Know Who You're Talking To

So I have grown up in a family of very, and I mean VERY independent, assertive women.  Every single woman in my family is very head strong, and not afraid to speak her mind.... Until you get to me.  I wouldn't exactly use assertive on my list of how I describe myself.

My mom and sister are always trying to get me to keep from getting walked all over.  Because in the past I have been... Walked all over that is.  I don't know what my deal is, I guess I'm too worried about coming across "mean".

Anyway, as I grow older I am becoming more and more outspoken, much to my Mom's relief.

So I always call my Mom and tell her when I have been really assertive about something and she gives me a pat on the back like I'm two all over again.  It's wonderful.

So my Grandma has had cancer since November, and while the Chemo is kicking the cancers butt (PTL)
it's also kicking my Grandma's you know what.  Poor thing just feels terrible for weeks after her treatments.  The other day I went to visit her, and we decided to meet my mom for lunch.  Well on our way, Grandma wanted to stop by the bank to deposit a rent check from her little golden girls that rent one of her rental houses (that's I'm patiently waiting to kick the bucket so I can take over renting the cute little house, just being honest here).  So up we pull to the drive through, and wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  Seriously?  So I honk.  No one comes to the window.  No problem, I tell Grandma, I'll just run your deposit in for you.  I enter the bank and there are two people waiting on customers.  One has her little "next window please" sign in front of her.  She's typing away on the computer, probably on Facebook.  No biggie though, I wait my turn for the other teller.  Well, I guess the one with the sign decided she should probably get off facebook and actually work so she tells me she will help me now.  I hand her the deposit ticket and she proceeds to tell me that since she doesn't know me, she will need to see ID.  I inform her it's my Grandma's account and she's in the car.  The girl then has the guts to tell me that I should just go through the drive through.  Ummm... Hello?  We were just there, waiting, for 10 minutes.   So I told her, "We tried to but no one came to the window".  She then says, "Well you are just going to have to be a little patient we only have two people working today!".  Um, ok.  First of all, there was only 1 other person in the lobby and I was the ONLY car in the drive through.  I'm sorry but I don't think your little bank off of a back road in Sherwood is the happenin' place around here.  I then proceed to tell her that's fine, we will go through the drive through AGAIN, but she shouldn't be so rude.

Little did she know, my Aunt knows all the big wigs of Metropolitan National Bank personally, and my cousin is the regional manager.  And we take it VERY personally when you are mean to someone in our family, especially when it deals with Grandma!

So needless to say that teller will be a little speedier to handle the drive through window.

Lesson of the day:  Don't be rude!

And kudos to me for being assertive!


A season of lasts...

With all the new exciting changes coming into my life, I have been busy looking forward to a season of firsts...

My first time to live by myself in a place all my own.

My first time in 5 years to live close to all members of my family.

My first job.

My first summer of freedom (without having to work or take a class or two).

I've been so caught up in all these firsts, that I've neglected to realize all the lasts that will take place over the next month.

My last few weeks of living with Tressa.  Our last morning talks on the porch over coffee...

 our last nights getting ready to go somewhere together...

our last times of crawling in each other's beds to laugh over what happened the previous night.

My last Monday lunches with some of the greatest people ever.

My last time to be considered a "student"  (for now)
My last few weeks at the church I've grown to love.

Last few Thursday nights at Theo's.

My last time to walk across the stage as a U of A graduate.

The last farmer's market, the last visit to Wilson park, the last late night car ride because we're bored and wide awake.

The last lunches, dinners, and coffee dates with precious friends who have made my time in Fayetteville a time I'll never forget.

The last time to consider this town home...

And so while I anxiously await a season of firsts, I can't help but notice that it is accompanied by a season of lasts.  This season, this season of learning who I am.  The season of gaining my independence, of choosing my path in life, has ended.  I've chosen my path, I have become the woman I'm meant to be. While I'm no where near grown, and my path will wind and curve.... I can't help but realize that this truly is, the end of an era.


3 Great Loves

I've once heard that you get three great loves in your life.

I've had two, so far.  Both, completely different.

Different ages, different times of my life, different demeanors, different spriritual lives...


And while I can say the greatest heartbreak came from my second love.  It is my first love I am often drawn back to.

What is it about that first taste of love, that lingers?

Is it him I miss, or the person I was when I was with him?  Young, unabandoned, still believing in the power of love...  Still believing that one love could last a lifetime.

I do still believe that last part, most days.

Or is it who he was?  My best friend.  I would be lieing to say that I don't secretely cherish the fact that I am the only girl he's ever been fully in love with.  The only one he's ever told those three words to.

Or maybe I miss him being just miles away.  Always available for lunch, ice cream, or to just let me cry about my latest mess.

Not on the other side of the world, in completely different time zones, with completely different lives.

I wouldn't say he's a stranger now, but we know longer know every detail of each other's lives.

He's still the one I pray for every night.... Not him in particular, but when I pray for my future husband, I pray for someone like him.

He's the only man who has every completely adored me.  Cherished me.  Never dreamed of hurting me, and never did intentionally.

Many might wonder why dedicate such a post to a man who is obviously no longer a part of my life.  He might not be there, but his influence still is.  He was there for some of the most pivitol years of my life, and I turned my back on him.

He taught me how to seek God with everything I have.  He taught me the importance of prayer.  He taught me how I deserved to be loved.   He set the standard.  It took him near dying for me to realize these things...

While my first great love only lasted a few short years, I experienced love in those few short years what most people spend a lifetime searching for.  While that love was never meant to last forever, in those years God used him to grab a hold of my heart.

So while most people question why I'm not dating anyone, or why I'm too picky.  While most tell me my standards are "too high" or that "there's no such thing as a good guy", I ignore them because I know differently.

And until God brings me my final great love, I'm content from experiencing the first.


In your life, you will undoubtedly run into a few people who just seem to be "lucky" at life.  They're the type of people who always make the 100 on the test (I have NEVER made a 100 on a test... never.)  They're going to get admitted into the college of their choice, receive the top scholarship, and upon graduating, land a great job.

Come on...you know one of these people.  Everyone does.

Of course, much of this does not come without good old fashion hard work.  I'm not discrediting these type of people at all... most of them are VERY deserving of their accolades, so please don't take me the wrong way.

But what I have learned about these type of people (I'm stereotyping a little bit here, but just go with me).   is that most of the time they only take one chance.  They apply to ONE college, ONE job... so on.  So, it seems as though they are lucky in life because they get everything they apply for, when in reality they don't take chances in which they know they have a risk of failing at.

In my life, I've failed A LOT.  I've competed in pageants that I never won, I applied for scholarships in which I didn't receive.  I have failed a few tests, I'll even admit that I have a "D" on my college transcript from a horrible horrible class my Senior year.

And now, I'm applying for jobs.  Even though "I think" that I am one of the most highly qualified applicants, I know that there will be some jobs I will be overlooked for.  There will be some I won't even be considered for, and I'm ok with that.  I'll never have to worry about chances not taken, because I've taken them all.

And so while I used to be envious of all the "lucky" people in the world, I realize now that I'm the lucky one.  With every failure I have gained humility, and learned valuable lessons.  Every accomplishment, then is just that much sweeter.

With chances, you have to take a leap of faith and completely trust in God.  It gives God the opportunity to come through in a BIG way.  You apply for a job you're way under qualified for, and score an interview.  You ace a test that you felt completely unprepared for.  You receive a scholarship just as your stressing how to pay for Graduate school.

And so with all my failures, I have also had numerous encounters with the living God who doesn't believe in "luck".



In my mind, there are two types of people in this world:  the ones who have to pay in taxes, and the ones who receive money back.   I always thought the "better off" typically tend to have to either pay in taxes when it comes tax season, or they simply break even.  Never, never do the "better off" get money returned to them.  The latter category of people get those nice little tax return checks.  This is the category of people who make considerably less money, and the government returns to them a portion of the money they paid in taxes all year.  I always though these type of people were either young, or poor.  Both, of which, I thought I was... being a student and all.

Well, imagine my surprise, shock, and eventually anger when I found out that I would have to pay in taxes this year.  What.  The.  Crap.  Seriously??

I have to PAY IN??

For fear you might be confused, I do not have a job.  I am completely dependent upon my parents who pay for everything of mine(and I'm not ashamed to admit that :) ).  For half of the year last year I was an intern at a church, but my salary there was definitely not breaking the bank.

So how in the world do I have to pay in taxes this year?

My mom laughs that this angers me so much, because as she said, "Jen, you'll know we will be the ones paying in for you".  But still... it's the matter at hand here.



At the beginning of the semester, one of my professors had us write about an English teacher we had in high school.  We were simply supposed to write about our experience in the class and whether it was positive or negative and why.  After she read all of our responses she said, "Wow, sounds like you all had the exact same teacher".

We all had an extreme disdain for English.

I always hated English in school.  It's the same reason why I do not like my literacies class right now.  As a science teacher, I understand that not everyone loves science.  I understand not every one is good at it, and I try to meet each of my students on his/her own level.  I never, I repeat, NEVER compare my students works to each other.

I had a teacher in high school who would always display the "best work" on her smart board for all the students to look at after we had all turned in whatever essay we were asked to write that particular week. We would all read the students sentences (of which it was always the same few select students), and then hear her praise the "brilliant student" who thought to put into writing whatever BS he was feeding her that week.  And it was... BS, because if you deconstructed the sentences you would realize that they were actually saying nothing.  That's what I do, by the way, I deconstruct.  I'm a scientist.

I blame this teacher for my intense fear of English.  I also blame the English teacher who accused me of cheating in the 7th grade, but thats a whole different story for a different day...

I also blame the teachers who made me do Socratic Circles day in and day out and graded us on "saying at least 3 things".  Do you realize how miserable you made those days?  Did you know that the entire time I could not focus on the discussion because I was so worried about saying those stupid 3 things, so I could get my stupid points.

And so, last week when we were asked to do a Socratic Circle in my literacies class I immediately broke into a cold sweat.  I began racking my brain for what "thing" I was going to say.  I was brought back to high school all over again, and not in a good way.

It puzzles me how I managed to ace every writing assignment in every college course, yet cannot receive a perfect score on a graduate level "literacies" course taught by a high school english teacher.  Yet, all in the same, it does not puzzle me at all.  After all, my college professors realized I wasn't an English major... somehow my graduate school teacher is still learning this.

Luckily, my experience with English in high school did not damper my skills or my passions that surround the world of literature.  I still love to read, and could discuss any piece of literature with the best of them (just please, don't make me do it in a Socratic Circle format).  I'm an avid writer (probably due to the fact that my mother is a writer), and although I may not have the skill of flowery words, or eloquent sentence structure.... I can make people laugh.

And sometimes I want to go back up to those teachers.  The ones who assumed that because I couldn't tell the difference between a semi-colon and a comma, I was somehow doomed to a life of mediocrity.  Who assumed that the brightest, most promising students were the ones who could write 5,000 words on the sentence structure of Nathaniel Hawthorne (too long...simply put in my mind).  I want to tell them how miserable they made my English experience in high school.

For the ones who got it.  Who realized that I would never BS my way through an essay, or spend hours looking for the perfect word to describe my intent.  Who realized that my heart was in other content matter.  Who understand that the content was far more important than flowery words, sentence structure, or grammar.

I want to say thank you.

Because, sometimes it's nice to have an essay not completely marked in red all over.  

It is with my experiences in English, that I keep my students in mind.  I continually ask myself what they must fear most in class:  Is it being called on?  Doing dissections?  Or, possibly being forced to work in groups?  It is also why I'm always aiming to make my classroom a comfortable environment, and am possibly the most accommodating teacher they've ever encountered.  If my students are in fear in the classroom, then they have no room to learn.

And learning, no matter what form, or to what extent, is truly the matter of concern.


The Reading List

I've always prided myself in the fact that I'm an avid reader.  I feel like it makes me more culturally relevant or something.... In reality though, it probably doesn't, but I can dream right?

Here's the latest reading list...

I've probably had this on a list before, because truth is I've been trying to read it for the past month.  I'm intrigued by Middle Eastern culture, and I love reading books written by authors who grew up in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc.  I'm reading this book for my multicultural class, and so far it's really good.  

I read a review of this book in a magazine recently and thought it sounded like a quick easy, pick me up, read.  It's about a group of 4 girlfriends who met in college.  The girls are all extremely different, and the book chronicles their lives through and after college in an age where we can all be "anything we want" and have troubles making decisions with so many opportunities.  Sounds perfect.

Of course I had to include the newest Karen Kingsbury book.  It came out today, and like a true fan I went out to the bookstore and bought one.  Can't wait to read it!


Spring Break To Do

What's Spring Break without a massive  much needed to do list?

2011 Spring Break To Do List:

1.  Finish reading "The Kite Runner" for my Multicultural class.
2.  Do book review on said Kite Runner book.
3.  Do book review on "Complications" for my literacies class.
4.  Start Finish applying for jobs.
5.  Address and mail graduation invitations.
6.  Complete textbook evaluation for literacies class.
7.  Re-do assignments for literacies class that my professor didn't deem worthy enough  give me a high enough "A" on.
8.  Do lesson plans for the end of my last rotation.


Yesterday, my sisters and I made the long and windy trek to Wye Mountain to check out the daffodils and take advantage of a perfect backdrop for a photo opp.

Here's a sneak preview taken with the digital camera....

The nikon ones coming soon....


Weekly iphone Pictures Vol. 2

Me and Summer, sometime over Christmas...  I love this picture.  I love her.  I love being home.  End of story.

The absolutely adorable townhouse that I am on a waiting list to move into.  I am thinking of ways to bump myself up on that list...  Feel free to offer any suggestions.

How can you not love her?  

Yes, my Dad is quite the celebrity.  He even made it to Channel 7 News... ha.  


Random Iphone Pics

I never post pictures from my iphone.  Mainly because I think it's a huge hassle to upload those pictures because the only way I know how to is to connect it to my computer.  Anybody wanna offer an easier way, I would much appreciate.

I love having a camera on my iphone because friends, family, and I always send each other random/funny pics to keep up and stay connected.

So here is the first installment of random iphone pics over the last year or so....

My aunt and my mom on the day my baby cousin, Stayton was born.

Greenlee's first picture.  Look at those lips! Precious!

Surgery #3

You have to look hard, but there is a massive copperhead snake in this picture.  Steph and I almost stepped on it during a walk one day.

Precious Reynolds.  

One of my students on nerd day.

The winning hallway design for NFL day that we spend all night working on!  I handmade all of those jerseys, and yes, it took forever!

Behind the scenes at Ashley's bridal pictures!

Boredom strikes during MAT classes, so what do you do?  Find chalk and stalk your professor.

During one of our girl's lunches last summer with Miss Greenlee.

Last, the x-ray of my leg.  I keep a copy of it in my wallet, and one on my phone for when I'm flying or going through security.  



Yesterday was benchmark exam day (for literacy) for my juniors.  Since they were using my classroom, the rest of my students and I were exiled to the counseling center for to hold makeshift class.  Counseling Center = Lots of comfy couches, and little teaching to be done.

So naturally... my students pull out their laptops and begin surfing the web.  We are already way ahead of schedule, so I don't really mind them having a little down time.

Well... they began asking me my first name.  Typically, students are always curious at what my first name is, and ironically, Jennifer is not a common name to them.  Although it is very common among us 80's babies....

So they decided to look up my name on Urbandictionary.  I braced myself.

Yet, the definitions were not vulgar, and most of them were relatively true....

1.  Jennifer (noun)
a fun, outgoing person. generally smart but can be a total blonde at times. someone who likes meeting new people, and smiles a lot. a person who never would just turn on people. a very good friend. someone you can trust. when she's mad, stand clear she might blow her top. but a person who doesn't get mad easily so you dont have to worry about that.
Sentence:  She always smiles! She is such a jennifer. 

2.  She has the most beautiful eyes and hair.
She smells that of a fall evening, and her voice will typically seranade you. 
What is it about those Jennifers that always get me going?

3.  A funny girl. Really smart, and usually doen't act her age.(wether it be acting older or younger)Jennifer's have amazing eys, and love to laugh and smile. They generaly enjoy the finer things in life. They have trouble showing their feelings, and take sometime to warm up to new poeple. They don't trust easily, but that shouldn't stop you from trusting them, they are very trustworthy. They need someone who will listen to them and give their honest opinion. Jennifers are very blunt, and speak their minds often. They are caring and usually very sexy. They know how to flirt in a very suddle way that drives men crazy. They know how to get what they want. Jennifers are very good friends.

So that was the highlight of my day... what was yours?


Everybody Dies Famous In a Small Town

Growing up in a small town, we would often talk about how we couldn't wait to get out.  Everyone knew everything about you...  If you skipped church, If you got pulled over, Where you went for dinner last night, Who you're dating, Who your ex is dating... On and on....

We all lived in glass houses.

But growing up in that small town was the greatest thing that could have happened to us.

When we moved off to go to college, I would often wonder what town would be similar to ours.  Would we be the Rogers or NWA or Bentonville?  Were the girls from Fayetteville like my little clique who were as close as family?

Through these comparisons I realized that no where compares to where I came from.  There's nothing like it, and as I've grown older I've realized that the friendships I made growing up were unique.  Not many people have the friends I've had growing up.  Not many can say that they are still close to the same guys who used to tease them in grade school.

We are a unique bunch.

I loved growing up in a town where the thing to do on a Friday night was go to the high school football or basketball game, where there was, not a single empty seat.

Cheering at those games made you a celebrity.

Winning pageants... well that was newsworthy.

Those boys who made fun of us.... will always have our hands and our hearts.

They never fail to ask why I'm still dating jerks ( not sure), and to make sure I'm not spending a Saturday night alone... 

They're always there when we need a dinner out, a door opened, or a ride home from a night out way too late.

Every potential husband goes through a screening process... few of which have passed the test.

Living in a small town made us appreciate the finer things in life...

Riding with the sunroof down, music blaring...

Watermelon Peach Slushies from Sonic (Which is still a debate on who invented those... we did of course)

Huge co-ed sleepovers.

Camping trips, and skipping school to head to the lake.

And after all these years... it still amazes me that we are still as close as family.  Sure, some have gone away... some aren't as close, but our core group is still just as tight knit as ever.  

Only now our conversations have changed to jobs, and families, and life.

It's no wonder, then, why so many of us choose to go back to our little piece of serenity.  It's no surprise that we're the teachers, insurance agents, and bankers in that same small town.  

And while we're never guaranteed tomorrow, and none of us know where our futures may lead...

I wouldn't mind letting my toe-headed little girl run barefoot through those same fields that I ran wild and free...