Friday, September 17, 2010

Keeping things in Perspective

Fall is upon us - okay, maybe not in Phoenix, but in the rest of the country - and with fall comes elections and a lot statistics and propaganda. Something I have heard and try to remember is to keep all statistics within their context. The same is true of speeches and quotes - politicians and many others are oft quoted out of context. 'Tis the season, though, right? All is fair in American politics.

Anyway, that wasn't just a rabbit trail off into the randomness of my mind, rather it is my segue into tonight's post. Often times buzz words and phrases become trendy, and suddenly we find masses of Americans claiming to do what is best, right or most healthy. Take for example the locavore movement. Take for example buying a tomato in New York City; it is practically a sin to buy the juicy fruit if it came from California and those who buy local heirloom varieties are applauded for their contribution towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced from transportation and eating healthier. Truth is, the biggest energy hog is actually the home consumer not the 18-wheelers moving across America. Home preparation and storage account for 32 percent of all energy use in the food system.

A single 10-mile round trip to the local farmer's market can easily consumer 14,000 calories of fossil fuel energy. Running your refrigerator can consumer up to 9,000 calories; that number will double if it is not one of the energy efficient models. Cooking and running a dishwasher also add to that bottom line. Local households make up 22 percent of all energy expenditures in the United States.

Interesting, huh? I'd say we need a bit more context around these claims. Just some food for thought as you head into the weekend. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I love a good farmer's market. I have nothing against locally produced agriculture; I simply want to promote fairness among the various sectors of agricultural production. Conventional versus organic. Locally produced versus imported produced, whether domestically or internationally. Agriculturists need to stop the infighting and promote ourselves as a group; we only damage our own chances of survival when we start picking on those that have pursued different avenues of production or marketing methods.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Every dog has its day

My FFA chapter officers plan a Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) fair each fall. The event is designed to educate all our first year students about possible project ideas and help them jump start their own. It's always a fun event - older students bring in a plethora of livestock, tractors and small animals. My officer that "chaired" the event this year talked me into bringing Johnnie Reb; many students take care of their family pets at home so I thought this was an okay idea. She did awesome! She is actually sleeping on the floor as I type because she is so tuckered out from all the attention. Enjoy the pictures!

This tractor tire was almost big enough for both of us to fit into it!

We had four sets of tortoises at school today - this little guy was a water turtle named Speedy. Johnnie Reb thought he was pretty cute.

Okay, she actually thought he looked good for lunch! After she licked him she attempted to fit him in her that point I put him back in the safe hands of his owner!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slipping in to September

September is here, and I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this school year. I feel more blessed than I have before. Now, let me clarify. It's not so much that I haven't been blessed before, I think I've had a change in the attitude of my heart and am seeing more things as blessings as opposed to tribulations. With that said, I have a couple of stories to share from the past couple of weeks - hopefully they'll bring a smile to your lips!

What day is it?
Last week I distributed permission slips to all my students. To ease the burden of turning around 20 sets of permission slips in a year, we have students complete one that applies to all FFA events all year. Clever, huh? (Thank you Mr. Fite at Safford!) My freshmen students had to turn their permission slips in to register for a conference, and their permission slip was their place holder. I only had 18 spots, and 35+ freshmen competing for those spots. The next morning I had a steady stream of students stop by to drop their forms off before school started. While this is happening, I had one student talking to his mom on the phone trying to complete the information. He is almost finished and one of the last things he has to do is print the day's date. Simple, right? He asks her, "What is today? The 32nd?" What? Huh? I turn to look at him and he totally wrote that it was August 32! I guess there are worse things than knowing that 32 comes after 31, except when it pertains to days of the month.

A slippery slope
Yesterday was my first day of SAE visits where I essentially visit the project location of each student of mine. This is probably one of the most favorite parts of my job, if not THE most favorite. A senior student of mine built his own greenhouse, yep that's right, built it. Not from a kit mind you. From his own ingenuity. He's a pretty smart kid....probably smarter than me and I don't mind admitting that. Anyway, as I'm pulling up to his house he calls me to tell me that the greenhouse flooded. I reply telling him that it is okay, and I'll still check things out. His mom was nice enough to bring me a pair of rubber boots - after wading through the soggy mess and checking out the plethora of plants he has propagated, I exit the greenhouse. My exit wasn't that graceful though because there was a sink hole that I happened to find with my left foot! I slipped and and definitely had water up to my mid thigh. It was pretty funny, especially considering that his dad and older brother were there to observe my grace. I was just thankful I didn't drop my camera!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Today's Folly

I definitely released my first hour class 25 minutes early today. That's right, 25. It wasn't on purpose either. For some reason, I thought class got out at 9:35....and we had finished a few minutes early. Thankfully there was one honest kid in the bunch. As they are all walking out the door, he says "I think we get out at 9:55."

Awesome. Combine that mistake with my whiny sophomore class and it makes for a grand morning!

Blessings to you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tender Mercies

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:22-23

My study this morning revolved around God's mercy - it's yet another aspect of God that confounds what the world says. Forgive 70 times 7 says the Lord. (Matthew...I think. I'm sorry, I can't think of that address of the top of my head this morning.) I'm not much on explanations this morning, but I couldn't not share. For your benefit and God's glory, meditate on the tender mercy of the Lord this morning - neither of us deserved it, but it was given at no cost to us, yet we reap the benefits of it through God's forgiveness.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The End of Accomplishment

Apparently I have no original thoughts to share at this point. Ha. I'm just kidding....I think I'd rather give you excerpts from articles rather than work on articulating my own brilliant thoughts into text. For now, it will suffice. Maybe after school gets underway and my student teacher begins teaching I'll get back on track with my own thoughts. Oh wait, my student teacher doesn't come for another five months. Boo. Well then, article excerpts it is for the time being.

The following excerpts were taken from Janie B. Cheaney's article "The End of Accomplishment" in the July 31, 2010 edition of WORLD magazine.

With bureaucracy's triumph over excellence, big and important projects have stalled.

(after talking about landing on the moon for the first time...)
The rest is history, but history may have turned downhill. Bruce Charlton, blogger and university professor, believes it did. "The landing of men on the moon and bringing them back alive was the supreme achievement of human capability...and I suggest the real reason we have not been to the moon since 1972 is that we cannot any longer do it. Humans have lost the capability."

Three reasons why: a preference for diversity over excellence in hiring, the expansion of committees and regulatory agencies, and the erosion of individual responsibility. These were the trends that had begun decades before, but by 1970 "the human spirit began to be overwhelmed by bureaucracy."

That's a depressing thought. But one mighty force remains, of individual souls freed from bondage, pledged to a common cause, inspired by a common vision, under perfect leadership. It's called the church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, much less the muddle of bureaucracy. Where human progress falters, there the church rises. We have God's word on that; it's time to believe it.

(Katy's note: Amen!)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Dawn of a New Year & Old Mediocrity

I know this is an odd title, especially since I haven't posted a blog in almost a month. A month!! Can you believe that? The month of July swallowed me, spit me out and now I'm back at school. This summer was crazy busy, but the busy-ness allowed me to pack as many visits with family, friends and conferences as I could into 10 weeks. Today was my first day "officially" back on the job and it was a good one at that. I am planning on posting more in the coming weeks, but I can't promise anything. Anyway, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an interesting article that a fellow Ag teacher and friend passed along to's sad to read, especially since I am a high school teacher from the state mentioned in the article. Please pray for our educators, our legislators...and me as I begin a new year!

Turning around Arizona's reputation for educational mediocrity
Published on Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Copyright (c) 2010 Inside Tucson Business

According to a new study, Arizona is winning a race, not to the top but to the bottom - we are about to lead the nation in jobs for high school dropouts. To help reverse this dangerous trend, the state must reshape its higher education system to attract, serve and graduate more college students. (Katy's note: not every kid needs to go to college, but they better not drop out of high school!!)

The study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce tells us that Arizonans are at-risk of being locked out of the middle class. (Katy's note: who is Uncle Sam gonna use to pick up the slack when it comes to taxes if we don't have a middle class? [Insert evil laugh.]) It predicts that Arizona will have enough jobs for high school dropouts, but soon we will be woefully deficient in the number of college graduates needed to fill the high wage, modern jobs that businesses demand.

What may be most concerning about this report is that it speaks to a persistent mediocrity in our state. Already, 45 percent of Arizona's high school students do not pursue any form of higher education after high school - the lowest rate among 50 states. Only 25 percent of Arizonan's hold bachelor's degrees.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You can't get away from God's love

Did you get that memo? You. Yep you. You can't get away from God's love! What a wonderful message, huh?

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever seperate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can seperate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to seperate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:38-39

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rock on Feedlots

Arizona Young Cattlemen's Initiative (YCI) distributes a weekly email that is packed full of great information. Recently, this email contained a link to an article written for Precision Nutrition by vegetarian author, Ryan Andrews. Andrews was given an exclusive tour of the Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins, Colorado. He was stoked about the opportunity and had no clue about what his experience would be like. Fortunately for us (us = beef producers and other agricultural operations), Andrews was impressed by the healthcare, nutrition and sanitation that all cattle at that feedyard are exposed to. I am confident when I say that I think we would have found similar experiences at feedyards across the US. Props to Magmum Feedyard for doing an awesome job of representing one segment of the beef industry, and props to Mr. Andrews for his willingness to seek the truth when it comes to animal production in the United States. You can read the article for yourself here. A short excerpt is listed below to wet your appetite.

And, I have to say it. If my experience at Magnum is representative of other cattle farms, all those accounts of the dismal, depressing, disastrous cattle conditions seem to be exaggerated.
No, I’m not going to start eating meat again.

However, if I did eat meat, my visit to Magnum would have made me feel great about eating non-organic, non-grass-fed beef. Seriously. I can’t imagine the quality of meat would be substantially better with organic and grass-fed. Nor can I imagine the living conditions would be substantially better for the cattle.

Now, to be clear, we don’t require meat in our diet. And I don’t think we should be using cows for food, doesn’t matter if the cattle are kept on a feedlot or chilling in a waterbed listening to John Tesh. But that’s my own value system and I’m well aware that 97% of people in the U.S. eat meat on a regular basis.

However, considering the amount we procreate in the U.S. (there’s a birth every 8 seconds and a death every 12 seconds); and the amount of meat we eat (222 pounds per person, per year – not including marine life); and the small amount of money we’re willing to spend on food (we spend 9.6% of our disposable income on food, the lowest in the world. India spends 53%, Venezuela 34%, Italy 26%, Japan 19%, France 16%); feedlots have it right.

People want meat. And Magnum’s feedlot system is dialed in. They’re producing safe and cost-effective meat in, arguably, the most cattle-conscious way (short of opening up those pens and letting them run free). Rock on Magnum.

Monday, June 28, 2010

An Agent of Change

I am in Des Moines, Iowa for the National Agriscience Integration Institute through Thursday. That's a big fancy name that basically means I, along with two other individuals involved in Ag Ed from Arizona, are here to develop a plan to integrate more Agriscience in our state. You may ask, how did I stumble upon this involvement? I will tell you...even though you probably weren't really wondering that.

Three years ago I applied to be a part of the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy; it was a phenomenal experience that literally changed the face of my approach to teaching. The entire focus of the original conference was to learn how to integrate more Agriscience instruction into agriculture classrooms through the use of Inquiry Based Instruction (IBI). The "Ambassador" part of the title came along with the expectation that we would return to our home states as reformed teachers, prepared to persuade our colleagues about this new and much better philosophy as an additional tool for our toolbox. That's all well and good until the rubber met the road.

Though I thought I understood my role three years ago, actually rolling out the plan became a bit more tricky. How do I, as one teacher, start a cascade effect among my colleagues about the importance of incorporating this method of teaching (inquiry)? To make it an even more dynamic problem, how do I affect change on the university level so that new Ag teachers have also been instructed about how to use this method?

And Wa-La, we have the creation of the current conference that I am attending this week. Operationally defined, each team of three from 11 different states, including the Great State of Arizona, will work as a team to develop a plan to integrate Inquiry Based Instruction (IBI) in their respective home states. For those of you not involved in agricultural education or education at all, there's a lot of gobblety-gook vocabulary that I am throwing around. To boil it down though we are trying to provide teachers of all experience levels with a new method of teaching. We aren't asking them to throw out everything they have and start over; we are asking them to incorporate this method slowly. Methodically. Purposefully.

Inquiry based instruction can literally TRANSFORM the learning in a classroom. Students are forced to take ownership of their learning, and suddenly their learning becomes much more meaningful. In inquiry based instruction, there is a continuum of both student self-direction and direction from a teacher. The teacher simply must provide appropriate amounts of information and context to place students at an appropriate place on the continuum that allows them to inquire or investigate from there. Teachers change hats and become facilitators for awhile, then change hats again and provide additional context for what they students have discovered. It's a really interesting approach to learning that I hopefully will continue to utilize more in my own classroom.

With that said I want to elaborate a bit on the title of this post; I did not know exactly what to expect coming into "part two" of this conference series. I fully understood that inquiry based instruction was at the heart of both, but I did not know that we would be developing strategic action plans to incorporate this method into our home states. I was able to participate in and observe some brilliant conversations today that revolved around how individuals become agents of change and the difficulties they may encounter. As Arizona's only "official" (I use that term loosely) Agriscience Ambassador, I have been given a huge opportunity to influence the introduction of this methodology on a state-wide approach. I am really excited to see what unfolds through the work of our team over this next week.

I realize that pedagogy and teaching philosophy probably don't rock your world as much as they do mine. I am glad I can share my excitement through this blog though, and am even more excited to see my own passion for teaching grow. I entered this career three years ago with some huge strings attached about how long I would teach and why I was teaching. God has been so faithful though; in three years I have become increasingly thankful for this profession, my colleagues and especially my students. My interest in the science and art of teaching continually grows as well, and I aspire to better myself as a professional. And now, as I prepare to enter year four I am excited to see how God continues to use me as an Agent of Change in more ways than one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Juxtaposition: Secure Border...Please do not visit!

My thanks to Senators McCain and Kyl for visiting Douglas, Arizona this past weekend to learn about the current status of our southern border. While the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano from AZ) states that the border is as secure as it ever has been, I am confident we know otherwise. For example, in this video Senator McCain shows several signs posted by the federal government warning visitors to this region NOT TO VISIT. How can that be a sure sign of safety along the border? Based on that one example, simple logic tells us that the border is not secure.

I know statistics can be used wrongly when reported out of context, but consider this one statistic: Phoenix is only second to Mexico City globally for kidnappings (as reported by Senator Kyl). Second! Are you kidding? A city in the United States of America known as a capital for kidnappings. Our federal politicians should be ashamed of themselves for blindly ignoring this statistic among others that affect public safety and the use of public lands.

While walking past the Massachusetts State House yesterday, there was an 18 day protest being staged to prevent similar laws from SB 1070 passing in MA. Citizens like them should also be ashamed for abandoning their fellow countrymen; they do not live on the border. They have no clue the desperate situation that Arizona citizens in the lower quarter of our state live with on a day-to-day basis. They don't have to live with the buddy system, always having someone at their side. They don't have to leave their house with a weapon. Don't tell me that this whole "thing" is about stereotyping people based on the color of their skin. It's about the situation on Arizona's southern border where U.S. citizens are not safe and will not be safe until the border is secure. We can't address immigration reform until the border is secure.

If you have 20 minutes, watch the video. If you only have 5, it's still worth it. If you're still opposed to this whole bill/issue in Arizona, please consider what it would be like to spend a day, much less a week or month in the life of southern Arizona citizens. It is our duty to protect our citizens above non-citizens and at this point, that task has not been accomplished.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm gonna miss Maine!

Realizing that the title of today's post is going to be a bit misleading, I'm going to preface this post by saying that the majority of this post involves a synopsis of what went down in Beantown (Boston) today. Mom and I signed up for a trolley tour of the city - this was definitely one of the best decisions we made on this trip. If you've never taken one, basically you pay for the ticket and then you can get on/off any of the company's trolleys around the city. They stop at designated spots to explain points of interest and you can enter/exit the trolley if you want to explore more on your own. I thought we would skip through our tour with only 15 points of interest, however we started around 9:30 and returned to the hotel around 2:30.

One of our favorite spots is pictured below - The State House. The balcony, located on the eastern side, is where the Declaration of Independence was first read by Samuel Adams after being signed 18 days prior. The western side of the State House is the location of the Boston Massacre - did you know that this started out with Colonists taunting British soldiers by throwing snowballs at them? It eventually escalated into a "massacre" with five colonists being killed. One other interesting point: the Boston subway (4th oldest in the world) runs below this building and you can totally hear it as it runs below!

This picture was taken just outside of the State House as mom and I waited for the trolley to return.
We stopped at the original Cheers for lunch. You can't visit Boston and not go! The original name of the bar was the Bull and Finch Pub and I'm not exactly clear on when the name got changed. The producers of the television show visited this bar with the intention of finding a bar to create a sitcom about. After visiting a number of other bars around Beantown, the producers returned to the first bar and decided that it was the one. We shared the Burger Meister burger and it was great - it had a pile o' mushrooms and Muenster cheese. A combo that I never would have created, but fit really well together.

Before leaving Boston, we stopped at Emack and Bolio's ice cream parlor which if you look closely at the ice cream cup below says "ice cream for connoissuer's." It was really good, but not as good as the blueberry ice cream in Camden! And how about this? One scoop was $3.75 times two people, equals $7.50. We totally outsmarted the system and got three scoops (for "one" person) and only paid $4.75! Okay, so it's not the most exciting thing that happened to us on our trip, but we felt pretty smart! We shared Peppermint Patty (pretty good), Beantown Crunch (coffee ice cream with chocolate covered espresso beans....yummo!), and Vanilla Bean Speck (pretty good). You obviously know what my favorite was!

We drove to Ogunquit, Maine for the evening so that we have a shorter drive to the airport tomorrow. Yet another charming town in Maine that is right on the Coast and has an abundance of super cute shops and local eateries. Boston was fun, but I have so, so enjoyed Maine. The pace of life in the small towns. The number of ice cream eateries (can I get a hallelujah?). And the quietness that has accompanied us everywhere we've been. I hope you've enjoyed reading about some of the places that we have visited and eaten at, and if you ever get the chance to visit Maine, jump at the chance!
We fly back to Arizona tomorrow. I have loved every moment of my vacation with my mom, but am ready to return. I praise God for the rest and relaxation that I have been able to enjoy in abundance. I am especially thankful for the time I was given with my mom - I am so glad that we have grown to become friends and look forward to our next trip!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday in Boston

I know you were expecting a "Monday in Maine" post but I thought I'd switch it up so we drove to Boston. Haha, if only the writing for blog were that important! Actually, Mom and I kind of planned it so that we would have enough time to spend a day in Boston. The drive this morning was quiet - we took a pit stop in Freeport, a.k.a. Outlet City USA. That is not actually it's alias, but if I were the Freeport mayor, I would start a marketing campaign with that title. The outlet shops were great; they were housed in old Victorian style houses. Very New England. Very quaint.

We arrive in Boston around 4:30 and once we finally found a hotel, we changed and headed to Little Italy for dinner. The concierge at our hotel gave us several recommendations and we ended up dining at Ristorante Limoncello. It was very authentic and brought back memories from my two week trip to Italy in high school.

Mom had Tagliolini al Limoncello which consisted of homemade pasta with a limoncello creme sauce which was really good - it wasn't as heavy as an alfredo, it was more like a red sauce with some creme. She also had some shrimp with it. I had Salmone alla Maurizio (a.k.a. salmon all about Maurizio). It was salmon with a lemon caper creme sauce - very good! For dessert we shared a ricotta and pear pie which was also very good - I was a little nervous about ordering it but it was nice. (I apologize for the pictures being wrong side up.)

After dinner we walked through part of the north end of the Little Italy neighborhood and it was great! Great people watching - lots of tourists but also lots of small eateries with four or five tables in them, windows open to the streets and flower boxes on every window. We didn't plan this, but we walked past Paul Revere's home and then sat on the waterfront for a little bit before retiring. This statue of Christopher Columbus overlooks Long Wharf, where our hotel was built.

Other Miscellany
-We're watching Cake Boss on TLC right now.
-Ships occassionally honk (do ships honk?) as they anchor/leave the harbor next to our hotel.
-I bought three pairs of shoes at the Rockport Outlet today, for a total savings of $200!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday in Maine

After attending church at First Congregational Church in Camden, Mom and I headed to the Down East/Acadia region of Maine. Heading along Route 1, we stopped through several small towns, all situated along various bays and inlets. You can see from the picture below that Belfast is home to the "Oldest Shoe Store in America." An attribute that I love about Maine thus far is the number of flags hanging in every town we encounter. From telephone poles to store fronts, Old Glory is hung liberally in small towns across Maine.

Somewhere between Bucksport and Acadia National Park, we stopped at a small road side stand and purchased a quart of strawberries. The air smelled of strawberries as soon as we got out of the car. No joke. This little old man was placing strawberries into cardboard quarts; his fingers were stained red and he had a typical Mainer accent. Combine the smell with the precious 80-something salesman and I could not resist. The strawberries were perfectly ripe - imagine biting into a strawberry and having juice explode from it. That was my experience today!

One of the main attractions I wanted to visit in Maine was the Acadia National Park. At the time of its creation, it was the first national park on the East coast. It is a beautiful park that takes you from the shoreline to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Mom and I drove the 30-mile loop through the park taking time to stop at various attractions including the one pictured below. Sand Beach is one of the few sandy beaches along Maine's coastline, however it is only for those not faint at heart. In the summertime, the water only reaches high's of 50 degrees! Even the breeze is cold; I almost needed a jacket to enjoy my climb down to the beach. Mom stayed on top of the cliffside while I climbed down and she took the picture for me:)

This next picture cracks. me. up. The next attraction we stopped at in the park was Thunder Hole (I think that's what it is called). Basically it's a rocky inlet that sounds like thunder when the tide is coming in. Unfortunately we viewed it during low tide so we did not experience any "thunder." There were some cool views though. I asked this guy to take my mom and I's picture and this is what we got. Haha.

We pulled into Bar Harbor to check out the famous Maine town. We both decided it was a little too touristy for both of us though. The view of the harbor was beautiful and the town homes were gorgeous but we both preferred the quaintness of small towns we had previously visited. While returning to Belfast for dinner and to stay the night, Mom drove through the first rain of our trip. We cruised down to the waterfront (what else would you do in Maine?) for dinner and ended up eating at the Lookout Pub. This place was totally a hole in the wall, and I'm pretty sure it was mainely (pun intended) locals plus us. Mom and I were both in the mood for a good burger and that's exactly what we got.

Other Miscellany:
-I have slowly been finishing the last unit of my Hebrews study. I wanted to share a verse from 1 Timothy 6:6 that I love. "Yet true godliness with contentments is itself great wealth."
-My dad is at home (Happy Father's Day!) and while visiting this morning he mentioned that Johnnie Reb chased the heifer next to the house twice during the middle of last night. She is officially sleeping in her kennel tonight.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday in Maine

This morning started with a visit to Len Libby's in Scarborough, Maine to visit Lenny. Lenny is a life size moose made out of chocolate. I couldn't think of a more delightful way to start my Saturday!

Mom and I then headed northeast to the Rockland - Camden area which is considered mid-coast Maine. It was nice to get off of the interstate and cruise on some county roads. Before arriving at our destination for the evening we stopped in Augusta to check out the state's capital city. Sadly, nothing much was happening. August is situated on the banks of the Kennebec river which is beautiful, and the capital building itself is gorgeous. However, the downtown area could use some revitalizing. After visiting the Maine State Museum we stopped in the next town over to have lunch at Hattie's Chowder House.

After another short 45 minute drive we found ourselves in some of the quaintest towns we have found so far. We are staying in the Samoset Resort which is located just south of Camden on Penobscot Bay. The resort has amazing views and is located near a beautiful lighthouse. While my mom rested I walked out on a granite walkway and climbed the lighthouse. It was amazing. The view below is walking back toward the resort from the lighthouse. I didn't realize how much I would enjoy seeing lighthouses but I am totally digging them.

We drove north to Camden for dinner and ate at the Bayview Lobster restaurant. Our service was sub-par but the food was great. I had fried Haddock and sweet potato fries and my mom had pan-seared scallops. My Haddock was done really well, the breading was really light, but my mom's scallops were great. Kind of sweet, and perfectly done. Obviously the picture below is not of our food:) We ate on the dock and the view was spectacular - Camden is super quaint and the people watching on the dock can't be beat. We watched the crew from this ship the entire time we ate. I loved the American flag they had attached to their sails and couldn't resist snapping a photo.

Other Miscellany -
-I found my phone charger! Yay, thanks God! It was hiding in my carry-on bag and got buried beneath the plethora of magazines I brought to read.
-Blueberry ice cream is delightful. Mom and I both had a scoop following dinner.
-People who sail love dogs. I'm not sure this is a fact, but there was an obscene number of dogs on the deck tonight.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mom and Me in Maine

Mom and I headed to Maine for a week-long vacation. It nigh took us awhile to locate our hotel last night, but after multiple u-turns and requests for directions we were successful. Day 1 (today) was great! Mom had her first (and maybe her last) Maine lobster as pictured below. We asked for the best place in Portland to get Maine and multiple people recommended the Portland Lobster Company. We enjoyed eating on the dock, resting in the shade and feeding french fries to the little Shitzu at the table next to us. (Side note: Petie, the Shitzu, wasn't actually seated at the table, but she belonged to the owner's at the table next to us.)

After lunch, mom and I took a tour of the harbor. I was a little nervous about getting sea sick but it was actually very relaxing. I have been wanting to see Maine's Oldest Headlight and finally I did! In addition to being the oldest in Maine, it is the second oldest in America. We also managed to see a couple of sea lions and our own version of Deadliest Catch - a couple of lobster boats bringing in the day's catch.

I am hoping for more free internet tomorrow, and if there is you can rest assured more pictures will follow. On a couple of other notes - I did forget my phone charger so please don't call. :) Haha. That sounds mean, but I'm just trying to save you the effort because my phone is off.
Also, please pray for the family of Gary Ledger, the advisor of Las Vegas (NM) FFA. He passed away on Wednesday night in a car accident. I don't know the details but I counted him a friend even though I knew him only as an acquaintance. There is something about the bond we share as Ag teachers that makes him feel even closer than he was. Please keep his family, friends and students in your prayers.

Monday, June 7, 2010


That's exactly what the past two weeks have been - a whirlwind. From Texas to California and with three weddings in between, the past two weeks have flown by in a flurry of activity. I have treasured the craziness of it all because I have been encouraged by the fellowship I have shared and the great memories made. I have tried to share enough pictures to briefly share where we have been and all we have done. I will post more in the coming weeks (I hope) about each of the weddings because they were unique and beautiful...and I love weddings!

Anna and I stayed with our great Uncle Frank and Aunt Flora in western New Mexico on the first night of our trip to Texas. It was wonderful seeing them and they both looked great.

Anna and I left Grants and headed further east to the small town of Clarendon for Alix and Ben's wedding. The ceremony was held outside overlooking a canyon on the ranch that Ben manages. The immediate picture below is of Anna and I in the aisle after the wedding and the second picture is of Alix, the bride, and myself. If I were you looking at the picture of Anna and I, my response would be "Bless her heart, her hair is super windblown." Alix was a stunning bride!

The day after Alix's wedding, Anna and I traveled south to Lubbock to meet Ty and Whitney for lunch; they took us to Cafe J which was delightful. I've been dreaming of their burger since. (Check out my sister's review of the Cafe here.) Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of Ty and Whitney:( We left Lubbock after lunch and headed to Artesia, New Mexico to meet our friend Jennifer whom I met through blogging. Jennifer and her husband welcomed us into their home and I just loved meeting her in person. Pictured with us below is Jennifer and her son. Check out her blog here for more pictures.

After two days back at work last week, I started the craziness of a two day wedding extravaganza. I was a bridesmaids in two weddings, two days in a row in two different states. How's that for crazy? Wedding numero uno was in Goodyear on Friday - my good friend Holly Schindler (now Clements) married Michael. Holly and I met through FFA when we were in high school and then became better friends as we went to UA together. The wedding was held in St. Thomas Aquinas and the reception was held down the road at Tuscany Falls. Both the ceremony and the reception were absolutely beautiful, and Holly made a lovely bride. The dress she is wearing in the picture is not her wedding dress, this was taken just prior to our professional photos.

Wedding numero dos was held in Parkfield, California which is about an hour and a half north east of San Luis Obispo. I caught a flight on Saturday morning, the bride's father picked me up and about four hours after landing in Cali I was ready to go for pictures. I met Kirsten through FFA in high school (all roads lead to FFA!) and then we became really good friends in college. She married Scottie the Hottie whom I love. Their wedding was held outdoors and was a rockin' good time!

I caught a ride back to San Luis Obispo yesterday and had lunch with a great friend I met in grad school who is now teaching at Cal Poly. I am so thankful we had time to catch up over lunch and I finally got to meet their beautiful baby, Reagan.

I had a migraine starting going into lunch and it was killing me afterwards. My friend Kodi, who was also at Kirsten's wedding, had run inside to use the restroom and came out to find head was killing me and the sun was so bright so I thought I would lay down while still guarding our luggage. This picture pretty much sums up how I was feeling yesterday though - worn out! I am back at school this morning making final preparations for our State FFA Conference in Tucson later this week. I have some deadlines I need to meet this week, so too-do-loo for now. I will hopefully post pictures from each wedding later this week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Memories

Two years ago, Anna and I set out for Taos, New Mexico over the Memorial Day weekend. The trip was part of my college graduation gift to my sister and it included white water rafting down the Rio Grande. We drove through snow in Flagstaff as we merged from Interstate 17 to the I-40 which was crazy considering it was almost June. The trip was awesome and since then have pledged to make an annual sister's trip somewhere...which leads me to this year's trip: a road trip to Texas for a wedding with plenty of visiting with family and friends on the way there and back. We leave tomorrow for Grants, New Mexico where we will stay with our great aunt and uncle, Flora and Frank. Saturday we are headed to Clarendon, Texas for our friend, Alix's, wedding. Sunday will take us to Lubbock to have lunch with Ty and Whitney and dinner with Jennifer in Roswell. Monday will be all driving! I know life will continue to change and get busier, but I am so thankful that my sister and I have agreed to make time for each other a priority each year. I'll be sure to post some fun pictures once we return.
Also, since it is Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to say thank you to all United States veterans and current military personnel. I appreciate your commitment and service to our country, knowing the sacrifice that is required. I pray you are safe in your service and that your family has peace as you are away.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How Mexico treats illegal aliens (

A hypocrite is defined as someone who pretends to have a certain set of beliefs, virtues or morals but does not actually possess them. By this definition Felipe Calderon, Mexico's president, is a hypocrite. Mexico's own immigration laws are stricter than our own, yet he criticizes Arizona for trying to enforce laws similar to their own. Shame on him. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

How Mexico treats illegal aliens (

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who pays for welfare?

Have you ever asked someone on welfare where their money actually comes from? I haven't taken the liberty to do so, and don't plan on doing so anytime soon, but I sure hope that the woman in this interview is not indicative of the rest of American's on welfare.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chipotle Pot Roast

Before I post a delicious beef recipe, I have to share a quote from Jan Brewer, Arizona's governor: "I find it really interesting that we have people out there that are attempting to boycott in favor of illegal actions in Arizona. That to me is just unbelievable."

Well said Governor Brewer, well said. That quote pretty much sums up my perspective on how ridiculous the opponents of 1070 really are. How can you actually support illegal action in the United States? If I find time today, I may send that quote to the United Nations and ask them to reconsider their recent ponderings of pursuing legal action against Arizona for exactly these reasons. The state bill upholds federal law. Pure. and. simple.

And without further adieu, the recipe for Chipotle Pot Roast

3 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 boneless beef chuck shoulder pot roast (3- 3.5 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup ready-to-serve beef broth
1/2 cup dark beer (I used Coors Light because that's what I had. It worked just fine!)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place beef pot roast in stockpot; brown evenly. Remove pot roast; pour off drippings and set aside. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

2. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to stockpot. Cook and stir onion and garlic 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth, beer, tomato paste, and chipotle peppers; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to bottom of stockpot are dissolved. Return pot roast to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2 to 3 hours or until pot roast is fork tender.

Recipe courtesy of: "The Healthy Beef Cookbook."

Hints and Tricks (learned the hard way by yours truly)
-I had a 2 pound pot roast, which was perfect since I live by myself. However, if you half all other ingredients you definitely should not double the amount of chipotle peppers you add. I did this on accident thinking that 1 tablespoon looked "awfully scant." So I doubled it...and I could definitely tell.

-Make sure you brown the pot roast really well - this lends a deeper flavor to the sauce that you are simmering the pot roast in. Give the roast ample time to really brown.

-I recommend serving this delightly spicy pot roast with cheddar mashed potatoes or a simple risotto. Both work very well with the spiciness of the pot roast.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Cost of Illegal Immigration

1070. This used to be any 'ol number; now it's known for demonizing many in Arizona for wanting to enforce federal laws in regard to illegal immigration. I've been meaning to blog for weeks about this whole topic but I keep getting side tracked. If I'm not sidetracked, I tend to get a little overwhelmed with the enormity of the whole thing. But I need to eat this elephant one bite at a time, so here goes nothing. I am a proud American agriculturalist and I have heard enough. I plan on sharing my opinion and heart on topics ranging from securing the border to illegal immigration in the coming weeks. You may not agree with me on everything, but I pray you'll consider the opposing argument. I will do my best to verify my arguements and supplement them with facts.

To start with, let's talk about the cost of illegal immigration. The facts below speak for themselves:

1. $11 - $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments. Verify at:

2. $2.2 billion a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens. Verify at:

3. $2.5 billion a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens. Verify at:

4. $12 billion a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English. Verify at:

This link did not work for me. I did find information on that pooh-poohed th entire report on cost to taxpayers to support illegals. The following link places the actual yearly education cost for illegals at more than $28 billion per year. Verify at:

5. During 2005 there were 4-10 million illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border with as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from terrorist countries. Millions of pounds of narcotics crossed into the United States through the Southern Border. Verify at: Homeland Security report.

6. The National Policy Institute estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion. This is an average of $41-$46 billion annually over a five year period. Verify at:

I couldn't find the link...but you should check out the website anyway. They have some good stuff.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Birthday J!

Happy birthday JM, you've entered the double digit stage of your life! I love your sweet nature, especially the way you're willing to hold my hand when we take a walk, even if it is just to the barn. You make me laugh at the silliest things, and I am so thankful for your uncomplicated approach to life.
You are already so intelligent and have such zeal for learning. You've amazed me at your ability to absorb information at such a young age. I can't wait to see the things you will learn the older you get and the places you will "go" by the books you read.

I love you, and am thankful you're my nephew. Have a great day buddy!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ranch Wife 101

Wyoming Ranch Wife posted these guidelines on her blog recently; I still think they're applicable to most women in ranch situations whether you're married to a cowboy or not. Y'all know that I'm far from married, yet I can still vouch that these really do happen!

1. Always load your horse last in the trailer so it is the first one unloaded. By the time he's got his horse unloaded, you will have your cinch pulled and be mounted up and ready to go - lessening the chance of him riding off without you with your horse trying to follow while you are still trying to get your foot in the stirrup.

2. Never - and I repeat never - ever believe the phrase "We'll be right back," when he asked you to help him do something out on the ranch. The echoing words, "this will only take a little while" have filtered through generations of ranch wives and still today should invoke sincere distrust in the woman who hears them.

3. Always know there is NO romantic intention when he pleadingly asks you take a ride in his pickup with him around the ranch while he checks waters and looks at cattle. What that sweet request really means is he wants someone to open the gates.

4. He will always expect you to quickly be able to find one stray in a four-section brush-covered pasture, but he will never be able to find the mayonnaise jar in four-square feet of regrigerator.

5. Count every head of everything you see - cattle especially, but sometimes horses, deer, quail or whatever moves. Count it in the gate, out the gate or on the horizon. The first time you don't count is when he will have expected that you did. That blank eyelash-batting look you give him when he asks "How many?" will not be acceptable.

6. Know that you will never be able to ride a horse or drive a pickup to suit him. Given the choice of jobs, choose throwing the feed off the back of the pickup. If he is on the back and you are driving, the oportunity for constant criticism of speed, ability and your eyesight will be utilized to the full extent. "How in the *$&# could you NOT see that hole?"

7. Never let yourself be on foot in the alley when he is sorting cattle horseback. When he has shoved 20 head of running, bucking, kicking yearlings at you and then hollers "Hold 'em, hold 'em" at the top of his lungs, don't think that you can do it without the loss of life or limb. Contrary to what he will lead you to believe, walking back to the house is always an option that has been used throughout time.

8. Don't expect him to correctly close the snap-on tops on the plastic refrigerator containers, but know he will expect you to always close every gate. His reasoning, the cows will get out; the food will not.

9. Always praise him when he helps in the kitchen - the very same way he does when you help with the ranch work - or not.

10. Know that when you step out of the house you move from the "wife" department to "hired hand" status. Although the word "hired" indicates there will be a paycheck that you will never see, rest assured you will have job security. The price is just right. And most of the time you will be "the best help he has" even if it is because you are the ONLY help he has.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Night and Snowy

No, I do not mean Snowy Night. Haha. Night and Snowy are the two beautiful chickens that my nephew and niece showed at the Verde Valley Fair tonight. It was their first time showing through 4-H and the entire family was proud of their performance. Despite the gale force winds and sand in my eyes (the wind is a sure sign that it is fair time), the night still proved to be a memorable one. I sometimes forget how nostalgic the fairgrounds of my youth is - lots of familiar places and smells. Fairgrounds bring back great memories for lots people, what's your favorite fairground memory?

D did great showing Snowy. (Please don't be confused by Snowy's dark appearance.) D showed in the booster class - we were confident that she would win it, but they announced that all booster's were winners. :) Great job D!

J was so relaxed while he held Night outside of the showring but as soon as he got his chicken set up he tensed up a bit; please note his left hand firmly holding Night to the table. J did enjoy himself but he finally needed a little break while the judge took his time (45 minutes for seven novice members) to thoroughly question each member about their chicken project.

I ran into my good friend from high school, Amy Badger. It was great seeing her! Dad is holding G and P was taking a break on my lap from kicking the dirt and dancing like a crazy man. Please don't hold my crazy wind blown hair against me.

G even had a chance to enter her drawing of a caterpillar in the art contest - her caterpillar was "really big and pink." Yep, that's her direct quote folks. She wasn't willing to pose for a picture, but even I had trouble smiling since it was 7:30 and my blood sugar was dropping...we ended the night with dinner at Hacienda, a local Mexican food place that holds a dear place in my heart.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Katy's Cakes

I couldn't resist posting pictures of the cake I made for one of my best friend's bridal shower today - it was a four-layer chocolate round cake with buttercream frosting. Holly's wedding colors are chocolate brown with pink and orange accent colors. I left the buttercream white and then did orange and pink polka dots around the side and placed pink roses on top. I think it turned out pretty good if I can say so myself!

I am just starting to dabble in cake making and am starting to think that I could moonlight as a cake decorator on my weekends...okay, maybe not because extra time is non-existent in my life, but it's a thought. I pray about my future lots and I would love to eventually earn money through food preparation someway - a small catering business, bakery or coffee shop could eventually be in my future. For the time being though, say hello to the humble beginnings of Katy's Cakes! If you know of anyone in the West Valley who is interested in buying small to medium cakes that are affordably priced, please give them my number.

My next goal is to make and decorate a multi-tiered round cake...and don't you worry, I will definitely post pictures of that!

PS - I wanna give my sister a shout out because she threw an incredible shower - beautiful in every way including the invitations, food and favors. Check out her blog here for her posting of the details...if they're not up, check back!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

I don't recall where I found this recipe, but it's a delightful treat especially in the heat of summer! I couldn't resist making it last night because I bought a HUGE container of luscious strawberries at Costco this past weekend. Enjoy!

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles
In a blender, whirl 2 cups rinsed, hulled strawberries until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 1-quart glass measure; discard seeds. (I usually skip that step because the seeds don't bother me and I'm usually in a hurry.) Return berry puree to blender and whirl in 1/2 cup light sour cream, 2-3 tablespoons sugar (to taste), and 2 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth. Pour into popsicle mold; freeze for three hours and up to one week.

Keep on Keepin' On

One of the first things we do in my bible study every Thursday night is review the things we have learned thus far about the book of Hebrews. I'll share a couple of these truths:
  • It is a letter of exhortation written to Jewish Christians.
  • The recipients of the letter were being severely persecuted and were in danger of shrinking back to their belief in Old Testament practices.
  • The recipients were well versed in Old Testament scripture.

We typically spend several minute doing this; the repetition has cemented a lot of truths in our minds as we review and repeat the same things each week. Something new that hit home last week was the basic premise that when the outlook on life looks really bleak, we need to remain confident in Christ by keeping our eyes firmly on Him and the promise we have been given. This is a great reminder because we've all been there when our week is going terrible and it only seems to be getting worse. However, as I briefly mentioned in my previous post, our lives look pretty sweet compared to some of the persecution referred to in biblical times. Consider Hebrews 10:32-34:

"But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly being made a spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property..." (emphasis mine)

While the great conflict of sufferings is not described in detail, we can be sure that their property was seized. This could mean that their home had been taken away and maybe all their livestock. Can you imagine having your home, vehicle or business seized simply because you confess to be a Christian? While this may not happen in America today, the reality is this still happens in countries across the globe; praise God for the freedoms we often take for granted. As a way of encouraging the recipients of his letter, the author goes on to quote Habakkuk 2:4a, "But my righteous one shall live by faith." Why would this small quote be so significant or encouraging?

The prophet Habakkuk was questioning God about the current state of affairs in Judah - there were many evil people and he wanted to know why they were not being punished. He cries out in the first couple of verses of chapter one stating that the wicked are surrounding the righteous and justice is never upheld. God replies, "I am doing something" (1:5) for "I am raising up the Chaldeans" (1:6). The Chaldeans (Babylonians) are described as the fierce and impetuous people who came for violence and to mock kings; Babylon was the world's rising super power at the time. God was making it clear that Judah's impending judgment would come at the hands of a nation more wicked than Judah? How is that encouraging? While this seems to be at odds with the very nature of God, Habakkuk trusted God's purpose in using the Chaldeans to accomplish His purpose in His time. He ends the short book of Habakkuk with this (3:17-19):

"Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet, and make me walk on my high places."

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, the Hebrews were familiar with Old Testament scripture. When the author of Hebrews referred to Habakkuk, they fully understood that Judah's judgment was fierce and ugly yet the prophet remained hopeful in spite of this knowledge. How can we too be hopeful with the knowledge that our walk as Christians may get harder before it gets easier? Like Habakkuk reminded us at the close of his book, we must rejoice in our Lord knowing that He is our strength, and in all things He is purposeful. Not everything in our life will be good, but God will work all things for our good in the end (Romans 8:28).

While applying this to my own life last week, I described it as being something kind of like an out of body experience. I have to endure the struggles and challenges that I face with my physical body in the temporal world, knowing that Christ is purposeful in all that we experience. We have to keep our eyes and mind on the things of above so that we can exult in the Lord, and rejoice in the God of our salvation. We must be confident that we can endure all things if we choose to live by faith in God (Habakkuk 2:4/Hebrews 10:38a).

I pray you are encouraged by God's reminder; I am going to re-visit the idea of living by faith in an upcoming post so if you get a chance, check out Hebrews 11 in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Worth Quoting

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke

I'm not sure if Mr. Burke ever thought of Jesus when he said this, but I sure do. Praise God for Jesus doing something and His subsequent victory over death.

I'm sorry I've been AWOL for awhile - I no longer have internet at mi casa, so I type blogs and then post them at work before or after school. I have a blog ready to go but am having trouble copying and pasting it into the blog. (Sorry, I'm a techno peasant sometimes!) Anyway, I promise to get another blog up by weeks end.

God bless!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By Faith

I am nearing the end of my year-long study of the book of Hebrews and it has been so rewarding. Challenging at times, but mostly rewarding as I have gleaned greater depth of understanding into the word of God which so masterfully illustrates why and how Jesus became the better sacrifice allowing us to enter God’s presence. I entered chapter 11 this week where the author begins recounting the faithfulness of past individuals who lived in faithful expectation of receiving God’s promise. I love this chapter. It is motivating, encouraging and renewing. Too often I get bogged down in thinking about how hard or miserable my situation is when in reality I know my situation is pretty sweet compared to Old Testament times. I don’t have much more to say in light of the scripture I share below, but I pray you also are encouraged by reading it today.

Hebrews 11:32-40

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

(emphasis mine)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Easter

In light of the upcoming celebration of the ressurection of Jesus, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon what He has done for me. Through my (almost) year long study of the book of Hebrews, I have learned so much about the sacrifice that Jesus made and the symbolism involved in the Old Testament system of offering gifts and sacrifices. God never desired the sacrifice of calves and goats for they never cleansed the consciousness of the sinner. Jesus was the one time, all-perfect and all-satisfying sacrifice that cleansed our consciousnesses of sin. When Jesus returns a second time, He will do so without reference to our sin. Praise God for His mercy and the merciful provision of His perfect Son.

I pray you have a restful Easter holiday. Don't forget what we are truly celebrating - the death and ressurection of Christ our King. May the following hymn remind you of what was completed in Jesus.

The atoning work is done,
The Victim's blood is shed;
And Jesus now has gone
His people's cause to plead.
He stands in heaven, their great High Preist,
And bears their names upon His breast.

He sprinkled with His blood
The mercy-seat above;
For justice had withstood
The purposes of love:
But justice now withstands no more,
And mercy yields its boundless store.

No temple made with hands
His place of service is;
In heaven itself He stands,
A heavenly priesthood His:
In Him the shadows of the law
Are all fulfilled, and now withdraw.

And though awhile He be
Hid from the eyes of men,
His people look to see
Their great High Priest again:
In brightest glory He will come
And take His waiting people home.

by Thomas Kelly

For more information on why or how Jesus replaced the Old Covenant system of sacrificing calves and goats read the book of Hebrews. The book is wonderfully saturated with explanations on how Jesus is the better sacrifice; I'm studying chapter nine at the moment and this chapter has helped prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus' ressurection.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Quick Update

I know, I know, it has been a loooong time since I've posted. I'm on my lunch break now so I thought I'd try to give a quick synopsis of the big and little happenings of my life as of late. I was in desperate need of spring break two weeks ago, and God was surely good to me over my week-long break. I soaked up some precious time with my family and loved every second. The weather has been awesome, and I love spending time outside.

My sister took me to the little mining town of Bisbee in southeastern Arizona. Anna and I both love this part of the state and plan to rendevouz down there again sometime. While in Bisbee we toured the Queen mine, ate at Jimmy's Hot Dog stand and enjoyed some great Mexican food. And one of the best part's was getting to catch up with a good friend of our's from college, Brita. We headed to Douglas on Saturday night to eat dinner with Brita and her boyfriend (Randy smoked chicken, salmon and pork....and it was awesome) and then kicked up our heels at the Douglas Fairgrounds for a late St. Patty's Day celebration. We're sitting on the steps of the Bisbee public library in the picture below (L-R: me, Brita and Anna).

The week following spring break was awesome - teaching went well and I enjoyed seeing my students again. I invited a bunch of friends over this past weekend for a big chile relleno fest. It was my first time to make this concoction in my kitchen and it turned out pretty well. I also made homemade beans and spanish rice to go along with it. I'd like to post recipe from this past weekend's cooking fest, so I'll try to get to that soon.

Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for checkin' in!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The ABC's of Me!

I've seen several blogger buddies post their ABC's in the recent weeks, so I thought I would too.

A- Age: 27

B- Bed size: full; my parents refinished my great-grandmother's bedroom set and gave it to me as a birthday gift in high school so I've had a full bed since then. And I love it!

C- Chore you hate: pulling weeds

D- Dog's name: Johnnie Reb (referred to as JR on my blog, and yes she is a female, hence the "ie" on the end of her name)

E- Essential Food/Item: mini-food processor. It changed my life, my cooking life that is.

F- Favorite color: yellow

G- Gold or Silver: silver

H- Height: 5' 8 1/2" - I believed I was 5' 9" for most of my adult life until my sister made me measure my height and to my dismay I discovered I had lost a half inch. I guess I didn't really lose it, I never really had it. But it felt like I lost it. I've since moved on:-)

I- I am: daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, cousin. Daughter of the Living God.

J- Job: High School Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor - sometimes I can't believe I still go to high school everyday.

K- Kids: none, unles you count the 130 students I interact with on a daily basis.

L- Living Arrangements: 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom house that I bought after teaching only two weeks. I was really greedy about purchasing a house as soon as I got a "real job" but am so thankful the Lord has provided.

M- Mom's name: Mary Beth

N- Nickname: KJ, Katy-Joanie-Bonie, Ms. G, Kate-dawg, The Terminator (my student's call me that behind my back...j/k)

O- Overnight hospital stay: when I was born

P- Pet peeve: when people guilt me into socializing with them. Sometimes after I've been surrounded and questioned by 130 needy students all day the last thing I want to do is make small talk or hang out. I know, I know, I sound like a loner, but sometimes I just need a little peace and quiet.

Q- Quote from a movie: I can't remember any lines from a movie. I have a terrible memory.

R- Right or Left Handed: right

S- Siblings: Paul (older) and Anna (younger), both married to wonderful people!!

T- Time you wake up: please don't freak out...4:30am

U- Unique thing about your car: I have two decals on it stating that I'm an alum from the University of Arizona AND Florida!

V- Vegetable you hate: green olives...are the even a veggie?

W- Ways you run late: late bus drivers on school trips and late students

X- X-rays you've had: feet, ankles, chest and teeth

Y- Yummy food you make: I'm making refried beans tonight...and I hope they change my life. Other things I like to make and think I'm pretty good at: Shepherd's pie, peanut butter/chocolate chips/oatmeal cookies....that's about all I can think of while smelling these yummy beans in the background right now.

Z- Zoo favorite: elephants!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I do what I do

So. I was grumpy and tired today. I am in dire need of spring break. Code Blue. Stat. NOW!!! I don't know how else to convey the sheer necessity of a break at this moment in time. The third quarter (January - March) is super busy and can be super stressful for me. I started praying about the preparation of my heart, mind and physical strength long before I started school in January, but 10 weeks can be a marathon. And I am at my point of breaking.

I know this to be true when my fuse is short and kids drive me nuts all day. Typically I am one of the most patient people I know. However, today, there wasn't much that didn't make me want to scream. There's only so many times I can repeat the same thing for 130+ students in one day.

Anyway, I was reminded this evening of "why I do what I do." 28 of my students are presenting in 10 elementary classrooms tomorrow morning; they will be teaching them how seeds turn into plants. An essential element of farming plants so that we can harvest food, right? I'm so excited for them to do this, however like all activities it requires planning and preparation. After a day like today, teaching for an additional hour after school to prepare students for another presentation can be taxing.

But as I waited for round two of preparation I was encouraged. (Isn't God good?) Even on the longest of long days, even on the shortest of short fuses, God is still in control and can lift me up using the same students that drove me crazy earlier in the same day. Mariah and Adrian were reading the Dr. Suess book they are going to use tomorrow; they rotated reading the pages. They laughed quietly exclaiming that this book taught them more about this process than they had ever learned before. And they were excited. Excited about teaching first and second graders about a process inherent to the success of agricultural crops.

What a day. God reminded me that I love my job. And sometimes I just need a gentle reminder.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Beef Choices

In an effort to educate cattle producers across the nation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) started a program called the Master’s of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program. Upon acceptance into the program you work through six courses that will not only educate you on modern beef production, but also better equip you to communicate the correct message when talking with consumers and adversaries. I have been enrolled in the program for about six months now and have completed a whopping 6% of my coursework!! Yay me. Real productive, I know. Anyway, in an effort to better retain the information I am learning about, I will be reporting to you! Aren’t you excited??? I’ll be your tour guide on this venture through the land of lean beef.

There are four choices consumers have today when it comes to method of beef production that affect the steak they can purchase at the store. There are many misconceptions and misuses of buzz words such as organic, natural and grass fed. In an effort to clear up some of the haze, please note the following clarifications.

1. Grain Finished Beef – these cattle on raised eating grass for most of their life; when they are about a year old they are placed on a ration of 70-90% concentrates (i.e. cereal grains) for anywhere for four to six months. The majority of beef in the US is grain finished.

2. Natural Beef – the USDA defines natural as “minimally processed and no additives.” By this definition most meat at your grocer is natural. Due to the loose definition of natural, there are many false claims surrounding this word. Naturally produced does not imply anything about growth hormones or antibiotic use.

3. Grass-fed Beef – most cattle spend the majority of their life eating grass; these cattle are finished on a forage based diet. Due to the need for grass consumption, most grass fed beef is imported from Australia where grass grows year round. Most consumers find that this type of beef has a distinct taste, much different than grain finished beef.

4. Certified Organic Beef – the USDA defined organic as beef cattle finished on a 100% organic feed, with no hormones and no antibiotics. Organic beef can be grain fed or grass fed. It is no safer or nutritious than any other type of beef; the only difference lies in the production method.

Today’s Take Home Message
Regardless of production method, American beef can meet the consumers’ demand for taste, nutrition and safety. Grocery stores offer a wider selection of beef products than ever before.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Johnnie Reb!!

As you may or may not know, I like to post pictures on the birthday of my family members. My dog is obviously not human, but she's like a kid for me so in honor of Johnnie Reb, today's blog post is in celebration of her first birthday. I got Johnnie Reb was she was just six weeks old and you can see that she was absolutely adorable as a pup.

I love loading her up in my truck and be-bopping around town or to taking her to visit my family. In the picture below, she was guarding my truck in the small town of Wellton, AZ on my first visit to my sister and brother-in-law's new house! She had really big ears for awhile so I'm glad she grew into them.

I soon changed my mind about leaving her in the cab of the truck after chewed several pages out of my prized planner, which in most cases acts as my short term memory. I was doing SAE visits (home visits) for my students last June and when I returned from visiting with a student's family, this was how she let me know that she wasn't pleased about being left behind.

I gave my dad a litter mate of JR's for a very, very early birthday present. Below Buck is on the right and JR is on the left. Buck is a great dog too, although is much stouter than JR. I love going home to visit my parent's and JR loves giving her brother a run for his money to see who is the most rambunctious and crazy dog!

Well, it's been a great year JR! I look forward to a couple more but I sure hope you grow out of this digging, chewing, plant-destroying phase that you're in. It sure makes things interesting now, but I would eventually like to see a garden of mine grow to fruition. I know you love me, right after your tennis ball, and am so glad that you're my little buddy.

PS-Thank you Sarah and Bryan Geiger for breeding such smart, fun and athletic Queensland Heeler's! I love both of you, and I love Janie too (JR's mom)!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is this enough to say?

Do you ever feel inadequate when praising God? I do, all the time. I wanted to share something from an insert in our church bulletin this past week. It's nice. (For those who know me well, you know that when I say nice, I say it in the most sincere manner.) But truly, it's far more than nice. Let this really soak in. Meditate on the characteristics of God which almost seem to be in opposition to each other, but are not, because it's God.

"You my God are supreme, utmost in goodness, mightiest and all powerful, most merciful and most just. You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you. You are the unseen power that brings decline upon the proud. You are ever active, yet always at rest. You gather all things to yourself, though you suffer no need. You support, you fill, and you protect all things. You create them, nourish them, and bring them to perfection; You seek to make them your own, though lack for nothing. You love your creatures, but with a gentle love. You treasure them but without apprehension. You grieve for wrong, but suffer no pain. You can be angry and yet serene. Your works are varied, but your purpose is one in the same. You welcome all who come to you, though you never lost them. You are never in need yet are glad to gain, never covetous yet you exact a return for your gifts. We give abundantly to you so that we may deserve a reward; yet which of us has anything that does not come from you? You repay us what we deserve, and yet you owe nothing to any. You release us from our debts, but you lose nothing thereby. You are my God, my Life, my holy Delight, but is this enough to say of you? Can any man say enough when he speaks of you? Yet woe befalls those who are silent about you! For even those are most gifted with speech cannot find words tod escribe you."

Augustine, Confessions, Book1, Part 4

Friday, February 26, 2010

Only a Farm Kid

A Montana rancher got in his pickup and drove to a neighboring ranch and knocked at the door. A young boy, about nine, opened the door.

"Is your Dad home?" the rancher asked. "No sir, he isn't," the boy replied. "He went into town."

"Well," said the rancher, "Is your Mother here?" "No sir, she's not here either. She went into town with Dad."

"How about your brother, Howard, Is he here?" "No sir, He went with Mom and Dad." The rancher stood there for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other and mumbling to himself.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" the boy asked politely. "I know where all the tools are, if you want to borrow one. Or maybe I could take a message for Dad."

"Well," said the rancher uncomfortably, "I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It's about your brother Howard getting my daughter, Suzie, pregnant."' The boy considered for a moment. "You would have to talk to Pa about that," he finally conceded. "If it helps you any, I know that Pa charges $500 for the bull and $50 for the hog, but I really don't know how much he gets for Howard."

I thought all you "aggies" would enjoy this! Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cowboy Boots

A little humor for your Friday...

Did you hear about the Texas teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why...even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, 'Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.' She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, 'These aren't my boots.' She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, 'Why didn't you say so?' like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, 'They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear 'em.' Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, 'Now, where are your mittens?' He said, 'I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.

She will be eligible for parole in three years.