Happy 2013 from the Future!

On Monday, I am going to ask my students what they did over the break….and if I was in my class and I had to answer this question I would get to answer like this!

I spent my Christmas Break….in AUSTRALIA!!!

I would love to share all my pictures and share all my stories, but for now, here are a couple from our New Year’s Eve celebration (a whole 17 hours before everyone in the states) atop a hill overlooking the Sydney Harbor!  There is a little video at the end that gives you a taste of the festivities!

(If it makes you feel better, it was chilly and we had to be there for 6 hours sitting on the ground.  And I was sunburnt from spending the day at the beach!)

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Excitement

This week was full of exciting things.  New beginnings and future plans.  Hilarious adventures and scary moments. Sounds like a lot right! Don’t worry, I will make a list for you, because that’s what I do.

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** I caught up with my cousin, fellow teacher, and friend over FroYo! She teaches in a really small town in Western Kansas but we share a lot of similar experiences.  We talked struggles, our students, and what are futures entail.

** I have some exciting things coming up this week with my involvement in church.  They aren’t full fledged plans yet, so I can’t to go into detail, but it is an answer to prayer in many ways.

**Monday night dinner started out as any dinner, my friends and I eating delish eats and talking about our lives.  Then, the dog that my friend Christine was dog sitting, had a seizure or something like it!!  We were all freaking out, screaming, and running for our lives!  (Many of you know, I am not an animal person, I wouldn’t have touched the dog with a 10 foot pole. I just drove the car.)  My other friend, Kristen, took charge and got us to take the dog to the ER for animals.  We sat and waited for the dog to get examined and for Christine to figure out what to do.
(The hilarious part is that Christine isn’t a dog person either and we were hysterically laughing at the irony of this situation.)

** Interestingly enough, someone thought I was qualified enough to have a student teacher this next year.  (It will most likely be an interesting experiment!) I got to meet her this week.  I love her already and I am so excited for her to get to know our students and spend the year at our school!  It got me excited about teaching again, just talking to her.

** I helped out with Redeemer Soccer Camp this week and it was so much fun to be able to serve the community and the kids.  I loved talking to parents, even if we were all complaining how hot was both evenings. Plus, these kids are hilarious and super energetic. After 2 hours of running around a field, I would probably die!

** I had dinner/drinks with an AMAZING friend who is leaving town soon for grad school in Arizona.  This friend is a kindred spirit and someone who has brought much joy and light to my life this year.  I hopefully will forever be her friend and I am so excited for this opportunity for her.  (She got a full ride!!)

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 SO….my mom sends out this email this week to all of kids.  (I love when she does this, it is almost as if she needs an email subscribing list or something.) It was all about how she and my dad were making plans to spend Christmas in Australia with my brother and his wife. (She has a totes amazing job with Yelp and HAS to live near a beach in Sydney. Such a hard life.) 

This email made me all sorts of sad and depressed. Being one of the siblings that doesn’t have a significant other to spend Christmas with, I could just imagine myself sitting in the cold in my living room looking at my tree with no presents all by myself. (Perhaps, I am being over-dramatic!) (Or perhaps being totally alone for 2 weeks might be the best idea ever!) 

Then, I get another email, planting the idea in my head to join them on their trip! “SQUEAL! Eek, I don’t have any extra money!” were my first thought.  Then I spent more time thinking and praying about it.  I looked at tickets and I thought about how I could feasibly do this.  Should I sell a kidney, plasma, everything valuable I own?  Could I put a tip jar on my desk this year?  Could I have a “Send Ms. Spare to Austrailia Bake Sale?”  Lots of ideas started flowing.

Then, after dinner, my brother calls me….my brother who lives in Australia, he leaves a message saying, “This is the first of many phone calls until you are convinced to come!”

Much to his joy, I AM GOING TO AUSTRALIA!!!  (provided I can buy my plane ticket in the next week!!)
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Last but certainly not least, my beautiful older sister, Angela, came to town to throw a Pampered Chef party at my house.  Well, I was hosting but she is a consultant.  We made some fancy salsa and fajitas (always makes me think of this scene.) I love hosting and having my friends over, plus I love when I get to see my sister! Shameless plug, if you want to order some Pampered Chef under my party, feel free to go to this link and put my name in!!

She and I in Mexico for my brother’s wedding!
Her little one! Who is the most adorable nephew!

So that is the excitement of my week!  Maybe you find it interesting or boring or hilarious.  Perhaps you read my blog because you thought this was supposed to be something else, sorry!

Anything exciting happen to you this week?  Or find anything interesting that you think I would find hilarious or ironic or think is cuter than my nephew? (I dare you to try!)

Good Friends=Comfy Sweatshirt

I am currently sitting in a coffeeshop (Stella’s) in Denver, pretending I live here. (I do this often when I am in another city, it perhaps is my favorite traveling activity. I think I am adding “Sit in a coffeeshop in every city I visit” to my bucket list.) I am visiting a friend on my Spring Break. This is a friend that I have had for about 5 years of my life. I hate that she lives so far from me but I am so excited to see her. (Her husband is cool as well. He would be upset if I didn’t mention him too.)

So this is a post about friends…good friends. For the longest time, I kept my friends outside some walls I built around my heart, I was afraid that if they really knew me they wouldn’t love my anymore. Friends are risky, but worth it.

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When I was younger, as in middle school, I longed for really good friends. All my childhood friends became cool and popular and I was neither of those things.

So…

I longed for a Best Friend….
that I could tell all my secrets to
that I could have sleepovers with
that I could talk to for hours and hours
that friend that I called her mom my 2nd mom and she did the same
that friend that would be over my house all the time or mine hers
(Like on Boy Meets World or Full House)
that best friend that everyone knew was my best friend.

I longed for friends that I could have easy conversation, that would know me and I would know them. I used to pray for this kind of friend to enter my life.

When I went to college, that was my one goal, to meet my best friend. Other girls, they wanted to find their husband. I just wanted friends.

And friends I did find.

I found friends that I could have fun with.
….friends that pushed me out of my comfort zone.
….friends that I could sit in silence with
….friends that I could spill my guts to (I need friends that are good listeners…I talk through everything.)
….friends that wanted to be around me. (I hope this is true…I have never asked them.)
….friends that loved me for me even when I am hard to love (which I think is pretty often)

Lately, I have had some rough patches with friends and I think that happens as time goes on and we change or make changes to our lives. However, if they weren’t good friends they wouldn’t call me out on my crap or be willing to talk through issues. This I know to be true.

I am not one to give up on friends and hopefully they won’t give up on me.

I have been also meeting new friends/expanding my social circle. As great as it is to meet new people because they have no idea about who I used to be and I have a clean slate with them….

……There is something though about friends who have known you for a while, good and bad moments, that you can let down your hair and relax. It’s priceless. Sort of like this… video of Adele and her best friend.

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As for my sweatshirt analogy…

I have this K-State sweatshirt that I bought my last year on campus. It is way too big for me now, but I still love to wear it because it is comfy and feels like a warm blanket. I love to wear it on a chilly Saturday morning or wear it when I am sick. And no matter how many other jackets or sweatshirts I get, this one is the one I go back to.

Spending time with friends who really know me and care about me is like putting on that sweatshirt. It is comforting and keeps me warm. They really know me and encourage me. It nice to have easy conversation, plenty of things to talk about, mutual friends to relate stories about, and just relax around.

Good friends provide you with a sense of belonging. I think we all long for that. We are built/created to want to belong somewhere, that’s why God created community. We need it even when we don’t want it, we need people.

My question to myself after writing all this is….as good of friends that I have…am I that good of a friend? Just a thought to reflect on.

Do you have friends that are a like a comfy sweatshirt? Are you that friend?

Empire State of Mind aka More of NY Trip!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget that I promised to share more about my trip to New York. I just got sidetracked with other things. And these are not all my pictures, I had a hard time picking and choosing what to show you. I have tons of great pictures! But here is a little taste! Enjoy!

Day 2: (A little less hectic, but still pretty jam packed)

Since we had gotten 2-day New York passes, we were determined to fill our time with some awesome outings! I numbered them, so you could see how many things we got out of our passes. We were determined to get our money’s worth and then some!

#1- Biking through Central Park- Great way to see the whole park, but active and burns calories!

#2- NBC Studio tours- Couldn’t take pictures during the tour, but got some before!
#3- Boat tour around the Island- (Well we didn’t go all the way around, but mostly the good parts)

We then headed back to Times Square to get tickets to another show. This time we saw the 2010 Tony Winner- “Memphis”. It was again fabulous and had great music and dancing. And we sat next to this older couple that was from New Jersey. He was a middle schoool music and drama teacher for 25 years! We had a great conversation before the show and at intermission. I was actually really encouraged by him and all that he did.


Times Square after the show!

Day 3: (Sunday)

It is funny, but one of my favorite things that we did on this trip was visit a church, Redeemer Presbyterian (Tim Keller’s church). He did speak, but it was still a highlight because after being in a city for a couple of days, being around brothers and sisters in Christ, was encouraging and refreshing.

After church, we started our Museum rounds.

#4- American Museum of Natural History- (There wasn’t anything fascinating enough to take pictures of, so I took one out the window.) By this point, I was ready for a nap.
#5- The Metropolitan Museum of Art- (I was a geeking out a little, because I have seen this building so many times on TV and in movies)


Pretty sure my mom has a copy of this in her house, or used to.


#6- The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) I could have spent all day here.

Then took a break to hammer out a plan for the rest of the day.

We took the subway to Ground Zero and to dinner.

For dinner we tried out a Vegan restaurant that my brother and sister-in-law love! Gobo!

#7- Empire State Building- (We probably waited in line for an hour- but it didn’t feel like that)
There I am waiting for Mr. Right, but there were so many people, I bet he couldn’t get through the crowd. Too bad! 🙂

It was pretty windy up there!

#8-The Top of the Rock (aka Rockefeller Center) had a better view, I thought. And less people!

Day 4: We got up early and went to get in line to be on the TODAY Show….and it worked!

Then I met Al Roker and he liked my hat!

We recorded the show so we could check it for us when we got home! And there we are!!


Finally, I thought I would share a picture of our hotel! The Jewel, it was pretty amazing! We got a great deal!