Thursday, August 26, 2010

SLR

A few months back, I did a post of some things I was dreaming of buying. Well, the next thing I really want is a nice SLR camera.

So, if you know me, you know I research ev-er-y-thing I buy before I buy it.
It drives my husband crazy, but that's okay. :)
I just hate feeling like I got ripped off, and I just can't commit to buying unless I know I'm getting the best for my money.

Of course the big debate is Nikon v. Cannon.
I don't know the specific differences between them or even the difference in the price.
But, I did find this post from the Pioneer Woman (love her) which is interesting, what do you think?

Then, once we settle on a brand, the next question is what model to get. I mean, let's be for real, that will probably be dictated by price. BUT, if the sky was the limit, I think I would go for what Kelle Hampton has over at Enjoying the Small Things. Oh man, I drooooooooooool over her photography. Check her out.

I may be getting ahead of myself, but I've also found some extra equitment that I already really want. One thing, is a thing called a light scoop. Go over to Bring Up Madison to see what a HUGE difference they make!! She is also giving one away!

So, anyone out there have any advice for me? I'll take anything brand/model reccomendations, good deals, aweomse equitment, someone that wants to give me all this for free??



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Get Behind Me

We went to an awesome service Sunday night with our church. It was an association wide meeting with a mass choir (which I loved being a part of) and preaching from the chairman of the international paryer team, Dave Butts. There is SO much from the service and that night that I could talk about but the main thing that has stayed with me is from this passage:

Matthew 16:21-23
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

So what just happened here? Peter, a disciple and best friend of Christ, was just used by Satan through what he said. Whoa. So if the person who Christ built the church upon can fall prey to the devil, certainly we are at a high risk of this as well.

I know that I have had other people say things to me that were directly from the adversary, and ashamadly, I know I have also let my mouth speak things from him. It was interesting, so soon after we left church, Satan began his attacks. Nothing huge, just little comments and attitudes from various people that I knew were not of my God. It was so helpful for me to realize what was happening...it wasn't just that person speaking.

One may question why a GREAT God would have any sort of problem dealing with someone as weak as the devil. The preacher gave this great illistration. Imagine if an ant walked up to you now and challenged you to arm wrestle. Can you imagine? Realistically, it can't be done. You are just too big, and the ant is just too small. Sure, you could squash that bug in .02 seconds, but to actually win in arm wrestling, that is tricky. The only way to accomplish it, would be if you became an ant, just like Jesus became man, defeated death, hell, and the grave, and rescued us all.

However, even now, the devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. So although he can tempt us now, he has already been defeated and the power that raised Jesus from the dead is within us AND we have our sheild of faith and sword of the word to defeat those flaming darts. So bring it on, devil-boy. The fact that you are attacking means I'm headed in the right direction, my God has already squashed you like the tiny bug that you are.
I pray that I will never again be used by the devil to speak his nasty lies, and that I will also be able to recognize when people around me are being devoured and used of him. I pray that instead each day I am given I can do just this...

...let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25

By the power of Jesus, I will set my mind on things above (Col 3:2) and not be a stumling block to anyone (Rom 14:13), but to encourage (or give courage) to everyone I come in contact with.

I'll end with the simple words of praise from a song we sang that night...

Thank you Jesus. Hallelujah. Amen Amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Is Much

"Bigger is better," shouts the world.
The bigger the building, the bigger the dollar sign, the bigger the ego;
Bigger is Better.

I feel like I've fought this battle of being small my whole life.
Specifically when it comes to church.
I grew up in a small church. We're talking 100ish for Sunday mornings.
I loved that church, and am thankful I grew up there, but even while we were there my family and I would wonder and discuss if there was something we were missing, specifically when it came to a lack of youth group stuff for us as teenagers.

Fast forward to now, after we got married, Jason and I felt called to be at New Hope, the church he grew up in. New Hope is also a small church, maybe even a bit smaller than even the church I grew up in. I LOVE New Hope. It's a true church to me, full of humble people, not there to show off, and the heart of that church is to seek Jesus, and THAT is the MOST important thing. But still, the bigger is better bug still bites me sometimes.

And boy did it bite hard tonight, when two of our youth (we have around 10 on Wed nights) told us, through many tears, that their family is leaving the church. The reason...because they want their kids to have a bigger youth group. Ouch.

Jason and I discussed this big v. small church thing on the very sad car ride home. He so wisely reminded me that there are good things about both big and small churches, and that no matter where you choose to go, you will sacrifice something. I'll admit, there are things I really wish our church had, but I don't know that I would trade them for the intimacy and authenticity that I feel there. There is no perfect church, no matter what the size. Our youth group may not be big and flashy, and our numbers may not be anything to brag about. But tonight, those two precious girls gave us the biggest encouragement of all. They said that they've never felt closer to God than the time they had spent there, and I praise HIM for that.

Over the summer, we took our group (a total of nine) to camp. We were, by far, the smallest group. In fact, there was a huge church group of 200 there  that definitely made their presence known at all times. This other group was your quintessential chaco-wearing, frat-boy haircut, pearl-earrings-with-workout-shorts youth group. While our group is made up of the best kids ever (and no I'm not biased), many of them come from very difficult backgrounds and live very humbly. At times I could tell the kids were fighting this same battle, of being insignificant, unimportant, small. But then, our  last night at camp, we had a bonfire, and I saw seven teenagers truly connect with a BIG, HUGE, VAST, and INFINITE God. And there is nothing small about that.





Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don't let your Heart be Troubled




Heaven's choir just got a new front row praiser this morning; Jason's grandmother Nannie left her physical body today and is now present with the Lord.

I've never known anyone who talked about going to Heaven as much as Nannie did. Every time we would see her she would say something about how she may not be on earth much longer or how she couldn't wait to go home to heaven. Plus, no doubt about it, she was one of the best Jesus worshippers I have ever known. When she would visit our church, she would audibly call out "Thank you Jesus" with her hands raised. It didn't matter what part of the service it was in or the fact that she was the only one worshipping in this way. If you mentioned it to her she would say "I don't care what anyone says. I'm going to praise the Lord!" A few years ago while she was in the hospital, I asked her what her favorite verse was. Without a second of hesitation, she said "Don't let your heart be troubled. John 14:1" What a testimony she has left behind.

While driving home from church tonight, Jason looked over at me and said "I just realized I have no grandparents left." It broke my heart. Even though we have the hope of heaven and the comfort of the Spirit, it's so hard not to be sad  about not seeing someone again here and also jealous that they are in glory and we aren't. This, along with some other happenings of this week, have made me realize the painful fact that we are growing up and having to look the hard stuff of life right in the face. I'm sure the next few days will have some tough moments, but you can rest assured that no matter what may come, my heart won't be troubled; I'm resting in sweet trust of my Savior, just like Nannie said.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Master

So, this week I'm starting my first course in my Masters. I must say that I was slightly nervous when the professor emailed us and told us to expect to spend 12 hours on this class every week. Yikes. This first class is entirely online, and so far, I'm enjoying it! I spend my evenings on the computer anyways so it works for me! Our first assignment was to create a homepage telling about ourselves and our experiences with mythology. Did I mention this class is entirely about mythology? My past experiences with mythology have been less than thrilling, but I'm trying to keep an open mind here. I thought I would include what I wrote on my homepage because it is a better summation of myself than I've ever given here before.

Hi! I am Chelsea. I am deeply rooted in my hometown in Georgia where I grew up with my wonderful family. I now have the privilege of teaching in the same county, and I'm in my second year of teaching 8th grade Language Arts at a local middle school. I received my Bachelor's degree in Middle Grades Education from Berry College, which is my third favorite place on earth, right after home and Disney World. I consider teaching to be an honor, and I am passionate about showing students the power of their own words. I love and enjoy my students, and I laugh every single day. 

When I'm not changing the world one student at a time, I enjoy blogging, devouring books, and doing anything with my husband and our puppy Zero. I have a love/hate relationship with exercising, and I'm currently attempting to complete the couch to 5k program with a fellow teacher. My husband is the youth leader at our church, New Hope Baptist, and I am honored to help teach and hang out with those students as well. I am passionate about growing in my faith as a Christian, and try to live my life to reflect that. 

My knowledge of Greek & Roman mythology stems from vague memories of studying it in 10th grade Literature, images and experiences of Roman mythology I had while touring Italy on May-mester, and being bombarded with current interpretations on it through my students' love of "The Lightning Thief" series as well as my husband's constant commentary on his God of War video game. My objective for this class is to broaden my exposure, appreciation, and understanding of these great works of Literature in order to be a better teacher of reading and language. I'm excited for the challenge, and look forward to the end result.

So there you have it! I hope this class is low stress and highly useful. One thing I do want to amend after I complete this degree is the lack of title change that comes with graduate work. I mean, when you get a doctorate, you become Dr. so-and-so, so come December 2011, you can all (hopefully) start referring to me as Master L. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Through it all...

Through news from a friend so bad it feels like a kick in the gut...

Through staring at the injustice of a 16 year old girl dying in the face...

Through blah Mondays and the cage of the mundane ...

Through temptations and victories...

I will bless the Lord forever
I will trust Him at all times
He has delivered me from all fear
He has set my feet upon a rock
I will not be moved 
And I'll say of the Lord

You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help in time of need

Whom have I in heaven but You
There's none I desire beside You
You have made me glad
And I'll say of the Lord

You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help in time of need


Lord, be near.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Best Friends' Weddings

If there is one thing that characterizes this season in my life right now,
It is definitely weddings.





My wedding June 2009
In fact the beautiful redhead on the left got married this past weekend (But I didn't get a picture with her, darn). There is a running joke at Berry that says "Ring by Spring or refund". Haha!!




Allyson's wedding June 2010
Before my own wedding, I was so afraid that I wasn't going to like going to weddings because I would regret not doing something they did in their wedding or spend the whole time comparing my wedding to theirs. But honestly, at each friend's wedding, I'm super happy to be past the stress of a wedding and I've never once wished to go back to re-do a thing!
Amory's wedding (where's the bride?!) November 2009
I could never say what a blessing it has been to be there as my friends promised forever to their husbands.






Leigh's wedding June 2009
These weddings couldn't have been more different, but each one was so uniquely perfect and beautiful. I have such great memories from each one.

Saxon's wedding November 2009
Our boyfriends/fiances/husbands also formed quite the bond at all these weddings as they ate several helpings of food, made friends with the servers, and "held the table" while we tore up the dance floor.

Lauren's wedding August 2008
But what is even better than sharing these beautiful ladies' days with them is sharing the experience of being a wife. Because when it comes to anything from needing a new recipe for dinner to needing prayer while supporting your husband in various situations, these ladies are the best. 

Katie's Wedding October 2008
Do I have beautiful friends, or what?


The good news is, the end isn't in sight!! I have 2 save the dates on my fridge right now,  a teacher friend that is engaged, and 2 of my favorite friends (Ellen & Jess, that would be YA'LL) just got engaged!! Bring on the brides!! :)




Monday, August 2, 2010

1st day of school #20: check!

Yes, you read right. Today was my 20th first day of school! That's:
14 first days PreK-12th
4 first days at Berry
& today was my 2nd first day as an 8th grade teacher.
I'm basically a Pro.
(Plus, I'm starting my Masters next month, can this year count twice? Hmmm...)



Obligatory first day of school pic. :)

I must say that it was a really great day! I was about a million times more calm than I was this time last year. I'm back to my it-will-get-done-when-it-gets-done self for this first day, which is much more enjoyable. My homeroom seems to be a good group. They were super quiet and followed directions well today (which is a good sign). I'm teaching English this year and I have two on-level classes in the morning, then two advanced classes and one team taught class (which means it has Special Ed students) in the afternoon. My team taught class has 30 now, YIKES (P.S.: I only have 28 desks). Then my two advanced classes are super small (17 in one and 10 in the other). My 6th period advanced has a lot of character. We played two truths and a lie and one said "I can solve a rubric's cube in one minute and 17 seconds, I own a Gecko, and I have 4 Fedoras." The lie? He only has 3 Fedoras... of course.  I heart nerds, no really... I do. Time will tell with all my other students. I just love getting to know them all. So much personality and potential in each one!!

I DO wish I would have journaled or blogged after my first day last year! Mainly because I remembered some things I wanted to do from last year super last minute this morning! So, mainly for me (and hey if it helps someone who reads it, that's great), some first day tips from Mrs. L...

1) Try your best to be "down to business". I don't think being mean or even intimidating is the right way to describe the first day persona I want/try to convey. However, sending the message of "I mean business" is very valuable in the long run. This is honestly very hard for me because I enjoy being an encouraging/kind/smiley kind of teacher, but although I could never follow the advice of not smiling before Christmas, it IS true that you can always let up but it's very difficult to tighten the reigns after they have been loose.

2) Have written instructions on board and a seating chart when students enter each class. This year I wrote their names on index cards and placed them on the desks, and then had them give me info on those. Having students fight over picking seats and then sit and whisper for the first few minutes is just not a good first message in my opinion.

3) Most students are very quiet on the first day. Have constant activities planned in order to avoid awkward silent stares (especially in homeroom). This is likely the only day this will happen, enjoy it.


Here's to a great year!