School and family

Here’s a quick update from a teacher in training:

I’m now a senior at the U of A, half way done with this semester. I have 5 classes: physical chemistry, biochemistry, plant biochemistry, chemistry discoveries in the classroom, and classroom management. I have an internship this semester with a local high school. I was assigned to the chemistry teacher there, Mrs. Wolpa, and I visit her 5th period class every day. This past week, and this next week I am teaching her 5th period class using lessons I planned and were approved by Mrs. Wolpa. This has been a nerve racking, but great experience for me. I love all the kids in this class. Here is the empty classroom before the bell rang:

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This is technically my last semester with a regular load of classes, as next semester I will be full time student teaching. So, I will have a “teacher” schedule rather than a “student” schedule. I already know where I am student teaching, at a local middle school, with the GATE science teacher. I am super excited to be working with 7th and 8th graders!

My boyfriend, Jacob, encourages me in my studies and is excited for me to become a teacher. He constantly tells my how proud of me he is. I feel very blessed he is in my life.

img_3644-2My Mom took these next few pictures at my sister’s birthday party:

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This past weekend I went on a mini vacation with Jacob and his family. We went to Sea World in San Diego and had a great time!

img_3808 img_3794-2 img_3761I found this accident picture on my phone. I like it 🙂
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So, that’s a peep into my life, and now I better get back to homework!

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First semester at the U of A – Completed

So, I survived my first semester at the U of A, yet not with out plenty of tears, laughs, frustration, and lots and lots of craziness. Many days I felt completely overwhelmed and never would’ve gotten through it without my amazing boyfriend, Jacob. He encouraged me and held my hand though most of it, literally, as well as figuratively. I love that guy so much.

Overall, I had a great time and am really looking forward to next semester, now that I have adjusted to university life!

I had one physics class, one “science teaching” class, and three chemistry classes. In the science teaching class I learned about the nature of science, how to teach science for understanding, and also the role of assessment in student learning. I spent 8 hours in a high school class and 8 hours in a middle school class, observing, helping the teacher, introducing lab activities, and also talking with the students. I really enjoyed getting this practical training/learning right at the beginning.

This class is designed to help students find out if they still want to teach science. Before I took this class I wanted to teach science. After taking this class, I know I REALLY want to teach science. I enjoy talking with other teachers, learning from them, and discussing the teaching methods I’m learning. I especially like talking to my mom, a teacher of 20+ years, my own K-12 teacher, as well as my inspiration for being a teacher. Thanks, Mom!

I love living so close to the university, being able to walk or bike to class is a great feeling. Walking around on campus and watching the hundreds and hundreds of people swarming the streets and buildings makes me thankful I am able to be a part of something so huge and so amazing.

IMG_1389I have chickens in my backyard 🙂

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This is my beginner jump rope class at the YMCA right before their first performance:

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Whenever I am with my little sisters, Molly and Hope, they usually ask if my boyfriend Jake is coming too. If not, then they ask me to take a picture of them to send to him. Jake enjoys getting pictures of the “little ladies” as he calls them. This was one of those times:

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Jacob and I at a friends wedding:

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Speaking of weddings….

My cousin Kami got married in September. Lydia and I were brides maids, and Molly and Hope were flower girls:

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And, Bob and Lydia are engaged!

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The following picture was taken on Christmas Day (2015). It will soon be outdated as we will be gaining a brother-in-law shortly 🙂

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Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. May God bless you in your adventures.

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Last bit of summer

Summer is drawing to a close and my ten weeks of Organic Chemistry are over. I enjoyed O Chem 2 better than O Chem 1, getting to prepare alcohols, esters, acids, aldehydes, ketones, etc. both on paper and in LAB.

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My brain was so very tired after finishing both classes. I slept for 13 hours the night after my final.

This past weekend I moved into a small one bedroom apartment near the university. I will be able to walk to school.

My mom and couple siblings helped me clean it.

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IMG_1088School starts next Monday… My first semester at the U of A! My boyfriend took me on a walk the other day and he showed me where all my classes will be in the different science buildings. Having been a double science major for three years, he knows his way around 🙂

Probably won’t be blogging again until this semester is over… see you at the other end of the tunnel!

Go Wildcats!

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Summer Stuff

This summer I am taking both semesters of Organic Chemistry through Pima Community College, my last two classes before going to the U of A in the fall.

Both summer classes are 5 weeks long, 4 days a week, 5 hours a day.

Organic Chemistry 1

Week 1:

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Week 2:IMG_0221Week 3:

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Week 4:

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Week 5: (today was my final!)

IMG_0572This morning was my final for O Chem 1. I now have about 45 hours before the first day of O Chem 2. Stretching out on the floor and doing nothing sounds very good right about now.

In my few moments of spare time this past month I have had fun making these head bands, inspired by pinterest.

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And yes, I actually did highlight my hair!

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This last picture was taken on my birthday a few days ago. Jacob and I have been dating for 7 months and I love him more every day. (And yes, for a brief moment we were babysitting the monkey “Bananas” for a younger sibling of mine!)

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Posted in Arizona, birthdays, family, girly stuff, school, sewing/knitting | 7 Comments

Little Lord Fauntleroy

My latest audio book was published on LibriVox today!

“Little Lord Fauntleroy” by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I recorded and edited this book as a dramatic reading. I also narrated the book and had to cast many different readers for each character.

This book stars my little brother Steven as Cedric, the hero of the story.

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Click here, to download Little Lord Fauntleroy for FREE!!!

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This story is about an American lad of 7 years old who lives with his young widowed mother in New York. He spends his days with his friend the grocery man Mr. Hobbs, the boot black Dick, and other young lads from his town. His best friend is his mother, whom he calls dearest, because that is what his papa used to call her. Cedric has curly blond hair, a sturdy young body, and a beautiful face that is only matched by his sweet temperament. He is always thinking of others and what they might need.

One day, an English lawyer comes to Cedric’s house with news that will change his young life forever. Cedric’s papa was the son of a great Earl in England. The earl has lost all three of his sons and is now looking for his heir. He is a crusty old gentlemen with a hard, cold heart. He has spent his life chasing after his own pleasures and not caring one mite for the needs of others, especially the needs his tenantry. He is extremely prejudiced against Americans and was outraged when his youngest son married an American woman. His proud heart views with disgust his young heir before he even meets him, expecting him to be rude, uneducated, and selfish. Little does he know that the meeting of the Earl of Dorincourt with little Cedric is destined to change his life forever.

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I hope you enjoy the book. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Happy Listening!

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I am a Wildcat!!!

I got accepted to the U of A! I am enrolled in the degree Science Education: Chemistry Emphasis. This degree is basically a chemistry major with a teaching minor. I will graduate with my bachelors of science and earn my teaching certificate at the same time.

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This summer I am taking my last class from Pima Community College and graduating with my Associates of Science. I am very ready to start in the Fall at the U of A. Go Wildcats!!!

I still enjoy school, which is a good thing because I have at least two more years. I like the homework, the study, the amount of knowledge I am learning. I get excited when I learn new concepts, master old concepts, and then get the chance to tutor a fellow student.

I like studying in various places: starbucks, library, or the tutoring center at school. But my favorite place is at home, with my own homemade flavored iced coffee.

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Though I am looking forward to when I will be working as a teacher, I know I am going to enjoy the path it takes to get there. I am in no hurry. Bring on the homework!

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Drops in the Ocean

One of my new favorite songs is Hawk Nelson’s Drops in the Ocean. 

God’s mercy and forgiveness shines through this song in ways that is healing to my heart.

“If you want to know how far my love can go, just how deep, just how wide; If you want to see how much you mean to me, look at my hands, look at my side”

“If you can count the times I say you are forgiven, it’s more than the drops in the ocean.”

“Open your heart, it’s time that we start again…”

Because of the love God has shown me through many different people this past year, I am in a season of opening my heart, and starting again. God is patient with me. God has shown me an amazing amount of merciful love through my mom, my dad, my siblings, my boyfriend Jacob, the pastor of the church I’ve been involved with for almost a year, as well as many other friends from my church college group.

Listen to this song and let me know, in the comments below, how it blesses you.

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Jesus Plus Nothing

IMG_2613 (2)January. The close of an old year and the beginning of a new one. January is always a time for reflection, regrets and resolutions.

If I were to describe the state of my heart with one word for each month of 2014, these are the words I would choose:

January – pain; February – emptiness; March – crying; April – darkness; May – hardening; June – cold-heartedness; July – brokenness; August – softening; September – relief; October – forgiveness; November – healing; December – hope.

These past 12 months included a season of heart wrenching turmoil, a season of distant coldness, and a season of healing through tears.

God is good. God is merciful. God is Love.

After leaving a legalistic lifestyle and mindset, the freedom I feel is parallel to that of a caged bird being let out and allowed to spread her wings for the first time. To experience the breeze flit through her feathers, to enjoy the sun shining on her eye lids and beak, to soar through the air because God created her to do so. She is free.

I am now free to be myself. I am now free to be who God created me to be. I am now free to live. Free to love.

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God is great. God is gracious. God is Love.

In the fall I enrolled in 15 credits of math and science classes through Pima Community College. My goal is to become a teacher in the math and science department. I finished the semester at the top of my chemistry class and was asked by my teacher to tutor chemistry at my school next semester. I am humbled by the opportunities God has given me to finally develop the talents He has given me.

One of my fellow students in my math class was this handsome brother of mine.

IMG_2821 (2)And I’m looking forward to sharing another math class with him this coming semester.

My sister and I moved out in the middle of October. We have our own apartment in the middle of town and are loving it. We feel we are in the perfect location; closer to our schools and jobs. We have immensely enjoyed having our own place to host parties, movie nights and game nights for our friends.

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Moving out has been an amazing growing experience for both Lydia and I. Our friendship has grown closer and deeper. This season in our life is sweet and precious and we are cherishing every minute we have together. We feel incredibly blessed by God to be expanding our horizons together. Maturing and developing our talents together. And healing together.

We love having our parents and siblings over at our place for movie nights, girl talk with mom, minecraft with the brothers, and sleep overs with little sisters. And it’s also fun to go “back home” to spend the afternoon with our family.

Our new social group is made up of young people from many different churches around town. The main activity we enjoy together is country two-step dancing. We go to Denim & Diamonds twice a week to dance for hours into the evening. Lydia and I have been touched by the loving kindness we have been shown by this dancing group, now our close friends.

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Exciting news! this past fall has found Lydia and I both in relationships.

Lydia and Bob:

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Jake and Abbey:

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My little sister loves him already. Yeah, I’m actually a little jealous of the attention he gives her 🙂

One year ago my family left a community of people who would judge me and think I have gone off the deep end for doing almost everything I named or pictured in this blog post: for wearing short jean shorts, for going to a non christian college, brothers with shaggy long hair, for having a boyfriend, for partying late into the night (even withOUT beer, by the way!), watching movies, playing computer games, and for dancing in a bar.

You know who you are, go ahead and judge. But know this:

I have been set free. I am free to live. Free to love. Free to love like Christ.

All those added extras do not make a person one bit more a better person, or more spiritual. Having shed the spoken and unspoken man-made rules, I am now free to enjoy Jesus and share His love with the people around me.

Jesus plus nothing.

My heart is free. No chains on me.

The song “Blessings” by Laura Story has helped me get through the darkest parts of this year. These are my favorite lines of the song:

Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

I am ready to watch the sunrise on 2015

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Double Dutch Throw Down

IMG_0592xSunglasses. Serious looks. Gray shoes. Patriotic ropes. What are we??

We have no idea. Seriously, we don’t!

It was our attempt at being creative.

The Double Dutch Throw Down, never before been done, was held in the Ballroom at The Westin Long Beach.

IMG_2132xThis event had far fewer rules than regular competition and encouraged creativity.

The four judges were jumpers in their late twenties who used to jump together competitively and who all have quite a few Nationals ribbons and trophies at home. We have made friends with a couple of them and it was fun to see the four of them still loving the sport of jump rope and making the Double Dutch Throw Down exciting.

(You can kind of see the judges sitting at the table in the center of the pic)

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All afternoon Lydia, Christopher and I practiced our routine. Christopher’s brother Jonathon hung out with us and my mom all day and watched us practice and the two of them gave us helpful hints and tips with our routine.

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Considering regular competition requires smiles and happy looks at the judges, we decided to be “creative” and give serious, straight faced glances at the judges. We inserted a few “serious looks” during the routine that ended up being a hit with the crowd later on at the ballroom.

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After all the seriousness, we had to smile for at least one picture… Yes, we were having a very good time!

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At The Westin Ballroom, there was a sport court laid out for the competitors to jump on. The judges and music and media people sat at one side and the entire audience circled the sport court. There were five other teams competing. Everyone laughed and cheered and clapped for every group and enjoyed all the creativity and fun. The judges especially had a good time, laughing until they had tears in their eyes over the funny and crazy stuff everyone had come up with.

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Jonathon recorded us practicing and also when we did our routine for everyone in the ballroom. He put together this awesome video of the Jumpers in Sunglasses.

At the very end of the event someone requested the judges come out and do something for everyone else. I don’t know how long it had been since they had jumped together, but despite jeans, flip flops and bare-feet the four of them came up with something amazing for us to watch.

Introducing Shane, Lee, Kelsey and Cali:

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Hanging out with Jonathon and Christopher the whole day was super fun. Including our hike around Long Beach trying to find something to eat that didn’t require an hour and a half wait. We ended up finding a grocery store and made up our own dinner with lunch meat and crackers!

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We’ve always had a blast with you boys, and this was no exception! Miss you!

P.S. Congratulations to Jonathon Wuehler and Abby Baird – Wedding Day: August 9, 2014!!! We are so happy for you two!

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Jumpin’ Coast 2 Coast – Part 3

USA Jump Rope Nationals 2014 – Long Beach, California – Part 3

Saturday, June 28 – Third Day of Nationals

This day started off with 3 minute speed for the girls. I made a new personal record of 796 jumps and won 7th place out of about 15 girls in my division.

Next event was Double Dutch Relay Speed. This event includes 3 people, each person jumps speed in double dutch for 40 seconds. When the audio announcer says “switch” the jumper jumps out, takes the handles of the turner right in front of the them and becomes a turner. I was the first jumper in our speed relay:

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The turner then jumps into the ropes and becomes the next jumper. Nate was the second jumper for our speed relay. Notice he is facing the last person who is left to jump:

IMG_2093xWhen the second “switch” is called, the jumper becomes the turner and the turner becomes the jumper. Ben was our third and final jumper for our speed relay:

IMG_2095xNext event is called Double Dutch Pairs Speed, which includes 4 people. In this event there are two turners and two jumpers and we don’t trade places. Each jumper jumps speed in the ropes for 1 minute.

Nate and I were the turners and Jordan and Ben were the jumpers:

IMG_2101x IMG_2104xOur age division, 18+ open, is a very difficult division to jump in, and we did not place top 10 in either of the double dutch speed events.

Next up: Double Dutch Single Freestyle. Double dutch freestyles are similar to single freestyles with the same time limits and variety of skills required.

Ben, Jordan and Nate competed in this event in the 15-17 age division.

Starting pose:

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IMG_2116xHere is a Video of the boys’ Double Dutch Single by Rattlesnake Ropers.

Great job Ben, Nate and Jordan! I am proud of you three, and I love your smiles at the end!

The last event of the day was Double Dutch Pairs Freestyle -a double dutch routine including 4 people.

This is our beginning:

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This is our ending: (the hands in the air was not planned, that was just because we were excited we did so well!)

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Video of our Pairs Double Dutch by Rattlesnake Ropers.

That was the best we had ever done our 4-person routine. Considering that was the very last event of the entire weekend we were very excited, and we felt like we went out with a bang! And, later at the awards ceremony we won 9th place. May not seem like much, but we were very pleased with ourselves to finally get to place in the top 10. 🙂

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Lydia took a “selfie” during the long awards ceremony:

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I won 7th for 3 minute speed:

IMG_2114xDo you remember from my Regional Blog post the four jumpers we competed against with our double dutch 4-person routine? They are the group of triplet girls and one boy from the Coronado Speed Spinners. We had an awesome time hanging out with them all weekend at Nationals.

I LOVE this picture.

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Left to Right: Nate, Jordan, Savannah, Ben, Summer, Abbey, Sierra, and Nate.

National Narratives are over and I hope you enjoyed this trilogy of blog posts. That weekend was an amazing first experience for all of us and we are looking forward to next year…!

I just have one more post to write about jump rope. The next day, Sunday June 29th, was Grand Nationals. The top 12 jumpers from every event, regardless of age, advances to Grand Nationals where they get to re-jump their speed timing or freestyle routine before another panel of judges. No one from Rattlesnake Ropers qualified to jump at Grand Nationals but we enjoyed watching everyone else who did.

Late Sunday night there was one last event that Lydia and I and our friend Christopher jumped in. This event was called Double Dutch Throw Down and was separate from Nationals and Grand Nationals. It was also a brand new event, first year ever jumped. It had far fewer rules than regular competition and encouraged creativity. Stay tuned for the next blog post. Here is a teaser picture:

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