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