About Me

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I am a twenty-something second year teacher living in the midwest. I am a Christian woman and proud of it! I am the middle child of three girls. I am the proud aunt of the very beautiful Lil E and Lil C!! I love TV, movies, reading, and baseball. I am in my second year of teaching , but my first year teaching kindergarten. It has been quite the journey!

26 January 2010

Three Cups of Amazingness!!

My school always chooses a Community Reading Project book. A bunch of people on campus read the book, they host discussions about it and then the author comes to talk/ sign books. This year our book is Three Cups of Tea, about the work of Greg Mortenson, building schools in Pakistan.

After a failed attempt at reaching the summit of a Pakistani mountain, Mortenson made a promise to a small Pakistani village that was without a school. He told them that he would return and construct a school for them. Mortenson raised the money needed for the school at home in the U.S. and eventually got the school built. He has since helped to build 131 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These schools are located in the vast underdeveloped rural areas of these countries, what Mortenson calls "the last best places." He believes that by improving the education of women you improve the life of the whole community and that we should work to eliminate terrorism through education not bombs.

I just finished the book and it was inspiring! Greg Mortenson is my new hero, the work he has done for children, especially girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan is amazing. His passion about fighting terrorism and war with education is truly inspirational.

He is coming to campus in April, but sadly I will be out of town. I knew I would miss his talk before I read the book, but after I was devastated, becuse I really really want to meet him now. Hopefully, a friend will be getting my book signed for me, wish I could meet him and tell him how much I appreciate his work!

Here is the website about the Central Asia Institute, the organization Greg started to help him build schools in Pakistan and other central Asian countries. https://www.ikat.org/ There is info about its history, donations, etc.

The book is full of fabulous quotes- here are some of my favs

"And like many Americans who worshipped at the temple of rugged individualism he had found the idea [of submitting to God] dehumanizing. But for the first time, kneeling among one hundred strangers, watching them wash away not only impurities, but also, obviously, the aches and cares of their daily lives, he glimpsed the pleasure to be found in submissiong to ritualized fellowship of prayer."

"Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel." Ok that one just made me smile.

"I have seen that community and a close relationship with the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication." Helena Norberg-Hodge

"I don't know if I particularly want to be remembered for anything. I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Everest. But my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than footprints on a mountain." Sir Edmund Hillary

That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I've ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We're the country of thiry minute power lunches, two-minute football drills. Our leaders thought their 'shock and awe' campaign could end the war in Iraq before it even started. Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them."

" 'I can't read it.' he said. 'I can't read anything. This is the greatest sadness in my life. I'll do anything so the children of my village never have to this feeling. I'll pay any price so they have the education they deserve." Haji Ali

"Jean was known for his scientific achievements. But I think he cared just as much about that little school in Korphe. He felt he was really leaving something behind." Jennifer Wilson

"He's the type of religious leader I admire most. He is about compassion in action, not talk. He doesn't just lock himself up with his books. Syed Abbas believes in rolling up his sleeves and making the world a better place."

"I've learned the world is a very large place and so far, I've only seen a little of it." Shakeela

"If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls."

"I wish Westerners who misunderstand Muslims could have seen Syed Abbas in action that day. They would see that most people who practice the true teachings of Islam, even conservative Mullahs like Syed Abbas, believe in peace and justice, not in terror. Juas as the Torah and Bible teach concern for those in distress, the Koran instructs all Muslims to make caring for widows, orphans and refugees a priority."

"In times of war you often hear leaders-- Christian, Jewish and Muslim--saying 'God is on our side' But that isnt' true. In war, God is on the side of the refugees, widows and orphans."

"I request America to look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorits, but good and simple people. Our land is strickedn with poverty because we are without education. But today, another candle of knowledge has been lit. In the name of Allah the Almighty, may it light our way out of the darkness, we find ourselves in." Syed Abbas

"The only wa we can defeat terrorism is if people in this country where terrorists exist learn to respect and love Americans and if we can respect and love these people here. What's the difference between becoming a productive local citizen or a terrorist? I think the key is education."

"This guy Greg quietly, doggedly heading back into a war zone to do battle with the real causes of terror is every bit as heroic as those firemen running up the stairs of the burning towers while everyone else was frantically trying to get out." Charlie Shimanski

"I want to be thoroughly used up when i die."

"I've learned a few things. I've learned that terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere lik Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death."

"If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books not bombs."

"You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever." General Bashir Baz

I am reading Mortenson's second book- Stones into Schools. There is also a children's book about the first school Mortenson built- Listen to the Wind. Check them out!

25 January 2010

In Defense of Taylor

Lately I've been reading some articles criticizing Taylor Swift and her song lyrics for sending young girls the wrong messages. The complaints I've heard have centered around two songs- "Fifteen" and "You Belong With Me." I find these criticisms fairly ignorant...

For reference, before I get on my rant, here are the lyrics to "Fifteen"
You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors
It's the morning of your very first day
And you say hi to your friends you ain't seen in a while
Try and stay out of everybody's way

It's your freshman year and you're gonna be here
For the next four years in this town
Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say
"You know, I haven't seen you around before"

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen feeling like there's nothing to figure out
Well, count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you're gonna be

You sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail
And soon enough you're best friends
Laughing at the other girls who think they're so cool
We'll be outta here as soon as we can

And then you're on your very first date and he's got a car
And you're feeling like flying
And you're momma's waiting up and you're thinking he's the one
And you're dancing 'round your room when the night ends
When the night ends

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin 'round
But in your life you'll do things greater than
Dating the boy on the football team
But I didn't know it at fifteen

When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now

Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind and we both cried

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen, don't forget to look before you fall
I've found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you're supposed to be
I didn't know who I was supposed to be at fifteen

Your very first day
Take a deep breath girl
Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors.

The article I read was saying that this song was sending bad messages to girls about what life was like at fifteen, that it was promoting some of the actions in the lyrics. I think if you listen to the song it is not promoting these activities. It is saying that things that you think are extremely important at fifteen aren't really that important in the scheme of your life. Dating a football player may seem like a big deal at 15, but it really isn't. Going all the way with a boy leads to heartache. Having bigger dreams that just love. I think that these are messages we want our young women to receive. These are definitely lessons I want my future daughters to learn. If these critics listened more carefully to the lyrics they would see that it is sending out good messages to young girls.

Here are the lyrics to the other criticized song "You Belong with Me."
You're on the phone with your girlfriend, She's upset
She's going off about something that you said
She doesnt get your humour like I do

I'm in the room, its a typical Tuesday night
I'm listening to the kind of music she doesnt like
And she'll never know your story like I do

But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts
She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers
Dreaming bout the day when you wake up and find
That what you're lookin for has been here the whole time

If you could see that I'm the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me
You belong with me

Walkin the streets with you in your worn out jeans
I cant help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on the park bench thinkin to myself
Hey isnt this easy?

And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town
I havent seen it in awhile, since she brought you down
You say you find I know you better than that
Hey, Whatcha doing with a girl like that?

She wears high heels, I wear sneakers
She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers
Dreaming bout the day when you wake up and find
That what you're looking for has been here the whole time

If you could see that I'm the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me

Standin by, waiting at your back door
All this time how could you not know that?
You belong with me
You belong with me

Oh I remember you driving to my house in the middle of the night
I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you're about to cry
I know your favorite songs and you tell me about your dreams
I think I know where you belong. I think I know it's with me.

Can't you see that I'm the one who understands you?
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me

Standing by or waiting at your back door
All this time how could you not know that
You belong with me
You belong with me

Have you ever thought just maybe
You belong with me
You belong with me

I find the person that was arguing that this song sends the wrong messages to young girls pretty crazy. Said person was arguing that this song is promoting girls sitting on the sidelines and not doing anything- i.e. the lines "I'm on the bleachers." However, I find this a very odd perspective. I feel like this line is saying that you don't have to be a cheerleader to fit in, get the boy, enjoy life... The point isn't that she is sitting there doing nothing, it is that she is choosing a different path, not the path of popularity and cheerleading, which is to be admired. Plus it's not like she is totally uninvolved, she is at a school sporting event. When I listen to the song I actually picture her, in that line, as a member of the band, sitting in the bleachers, playing for the football or basketball team. I think that the person who criticized this song, was taking one line out of context and using it to say that Taylor is anti-feminist, but I actually find this song and that line in context to be very pro-feminist- saying it is OK to be your own person and not fit that typical stereotype. The young woman in the song is going to be who she is and be loved for that.

I'm not saying that every one of Taylor Swift's song is a banner for feminism (Love Story, probably not so much, Fearless- probably yes) but I just took issue with the those picking at these particular songs.


21 January 2010

I Haven't Met You Yet

I was driving home from school the other day and I heard this song:

I'm Not Surprised
Not Everything Lasts
I've Broken My Heart So Many Times,
I Stop Keeping Track.
Talk Myself In
I Talk Myself Out
I Get All Worked Up
And Then I Let Myself Down.

I Tried So Very Hard Not To Loose It
I Came Up With A Million Excuses
I Thought I Thought Of Every Possibility

And I Know Someday That It'll All Turn Out
You'll Make Me Work So We Can Work To Work It Out
And I Promise You Kid That I'll Give So Much More Than I Get
I Just Haven't Met You Yet

Mmmmm ....

I Might Have To Wait
I'll Never Give Up
I Guess It's Half Timing
And The Other Half's Luck
Wherever You Are
Whenever It's Right
You Come Out Of Nowhere And Into My Life

And I Know That We Can Be So Amazing
And Baby Your Love Is Gonna Change Me
And Now I Can See Every Possibility

Mmmmm ......

And Somehow I Know That It Will All Turn Out
And You'll Make Me Work So We Can Work To Work It Out
And I Promise You Kid I'll Give So Much More Than I Get
I Just Haven't Met You Yet

They Say All's Fair
And In Love And War
But I Won't Need To Fight It
We'll Get It Right
And We'll Be United

And I Know That We Can Be So Amazing
And Being In Your Life Is Gonna Change Me
And Now I Can See Every Single Possibility

Mmmm .....

And Someday I Know It'll All Turn Out
And I'll Work To Work It Out
Promise You Kid I'll Give More Than I Get
Than I Get Than I Get Than I Get

Oh You Know It'll All Turn Out
And You'll Make Me Work So We Can Work To Work It Out
And I Promise You Kid To Give So Much More Than I Get
Yeah I Just Haven't Met You Yet

I Just Haven't Met You Yet
Oh Promise You Kid
To Give So Much More Than I Get

I Said Love Love Love Love Love Love Love .....
I Just Haven't Met You Yet
Love Love Love .....
I Just Haven't Met You Yet

And I was in love :) I love this song! I think it is fabulous and I think Michael Buble's voice is amazing! I'd heard him sing before and wasn't super impressed. After I heard this I listened to some of his other stuff and love it.

You can watch/listen here and fall in love yourself!

There's someone out there for you, you just haven't met him yet!

20 January 2010

The Wardrobe of a Young Teacher

I am currently working in an elementary school classroom (fifth grade) as part of my teacher education program at college. I just started last Monday, but I am loving it! My students are fabulous!!

One of the most exciting parts of starting this new part of my life was all the new clothes! I bought a few new pairs of pants and a skirt, but mostly I got new shirts. It was so much fun! I love my new professional wardrobe :) Here are a couple of my favs that I've worn so far...

This is what I wore on my first day of school! I love this dress! I got it at Target for like $42 dollars, but it was totally worth it! It was a touch low and since it was my first day I decided to wear a long-sleeved shirt under it. Not as cute as it would have been without, but it made a better first impression. (The gray long sleeved tee is from Old Navy, love it, I have it in four colors!) The gray tights are from Target and the cute corduroy flats are from Payless- $10!

This is one of my fav outfits I've worn! The plaid pants I got at the Steve and Barry's going out of business sale last year. They're Sarah Jessica Parker pants, dry clean only, but cute. The long sleeved green tee I think is from K-Mart a few years ago. The white jacket was a clearance buy at Kohls. I got it for $18 it was originally $90!!! Such a steal and I love it! The necklace was a gift, I think it went well with the ensem.

I wore this today, not my favorite outfit, but I liked it. The polka dot cardi is from Target, just 15 bucks! Under it is a gray lacy cami from who knows where? The red skirt is from Old Navy. Love it! It's cute, but modest enough. And of course black tights from either Target or Walmart.

I wish I'd taken a pic of my other fav outfit... next time I wear it. It involved a jean skirt and fuscia tights!

17 January 2010

My Golden Globe Tweets

Here's my feelings about the Golden Globes... via my tweets :) In opposite order, so read from the bottom up... sorry too lazy to reverse them and too sad cause George and Up in the Air lost.

At least some stuff I liked won... Can't wait for Oscar noms so I can see some more movies!!

Boo Avatar.

Well done Golden Globes, it's only 10:55 and you're presenting the final award, let's hope it's Up in the Air

D: So sad George didn't win, love him!

Just realized I never tweeted about Up winning, Yay!

ps Love Sandra's dress too :)

Yay for Sandra Bullock!!! The Blind Side was amazing!!!!!

I love Reese Witherspoon, but I definitely with (500) Days of Summer had won... The Hangover??? really??

Hooray for Glee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven't seen all of a Martin Scorsese movie (I think only part of The Aviator) but him tearing up as they talked about him was adorable.

seriously, have you seen Jane Lynch on Glee- amazing!!!! plus that girl, Chloe, seems like a jerk...

thinks that there should be a must be present to win rule... Alec Baldwin...let's give his award to Steve Carell

Gerard Butler and his sexy Irish accent make me want to watch P.S. I Love You really badly!!

awww Drew Barrymore. Love her, her dress- not so much...

woohoo Kevin Bacon! side note- Professor Lockhart's looking a little old...

has seen three of the five performances for best actress in a motion picture comedy/musical. Glad Meryl won for Julie/Julia.

loves her birthday buddy Tom Hanks!!!

is so happy that Juliana Margulies won and loves that she kissed George Clooney on her way up to the stage. :)

loves that Good Burger is a trending topic :)

watching the Golden Globes, hoping stuff that I like wins

09 January 2010

It's Hannah Montana what did you expect?

Lil sis and I recently watched the Hannah Montana movie. We're a bit old to be part of the fandom, but we've watched the show occasionally and admit that if we were 10 we would love her. She's the Lizzie McGuire of this generation. Plus we figured it would be fun and funny and we could mock it. Always a good time.

It was pretty much fine, except it ended really stupidly. (spoilers ahead, beware) Basically the plot is that Miley is tired of trying to be Miley and Hannah. At the end of the movie, Miley volunteers Hannah to sing a concert to save her hometown. At the concert she announces she can't keep living a double life and tells them who she is. A little girl yells that she can still be Hannah and they'll all keep her secret. She says OK and decides to keep being Hannah and Miley.

Wait, but how does that solve anything? Aren't we just right back at the beginning? Lil sis yells out, "That ISN'T a resolution!!!" I crack up because of the awesomeness and truth of her statement :) It really wasn't a resolution. Nothing was solved. She ended up in the same place it started. I guess it gave us more to mock.

Overall it made us laugh and roll our eyes and want to dance, so I guess afternoon well spent. And now we have a fab new movie quote to throw around!

06 January 2010

The Golden Compass: crap and controversy

Yesterday I watched the Golden Compass for the first time. I recently read the book as a part of a project for a class. I thought it was pretty good, it was very well-written and had a cliffhanger ending that had me wanting to read the other two books.

Over Christmas vacation, I have read the second and third books. I wasn't as thrilled with those as the first, but still they were well-written and compelling. The second and third were a big more explicit about the opposition to God and not just organized religion, which I wasn't crazy about.

Crap- (beware of spoilers)
Now to the crap- all that having been said I thought the movie was crap. Sure maybe the special effects were good and I loved Nicole Kidman's clothes, but I hated all of the changes. About halfway through the movie they threw in the scene of Lyra leaving Iorek Byrnison to cross an ice bridge, which totes happens at the very end of the movie. Then they switched the big adventure scenes so that the bear fight in Svalbard happened before the escape from Bolvangar, which in the books take place in the opposite way. I was already irked by these changes and then the movie abruptly ends with Lyra and Roger in Lee Scoresby's hot air balloon!!! What the??? This is not how the book ends. They chopped off Lyra meeting up with her dad, her dad blowing his way into other worlds and Roger DYING!!! A character dies and they just chopped that whole scene out!!! I couldn't handle it. That is not OK. geez. I was mad.

Controversy- (side note- this might come off at preachy, I don't mean to, I just feel passionately about this...)
There was much controversy when the movie came out regarding its views on religion. Many felt that the movie would be anti-religion, so the story was changed so that it focused on being more anti-establishment instead of just against religion. Had this been a change that the filmmakers made in order to enhance the story or for some artistic reason I could accept that. However the changes were made as to avoid controversy and to pander to the voices of many in the religious right and Catholics (side note- I am Catholic). The change was made so that they could make more money, since they would be offending fewer people. They sacrificed the integrity of their art to make more money and I don't believe that is right.

I also don't agree with the reasons that people found the film (which had not even come out yet) so offensive. I first off wonder how many of those who were so opposed to the movie and the novels have actually read the books. Probably not many. If they did they might see things differently. One of the main objections I've heard to the novels is that Pullman, the author, kills off God. Before reading the books I imagined that someone murdered God and some characters do actually plan to do so. However, in the book, God simply passes away, assumedly of natural causes. But he dies peacefully and in some ways beautifully. While there may be arguments about whether or not God can die or whether God dying is offensive, I think saying that God is killed is an exaggeration.

While people certainly have their right to their beliefs and to be offended by whatever they please, I don't think that is a reason to boycott or ban something. One lesson we always learn in schools about creating effective arguments is to understand and acknowledge the oppositon. If you don't agree with the message of Pullman's series (and I'm not sure that I agree with him)that doesn't mean his work is trash that should be disregarded. If you don't think what he's saying is right or valid, read his works, figure out why you disagree, figure out where he's got it wrong. Discuss, debate, analyze!!! Become an informed speaker on the subject, you will be taken much more seriously.

And don't prevent your kids from growing in this way as well. I'm not trying to tell people what their children should read. But before you censor things from your children consider two things.

1) Read the books/ see the movies that your children are interested in. You are the best judge for what your kids can handle, not the movie critics, the movie rating system or the blogs and TV personalities we watch (including me). Take the responsibility of deciding what is best for your children into your own hands.

2) Be open to allowing your children to read books/see movies that might express ideas or opinions you don't agree with. Allow them to become informed citizens, who are open minded and can make decisions based on looking at an issue from all sides. We want our country to be made up of these sorts of people. And if you have heeded piece of advice number one, you will be able to have discussions with your children about said books/movies. If you don't agree with Philip Pullman's message, talk to your kids about it afterwards, they may not even have picked up on the anti-religious themes. This will give you a chance to talk to your children about your beliefs and how it is important to read and learn about differing views and opinions.

Sorry if that got preachy, I just had to get it out.

04 January 2010

Secret Life

Do you watch Secret Life of the American Teenager? Does it blow your mind? Whenever I watch it I am astounded at the new levels of ridiculousness it rises to. It is horrible in a fabulous sort of way.

A new season premiered tonight. I was trying to catch lil sis up on the past season, since she hadn't watched in awhile. She asked who was dating who. I replied that basically they are all dating each other, because seriously, pretty much every two people of the opposite sex on that show have dated. Craziness. But I love it!

Tonight their school got a new counselor and this conversation ensued between her and a male student.

Male Student- I hear that you got fired from your last job because you slept with a student. And that you got your Ph.D on the internet and that your husband left you for another man.

Female Counselor- First of all, the man my husband left me for was his cousin. Second, there are a lot of really good schools online. Lastly, that student was eighteen before we went to the prom. It was a political statement. Plus we didn't have sex; I just like to dance.

Seriously, this happened. Lil sis and I could barely stand it. It was hilariously crazy!! If you do not watch this show you should, it is insane!! In the most awesome and heinous way. It airs Mondays @ 8 on ABC Family. It is totes worth an hour of my life every week :)

Busy Bee Lauren

I only read a couple of blogs, but my absolute favorite is Busy Bee Lauren. I first found out about Lauren's now defunct Lauren's Bite, her Twilight blog. Lauren is such a fabulous woman. Her style is amazing and I wish I could dress like her everyday!! She has an awesome husband and a fantastic, sarcastic sense of humor. She is awesomespice and you should all read her blog. http://busybeelauren.blogspot.com

She has a shoppe and she sells the most gorgeous headbands. They are handmade and beautiful. She is currently giving away one of her headbands. If you got to her blog and comment you are entered into the contest. If you follow her blog you can enter again. The headbands are amazing. I hope I win one! They're a bit expensive for my budget, but the money is going to a fabulous young couple. Stop by, read her blog, enter the contest.


Follow me on Twitter- jillibean1530

03 January 2010

Princess and the Frog

On New Year's Day the girls in my family always go to a movie together. The tradition started when we were little and my dad would watch football all day. That was boring so my mom would take us to the movies. We've continued the tradition, even after my big sis moved away.

This year We were very excited to the Princess and the Frog. We love a good Disney movie, especially one with Princesses, Princes and pretty dresses.

I loved the movie! Nobody does a Princess movie like Disney! The music was great. I loved the jazz and zydeco and was dancing in my seat. It was so much fun.

I love, love, love Tiana's pretty green dress. Lil sis and I were so sad that she only got to wear it for like two minutes. It is my second favorite Disney princess dress, right after Belle of couse (my mom is going to make me a Belle dress for a Halloween costume once I'm a teacher :) The Prince isn't too bad himself. Of course I loved the French accent!

I was a bit disappointed that the first African-American Princess was a frog for most of the movie, but whatev, I guess you take what you can get.

I have to admit I almost cried at one point. If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading, I am going into spoiler territory.

There is an adorable little Cajun firefly named Ray.

There he is- such a cutie. And he is in love with a "firefly" Evangeline who is really a star, but he doesn't know that. While trying to rescue Tiana and the Prince, Ray gets stepped on and eventually dies. It was soooooooo sad and I got all teary :( But then it was super cute because when he died the ended up in the sky right next to Evangeline. It was so adorable!!! I tried to find a picture, but couldn't fine one...

Anyway, go see the movie it was fabulous and a really great girls' night movie!!!
p.s. all pictures are copyright of Disney