Thursday, May 30, 2013

My feelings on love and relationships at the moment :)

Feelings are a very important part of life. We all have emotions and the Bible speaks a lot about things such as love and joy. In fact a book in the Bible (Song of Songs) is almost entirely given to the feeling of being ‘in love’.
However, emotions should not be the primary thing that drives us. It is the Bible that we must trust and obey, not our feelings. If we doubt God’s love for us, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. The same is true in relationships.
It is normal to have doubts from time-to-time. I have found that my biggest fear and doubt in a relationship and pursuing a relationship is trust. Trust is a huge part of any relationship. Once we have been hurt, it's very hard for those walls to be broken. Eventually we have to fully let go of the walls we have built and allow ourselves to be hurt by someone we love. This requires 100% of ourselves trusting that the person we are with is who they say they are and trust that they will not hurt us. The thing to do is analyze why you have doubts. There may be legitimate reasons or they may turn out to have no basis in reality. The Bible says more about the character of people than the ins-and-outs of a relationship. So Christians should be looking for people who are growing as Christians, people they can encourage and who will encourage them. That will mean they are submitting to God and saying ‘no’ to sin. 
As to being ‘in love’ or just ‘love’, I don’t think there is much of a difference, except to say that what the world often means by ‘in love’ is infatuation and lust whereas the Bible speaks of love as selfless active care and concern for another’s wellbeing - ‘this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins’. 1 John 4:10. In other words, love is more about sacrifice and service than a warm feeling.
I have loved before and I have been “in love”, however, when I look back on past relationships, I see the missing pieces. I do not see a love that was more about sacrifice and service than feelings and contentment. I can be “fine” with anyone, but I want to be crazy, happy, selfless, and so in love that I can’t help but smile constantly. I know no man is perfect and I know that I will be disappointed, but I also know something good is worth the fight. I don’t want a perfect man. I want the perfect man for me :) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Be Happy

Well, it's been a while since I have "blogged" and a lot has happened in my life since August. However, I will not bore you with those details.  As most of you know life never seems to go quite like you planned and in fact, it usually goes way off the course you set for yourself. However, we know the Lord is in control and we know His ways are best. Over the past few weeks I have started keeping a journal. I have tried doing journals many times and have gone out and bought cute books to write in and nice pens. Well, that lasted about three days and then I got tired of it. Well, for my birthday, my granny got me a journal that is super cute and on the front it says, "Be Happy". I was looking through old cards and letters and found one she had written me right after Grant and I broke up, that just offered encouragement.  Right after my birthday I decided to use the journal for good. I started writing letters to my future husband. The front of the journal reminds me to be happy and when I think of that, I think of how my "prince charming" should be exactly what I've always wanted and nothing less. 
I've tried to write in the journal once a day and some days I don't have much to write. A lot of the entries are prayers for my future husband. I've been hurt more than I ever thought possible. However, through the hurt I have seen the importance of fervently praying for my future spouse, whoever that is. I want to be the friend, the girlfriend, the fiance, the wife, the mother, and the woman that God called me and made me to be. I also want to have the friend, the boyfriend, the fiance, the husband, the father, and the man that God called men to be. I know what I want and I now know I won't settle for anything less. While I wait patiently for the Lord, I will patiently and continually pray for the man who is to lead my life. I choose to be happy.

"That he might seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him." Psalm 119:1-2

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Behind the Scenes

Well, I love Pinterest!! Ever since I accepted this job I have literally stayed on Pinterest, looking for ideas for my room. I have found so many cute ideas and I have used a lot of them, plus adding some of my own pizazz! The first idea I found that I HAD to try was the idea of making benches out of milk crates! There were tons of pictures on Pinterest and different ways to structure the benches. With the help of my mom and her creative mind we came up with a cheap way to make the benches. They are ADORABLE and my favorite part of my classroom.

I am going to try and give a short "recipe" for how I made these. They were cheap and super easy! It took me about an hour to make two benches. You can also do individual seats, but I liked the benches better. 

2 plastic crates (Big Lots $2.5)
 1 eight foot boar, 12 inches wide (Lowes)
Foam (I used an old bed egg crate)
Vinyl table cloth (Big Lots $1.00)
2 cloth bins
 Zip Ties

Once you have all your materials, take two zip ties and connect the two crates together. Have Lowes cut the board in half so that you have two 4ft boards. I drilled 6 holes in the board, in order to put the zip ties through to attached it to the crates. I went on a attached the zip ties to the board before I put the table cloth on. Before attaching the board to the crates I cut the foam and the table cloth to fit around the board. I stapled the table cloth and foam to the  board and then placed on top of the crates and locked the zip ties. Then you're done! It was SUPER easy and it was a fun little project for my mom and I. I used a table cloth because you can just wipe it down, without having to worry about fabric. You can use whatever you want. They turned out so cute and look great in the room. They would work for anything! Go try it!

Okay, this is my favorite part of my room! It's so sunny and happy and makes me want to take a seat and read! Besides my benches, I LOVE the rug and the lamp. Both of these items were purchased from Big Lots. Once I had the rug, I knew I just wanted lots of color. All my bins are from Dollar Tree and they are filled with books and then the right bookcase is filled with reading games and small group activities. In the basket by the bookcases are cushions my mom made! :) She had old cushions from our porch swing and she just covered them with pillow cases. There are 6 cushions and they will be used by the students to sit and read comfortably. My next favorite thing in the room are my hand made chalk boards! :) LOVE THEM! I bought four frames from Good Will for $.25 each. I painted the edges and then got chalk paint and painted the glass. SUPER easy. I plan on writing quotes and little inspirational sayings on them to inspire the students. Right now the quotes are all Dr. Suess quotes. I think that's about it in this corner. :)

 AH! The sancuary :) This is my little space. I'm sure I won't spend a lot of time back here, but I still wanted it cute. The rug is from Big Lots, again and so is the black ottoman in the corner. LOVE! The colorful picture frame hanging on the wall is a collage of letters from my students from Wasena. My last day of student teaching, the students all gave me cards saying how much they would miss me. I took some and put them in this shadow box to help me remember why I do what I do. They are too sweet :) Above that is a letter from a little boy that was in my class. This little boy had Aspergers and was the sweetest thing! After I left and after Christmas break they started working on friendly letters. Mrs. Gibson told the students to choose a person within the school to write and send a letter to. This student asked if he could write and send his letter to me, even though I was no longer there. She said yes and there is my letter. It was so cute and sweet and just another reminder that students do pay attention to what you do and what you say. I will cherish these forever. My bulletin board is bare because those were the only two pictures I had in my car. I will be adding more soon. 
This huge box thing is where my students will keep their backpacks. When I first saw this monster I was not happy. It was huge and DISGUSTING!!! I did some major scrubbing and now it looks as good as new! On my bulletin board you can see my calendar and class jobs. On the other side are "buckets" and the title says "We Are Bucket Fillers". While I was at Wasena, Mrs. Stiles read the book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today". I LOVED the idea and I am going to incorporate it into my class. If you haven't read the book, the premise is that everyone carries around with them an invisible bucket. As individuals we are "bucket fillers" or "bucket dippers". A bucket filler is someone is does nice things for others and builds others up, therefore they are filler our bucket. A bucket dipper is someone who "dips" in our bucket by being negative, bullying, and treating other without respect. We all want to be bucket fillers. I have little pom-pom balls that students will use to fill their buckets. If I see or hear someone being a bucket filler I will put a pom pom in that persons bucket. Students can put pom poms in each other buckets if they feel a friend is being a bucket filler to them or to others. It is a great way to make sure students are aware of feelings and treating everyone with kindness. I'm excited to start! This is not my behavior plan, but ties into my bahavior plan well. I will talk about my behavior plan in another post :) On my table are dry erase boards for the students, the bucket of pom poms and then two more buckets that say "broken" on one and "sharp" on the other. While working with Mrs. Stiles she had a BRILLIANT idea of not sharpening pencils during class! Students were allowed to sharpen pencils during morning work and then that was it! If, during class, your pencil broke, you were allowed to "barter" with me or Mrs. Stiles for a sharpened pencil. You were not allowed to trade us for a nice pencil if you had a pencil that had bite marks or no eraser or that was just not kept in good condition. That would be an unfair trade. This concept was WONDERFUL! Students never got out of their seat to sharpen pencils and we were incorporating a Social Studies skill :)

 To the left you can see my guided reading/small group area. I am still waiting on a kidney table and that will go in front of the posters. The posters will eventually be taken down and a bulletin board will be put up. This will be my word wall for reading and focus wall for math.
The bookcases on the left house all my math manipulatives and the bookcase on the right is all Science and Social Studies materials.

This is my door :) My mom came up with "Soar into 3rd Grade with Miss Vaughan". Our mascot is the Eagles and our behavior approach is S.O.A.R. (I'll discuss that in a later post). Anyway, the girls will have their names on the hot air balloons and the boys will have their names on the rockets. I thought it was a cute idea :)

Well, there ya have it. The how and the why of my room. Hope you enjoyed it and I hope you can take something from it! Happy decorating fellow teachers!!!

My First REAL Classroom

Excited, tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, happy, sad, frustrated, pumped, unprepared, and ecstatic are just SOME of the emotions I have experienced over the past week and a half. The first time I walked into my classroom, about three weeks ago, was with my friend Jasmine. We both walked in and I literally had tears form in my eyes because of the amount of "stuff" in my room. All this "stuff" was pushed into the middle of the room and included desks, bookshelves, thousands of books (literally), chairs, a forest from all the paper, and just junk! We stayed long enough to move the furniture around to how I thought I wanted things set up and then we left. I was BEYOND overwhelmed. I definitely had my work cut out for me! Everything was FILTHY, and when I say filthy, I mean black goop EVERYWHERE you looked and dust inches thick. It was disgusting to say the least. I had no idea where to begin. 

These two pictures capture just a fraction of what the classroom looked like after I moved everything. These pictures do not come close to showing how nasty it was. 

Since I work at a charter school, the state provides us funding. However, the funding is based on the amount of students we have enrolled. Most of our furniture is "hand-me-downs" and not in the best of conditions. However, my principal is AMAZING and she goes over and beyond to make sure we have everything we need and anything we want. I have been very impressed! Anyway, on to the demolition. :)
Last Thursday I went to the school for a few hours and I went to town cleaning. I purchased Goof Off, a scraper, sponges, rags, and 409 from Lowes and went to town. I literally spent 5 hours JUST cleaning and the only pieces of furniture I cleaned were the bookshelves. I have 5 bookshelves in my classroom and they are not big. You can imagine how dirty they were if it took me five hours to get them presentable. Goof Off works wonders!!!!! Friday my mom came to school and helped. If you know my mother, you know she's AMAZING and so creative. We finished cleaning everything and then began sorting through things and trying to organized. By the end of the day I had about 60 BUG boxes, FULL of books, curriculm books from the 50s and all kinds of stuff, packed up to be taken away! My room was nother but boxes. After the boxes were removed the real work began, organizing, sorting, and arranging. We got a lot accomplished, but it was still no where close to being ready! 
This week we started our teacher work days. Our principal allotted two work weeks before students come and I am thankful for the two weeks. Monday and Tuesday we spent the day in meetings and I became even more overwhelmed. North Carolina has adopted the Common Core Standards and this year we are implementing them at our school. This is VERY different for me, especially coming from Virginia where we just had SOL's. The Common Core is intense and you have to change the entire way you present material and how you teach in order to be effective. I have SO much material running through my brain it's hard to keep things straight and it's hard to focus on one particular thing. Because our principal could sense the fact we were all overwhelmed, especially us newbies, she decided to allow Wednesday and today days focused on finishing up our rooms. Today I finished mine! There are a few little things missing and things that need to be tweaked, but overall it's finished and I am very proud and excited about the finished product. 
My goal as a teacher was to make my room warm and inviting for my students. I want my students to be excited to come to class and excited for what the day holds. I know that is what most teachers want and I also know that is a goal that is hard to attain, because a lot of students would rather be anywhere but school. However, I am going to do my best to make my students feel comfortable in their learning environment. I feel like I have done that with my room and I am very excited to see their reactions. I LOVE LOVE LOVE 3rd grade and I am so excited to start! My mentor and inspiration for a lot of my ideas comes from my cooperating teacher for student teaching, Mrs. Stiles. I could not have asked for a better student teaching experience. My teaching style is very much like Mrs. Stiles and we got along so well. I have taken many of her ideas and incorporated them into my classroom. I can't wait to share them with you! 
I am going to end this post because it is pretty long and you may be bored. HA! However, I am going to post another post tonight giving more detail about how I did some of my decorating and why, and of course there will be pictures! I know you aren't supposed to write two blog posts in one day, but I am just so excited about the school year and I want to share it all with you. My goal is to be one of those people that make it on Pinterest and have all these followers. HAHA! A girl can dream :) Check out my next post and try out the fun ideas!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

So long Virginia, Hello North Carolina!

Today was an end of a wonderful era! For five years, I had the privilege of living with my best friend, Heather. We have lived with some crazies and some not so crazies and then finally spent this last year with just the two of us. I have loved living with my best friend. Many people live with their best friends because they think it will be so fun and no drama. However, they quickly realize that's not the case and usually the friendship changes, or even ends. Heather and I have never had that problem. The longer we lived together, the closer we became! I am just so thankful for her and for all the fun memories we have made!!! I am so excited to see where the Lord takes us on this next journey! Love you best!
Now, I always have said, "The next person I live with after Heather will be my husband." Well, guess what?? SURPRISE! I'm not married... so I'm not living with my husband. So, the next best thing... Keith and Edna Vaughan! I lived with them for 18 years and I handled it well. I think I can do it for a few months :) All kidding aside, living with my mom and dad again is going to take some getting used to, but I think it's going to be great! AND I won't stay here forever; just a couple of months until I find a cute place to call my own :)

So, today, July 30, 2012, starts a "New Beginning" in my life. I'm starting my job tomorrow and my prescious little third graders arrive in 2 weeks! SO fun! As God would have it, Lynchburg decided to post three open elementary positions this week, two for third grade and one for first. While the selfish side of me really wanted to apply, and try one more time to stay in the Burg, I know leaving is the best choice. I was talking to Heather and then Erin about my decision. I know staying in Lynchburg would be more of a selfish choice. I am comfortable in Lynchburg and stagnant. Moving to NC will force me to do new things and get out of that comfort zone. Today was a very sad day for me. Lynchburg became my home and is where my best friends are. However, Lynchburg also holds a lot of memories that are hard to let go. While I will always remember my time in Lynchburg, it will be nice to not see reminders of things daily. I'm sad, but excited to start this new chapter and I am so excited to be a real teacher!! The Lord has a good and perfect plan for me and no matter where I am, I know who will be here through it all and that's all that matters. Now my blogs can be about teaching and how cute my classroom is!! Get excited!! :)
So long Virginia
HELLO North Carolina!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Big New Beginning!

One year ago today I had just gotten home from a wonderful week at the beach with my family and Grant. All was right with the world and we had had a wonderful week together. Grant went back to Alabama and we had planned our next time to see each other, which was in August. At the beach we had discussed our future plans and were excited for the next chapter in our lives. I would do my student teaching that fall, he would propose in December, and we would be married now, and I would be living in Alabama.
Crazy how much changes in a year! I will start my first teaching job in the Fall, Christmas will come in December, and I have no clue what's in store after that. Fast forward one year and the Lord has taken me on the craziest ride I have ever been on. Today, instead of thinking about a wonderful week at the beach, I am sitting at home, thinking about the next chapter in my life. All those promises made a year ago are just words now and after eight months of sadness, loneliness, and feelings of betrayal and hurt, I can honestly say, all is right with my world today. In a month I will be moving home with my family, where I will embark on a "New Beginning". I am Ms. Vaughan now to 28 third graders and I couldn't be more excited. I still cry when I think about moving, but I know this is what is best for me. For so long I have made my decisions for other people and it is time to make a decision for myself. While staying in Lynchburg with all my friends would be ideal, this opportunity is going to offer so much for my life. For 5 years Lynchburg has been my home and I have made memories here that will last a lifetime. My friends live here and it is hard to imagine my life without my best friend across the hall. However, for the first time in 8 months I can truly say I am happy. Am I where I thought I would be? NO. Do I wish some things in my life were different? YES. However, the Lord has a wonderful and good plan for my life and I'm excited to see what it is. He is going to provide me the man of my dreams and the desires of my heart. He is going to give me children to love on and teach and he is going to provide peace that only comes from him. I'm excited! Here's to another year!
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Today my blog is back on track with my 100 people and my goal is to catch up! I am REALLY going to do at least one person a day from now on!
 Today was Father's Day. I have already bragged a lot about my dad and I could continue. He is an amazing father and I am so thankful to be his daughter. I was lucky enough to go home this weekend and I was able to be at church this morning, with him. His sermon was wonderful. The text was from Luke 15:11- 32, which is the story of the Prodigal Son. We looked at it from the side of the father, which represents God the father. Obviously, Christ has made a significant influence in my life and I am eternally grateful. His impact on my life has been the single most life changing impact over anyone else. By his grace I have been forgiven and saved. Today I am thankful that my earthly father models daily the love and grace my heavenly father demonstrates. My dad is not perfect, and neither am I, but he strives everyday to be the best father and role model possible. He made three points today in his message. 
A father should be:
1. Approachable
2. Spiritual
3. Compassionate
These three qualities in a father are directly from God and how he relates to us. There have been many times I have fallen short but I know that God is approachable and ready to listen when I talk and ready to speak when I am willing to listen. God is spiritual. He is the pure essence of being spiritual. He is compassionate and loves me unconditionally, no matter how many times I fail him. Without Christ, my life would be pointless. He has changed who I am and what I stand for. This Father's Day I am thankful for an earthly father who loves the Lord and his family and strives daily to put him first and our family second. I am also thankful for my Heavenly father, for his perfect love and grace and for saving me from myself.

Click the link below to listen to my dad's message from today. It is a wonderful message on how to be a father and what it takes to be a father in today's society. Every man should listen!!