Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Favorite Pinterest Truths!


  One of my hobbies is to pin, pin, pin! From crafts to ELA Cafe inspiration, to housewares, to quotes I love to pin! Now, how many times does one actually go back through their boards? Among the thousands of things I've Truth board is always one that I love to go through from time to time. Whether I need a God reminder that will lead me to my study time, or a good smack in the face, my Truth board is worth keeping, adding to, and a great one to reflect upon. Here are some of my favorite Pinterest Truths:

I love this because it's a flesh killer. The opposite of what we would like to do, and a great reminder for myself to zip it when I'm right (maybe I'll be silent for a while.....Ha!) and to be quick to admit when I'm wrong. A constant prayer, join me will you?

     Don't worry? Novel idea. 
What a great realization that most things we worry about don't worry about us. Cast your cares, cast your cares, cast your cares. I know, easier said than done.....1 Peter 5:7.

Speaks for itself. Thanks Lacrae.

So, when I find myself  weak.....God is my spinach. Yes, I made a Popeye reference, but I too don't always have my daily Spinach. The Joy of the Lord is my strength. 

I'm a teacher, I give my the end of the day I must remember it does not define me. Even when it sucks me dry:)
Story of my life. Need this reminder daily. The struggle is real.

I try to land this point with my students.....someday they will understand :)

Well, if it was going to be this easy, then we wouldn't need Faith, would we?

Sometimes it's painful to not comment. Actually, many times it's painful. I'm growing....slowly but surely. Considering I have things to say everyday and don't- means there is progress. Thank you Lord for quieting my messed up mind and mouth. Still a ways to go!

For when I feel like a failure:) Thank you Jesus! You make all things new:)

Everyday. All day. Someday.....

Until next time....


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mountain out of a Molehill

Catching Up

Ahhh, it's been a while since I last blogged (was it last year?). Somehow "Toya the Teacher" just has not found time during the school year to sit and......write- unless it's comments on an essay; or the mass amount of emails needed to make it through a day at my school.

And then there was say, my wedding weeks after school ended! Oh yeah! I actually got married this summer to the best guy ever, had a blast in Vegas, and zipped right back to keep working (as teachers are never truly off) in a summer program.
Mrs. CraftyMorrison with my Handyman Hubby
Nonetheless, I have managed to take a few moments to chill, enjoy some moments free from the bustle of the school year, and even read (gosh reading used to be more fun, when I had more time). Anyhoo, all of that busy is beginning to calm as my summer gig has ended, I'm settling as a wife (it's been about a month, look at me! lol), and I actually have time to form a thought that doesn't have to go into a report or evaluation.

Jump to now......

My Molehill

So, funny came to my attention that my bank account had been hacked into this past weekend.
How I looked upon discovering this series of unfortunate events...
Now, before I even form the words to explain the shock of a "creepy McCreepster" taking my funds- I must remind myself and whoever cares to know who CraftyMorrison is. I am the "love to give, love to laugh, creative, innovative, likes to decorate, make life pretty, learn stuff, passionate teacher" who enjoys God, crafting, wine, and cupcakes. I am also the "I freak out about everything, worry wort, control freak, oh-no-you-didn't" type of gal as well. You see how these things don't quite mix? However, if we are all honest with ourselves we all have some stuff in our heart, soul, and mind that Jesus is still working out.

How I wanted to feel.....
With that said, CraftyMorrison description #2 is who came out when "creepy McCreepster" crept in to my money life. However, I will say I didn't handle the new-found news as bad as I probably would have 5-10 years ago. Then, I was SUCH a worry wart! I attribute that to the start of my 20s, and not having a serious God walk until mid-20s, which I'll tell you changes a whole heck of a lot in your life. So, of course I worried about every little thing and just knew I could fix it (because I'm Toya right?). So, yes old Toya would have curled up into a Zoloft ball and cried her way (literally) to the bank worrying about how this problem was going to get solved. While I am delivered from a good portion of that, I still have remnants of this habit, yet I remained fairly stable.

A couple days prior to my financial woes (be careful what you ask for, maybe?) God and I had a great talk during my study time. Just like old buddies, I had some Aha moments and some "ooooo I really need to let you work that out of me" moments. I realized that the 'Zoloft ball Toya' was still floating around in there somewhere and I wanted it completely gone. Miles have I come, but in certain instances I saw that resurface and realized- girl you are really not trusting God if you're going to worry about it that much! Snap out of it. So, I told God. I mean He already knew, but it's still good to tell Him. I also had to reference the faith scriptures my husband and I put up around the house weeks prior (an area we just both wanted to grow stronger and be reminded). Funny, how these instances just occurred for no other reasons other than, "Hey! I need to grow some more in that area." So, here I am, talked to God, wanted to be free from the "easily shaken, let me worry about everything, let me prepare for the worst so I won't be blindsided" Toya, had great quiet time, felt all ready to tackle the world- then the weekend hit. Hey, all my money is gone! Huh? What? This has NEVER happened to me before. I'm the girl who checks and checks and checks and checks, watches the 20/20 specials on scams, reads articles to stay ahead of the bad guys of the world.....but yep- it happened to me.

So, of course I do what any normal human being would do (call bank, file police report, ask 8 billion questions, etc, etc.) but that a booger. Meanwhile, you still have $0.00 (although you have a great hubby and are so not alone, nor are you living in a box) you still have your personal expenses to take care of with $0.00. Surprisingly, initially I was pretty chill.Thinking, OK- of course this would happen. I also remembered that talk with God. Hey God, remember how I don't like the "easily shaken, let me worry about everything, let me prepare for the worst so I won't be blindsided" Toya? Thanks for the strides I've made, and help me get rid of the rest of it. Thanks God. Tada! (cue The Price is Right game show music) Come on down! Here's your chance Toya! (I felt like He just tapped me on the old shoulder with a "wink and a gun" and a smile- my spiritual imagination). Here's the perfect opportunity to remain in peace, not get frazzled, and let Him work it out:)

You know, it wasn't the worst thing that could possibly ever happen. I mean there are worse ways to be violated and I am thankful that God allowed me to catch this when I did. Also thankful it's being slowly but surely worked out. However, it still stinks because "I'm Toya, and this stuff doesn't happen to me." I laugh at myself sometimes because years ago, that would have been a thought-out statement (stomps foot, folds arms, and pouts- and somebody better fix it now!). Now, it's more like "seriously, whelp here begins the patience part until it all gets worked out (stomps foot several times, but no folding arms or pouting-some growth).

Fast-forward to now after initial shock.....

My Mountain

My circumstance checklist...
*Is it completely fixed? No.
*Is it being worked on? Yes.
*Can I see all the gears moving and working parts of it all? No.   (and for a control freak this is frightening!)
*Does that mean nothing is being done? No.
*Is this fun? Are you kidding? No.
*Will it be ok? Yes.
*How do I know? Because I know God and He can work out     anything! (refer to Luke 18:27).
*Could it be worse? Yes.
*Am I still thankful? Yes.
*Is it still a bummer? Yes.
*Can I still go on and live day to day and have some peace and joy? Yes.
*Am I furious that sometime decided to use their time to empty my account? Yes.
*Did I pray for them? Yes.
*Did I want to? Heck no.
*Did I keep doing it anyway? Yes.
*Why? (Refer to Matthew 5:44).

I always have had the habit of trying to see the point/lesson in anything I encounter. Sometimes, it just has to go into the "God I don't understand it" box as the country song goes "God is great, and people are crazy" (My husband loves country, I have no choice but to know songs). So, yes there are times when crazy wins and I have to tuck it away in the don't understand it box and move on. While I have put "creepy McCreepster" in the box; this situation definitely reminded me of some things (and who doesn't need a reminder every once in a while?):

1. If you ask God to work something out, know He will. He's usually not early, but He's never late. And just because your breakthrough doesn't come in the blink of an eye, doesn't mean He's forgotten about you.

2. Go ahead, ask God to help you better yourself. Tada! He'll give you plenty of circumstances to practice. This is why people are afraid to pray for patience, because God will conveniently put you in the longest checkout line with a new cashier- he might even throw in a screaming baby behind you (at the exact moment when you needed to make a quick run to the store or have an appointment to catch). NONETHELESS, don't be scared! Ask. Get to the point where you're grateful for the practice and the lessons. As a teacher, I know the last thing my students want is a test. However, I KNOW that giving them that test (whether an informal or formal assessment) is one of the sure-fire ways for them to apply what they have learned. If  you don't pass, you either still need to be taught/helped, or weren't putting in your full effort. So, what will I do? Keep working with you and testing you until you get it. Same thing with God, and if you don't want to put in your full're only hurting yourself. As I tell my students, it's your grade and your life- I desire to help you, but you have to want it. I would imagine God probably feels the same way.

3. No one talks about the meanwhile much, huh? You can do all the right things and check them off your cutesy list, and look around to still find a mess. Does that mean you give up and stop having faith? No way! (and I bet you said Jose along with that). The meanwhile is the not fun, this is annoying, I just want this to be fixed, when will this end era. So, no it's not going to be easy to trudge through. I am definitely a person who doesn't like for things to linger, if I can do something about it- I will. And I don't typically wait too long for anyone to step in either- but He's still working with me in that area and on patience. Yes, I have been in that long line with the crying baby and new cashier before....hence asking for patience and you're supposed to have a GOOD attitude too?! Lord help! I digress, but meanwhile you hang. You hang in there, you don't replay your circumstance like a broken record and you put your focus elsewhere (see Phil. 4:8). Did I mention YOU (and I mean myself as well) have to do these things- no fairy dust to do that for you, trust me I checked. It's a constant and consistent effort. A dose of my own medicine as "Teacher Toya" would tell her students, if you would put all that energy into focusing on the right things, you wouldn't have time to stumble on the bad. Well, duh! Seems so much harder outside of the classroom, but feasible nonetheless-hence my blog.

4. When it's over, you'll be glad you learned something. You may say, "No I won't. Have you any idea what I had to go through? Deal with?" No, I probably don't. However, I do know that every tough circumstance I've had, I've learned something. Mostly about myself and more about God- to me that's a great deal. And if I really think about it, all my lessons carry the same theme: He's bigger and greater, and I need to depend on Him and do what He instructs me to do. Sometimes, He's going to instruct me to, as I tell my classroom of all girls, "Put my big girl panties on and deal with it." Sometimes, He instructs me to wait. Sometimes, He instructs me to go. Sometimes, He instructs me to be what someone else needs. Sometimes, He instructs me to forget the past (see Isaiah 43:18), and just keep swimming like Dory (Finding Nemo, love that movie).

So, there you have it. This was a pep talk to myself, but if you had an Aha too- awesome sauce!    And yes, these are my reflections and reminders that stemmed from "creepy McCreepster" hacking into my account. Be safe people as crazies do unfortunately roam, but know that God is bigger and better than any crazy you'll ever meet. This is m
y molehill circumstance (as it could very well be worse) that gave me a mountain of lessons :)

Until next time....
glue guns and God fix all things :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Diary of a Lazy Teacher: Meal Prep

So, in efforts to stay on track with my eating.....meal prep has to happen!

1. I love food, especially all the foods I DON'T need to eat.
2. Grocery shopping and having to skip the snack/cookie/baking/chip/soda aisles is just a few smiles short of fun.

So, midway through shopping I thought it was appropriate to snap a shot of my basket void of all the yummy sweetness that I crave...
With a few more items to round out my shopping, it was time to put them together; to avoid having what we have coined in the teachers' lounge as a "paddy meal."

CraftyGriffin's Back to School Meals (my attempt anyway)....
 So, when you have a fistful of Boston Market chicken left pack it! The mashed potatoes and mac and cheese I wanted are there in spirit. In reality, green beans and fruit will do. By the way, plastic cupcake containers make the BEST fruit containers! They're cute too:)

A chicken breast (size of my hand), with a side salad in container. Also, along with it I packed my "Passing Period Snacks." 
"I always have time to snack throughout the day!" Said no teacher ever. Hence, the PPS, passing period snack....the one you casually eat at your desk when the bell rings for the glorious 5 min. you have between classes:)

Spinach turkey wraps and fruit cup
Chicken breast and green beans
Passing period snack! Not just any apples, HONEYCRISP apples which are the best, hands down. Love them!
Along with setting up my meals, I also prepped my green smoothies. Picky little me, loves green smoothies! This is probably the only way I'll get that much spinach in my system. I usually drink one each morning with breakfast, or as breakfast. However,  when I'm in a frantic teacher rush, sometimes they don't get made. So, I pre-made them this time (mason jars are the best for this!), and they're cute, yet again. Couple ice cubes, TONS of spinach, 1 banana,  4 strawberries and blend, blend, blend. Yum! Now, I can grab and go.

Ta da! Lunch for the week. Not sure which one I'll take each day. Most likely I will treat my prepped meals like clothes. Whatever I feel like wearing that day gets worn (and sometimes my mind changes a couple of times). Nontheless, I have to admit mornings are much better when things are prepped:) Plus, I know that I'm getting a decent lunch each day. Here's to finding more healthy stuff to eat and planning ahead.

Proverbs 21:5 (NLT)- "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."

Until next time...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Back to Blogging!

Hiatus....more like a sabbatical!

    It's been a while since I last made a post. More like 5 or 6 months ago. With the start of a new school year,  I guess I found myself too busy to blog! I kind of miss it, so I'm back in the saddle. Still an amatuer, but found it fun to do during my "30 before 30" challenge.  So, my break time has included teaching, teaching, bits of wedding planning, teaching, pinning about teaching, pinning about weddings, and teaching! 

Recently, I've packed up and relocated my classroom as my school has grown and moved into a larger building. I was not looking forward to the packing because I have TOO MUCH STUFF! I am definitely a teacher with hoarder tendancies, and my students sometimes recommend a teacher edition of the show just for me. I feel that I have a classroom at home and at school. You never know when you might need a thing or at least repurpose it, right?

Nonetheless,  I consolidated, threw away things, and still ended up with 17 boxes to move. Luckily, I didn't have to actually move a thing:) I love new spaces because it's like beginning fresh. I like starting anew, and what teacher doesn't need a refresher ever so often? So, the old ELA cafe has been revamped a bit to fit the new space. A little "Trading Spaces" episode  (remember that show?) of my own. Take a peek...

BEFORE unpacking...

More stuff...

Even more...

Blank canvas 1

Blank canvas 2
 My boxes to sift through...

AFTER unpacking.....
Love the "gem" shaped desks, but arranging was tricky...

My "Taste of Wisdom" wall. Afterall, my room is a cafe, but these will also serve as great starters for expository writing. I heart quotes!

 ELA Cafe's, Cafe Chill area. I was able to expand a bit in this new space. This is a privileged area, and my students know it. However, sometimes it's a great place for those "I don't know what to write, can't think of anything, how long does it have to be" kiddos. One time here, and amazingly, we want to work! Shocking! (insert sarcasm here). 

If you look closely, yes I was watching "I Love Lucy" episodes on my smart board while working. A little Lucy never hurts:)

Homework and Objectives board, better known as my "ToGo" and "Now Serving" board. 

My rules, and Language Lattes (synonym word wall (for when students need a better word when writing).

I had 3 extra desks I didn't really need, so the "Study Bar" was born as an extension of Cafe Chill.

Open for business:)

Daily Menu board and reminders. The whisk one of my students gave me for Christmas (We "whisk" you a Merry Christmas) came in handy:)

It may seem crazy to transition this way mid-year, but that's when you "Count it all joy" (James 1:2-3). Now that all is done, it's nice to have a bit more elbow room. Time to keep on, teaching on!

Until next time....