Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beautiful Things

Last night I had the sweet opportunity of attending the General Relief Society Broadcast with my Mom and sisters. While all of the talks were uplifting and inspiring, Elder Dieter Uchtdorf's message lifted my mind and my spirit in a beautiful way. He spoke about the most supreme form of happiness being God's happiness, and how our Father in Heaven experiences this happiness because he creates beautiful things. Our spirits were created and individually designed by our Heavenly Father and knowing and understanding that increases our sense of worth. It sunk in in a way it never had before when I heard him say that. We are the sacred creations of a Divine Being who is our Father. He went on to say that as God experiences happiness from creating beautiful things, so we as his daughters can experience joy from beautifying that which surrounds us. Our homes, our gardens, our communities, the memories we create as families, beautiful meals, beautiful music, beautifying and improving the quality of life of those around us, whatever it is we do best with the talents our Heavenly Father has blessed us with, create things of beauty. As we do these things, we will glorify our Heavenly Father and find joy in living. It's true. That message was soothing to my soul and I pray that I will follow that pattern for happiness.
Before I head for bed tonight, I also want to tell my Dad that I love him so much! He had invited Danilo and me to attend their sacrament meeting today where we found out with the rest of the family that he had been called as second counselor to the bishop. I wholeheartedly sustain him. My Dad is a rock in my life. He has consistently put his family first in all of his responsibilities. That example has made me feel loved by and important to him. It is an example that will have far-reaching effects in the lives of his children and I am grateful to be one of his daughters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Approaches

The purpose of tonight's blog is to take a look at the progress I have made as a teacher. I am four weeks into my second year and though it's not easy, it is worlds different from last year. Monday morning this week, I was teaching a math lesson on ordering decimals. To make the lesson more concrete, I wanted to stretch a numberline (a piece of string) across the room and have the students hang decimal numbers on it so we could practice putting them in order. I realized the only place that would not be too high or too low for hanging it was an area that every student passed through on their way through the door in the morning. I have taught fifth grade long enough to know what a fifth-grader will do if they come in contact with a string. My string was going to be toast unless I devised a plan. I smiled as I KNEW what I would have done last year. As my kids came in the room I would have said, "Please don't touch the string. Please don't touch the string. Don't...don't...DON'T! I told you not to touch the string!" I would have felt betrayed by my students who would have touched the string when I went to all the effort of hanging it for them. But this was not last year. No, I am more seasoned, more practiced, better prepared. I have a prize box in my classroom full of things I picked up at the Target dollar aisle. Pretty darn good stuff. The kids earn tickets all day long on an individual basis, I constantly have them on hand and pass them out to encourage follwing my directions. We have a drawing at least once a day, and sometimes more, if they earn it. It only took me a moment to decide that if it kept my kids from touching the string, a trip to the prize box was worth it. Ten minutes before the first bell rang, I hung the sign (above) on the door. I assigned a student to stand by as the class entered to hand out tickets to non-offenders. They entered. There were no offenders. I had headed them off before the thought could even enter their minds. No one touched the string. And yes, I'm posting this entry two days later because I am still thrilled about it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I have a husband named Danilo

In case you haven't met my husband, I'd like to a minute to introduce you! For some reason, I really fell in love with Spanish while I was in college. I jumped into a beginner's Spanish class and advanced each semester until I had a minor. I met my sweet friend Marlene from Chile during this time. We had a lot of fun together and she knew as much English as I knew Spanish. I know spending time with her helped me a lot. When all was said and done, I was fairly fluent in Spanish and didn't really know why I'd done it!! I began attending a Spanish branch in the area to keep up the language and after several invitations, I finally began attending their young single adult activities. It was at a fireside where Danilo approached me and asked me where I'd learned Spanish. Had I served a mission? he asked. I was flattered and after a few phone conversations and a Saturday night latin dancing date, I was pretty well whooped. Danilo was born in Italy. His parents were Chilean and returned to Chile when he was eight months old. He lived there until he was 13 and then his family moved to Miami. He spent his jr. high and high school years there and moved to Salt Lake at 19. He worked and played and decided something was missing, and that's how he ended up on a mission to Orlando at age 26. I came into the picture five months after he got home and I've been grateful we bumped into each other ever since. He speaks fluent English with a darn cute accent.

Our Important Purchase

Every so often during the last two years I have been married, I have missed having a piano in my home. I started shopping KSL for something affordable and planned on probably buying a keyboard. However, I ended up discovering that I have a fetish for antique pianos. I fell in love with this one when I came across it online. Danilo offered the owner $300, she said $500. Danilo offered $400, she said $500. Danilo said $400. She said $500. Danilo said goodbye. I was sad. I continued to watch the piano for the next two weeks, and when it was still there, Danilo who loves his wife called again and said, $450, my wife really wants it, that's all we can do. She said okay. Long story short, the piano was very heavy. It took Danilo plus three former coworkers from Rent-A-Center and the owner's husband to get the piano up her stairs , on a truck, and into our home. The piano was made in 1917 and has a beautiful tone. Because the walls here in our townhome are thin, we hope our neighbors think it is beautiful, too! :)

Quick Summer Review

As a teacher just having finished her first year of teaching, summer had never meant so much to me as it did this year. As summers always do, this one filled up quickly. Danilo started everything off by getting nose surgery to clear his sinuses the first week I was home. WHAT A MISERABLE EXPERIENCE!! When all is said and done, we're glad he did it. I got to do those little jobs around the house that don't get done as easily when I'm working full-time (hanging curtains, steam-cleaning nooks and crannies). I had the opportunity to take a trip for history teachers sponsored by Larry H. Miller. We started in Casper, Wyoming and worked our way back on the pioneer trail learning about the settlement of the west. It was incredible, I am so grateful for the experience. Waterfights and rodeos and fireworks livened up July and we celebrated our 2nd anniversary in August. I got the chance to take Danilo on his first trip to Disneyland and California Adventures. He got the chance to take me on my first Tower of Terror ride.
Just a few pictures to get this blog rolling. Danilo introduced me to Rocky last year. He wanted to go see Rocky Balboa when it was in theaters, but I wanted to see the first five (because I never had) before we went. Over a period of about two month's time, we watched the whole series. Though we have extreme differences in movie taste (and my husband says he's glad he married me anyway), Rocky satisfied us both. I was charmed by Rocky and Adrian's love story, and Danilo was guaranteed several good fights each movie.

Hello Everyone!

After being inspired by the blogs of various friends, I decided to jump in. I'm excited by the thought of being able to keep out of state family and friends up-to-date and in touch with us. Most of the time it's going to be Brittney posting because Danilo hasn't been totally sold on the blogging idea yet. Hopefully as we get to hear from more of you he will start thinking it's pretty neat, too.