A change in pace

After lots of thought and prayer, we decided that the time is right for me to stay home with our own children and not teach next school year. This last week of school will be fun as I enjoy the last days with the students before they “graduate” from elementary to junior high, but bitter sweet as I close this chapter in life.

I am looking forward to being home with Will this summer!  And in true teacher fashion, I’ve already started thinking of all the fun learning things we can do.  Sensory tubs, coloring, exploring, walks, playing pretend, library trips, swim days, etc… Yeah, I know. Let’s see how much of that actually happens!  Ha!

This fall, we are also excited to welcome our 2nd baby boy to the family late October/early November. That should keep this SAHM busy! This picture was from Easter when we announced!


Web Tools 2.0


Students can create their own comic strips that can bring their writing to life!    Think about using this with new vocabulary, teaching processes, and bringing ideas to life.    



This is a great (free) white board that students can do scratch work on.   



Easy way to create a clean, professional looking website.   This is very simple (I would trust 3rd graders with making one of these!) and provides help to start your own site.    What a great way to have students demonstrate their learning!



This free website is terrific for classrooms with iPads.    When students join your class/lesson online, they follow your presentation.  It keeps everyone on the same page and solves the issue of not having a smart board or projector.   No need!    You can take your classroom anywhere for a lesson and have them on the same presentation page with you!



One way to use this is to brainstorm about a topic.    This tool helps students analyze the text/topic given.   Think about using this at the end of a novel study, unit taught, or project.   Great for K-12. 

**NOTE!!! This doesn’t work on Chromebooks!!   eLearningindustry has a great blog post on 5 word cloud generators to try out.  


This is basically anREALLY cool slide show.    Best use is for vocabulary.     

Go to animoto.com/education and signup for a teacher account.    This will give you free student accounts!    

Tech Conference 

Yes, I will admit it.    I am turning into a bit of a technology nerd.     I promise it’s just because of my job!!    But y’all……there are so many cool things floating around out there that make education exciting.    Seriously!

So instead of taking notes in my 8 classes/breakout sessions over the next 2 days, I’m just going to post all the fun websites, great ideas, and thought provoking conversations that happen.   

Get ready!    It’s about to get nerdy up in here!   


No Points For You!

Thank you to this mother for reminding me of the other side of my job. There is SO much more to a student than what a baseline test can measure. May all educators remember this when speaking at parents conferences.

teach from the heart

Confession time.

My kid failed 4K screening.

I’m a total failure as a parent.

Okay, not really…the failure as a parent part.

Or the failing 4K screening part.

You don’t fail a screening, but you do get labeled.

I was told that C was developmentally behind.

Total disclaimer: I had no intention of sending him to 4K as I loved our play-centered daycare, but I did it because ‘everyone’ is supposed to.

It hurt my heart to hear those words…developmentally behind.

Then it made me angry when I was told the why.

He failed cutting.


He was not quite four and a lefty.

They gave him right-handed scissors and asked him to cut out a semi-circle.

He did a bang up job until the end where he cut off part of the black line.

Perfect almost three-quarters of the way around, but then…

He failed to stay on the line.


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The Greatest Man I Never Knew….

The past few weeks have been challenging.   (To say the least.)

  • We’ve been patient and waited.
  • We’ve prayed fervently.
  • We’ve traveled, some family and friends came from the other side of the United States!
  • We’ve seen the weather go from ice to 80 degrees to 17 degrees.  Crazy Texas weather.
  • We’ve laughed.
  • We’ve met new friends.
  • We’ve reunited with old ones.
  • We’ve met family members.
  • We’ve hugged, embraced, and held hands.
  • We’ve cried and blown our noses more than we can count.
  • We’ve grieved and mourned.
  • But most importantly, we’ve rejoiced as a loved one went home to Heaven.

This week, we said good-bye to Robby’s dad, Bill Rigney, Jr.  After years of battling Alzheimer’s, God called Bill home.

Bill Rigney, Jr.

I did not get to know my father-in-law when he was well.  I’ve heard stories for 3 years now and seen pictures.  But this week, I got to know my father-in-law.  Through friends and family reuniting to remember Bill’s life and legacy, I saw who Christ made him.

Robby had an amazing father!  This man was positive and all smiles.  He was the guy you call when you’re in a bind.  Need help with something at work?  Call Bill!  (I now know where Robby gets his ability to run numbers in his head!)  Bill was the guy who loved people.  The stories from his college buddies were just the start of his love for a good time.  He was the big brother.  You could see something sparkle in the eyes of Aunt Lynne and Uncle Tommy as they told stories about their big brother.   He was intentional.  He was patient.  He loved his family!   He poured his life into his friends and family daily.  Bill kept up with others, no matter where they lived (some far away) and no matter when he had last seen them.   My father-in-law loved life, and lived it to the fullest.

I am privileged to call Bill my father-in-law.  What an amazing legacy he left for us.

Here’s a small snippet of his life, just a brief summary, of the great guy Bill was.   


Aggie Football…..it’s almost here!

Yep, it’s almost that time of year again.  The season where my husband can’t sleep, like a kid waiting to take off for vacation to Disney World.  And that season:  SEC College football.

35 Days till Texas A&M Football!

So, just in case you’re wondering, here’s the season line up below.   Don’t worry, you can always stay up to date with all things Texas A&M on the Aggie Athletics website.   (Or if you’re like me, just ask my husband.  He usually knows the news before it even hits media!)

2013 Texas A&M Football Schedule
Day Date Opponent Location Time
Saturday Aug. 31 Rice Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Sept. 7 Sam Houston State Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Sept. 14 Alabama* Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Sept. 21 SMU Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Sept. 28 at Arkansas* Fayetteville, Ark. TBA
Open Date
Saturday Oct. 12 at Ole Miss* Oxford, Miss. TBA
Saturday Oct. 19 Auburn* Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Oct. 26 Vanderbilt* Kyle Field TBA
Open Date
Saturday Nov. 9 Mississippi State* Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Nov. 16 New Mexico Kyle Field TBA
Saturday Nov. 23 at LSU* Baton Rouge, La. TBA
Saturday Nov. 30 at Missouri* Columbia, Mo. TBA
Saturday Dec. 7 SEC Championship Game Atlanta, Ga. TBA

And, of course, there are videos floating all over the internet to pump you up and get your ready for some SEC Football!


One of my favorite videos is actually set to the promo for some video game….I think it’s Call of Duty or something.  (my husband would know, I’m sure).   this one gets to me…

Looking forward to all the tailgating and mayhem that will ensue with this season.  We plan on traveling to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the game this year!  

ohhhh, so much fun to be had during football season!

Flounder Piccata with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Sauce

It’s HOT outside!  As in 102 as the high today, and it’s not even June yet.  Welcome to Texas,  y’all!  

These hot days make me crave citrus flavors and something light to eat.  When I came across a recipe on Skinnytaste.com for Flounder Piccata it sparked my interest.  Unfortunately, our grocery store did not have fresh flounder.  With a little bending of the rules, though, I created a terrific dinner that is great for the summer!

Follow the recipe link above, but feel free to substitute as needed for your dietary needs.  I used fresh tilapia filets and added in a can of quartered artichoke hearts to the sauce.  The artichokes added in a nice vinegar taste along with the capers.  Yum!

Let simmer until reduced to half
Let simmer until reduced to half

The finished product!!

dinner 2

6 Ways to Memorize Scripture

6 Ways to Memorize Scripture.

Here’s a GREAT blog post by a lovely lady I met in college at DBU.  She has some very helpful ways to memorize scripture, which is always a challenge for me.  Thanks for the help Mary Margaret!


“Memorizing scripture is so easy,” said no one ever (or at least not anyone I know!).

It takes a lot of discipline to memorize Scripture on a consistent basis. It’s something that I’m really trying to challenge myself with this year, but it’s so much easier said than done. I’ve joined up with several thousand women (and some of my own family and friends) to be a part of Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year, and it’s been a huge help to have some guidelines and accountability.

While it’s not always the easiest thing, it’s such a crucial spiritual discipline that helps me grow in my walk with the Lord.

“When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most… Want your faith strengthened? What Christian doesn’t? One thing you can do to strengthen it is to discipline yourself to memorize Scripture.” Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

Here are a few key things that have been helpful for me in memorizing Scripture:

  • Accountability – Have someone ask you how you’re doing and set deadlines for yourself. This year, I’m memorizing two verses each month, and one of my friends is checking in with me on the 1st and 15th of each month to see how it’s going.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition – For some of you, that means writing the verse out several times, and for others, it’s saying it out loud. It may even be helpful for you to draw a picture that reminds you of the verse.
  • Meditate – Spend time reflecting on the meaning of the verse. Don’t just memorize it without looking at the context to see what’s really happening. Make sure you know the bigger picture, and it will usually give you a better understanding of the verse you’re memorizing.
  • Make it visible – For me, I often put my verse on an index card above my steering wheel or on the mirror in my bathroom. Sometimes, I take a picture of my verse with my phone and use it as the background. Find what works for you!photo (1)
  • Choose a meaningful verse – Find a verse that applies to your life. Is there a verse you’ve read in your Bible study that really stands out to you? Use that one!
  • Do the verse justice – Make it a point to know all of the words, and even the punctuation. It’s all there for a reason! It will also help you in the long run to know that you really know the verse.

Here’s the verse I’m working on this week:

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14 

What are some of your helpful hints to memorizing Scripture? Is there a verse you’re working on memorizing right now? 

Random Act of Kindess, #1 – donating blood

Though donating blood does not seem is not random, it is my first intentional act of kindness in my 29th year of life.  My mother has been faithfully donating blood majority of her life.  I’m always impressed with how quick she is to give of herself, quite literally!  When I asked her just the other day how many times she has donated, she told me:  95!  WOW!   With every donation they say you save 3 lives.  If only my mother could see the 285 lives she has helped.  She truly is a hero!

image (8)

Once upon a time, way back in college, there was a blood drive in the commons of our dorm.  I had just finished a great workout when I walked in to see the blood drive.  It was almost dinner time, but I paused my schedule to donate blood.  What happened next wasn’t painful, but wasn’t fun, either!  I signed up, pleased with myself for following in my mother’s footsteps, got in the chair to donate, and tried my best to ignore the sting of the needle.  I talked with friends as they came and went, came and went…”Wait a second!  How come they’re all lapping me?  I was here 20 minutes before them!” I told my nurse.  He just gave me a weary look and explained that my body wasn’t giving enough blood.  In over 30 minutes, I hadn’t even filled up half the bag!  WHAT!?!?!  Why won’t my body give blood?   Later, I realized that a bagel for breakfast and a granola bar in between classes wasn’t a good idea before working out then donating blood.  Lesson learned:  eat a good meal and drink PLENTY of fluids before donating!

The whole ordeal has (sadly) kept me from donating.  Up until now!   I’m a brave little toaster!  I can do this!

This past week, a dear family friend of our was given the honor of being the face of the new blood platelet donor bus!  Wow!  I know the lady whose face is on the bus!  Blenda has been donating to help soldiers who are injured while in combat!  WOW!  And that got me to thinking to my self, “Self, if Mom and Blenda can be so selfless, what’s holding me back?”

New platelet donor bus makes debut in East Texas.

So I immediately signed up to donate blood this week.  Why not?  It’s quick and easy, and I can do it on my lunch break!

If you’re in the Midland/Odessa area, here’s the website to donate.  Donate Blood at Midland Donor Center.  EVERYONE should help out!

Donating was easy!  I went in, answered a few questions, and they got me set up.  (Note:  EVERYONE should donate, but bring a jacket.  It was cold in there!!)  I’m proud of myself for stepping up and donating and helping out someone in need in the local community.



Now, on to volunteering in the community!