The Dirty Thirty

Still not quite sure why people call it the “dirty thirty”, but I turned 30 regardless!
My students were sweethearts and sang to me (ALL DAY LONG!), I received beautiful flowers from my hubby at work, my parents sent me a pretty little ivy plant, a co-worker brought me a cookie cake, and many friends met up with us for dinner at the hibachi grill that we love!   What a day!    It was such a nice way to end the work week:  dinner and great friends.   It just reminded me of how faithful the Lord is.   He has provided me with a husband, a home, a job, friends, church family, and more.  Praising Him for all the blessings on this 1st day in my 30’s!

A year ago, I set about with a 30X30 bucket list.   Here is the updated version on what was accomplished:

  1. Go to Vegas with Robby – We are going next weekend to see George Strait!  Can’t wait!
  2. Do something spontaneous – learned to play golf!  May 2013
  3. Get pictures taken by the Texas A&M Barn – This didn’t happen, sadly.  Perhaps next football season!
  4. Go snow skiing with friends – Went to Aspen, CO in February 2013
  5. Learn to play tennis – Started lessons in March 2013.  Decided I’m not so good at it, but was fun!
  6. Take cooking classes – I can’t believe I didn’t do this!  I love to cook, how did this one slip by me?
  7. Lose 10 lbs – Actually, I lost 20!   Thank you, AdvoCare!
  8. Make a Baby Rigney (this one makes my hubby nervous, haha)  Didn’t happen, it can wait!
  9. Move into our 1st home – We got our 1st home in December 2013.
  10. Get a dog – Welcome to the family, Ranger!
  11. Invest more time with family  – Caught up with lots of family in February at my parents house, went with family to see our cousins in Footloose, Cousins’ Reunion in July, lots of family time in November and December.
  12. Take my mom on a trip – We went to Hughes Springs, TX.   Does that count?
  13. Go to NYC with Robby – Didn’t happen…..we went to Arkansas, Rockport, Colorado, all of Texas…..NYC another year.
  14. Grow a garden – Check!  I had tomatoes and herbs.  YAY!
  15. Buy a gun – Got my 1st gun on April 7th.
  16. Throw a dinner party for friends – BBQ’d with friends on April 9, 2013.  1st of many dinner parties to come.
  17. Make 3 new friends (or more!) CHECK!  So blessed with new friends in Midland!  Love my Bible Study ladies!
  18. Do one Random Act of Kindness each month – Donated Blood in Feb, Picked up trash in parking lot in March
  19. Take Yoga classes – Started yoga at Yoga Works Midland.  Namaste!
  20. Go wine tasting in the Hill Country – Didn’t get to go this year.
  21. Go horseback riding – Didn’t do this one either, waiting on a friend to let us know when he has a horse that he trusts.
  22. Start/Finish a new devotional book – “A Woman of Love” a study of the book of Ruth.  I HIGHLY recommend it!   Now working on Made to Crave
  23. Spend more time in prayer – Daily!  You betcha!
  24. Volunteer somewhere local – Permian Basin Rehab Center Telethon (March), Bountiful Baskets (May), Food to Kids, Kids in the Kitchen
  25. Scrap book my trip with Mom and Zachary to Disney (way back in 2009) – Still in a box somewhere in the new house…maybe this summer I can get to that.
  26. Sew something for my home – curtains!  Check!
  27. Make home-made gifts for friends – Made fruit jellies!  Yum!
  28. Learn 3 new classical piano pieces – nope, didn’t happen.  I had fun trying, though!
  29. See 3 musicals – Shrek the Musical (January), Footloose (February), and Wicked (March)
  30. Read 30 books! – Got 25 read, not too shabby I think.
  • School of Fear, by Gitty Daneshvari   SO CUTE!  My nephew read it (6th grade) and loved it.   A fun tween fiction.
  • Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle – a MUST read for everyone.  Witty and heartfelt, you’ll love this book!
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – heart strings will be pulled when you read about the crazy life of the Hemmingways in 1920′s Paris
  • The Three Martini Play Date – had me giggling and taking notes about what to expect when we have kids.  GREAT read for a new dad
  • Ghostopolis – comic book style, read this with a student in tutoring.  Good story line!!
  • Maine – this one took a while to get through, lots of family drama and history.  Easy to relate to, though
  • Missing Dad – LOVE this book!   Everyone should read it and pass it along to friends
  • The Lucky One – Nicholas Sparks did it again, sucked me in to a book and had me hooked!
  • Wonder – This Bluebonnet Book nominee won the heart of my students from the get go, as well as our staff.  It’s a MUST read!
  • Balloons on Broadway – The story of Tony Sarg and how we have balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Caldecott worthy, the art in this book is beautiful!
  • Looking at Lincoln – Another Bluebonnet nominee, great book for all ages!
  • Coral Reefs – gorgeous art and facts about reefs that will hold your interest for a long time!
  • I’ll Be Seeing You – sweet story of pen pals through WWII, my mother passed this along to me.
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad – grandfather encouraged me to read this, interesting…
  • Little Women – a classic that I can’t believe I haven’t read till now.   So good!  I just love Jo!
  • The Persian  Cinderella – Picked this up on a whim while my students were in the library, and I loved it!  Such a great story to teach cultural differences with!
  • A Woman of Love – Great Bible Study of Ruth
  • Ruth (in the Bible)
  • Against All Grain (Cook Book) – a Christmas gift that I LOVED looking at, the pictures are fantastic and I can use all the recipes with my food allergies/intolerance
  • The Great Gatsby – A classic that I could read over and over again!
  • It Starts with Food – Interesting research and suggestions on taking a deeper look into what we are putting into our bodies.
  • The Sensational Scent of Prayer – great read!
  • Married by Mistake – such a fun, light read!
  • Live Like A Narnian – of COURSE I had to include my brother-in-law’s book, eye-opening and inspiring to enjoy the good things the Lord has given us.  A MUST read!
  • Made to Crave – Just started this book with a friend, looking into why we crave food and how to fill that God-shaped hole in our lives with Him and not food!

Well, that’s it!  I completed well over half of my bucket list and 25 of 30 books!

I anticipate all the adventures that the Lord will lead me through in the next 30 years.  The past 30 have been a lot of fun!

Announcing…..DRILL TEAM TIME!

Looking back on my childhood, I remember late nights spent at the dance studio practicing ballet or jazz, countless hours driving my family crazy playing piano and hearing them shout, “SLOW DOWN!!” due to my goal of playing a piece as fast as possible, and traveling with the choir for competitions and performances.   Now that I’m an adult, I am so incredibly grateful to my parents for all the time spent shuttling me to these events as well as financially making it possible!  Thanks Mom and Dad!

And a note to my parents:

I promise  your time and money has not gone to waste.  Though I did not pursue music or dance in college, nor become a teach for either of those things, I promise I’m still using those talents!   I sing to/with my students in class.  (Yesterday, we sang “Tomorrow” from Annie while we packed up, sooooo much fun!)  And now, I get to teach drill team for last period!   That’s right, all those long, hard hours spent being a Mt. Pleasant Tiger Doll are coming back!

I can’t WAIT to start choreography and play with the pom-poms!   High kick line for elementary is going to be precious!
Maybe one day one of my students will go on to be a Rangerette!

Kilgore Rangerettes

Pictures to come soon….

Our 1st Puppy

We have talked for years about our dogs. Today, a sweet puppy stole my heart and came home with us. Ranger Rigney is our 1st dog! She’s a Blue Lacy/lab mix. Sweet and cuddly, this playful 8 week old is quickly becoming the center of attention. Though we’re still not sure about crate training and getting through the night without her crying, we’re so excited to have Ranger in the family.




Work, Teaching, and Friends

#7 and #8 on my list of 30 Things bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

#7- My FLA Family. My first job after college was as an admin assistant for a VP at my university, DBU. My job was nice and it allowed me to start working on my masters degree. During that time I realized that God gave me a talent to teach and I should start using that talent! In the summer of 2007, I stepped into my classroom for the first time in July, no AC in the room, junk left from the last teacher, dead cockroaches scattered around the carpet and halls, and lots or hope and dreams in my heart. Much like my college experience, I had no idea how much God was going to bless me with friendships. My 2 co-teachers were the PERFECT fit! Greta Caldwell and Analisa Rodriguez.

Greta, Analisa, and Alison


These ladies are like superheroes to me. I always blew off the comments about us being The Dream Team, or the joke about us as Charlie’s Angels. But ya know what,….they were right, now that I look back on it! I learned so much about discipline, using data to structure my lessons, keeping my faith, laughing a LOT each day, and what a true team looks like. There was never a moment where I doubted my team. We were a unified front, all pulling our weight equally. Later Greta went on to be a Math Specialist, and Cara was added to our team.  What a character!  She was our missing piece and jumped right in.  She would even participate in our dress up shenanigans!  Pictured below is our Mad Scientist Day!

Mad Scientists

And it wasn’t just my grade level! The whole campus had a very unusual makeup to it. We all liked each other! There was a mutual respect between everyone. We were young, energetic, optimistic and willing to take on any challenge with a smile. Years later, we still try to get together and catchup.   Love these people!

Forest Lane Academy Staff!  Love these people!

Forest Lane Academy Staff! Love these people!


Al this leads me to #8 – my current job

I love my new school!   The students are so much fun, parents are involved, leadership is great!  It is so nice to come home and have a smile on my face each and every day.   Everyone should have a job like that!   It is full of challenges and fun opportunities for the students.  The fine arts academy setting attracts a delightful group of students, so talented in their own ways.  I really enjoy working here!

#6 – My College, DBU!

College – “it was the best years of my life” Pat Green & Brad Paisley

I LOVED COLLEGE!   It amazes me when high school students are not interested in going to college.  They have no idea what memories and experiences they are missing out on!   I know I was completely clueless to how God would grow me both academically and socially in college.  In my last post, I showed you my #5 – my college girlfriends.  They played a huge part of my college experience.  However, my actual college was how God shaped and molded me into the professional I am today.  Dallas Baptist University was, and still is, a crucial part of my day-to-day in the classroom teaching.

#6-Dallas Baptist University

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This Bible verse is forever written upon my heart.  It is the verse that my university stands on, one that you will see everywhere on campus and hear in classes and at chapel.  It is a verse that gives comfort and guidance.

My college story:   My heart was set on going to Texas A&M.  I don’t know why, but I wanted to me an Aggie!  I loved the traditions, the atmosphere, and my best friend in high school was going there.  What more could I ask for?   God had different plans, though.  While walking into a football game at A&M my senior year of high school, I said a little prayer in my heart.  “God, going here is going to be so cool!  I can’t wait to be here!”   I heard Him so clearly say, “No, not A&M” that you would have thought He was on a loud speaker.  People always look skeptical when I tell them that, but it was true.   One way I knew it was God telling me no was that I had a peace about not going there.  It was not a let down, or dreams crushed, but a change in direction.  And so, I started wondering where He would lead me.  In a very random way, but oh-so-divine-planned-out, Dallas Baptist called me one Saturday afternoon out of the blue and ask if I would be attending in the fall.  I had no money to pay for college, and my family couldn’t afford a private school, so I was at a loss on how I could afford DBU.   I knew it had to be a God-thing when they told me that I had scholarships to pay for me entire 1st year there.  WOW!   How could I say no to the Lord completely opening the gates for me to walk right through?    So I packed up and went to DBU!  He continued to provide for me the entire 4 years, through jobs and scholarships, I was covered.

DBU taught me what it looks like and what it means to be a servant leader.  My professors showed me daily how to lead others in a way that is so contradictory to what society says.  Each and every single one of my professors had such a a deep walk with Christ, and it showed in everything they did.  How they taught, how they lead the conversations in class, their own families,…it was all a reflection of Christ.  When I’m in the classroom now, I constantly ask how I can lead like Christ….by serving.  What a great example my professors set for me as an educator.

It is my dream to one day provide an anonymous scholarship for a deserving individual just as I was given.  To give the opportunity to a college student to grow closer to Christ in knowledge and academics!  WOW!    Thank you, Dallas Baptist University, for all that you do to shape the future.

2014 Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from The Rigneys! We started the new year with friends all together in DFW, watching Johnny Football and the Aggies win the Chick-fil-A bowl, and a great band playing a live show for us. Fantastic!

And to keep the tradition going, we ate black eyed peas for good luck on New Years Day.

Hoping the best for you and your family in 2014!