I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Summer - so close, yet so far...

Summer-like weather hit Chicago this past weekend, so we made the most of it...

Exhibit A: Boating on Lake Michigan:

Exhibit B: Ice Cream (Rainbow Cone!!):

Summer vacation (well, it's not going to technically be a full on vacation due to grad school) is so very close...yet, there is still plenty to get done before the end of the year - grades, report card comments, spring music show, volleyball play-offs, final field trips, classroom clean-up, etc.

These next two weeks are going to be jam-packed, but then there is some freedom. Woot.

Happy (almost) summer!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Teamwork makes the dream work

I was reminded of this oft-used sentiment this week multiple times. And in the process, I was reminded also just how blessed I am to be surrounded by incredible co-workers, friends, and family who are always willing to step up and lend a hand.

This week I have been knocked on my butt. Literally. Whatever sinus infection or cold that is in my head right now is relentless. I went to bed at 6pm on Monday night in the hopes of kicking this thing, but, much to my chagrin, I woke up at 4am on Tuesday morning and realized I would not be making it into school. I texted my team and they (as it got closer to 6/7am) readily volunteered to cover classes. The two women I coach with handled our game that night on their own. My boyfriend was working a half day on Tuesday before covering evening games nearby, so he brought me lunch. My sister and parents texted to check up on me. Even though I felt horrible, I couldn't have felt better (from a support perspective).

When I got back to school on Wednesday - still not 100% - my coworkers checked in on me, stopping by before school started. Many students wanted to make sure I was doing better too. People offered medicine, uplifting comments, and well wishes.

I hope to be back to my normal self soon - let's face it: being sick sucks. But, again, I am so very grateful for everyone in my life who helps bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Cheers to them!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

It's only Sunday, but it's safe to say that the joy and fun experienced yesterday was enough to last the whole weekend...

When friends are in town, you brunch. (Obviously.) And then you ask the waitress to take a group shot for evidence of your amazing-looking group. ;)

When it's time to choose a dinner place before heading for a show with your girlfriends, you choose a sushi place that does happy hour (half-priced rolls) on the weekend. Delicious and wallet-friendly!

When staring at the curtain of the show, you realize it's in Latin, so when intermission comes, Google becomes your best friend. Yet, it's only once your friend starts googling that the lightning bolt hits you - it's Latin for "my fair lady", the name of the show. Duh! (Google verified later that it means "my beautiful girl".)

And when it's your sister's favorite show, you ignore your pounding headache, put on a happy face, and take the role of poor Professor Higgins.

And now here we are. It's still Sunday, and only a few minutes later than when I started composing this post. I'm off to Mass soon with my friend from out of town, and then I am not sure where the day will take me. I do still have a little work to do for the week in finalizing some 8th grade notes and their project, but that shouldn't take too long. After all, Sunday is a day of rest. Make yours a good one!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Let me Google that...

Vocation = from the Latin vocare, meaning "to call"

Teaching this unit to 6th and 7th grade at the same time, albeit different standards, is causing my head to spin. I can't keep things straight half the time. And all the time, students are asking me what my vocation is... Most common comment - "Married life?" wink wink. (Let's just say I'm praying about and working on it...)

In 6th grade, they get to do one of my all-time favorite projects: "Doodle 4 Google - Vocations". After designing a Doodle that represents the vocations (as named in the church), the student is asked to provide a written explanation of his/her symbols as well as what the role of each vocation is in the Church.

Most of the students got really into the project, some even begging me to come and see theirs before turning it in because they were so proud of their designs. (Some asked if I could send them off to Google!) Here are just a few of the designs I received today:

I'm really very satisfied with how today shaped up in each class, even though it was a Friday. Nothing was too crazy or difficult to handle, which is sometimes the case at the end of the week, so we are ready to gear up for just a few more weeks of school. It makes me think that some days I am doing things "right" as an educator...

In other news...

At the end of a long day, sometimes the best medicine is fresh-squeezed orange juice (especially when you've had a headache all afternoon and fear you might be coming down with a cold)...

And even feelings of aching and cold-like symptoms can be somewhat forgotten by supportive comments from grad school supervisors... :)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It's the Little Things...

It wasn't an extraordinary or special day by any means, but this May the 4th was one of a couple sweet treats:

1. An 8th grade mom brought me flowers as a belated thank you for the extra personal time I spent on retreat and Confirmation stuff this year. They smell and look beautiful!

2. My boyfriend wanted to participate in teacher appreciation week...so he brought me a donut. Yum!

It's the little things in life, my friends, the little things...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Showers Bring May Flowers

(And May also brings a break from grad school! I just finished up my last assignment through a Zoom call with my classmates. Everything else is submitted. Woo hoo!)

But flowers, yes wonderful flowers are already in bloom here:

Tulips are my favorite...

April was SUCH a busy month, and blogging has really been nonexistent. But hopefully I'm back...at least until July (when summer classes start)...

Happy spring everyone!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection

While I was hesitant to dedicate 1.5ish hours each Monday night during Lent to another Bible study (in addition to the one I have been going to on Tuesday nights), the time spent has been fruitful and incredibly enlightening. This is especially true because as I sit in the pew each Sunday, I already have an idea of what the main messages of the Gospel are all about. Familiarity is key.

From the temptations of Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well to today's Gospel about the raising of Lazarus from the dead, my church experience this Lent (at least in regards to the readings) has been richer. Understanding the context of Jesus' time and the underlying meaning of small (and seemingly insignificant) details is clutch as well as hearing the wise insight from others in my small group.

If you have not participated in a small group Bible study (or have been away from it for awhile), I highly recommend getting back into it. Once this Lent is over, I will be looking for another opportunity to study the Gospels with a small group because, out of all the things I've done or given up this Lent, this small group has been the most life-giving and helpful. And coming to that realization for ourselves is, after all, part of what Lent is truly for.

What has brought you closer to God this Lenten season?...