful that God is ever faithful even though we are not.

20. Thankful for books (I love reading). 

21. Thankful for the beauty to be found in God's creation.

22. Thankful that God loves me despite what I do.

23. Thankful for the internet (think of how different life would be).

24. Thankful that Jesus knows how we feel (Hebrews 4:15).

25. Thankful for the Thanksgiving holiday: A great time to remember to be thankful, and to spend with family and friends.

26. Thankful that this is my last semester of classes!

27. Thankful to be student teaching next year!

28. Thankful that God will provide for all of my needs.

29. Thankful that God allows us to talk with him through prayer!

30. Thankful for worship songs.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fast and Slow

It is weird how sometimes time can seem to be going by quickly and slowly at the same time. For example, sometimes I feel so close to being done with the semester, and at other times the month and a half that is left feels like forever.

I am looking forward to the winter holidays; Thanksgiving (though technically still in fall), Christmas, and New Years. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love the Christmas season with the decorations, music, etc. I also love that I do not have to be in school during this time!

Only four weeks left until Thanksgiving, and eight and a half until Christmas!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kids, Trucks, and a Grasshopper

The city has been doing some work on our road putting in new water lines. When the construction crew is not there they leave the trucks parked on the side of the road by the field across the street from our house so the other day I took Joel and Sarah out to snap some pictures. While we were there a little, green grasshopper jumped onto Sarah's shirt and got a picture of that as well. She was a little unsure as to whether she should like it or be afraid!