Sunday, November 29, 2009

As It Is In Heaven

Today we finished up a sermon series on the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, which can be found in Matthew 6. We also sang this song. I love it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mini Reunion

I love these ladies.

We may do our own thing most of the time.

And they may be a bit odd. Who holds elbows like that?

But they make me laugh.

They've been my friends for 15 years,
and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Real Life Heroes

Kirk and Heidi Weimer
Some friends of mine adopted a little girl from Ethiopia last year, and shared a "homecoming video" of the Weimer family who had adopted a sibling group from the same orphanage in Ethiopia. Kirk and Heidi are only a few years older than I am, but they now have 9 children--as Heidi says "three blond children with whom (they) share genes and six Ethiopian children with whom (they) share hearts." They have recently started a nonprofit, We Have Room, to advocate for orphans and promote adoption. Watch a preview for the documentary "3 by 3 by 3" that is being made about their family.

Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy
I went to see The Blind Side last night. It is excellent. It's based on the true life story of Michael Oher and his adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. Listen to an interview with Leigh Anne to hear her take on the past nine years.

Greg Mortenson
I first learned about Greg's work through the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School At A Time. After climbing K2, he spent some time in a rural Pakistan village where he promised to build the children a school. Upon returning to the US, he completely altered his lifestyle to make good on that promise. He's been building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan ever since.

Do you have any Real Life Heroes?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Can you feel the love?

Traditionally my family has celebrated Thanksgiving with my paternal grandparents. Every year we spent all of Thanksgiving Day at my Grandma and Grandpa's house for the whole day. We ate and talked and played games. Most years we even got the spud gun out. I have many fond memories of spending time with my family at Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately Grandma and Grandpa moved to Missouri several years ago and the tradition of spending the day with my dad's brothers and their families fizzled out. This year my grandparents planned to come back to Indiana for Thanksgiving. We were all going to be together again. I was pumped about seeing my cousins because I don't see them often.

Two weeks ago my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her surgeon scheduled the surgery to remove the lump on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately she wasn't going to be in a condition to travel 10 hours, so my grandma and grandpa decided to stay in Missouri for the holiday. Grandma and Grandpa weren't coming, so my uncle in Ohio said they weren't coming either. Then the uncle who was going to host everyone called my dad with the message that we didn't need to come either. Awesome.

And that's how Thanksgiving was officially canceled in the Smith family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lovely Letter

I received this letter from one of my current students last week. Isn't it sweet? It totally made my day!

I'm not really sure what she's talking about with the whole "studying for so many years and somehow get sucked into a totally different job" part. I have always wanted to be a teacher and studied education in college. Maybe she has my story confused with someone else. If she did me confuse with someone else, does that mean this letter wasn't really meant for me?

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm a list person. I make lists for grocery shopping, packing for trips, recording books I've read and want to read, and even keeping track of birthdays. I have lists titled "Places I Want to Visit", "Children's Names I Like", and "Names of Sara and Jeshua's Future Children," on which I keep track of obscure and ridiculous sounding Bible names to share with them.

I find these discarded lists all over my house, at the bottom of my purse, in coat pockets, on random pages in notebooks. Today I found a document on my computer with a fabulous list. I present to you the document saved as "husband qualifications."

Who is the Mr. Britney Smith?

Mandatory qualifications

He must…

Almost mandatory

He should…

It would be nice if

He could…

Be a committed Christian seeking to honor God with his life

Have some sort of post high school education

Get along really well with my brother

Be open to full time missions/ministry

Be on good terms with his immediate family

Not love sports more than he loves me

Love kids and teenagers

Not be shy

Fix things around the house

Have the heart of a servant

Be self-controlled with money

Play an instrument

Be willing to take a stand for what he believes—even to me

Volunteer to do household cleaning or help me with it

Have parents who really like me

Be easy to talk to (at least for me)

Be laid back

Sing well

Make me laugh regularly

Be a mostly organized person

Speak more than one language

Have spiritual gifts that are complimentary to mine

Have lived on his own for at least a year

Pray with me frequently

Be liked by my friends

Not be uptight

Not drink alcohol or smoke

Be intelligent

Not be clingy/dependent on me

Meet Titus 1:6-9 qualifications

Be decisive

Treat all people with dignity

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Helpfulness is Subjective

I wonder if it's ever occurred to my family that their comments about my marital status are unwanted. It seems my family has taken it upon themselves to remind me, at every opportunity apparently, that I lack both a husband and children. Last month my brother made me cry when so rudely pointed out my biological clock is ticking and I should really find a boyfriend soon if I ever hope to find kids.

Add to that my mother's new tactic. Each time I've seen dear ole mom in the past month, which has been more than normal, she's made comments about not having grandchildren, like I'm not aware or something. She throws out phrases like "If I ever have grandchildren some day..." and "If I had grandkids, I would..." and "You know, I'd really like to have grandkids at some point." It's almost as if she thinks saying these things is really going to speed along the process of finding Mr. Right, getting married, and having babies. I might understand her need to point out my failure to provide grandchildren, if I had been dating someone for a long time and was stalling a wedding. As it is, she's just making me mad.

If dealing with my mother's digs about my singleness wasn't enough, my grandpa weighed in on the situation tonight at my cousin's wedding. He informed me that the idea of me getting married is pretty much hopeless. He boldly stated he doesn't believe I'll get married in his lifetime. Furthermore, he anticipates my 19 year old cousin will be the next one to get married. Gee, thanks a million, Grandpa.

My older cousin, bless her heart, was much more positive when she mentioned my singleness. She did not badger me or reveal her doubts about my ability to make it to the altar. She actually asked me if I wanted to be the next one to get married and then encouraged me when I answered in the affirmative. Only if she could introduce me to Mr. Right would she be more helpful.

Goals by Category

This morning I was thinking about the direction of my life and evaluating my goals. I decided to break my goals into categories in order to help me prioritize and plan more effectively the next steps I'll take. Because the last two goals will probably take the most effort, I think it would be a good idea to start with them.

Short-Term Goals
-> pay off my students loans, making myself debt-free
-> finish my Christmas project in time to give it as a present
-> travel to Seattle to visit friends

Long-Term Goals
-> become fluent in a second language
-> live in another country for a year or two
-> fall in love, get married, and have babies (I'd really like to move this to the short term list!)

I-Can't-Believe-I'm-27-and-Still-Working-On-These Goals
-> be able to go three consecutive days without gossiping
-> clean the bathroom on a regular basis
-> return library materials before the overdue fines kick in
-> remember to take the recycling bin to the curb on Friday mornings

Highly Ambitious Goals
-> get myself invited to one of Pioneer Woman's parties at the Lodge
-> convince TheBigShowatUD I am the woman of his dreams and he needs me

Any ideas for steps I can take to accomplish my Highly Ambitious goals?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's official

I have an internet crush. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

American Education Week

"Better than a thousand days of diligent study
is one day with a great teacher."

--Japanese Proverb

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just my 'magination

Ever since my friend Haley accidentally walked into my neighbors' house on Bunco night, I've had the feeling my neighbors have been avoiding me. They don't ignore me all the time, but often enough that I started to wonder what I did to irritate them. Sometimes I would tell myself it was just my imagination. I mean, really, what could I have done to make them mad? I don't socialize with them a lot, but neither do I throw parties, have junk in my yard, or keep my house in disrepair. Despite all those points in my favor, I frequently felt I was being snubbed.

Tonight I was cooking my dinner when Dax barked at the door. I didn't hear a knock, but I checked the door because he seemed so sure of himself. Sure enough the neighbor is standing on my sidewalk. She awkwardly explained that she wants to talk to me about something, and then proceeded to air her complaints. Apparently "the girl who comes over during the day sometimes" leaves Dax outside barking for long periods of time. The neighbor made it clear she didn't want to be a complainer, but it's hard to get her youngest son to sleep when Dax is barking. She said she didn't come over and complain when Dax was barking until 1 am (she led me to believe this was recent, but I can't think of a time I've been out that late). And she didn't come and complain when the sprinkler was full force on her car, but she felt like she just had to say something now. And maybe there is a collar I could use on Dax (NOT going to happen).

So it really wasn't my imagination all those times I thought the neighbors were ignoring me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Before Parent-Teacher Conferences started at noon today, I made pumpkin bars. I bought a can of pumpkin some time last week, and I've been craving pumpkin bars ever since. My Betty Crocker cookbook failed me once again (Betty rarely has the recipes I need), so I turned to the internet for a little help. The first link on my Google search was for Real Mom Kitchen. I haven't taken a lot of time to check out her website, but at first glance it looks like this lady has some great recipes. Anyway, here's the link to the pumpkin bar recipe I used. It even has the cream cheese recipe on the same page, and explains how she puts chocolate chips on half for a little bit of variety.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's Holiday: Veterans Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice that ended World War 1. Twenty years later the US government officially declared November 11th Armistice Day, a holiday to remember the day WWI ended. It wasn't until 1954 that congress amended the act, transforming Armistice Day into a holiday to honor and remember all veterans. The Library of Congress has a pretty awesome collection of veterans' stories. Here's a list of all the digital interviews on their website.

A Nation's Strength
Walt Whitman
Not gold, but only man can make
A people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honor's sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly --
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let the Christmas Music Play!

Today I officially started listening to Christmas music. Generally I have a strict rule about waiting until Thanksgiving to bust out the Christmas CDs. I guess I'm in the Christmas spirit a little early this year. Here's one of the Christmas songs that gets seriously stuck in my head. I prefer the Faith Hill version, but that wasn't available on

What's one of your favorite Christmas songs?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Grades, grades. Go away!

Don't come back any other day.

I have Bejeweled Blitz to play.

Please don't come back any other day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Counting My Blessings: My Grandparents

Growing up we spent every Sunday at one of two places: Grandma and Grandpa Myer's house or Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house. I thought it was normal for kids to see their grandparents as often as I did, but at some point I realized how abnormal it was for me to have real relationships with all my grandparents. And when I hit college I was shocked to find how unusual it was to have four living grandparents.

Today as my mom's family celebrated Grandma Myers' 70th birthday, I counted her and my other grandparents as some of my most precious blessings.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Fam

There are a lot of things I could tell you about my mom's family, but today I was reminded that we are an undeniably loud group of people. Because my cousin Danny is getting married in two weeks, the women in my family attended his fiancee's bridal shower today. Our ensemble, all 11 of us--my mom, aunts, girl cousins and Grandma--constituted the majority of the party goers, and dominated the conversation. Upon our departure, my cousin and I questioned if we should feel remorse over our loudness. Ultimately we decided that we're just a loud family and people have to accept us as we are.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sweet Victory

In October the my district's high school football team (most of them my students at one point or another) made history. They ended a 28 year loosing streak to their archrivals, Penn. Prior to that, the last time Mishawaka's football team beat Penn was in 1980. I wasn't even born yet. Needless to say, it was a pretty big deal. I even found this picture of the scoreboard online.

But the best part is that it didn't end there. Tonight the boys put the finishing touches on Penn's season by beating them again--this time in a sectional game.

Beating Penn TWICE in one seaon? Now that is sweet victory.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Didi's getting married in April. She's asked me to be in her wedding, AND she's letting me pick my dress. I'm excited for her... and about my dress.

Which style of dress do you like better? I really like the color of the first one and I think that's swaying my opinion. The dress I wear in her wedding won't be brown though. My dress will be tangerine. Yes, that's tangerine. As in bright orange. Isn't that exciting?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Post Secret

I attended a Post Secret event in Kalamazoo tonight. It was a fantastic night with good friends!

The video for "Dirty Little Secret" by All American Rejects features just some of the secrets people have sent to Frank over the years.

Here's a link to the story behind Post Secret.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The old adage "You learn something new everyday" really is true. Today I learned about Domo. Two rather odd kids in my class were asking me if I knew what "domo-domo" was. I thought they were swearing at me in some foreign language. Turns out, they're just infatuated with a cartoon character from Japan. Apparently 7-11 just started using Domo as a mascot of sorts. They have new slurpee cups featuring Domo and his friends, as well as brown coffee cups with just Domo's face on them.

I'm so taken with the little guy, I might just have to stop at 7-11 to get myself a Domo slurpee cup. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009


It's not uncommon for me to bring my work home with me. I often grade papers, create lessons, and work on school stuff from the comforts of my own home. But I also bring my work home with me emotionally. I care deeply about my students. They work their way into my heart, and I can't help but empathize with them. Tonight my heart is heavy with the poor choices of a young man who is looking for acceptance in all the wrong places.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I know it's a day set aside for celebrating the birth of Jesus, but I think I'm also going to be celebrating the opening of Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day. To be fully prepared for the movie, I've been reading about the exploits of the world's most famous detective. My dear friend Jen even lent me her copy of "The Complete Sherlock Holmes," which ought to keep me busy for a little while since it includes four full-length novels and all 56 short stories!

Today I decided that allowing my students to see the movie without reading a Holmes and Watson story would be a crime. My plan is to designate the week before Christmas break as Sherlock Holmes week. In a moment of pure genius I decided that I'll also re-create one of Holmes and Watson's adventures in my classroom! I can't wait to see how this plays out.