Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shame is Overrated

I will be the first person to admit that I don't like selfies. I'm not talking about selfies you take with other people, I'm talking about individual selfies. There is something that seems so narcissistic to me in photographing yourself all the time and posting those photos online.
That being said, I realize that the following picture is, in fact, a selfie. I apologize in advance.


I took this so I could send it to my family and a few friends to show them how excited I was to wear my awesome Christmas sweater to school today. If you can't tell...the sweater says "Merry Chris-Moose," and the moose has bells in his antlers that tinkle when I move. (And for those of you with minds like my 12 year old sister, I mean tinkle the sound, not tinkle the action). It's adorable.

I teach 10th graders, and 15 year old kids are pretty brutal. You have to have thick skin with a job like mine. They will find anything wrong with you and they will run with it. If I cared what they thought there would be some days I would come home miserable and hating myself (not to say that still doesn't happen, it's just usually for other reasons). However, I happen to be one of those lucky individuals who have enough self confidence that the opinion of 15 year olds doesn't affect me. 
It's almost Christmas break, my students are on the tail end of their finals, and I thought they could use a little pick me up.  Today wasn't the only day I've dressed in some ridiculous outfit. If only I still had my pictures from Spirit Week....oh wait, here's one. 


It was Superhero Wednesday and I chose to be a Book Fairy (because you can't have a more perfect costume as an English teacher). It was also picture day. So I will be forever frozen in my Book Fairy costume in the 2014/2015 HBHS yearbook. I love it, and I wasn't the only one who decided to immortalize my superhero outfit that year. Most of the people in my department did. 
I dress silly a lot; and, I act silly a lot. I know that sometimes people may roll their eyes at my ridiculousness. I'm ok with that. I have no shame. I don't care if my students think my sweater looks stupid or if the cashier at Walmart thinks my 80's hair and pink neon tights are way overboard. Life is so much more fun that way. The key to maturity is knowing when it's appropriate to be a little immature. It amazes me when my students don't take advantage of opportunities like Tacky Tourist Tuesday to dress up and have fun. So many of them think they're "too cool." I wonder sometimes how many people miss out on some of the most fun aspects of life because they are "too cool." How many of my kids automatically think Homecoming is lame, even though they've never gone? They miss out on a huge part of the high school experience because they are so afraid of looking ridiculous. Who cares if you don't have a date? Or if your dress came from the $20 bargain rack at Forever 21? In my experience, people don't usually regret experiences they've had. Typically, they regret experiences that they chose to pass up. Taylor Swift tweeted once about people who are too cool for things, and I think she got it spot on when she said, "because being cool usually means being bored by everything. And I'm not bored by any of this."
So much of what we consider "cool" is exactly what she said, boredom. It's not cool to get excited about things. It's not cool to get into things. Why? Why can't my students just go to homecoming without complaining about it and agree to have fun? Or dress up for Spirit Week even if they think no one else will? In everything you do, if you go into it with a good attitude, ready to enjoy it, then it is much more likely that you will actually have fun. 

I don't think I've always been this willing to be goofy for no reason. Teaching has brought a lot of that out of me. But then again, in high school I was just as willing to look ridiculous for fun. 
(Notice all the "cool kids" in the background not dressed up for tacky day). 

I'm not saying you can't have days where you just don't feel like getting in touch with your goofy side, but like all things there has to be balance. Not many people know how goofy and completely ridiculous my husband can be. He hides that side of himself fairly well, but it's one of my favorite things about him. It's part of what made me fall in love with him. He might laugh at my ugly Christmas sweater, but he'll never tell me not to wear it. 

Part of what I love so much about my family and my friends is that we don't typically care about looking ridiculous. We will go out to dinner on Halloween dressed as Flo from Progressive and a Starbucks Frapuccino, even though almost no one else in the restaurant is dressed up. We play "Just Dance" on the Kinect and laugh at each other's dance moves. We are comfortable enough with ourselves and with each other to lose a little inhibition. 

So much of life is fun! How much of it do we miss out on because we are ashamed and afraid of looking uncool? Shame is overrated. Fun is cool. As long as you think life is fun, who cares if someone who thinks life is boring sniggers at your outfit?

Shame is Overrated

I will be the first person to admit that I don't like selfies. I'm not talking about selfies you take with other people, I'm talking about individual selfies. There is something that seems so narcissistic to me in photographing yourself all the time and posting those photos online.
That being said, I realize that the following picture is, in fact, a selfie. I apologize in advance.


I took this so I could send it to my family and a few friends to show them how excited I was to wear my awesome Christmas sweater to school today. If you can't tell...the sweater says "Merry Chris-Moose," and the moose has bells in his antlers that tinkle when I move. (And for those of you with minds like my 12 year old sister, I mean tinkle the sound, not tinkle the action). It's adorable.

I teach 10th graders, and 15 year old kids are pretty brutal. You have to have thick skin with a job like mine. They will find anything wrong with you and they will run with it. If I cared what they thought there would be some days I would come home miserable and hating myself (not to say that still doesn't happen, it's just usually for other reasons). However, I happen to be one of those lucky individuals who have enough self confidence that the opinion of 15 year olds doesn't affect me. 
It's almost Christmas break, my students are on the tail end of their finals, and I thought they could use a little pick me up.  Today wasn't the only day I've dressed in some ridiculous outfit. If only I still had my pictures from Spirit Week....oh wait, here's one. 


It was Superhero Wednesday and I chose to be a Book Fairy (because you can't have a more perfect costume as an English teacher). It was also picture day. So I will be forever frozen in my Book Fairy costume in the 2014/2015 HBHS yearbook. I love it, and I wasn't the only one who decided to immortalize my superhero outfit that year. Most of the people in my department did. 
I dress silly a lot; and, I act silly a lot. I know that sometimes people may roll their eyes at my ridiculousness. I'm ok with that. I have no shame. I don't care if my students think my sweater looks stupid or if the cashier at Walmart thinks my 80's hair and pink neon tights are way overboard. Life is so much more fun that way. The key to maturity is knowing when it's appropriate to be a little immature. It amazes me when my students don't take advantage of opportunities like Tacky Tourist Tuesday to dress up and have fun. So many of them think they're "too cool." I wonder sometimes how many people miss out on some of the most fun aspects of life because they are "too cool." How many of my kids automatically think Homecoming is lame, even though they've never gone? They miss out on a huge part of the high school experience because they are so afraid of looking ridiculous. Who cares if you don't have a date? Or if your dress came from the $20 bargain rack at Forever 21? In my experience, people don't usually regret experiences they've had. Typically, they regret experiences that they chose to pass up. Taylor Swift tweeted once about people who are too cool for things, and I think she got it spot on when she said, "because being cool usually means being bored by everything. And I'm not bored by any of this."
So much of what we consider "cool" is exactly what she said, boredom. It's not cool to get excited about things. It's not cool to get into things. Why? Why can't my students just go to homecoming without complaining about it and agree to have fun? Or dress up for Spirit Week even if they think no one else will? In everything you do, if you go into it with a good attitude, ready to enjoy it, then it is much more likely that you will actually have fun. 

I don't think I've always been this willing to be goofy for no reason. Teaching has brought a lot of that out of me. But then again, in high school I was just as willing to look ridiculous for fun. 
(Notice all the "cool kids" in the background not dressed up for tacky day). 

I'm not saying you can't have days where you just don't feel like getting in touch with your goofy side, but like all things there has to be balance. Not many people know how goofy and completely ridiculous my husband can be. He hides that side of himself fairly well, but it's one of my favorite things about him. It's part of what made me fall in love with him. He might laugh at my ugly Christmas sweater, but he'll never tell me not to wear it. 

Part of what I love so much about my family and my friends is that we don't typically care about looking ridiculous. We will go out to dinner on Halloween dressed as Flo from Progressive and a Starbucks Frapuccino, even though almost no one else in the restaurant is dressed up. We play "Just Dance" on the Kinect and laugh at each other's dance moves. We are comfortable enough with ourselves and with each other to lose a little inhibition. 

So much of life is fun! How much of it do we miss out on because we are ashamed and afraid of looking uncool? Shame is overrated. Fun is cool. As long as you think life is fun, who cares if someone who thinks life is boring sniggers at your outfit?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Blessings

I realize it's very cliche to write a blog post about what I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving. Trust me, I get annoyed by the endless "post something you're thankful for every day this month" statuses on Facebook. However, in the spirit of the season it's important to me to take stock of the blessings in my life. The whole point of Thanksgiving is to stop and take a moment to reflect on everything in our lives we can be thankful for. 

I decided to narrow it down to my top 3.

3. My Job
I'm sure this doesn't come as much of a shock considering my last post, but I am so thankful for my job. When I first decided to become a teacher I thought to myself, Working at Har-Ber is my dream job. Then I would laugh at myself, accept the fact that there was no way that was going to happen, and I continued job searching in areas that seemed more likely. Seriously, I never thought I would be working here. It seemed way out of my league. Har-Ber is such a nice school, still new, and the teachers working here are top-notch. There was no way they were going to hire a 23 year old brand new teacher. No way. I had accepted the fact that I would probably have to work at a smaller school in a smaller district for awhile and gain some experience before I could work here. 
There are times in our lives when God surprises us. Sometimes they aren't good surprises, but when he decides to work a situation in our favor it's always a surreal experience. That's how I ended up here. I had an interview at a different school for a job I didn't get for various reasons. The principal who interviewed me was impressed enough that she contacted my current principal to recommend me. I had never met this principal until the day I interviewed. And when I found out I hadn't gotten the job, I thought it was just a failed interview. They happen. Weeks later, school is about to start and I still don't have a teaching job. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to be a substitute until I got in good enough with someone in charge at a school (any school...I wasn't going to be picky). The Wednesday before school started I got a call from my current principal. He was offering me an interview the next morning for a position at Har-Ber. I showed up for an interview at 6 AM and had the job by noon. I'm pretty sure I had a smile plastered to my face for the next 72 hours straight. I couldn't believe it. It turns out, the interview I thought was a failure, was more just bad luck and bad timing. My failure turned into one of my biggest successes. That never happens! I won't go into a lot of details of my job. . .you can read my last post to get a better idea of how I feel about what I do. (Spoiler alert: I LOVE IT!) I have administrators who will always support me and back me up. I have teachers who will help me when I struggle, give me advice when I need it, and who will let me vent when nothing else seems to help, and I have students who make me excited to get out of bed and go to work every morning. I'm proud to be a Wildcat.

2. My friends
There are a lot of people in my life who I would put in this category. I'm thankful for our couple friends who make group outings more fun. I'm lucky because most of my friends have husbands, fiance's and significant others who are friends with my husband and vise versa. I'm thankful for friends like Amanda, who have been around a long time and have seen me at my best and my worst and still decide it's worth it to stick around. I'm thankful for friends like Courtney and Chris, who are blazing the trail of parenthood for the rest of us (and are doing a fabulous job so far, in my opinion). I don't want to get into a trend here of naming a lot of names and giving each name an explanation. I know there's no way I can go through everyone without leaving someone out. My point here is simply that Jake and I are surrounded by people who love us and care about us. People who don't care if our house is messy or if they come over and I'm wearing sweatpants (because let's all be honest, if I have to change out of the leggings/giant hoodie/thick cozy socks combo I'm wearing in order for you to come over....we may not be all that close). I'm grateful for the friends who support and encourage me, for the sweatpants movie dates, for the craft nights (that may or may not end well), for the ugly Christmas sweater parties, the float trips, the Paint the Town Red galas and the baby/wedding/lingerie showers. I'm also grateful for our friends who live elsewhere, in places like St. Louis, MO, St. Joe, MI, or even Japan. I'm grateful for the fact that, on top of everything else, my friends are fun! There's never a dull moment when we get together. We goof off, we act stupid sometimes (i.e. running around outside in houseshoes in 6 inches of snow during the Super Bowl because we thought that snow ice cream seemed like a good idea or watching 3 grown men spend what felt like hours all playing the same football throwing game at an arcade because they just HAD to beat their own high score). We just do life together. I'm happy that I have people to have fun with. I'm grateful to have neighbor friends, work friends, college friends, church friends, new friends, and weird friends (because we all have those). I'm grateful that my friends see me and like me for just being me.

1. My family
I saved this one for last because the level of gratitude I feel for these people cannot be described using mere words. Each of them deserves a whole blog post in itself. My parents have been married for 30 years. They have set an incredible example of a godly marriage and godly parenting for my siblings and I to follow. My mom is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She has selflessly served our family for my entire life. She is kind and loving and in spite of the fact that I know I've broken her heart on multiple occasions, I've never once doubted her love for me. I aspire to be the wife and mother that she is. She is a firecracker and is full of confidence and spunk. She has taught her 3 daughters to find their worth in Christ and not in other people. Her heart is so big and I've never met anyone who loves as much as she does. She has a sense of rhythm that I regret to say, was not passed on to me. Any time you turn on Michael Jackson, The Gap Band, or "Yeah," by Usher, she's going to dance. Every time. No matter where she is or who is watching. Because she is who she is and she doesn't care if you know it. 
My dad is just as stubborn as my mom is. It's a wonder that they mesh as well as they do. Both of my parents have very dominant personalities and somehow they make their marriage work. It's incredible how selfless they are when it comes to each other. My dad is not a romantic by any means, but he loves my mom more than anything in this world and that has always been obvious to my siblings and I. He took me on dates when I was little to make sure I knew that guys should always treat me like a princess. He and mom were always on the same page when it came to raising us. They don't keep secrets. I knew that if mom said "no," then dad would too. (Although, if I went to daddy first I usually had a better shot at getting what I wanted.) I am definitely a daddy's girl and I'm not ashamed to admit it. My father has more integrity in his little finger than most men do in their entire bodies. He may not say much, but his faith is strong and if you get him going you'll hear all about it. He takes care of the people he loves, even if they can't repay him. He's getting much softer in his old age. I see more and more of his heart every day, and it is the purest heart I know. He's rough and rowdy at times. He has a tendency to think he has the body of a 25 year old, which can get him into trouble. And you can always make him laugh with a well placed "O Brother Where Art Thou" quote. (We thought you was a tooooaaad!) 
My baby brother isn't a baby anymore, and that's a hard concept to grasp. I have never met a kinder or more compassionate person. That little boy (alright...young man) has the biggest heart. He is so sweet and so kind. He is the perfect person to talk to if you need encouragement. And let me tell you something about my little brother; he loves Jesus. I don't say that lightly. Our parents have done an incredible job of exemplifying Christ in our lives and sharing their faith. I can't remember when it was that my little brother transitioned from a kid I had to set a good example for to a young man that I looked up to, but somewhere in the last 5 or 6 years that's exactly what he did. His faith is so strong and he's unashamed to proclaim it. Logue is like Paul; bold and excited about Christ and all He has to offer. He is going to make an incredible husband in about 6 months. A big sister is always going to be anxious about the girl that her little brother decides to spend the rest of his life with, but I couldn't have found a better girl than Sarah. I'm so excited for him and where his life is going to go. He has a lot of opportunities ahead of him (probably because he's basically a genius). He is strong and protective and has the worst dance moves of anyone I know (except maybe dad...), and he is the best little brother a girl could ask for.
My sister is about to graduate high school, which is crazy. She's one of my best friends, and for that I am extremely grateful. I'm glad we've grown closer as we've gotten older, because she drove me absolutely nuts for her first 8-12 years of life. Anna is unique. She got our parents confidence and she doesn't care one bit about what anyone thinks or says about her, which is good because there are several videos of her dancing/singing or otherwise acting really ridiculous. We like to pass these around at family events. I'm glad she's staying close for college, because I can't wait to see what kind of person she grows up to be.
Jami is so full of life and energy. She's smarter than all the rest of us combined. She's the only sibling I have who loves to read as much as I do, which is awesome and I have done my best to encourage that hobby. She was the best "accident" that ever happened to our family. (Anna thought her name was going to be "Oopsie" the whole time mom was pregnant with Jami.) Everyone who spends any time with her can't help but love her. She's hilarious and so much fun. 

And then there's Jake.

How do I even begin to describe my husband? The first word that comes to mind is goofy, but most people who know him would never believe me. Jake and I were friends for a long time, and it was hard to get past his exterior. Once I did it was impossible not to fall in love. He is so strong and smart and funny and sexy and kind and wonderful and fun....you see where I'm going with this. I could go on forever. Some days he drives me insane, but most of the time I can't believe I was lucky enough to snag him. He loves me so much and he makes sure I know it. He is a good person, I mean a really good person. That seems lame to say, but there aren't many genuinely good people left in the world. He succeeds at everything he does and he doesn't do anything halfway. He gives everything 100% all the time. Sometimes it's exhausting just to watch. He loves my family and my family loves him. And his family...they're half the reason I married him. They remind me of my family, which isn't perfect but is pretty close.  We are so blessed, so loved, and so supported. I don't know where I would be without him.


I'm sorry for droning on and on. I recognize that this isn't the most interesting post I've ever written. I'm not good at sentimental things, and sometimes I know I don't tell the people I love everything I should tell them about how I feel about them and how much they mean to me. Writing is easier. So, if nothing else, I've taken the time to gather my thoughts and write down a reminder for myself of everything that makes my life awesome for days that I forget. After all, it's Thanksgiving, and that's what this whole time of year is for; to reflect on our blessings and realize that we are much better off than we tend to think we are.

Happy Thanksgiving

Blessings

I realize it's very cliche to write a blog post about what I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving. Trust me, I get annoyed by the endless "post something you're thankful for every day this month" statuses on Facebook. However, in the spirit of the season it's important to me to take stock of the blessings in my life. The whole point of Thanksgiving is to stop and take a moment to reflect on everything in our lives we can be thankful for. 

I decided to narrow it down to my top 3.

3. My Job
I'm sure this doesn't come as much of a shock considering my last post, but I am so thankful for my job. When I first decided to become a teacher I thought to myself, Working at Har-Ber is my dream job. Then I would laugh at myself, accept the fact that there was no way that was going to happen, and I continued job searching in areas that seemed more likely. Seriously, I never thought I would be working here. It seemed way out of my league. Har-Ber is such a nice school, still new, and the teachers working here are top-notch. There was no way they were going to hire a 23 year old brand new teacher. No way. I had accepted the fact that I would probably have to work at a smaller school in a smaller district for awhile and gain some experience before I could work here. 
There are times in our lives when God surprises us. Sometimes they aren't good surprises, but when he decides to work a situation in our favor it's always a surreal experience. That's how I ended up here. I had an interview at a different school for a job I didn't get for various reasons. The principal who interviewed me was impressed enough that she contacted my current principal to recommend me. I had never met this principal until the day I interviewed. And when I found out I hadn't gotten the job, I thought it was just a failed interview. They happen. Weeks later, school is about to start and I still don't have a teaching job. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to be a substitute until I got in good enough with someone in charge at a school (any school...I wasn't going to be picky). The Wednesday before school started I got a call from my current principal. He was offering me an interview the next morning for a position at Har-Ber. I showed up for an interview at 6 AM and had the job by noon. I'm pretty sure I had a smile plastered to my face for the next 72 hours straight. I couldn't believe it. It turns out, the interview I thought was a failure, was more just bad luck and bad timing. My failure turned into one of my biggest successes. That never happens! I won't go into a lot of details of my job. . .you can read my last post to get a better idea of how I feel about what I do. (Spoiler alert: I LOVE IT!) I have administrators who will always support me and back me up. I have teachers who will help me when I struggle, give me advice when I need it, and who will let me vent when nothing else seems to help, and I have students who make me excited to get out of bed and go to work every morning. I'm proud to be a Wildcat.

2. My friends
There are a lot of people in my life who I would put in this category. I'm thankful for our couple friends who make group outings more fun. I'm lucky because most of my friends have husbands, fiance's and significant others who are friends with my husband and vise versa. I'm thankful for friends like Amanda, who have been around a long time and have seen me at my best and my worst and still decide it's worth it to stick around. I'm thankful for friends like Courtney and Chris, who are blazing the trail of parenthood for the rest of us (and are doing a fabulous job so far, in my opinion). I don't want to get into a trend here of naming a lot of names and giving each name an explanation. I know there's no way I can go through everyone without leaving someone out. My point here is simply that Jake and I are surrounded by people who love us and care about us. People who don't care if our house is messy or if they come over and I'm wearing sweatpants (because let's all be honest, if I have to change out of the leggings/giant hoodie/thick cozy socks combo I'm wearing in order for you to come over....we may not be all that close). I'm grateful for the friends who support and encourage me, for the sweatpants movie dates, for the craft nights (that may or may not end well), for the ugly Christmas sweater parties, the float trips, the Paint the Town Red galas and the baby/wedding/lingerie showers. I'm also grateful for our friends who live elsewhere, in places like St. Louis, MO, St. Joe, MI, or even Japan. I'm grateful for the fact that, on top of everything else, my friends are fun! There's never a dull moment when we get together. We goof off, we act stupid sometimes (i.e. running around outside in houseshoes in 6 inches of snow during the Super Bowl because we thought that snow ice cream seemed like a good idea or watching 3 grown men spend what felt like hours all playing the same football throwing game at an arcade because they just HAD to beat their own high score). We just do life together. I'm happy that I have people to have fun with. I'm grateful to have neighbor friends, work friends, college friends, church friends, new friends, and weird friends (because we all have those). I'm grateful that my friends see me and like me for just being me.

1. My family
I saved this one for last because the level of gratitude I feel for these people cannot be described using mere words. Each of them deserves a whole blog post in itself. My parents have been married for 30 years. They have set an incredible example of a godly marriage and godly parenting for my siblings and I to follow. My mom is a true Proverbs 31 woman. She has selflessly served our family for my entire life. She is kind and loving and in spite of the fact that I know I've broken her heart on multiple occasions, I've never once doubted her love for me. I aspire to be the wife and mother that she is. She is a firecracker and is full of confidence and spunk. She has taught her 3 daughters to find their worth in Christ and not in other people. Her heart is so big and I've never met anyone who loves as much as she does. She has a sense of rhythm that I regret to say, was not passed on to me. Any time you turn on Michael Jackson, The Gap Band, or "Yeah," by Usher, she's going to dance. Every time. No matter where she is or who is watching. Because she is who she is and she doesn't care if you know it. 
My dad is just as stubborn as my mom is. It's a wonder that they mesh as well as they do. Both of my parents have very dominant personalities and somehow they make their marriage work. It's incredible how selfless they are when it comes to each other. My dad is not a romantic by any means, but he loves my mom more than anything in this world and that has always been obvious to my siblings and I. He took me on dates when I was little to make sure I knew that guys should always treat me like a princess. He and mom were always on the same page when it came to raising us. They don't keep secrets. I knew that if mom said "no," then dad would too. (Although, if I went to daddy first I usually had a better shot at getting what I wanted.) I am definitely a daddy's girl and I'm not ashamed to admit it. My father has more integrity in his little finger than most men do in their entire bodies. He may not say much, but his faith is strong and if you get him going you'll hear all about it. He takes care of the people he loves, even if they can't repay him. He's getting much softer in his old age. I see more and more of his heart every day, and it is the purest heart I know. He's rough and rowdy at times. He has a tendency to think he has the body of a 25 year old, which can get him into trouble. And you can always make him laugh with a well placed "O Brother Where Art Thou" quote. (We thought you was a tooooaaad!) 
My baby brother isn't a baby anymore, and that's a hard concept to grasp. I have never met a kinder or more compassionate person. That little boy (alright...young man) has the biggest heart. He is so sweet and so kind. He is the perfect person to talk to if you need encouragement. And let me tell you something about my little brother; he loves Jesus. I don't say that lightly. Our parents have done an incredible job of exemplifying Christ in our lives and sharing their faith. I can't remember when it was that my little brother transitioned from a kid I had to set a good example for to a young man that I looked up to, but somewhere in the last 5 or 6 years that's exactly what he did. His faith is so strong and he's unashamed to proclaim it. Logue is like Paul; bold and excited about Christ and all He has to offer. He is going to make an incredible husband in about 6 months. A big sister is always going to be anxious about the girl that her little brother decides to spend the rest of his life with, but I couldn't have found a better girl than Sarah. I'm so excited for him and where his life is going to go. He has a lot of opportunities ahead of him (probably because he's basically a genius). He is strong and protective and has the worst dance moves of anyone I know (except maybe dad...), and he is the best little brother a girl could ask for.
My sister is about to graduate high school, which is crazy. She's one of my best friends, and for that I am extremely grateful. I'm glad we've grown closer as we've gotten older, because she drove me absolutely nuts for her first 8-12 years of life. Anna is unique. She got our parents confidence and she doesn't care one bit about what anyone thinks or says about her, which is good because there are several videos of her dancing/singing or otherwise acting really ridiculous. We like to pass these around at family events. I'm glad she's staying close for college, because I can't wait to see what kind of person she grows up to be.
Jami is so full of life and energy. She's smarter than all the rest of us combined. She's the only sibling I have who loves to read as much as I do, which is awesome and I have done my best to encourage that hobby. She was the best "accident" that ever happened to our family. (Anna thought her name was going to be "Oopsie" the whole time mom was pregnant with Jami.) Everyone who spends any time with her can't help but love her. She's hilarious and so much fun. 

And then there's Jake.

How do I even begin to describe my husband? The first word that comes to mind is goofy, but most people who know him would never believe me. Jake and I were friends for a long time, and it was hard to get past his exterior. Once I did it was impossible not to fall in love. He is so strong and smart and funny and sexy and kind and wonderful and fun....you see where I'm going with this. I could go on forever. Some days he drives me insane, but most of the time I can't believe I was lucky enough to snag him. He loves me so much and he makes sure I know it. He is a good person, I mean a really good person. That seems lame to say, but there aren't many genuinely good people left in the world. He succeeds at everything he does and he doesn't do anything halfway. He gives everything 100% all the time. Sometimes it's exhausting just to watch. He loves my family and my family loves him. And his family...they're half the reason I married him. They remind me of my family, which isn't perfect but is pretty close.  We are so blessed, so loved, and so supported. I don't know where I would be without him.


I'm sorry for droning on and on. I recognize that this isn't the most interesting post I've ever written. I'm not good at sentimental things, and sometimes I know I don't tell the people I love everything I should tell them about how I feel about them and how much they mean to me. Writing is easier. So, if nothing else, I've taken the time to gather my thoughts and write down a reminder for myself of everything that makes my life awesome for days that I forget. After all, it's Thanksgiving, and that's what this whole time of year is for; to reflect on our blessings and realize that we are much better off than we tend to think we are.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 21, 2014

Musings of a new teacher...

I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I have my dream job. I am teaching 10th grade English at the high school I graduated from. I get the privilege of working alongside some of the people who have helped shape who I am and who have challenged and encouraged me intellectually and personally. 

I look forward to going to school every day. I can't wait to see my students. My favorite part of my job is just getting to hang out with them every day. I realize that it is impossible to have a very close relationship with all 150 of my students, but I do my best. 

The best part of my job is also the worst part, however. I have students who go home to parents who don't seem to care about them. I have students who come to school and have no friends because they are a little bit different than everyone else. I have students who have lost family members. I have students who don't even know where their next meal is coming from. I have students who have to deal with more than I've ever had to deal with in my life, all before the age of 16. 

Every teacher knows that there are no truly perfect days. Even the best days, where I've created a home run of a lesson plan and my students actually get it and understand what I'm trying to teach, have their down sides. There's always a student who doesn't get it, or an administrative issue that makes things a little less than perfect. It's impossible for 150 people to all have the same "good day." 

I want so much to help. I want so much to be able to make things easier and better. I want to take away all the pain and the hurt.  I want each and every one of them to succeed, but the sad truth is that a lot of them won't. I want to encourage my struggling students and help them understand that school and learning are worth it and that it is in their best interest to try their hardest, even if their hardest is only a C or a D. But I can't. I can't do this for everyone. I can't keep up with every single student the way I want to. I can't make sure they're all ok all the time. Sometimes the situation of one of my students makes me want to curl into a ball and just cry. Sometimes the students whose circumstances are all set against them are the ones who want to succeed the most. They try the hardest and still struggle to make it every day because their lives are so much harder than a 15 year old's life should be. At the same time, I have students who have everything: a family who loves them, parents who make a decent livelihood, and 3 meals every day. These kids live normal teenage lives and are set up for success and yet they don't even want to try. They are content to sit and do nothing and expect that life will just hand them what they want on a silver platter. I can't help but think how unfair it is that little Susie wants so badly to go to college, but everything in her life is against her. Her family can't afford it, or her foster parents refuse to pay, or her family isn't here legally, or she's pregnant and has no idea who the father is or any means to provide for the baby. Yet in spite of the fact that Billy Joe's dad makes $200,000 a year at a fortune 500 company, his parents are still married, and he has everything in the world a teenager could want to be happy and comfortable, he refuses to try and is content to fail because he doesn't feel like putting forth the effort. 

I hurt so much for both of these students. I want Susie to have every opportunity that I know Billy will have, and I want Billy to have pride in what he does. I want him to be passionate about something that will help him make an impact in some small area of his world. Honestly, I can't let myself dwell on these things too long or I will collapse. I will never be able to do enough. The nature of my job is such that no matter what I do, how many hours I put in, how many parents I call, how many tutoring sessions or conferences I have, it will never be enough. I read a blog post once about how a teacher's job is never done and that there is never enough time, enough resources, or enough of us to go around. That resonates with me because it is so true. There will always be students and lessons that fall through the cracks. For every student I reach there are 2 more that are slipping. My heart breaks for some of my students every day.

In spite of all this I don't believe I could ever do anything else. There is nothing more fulfilling than a simple heartfelt "thank you," or a hug from one of my kids. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a kid smile at a grade that I know he worked his butt off for. There is nothing that fills me with more pride than seeing a student come to me to do extra work to bring his grade up. I love watching my students succeed. It's hard some days, but every good and happy moment makes the hard moments worth it. I am so blessed because even though sometimes they make me want to tear my hair out, I love them. All of them. Which is something I never thought I would be able to say. I'm not very touchy-feely or sentimental. I'm not good at expressions of emotion (except maybe anger or frustration). But this job brings out a side of me that I'm not used to. It scares me a little, but it's refreshing. When I'm discouraged and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere or that I'm doing a terrible job, one of my kids always manages to do something that wakes this fuzzy, adorable, little creature inside of me and it just purrs in contentment. I feel ALL the feels with this job; the sadness, the anger, the frustration, the defeat, the heartbreak, the joy, the excitement, the pride, the encouragement, the love. It's an emotional roller coaster every day and it keeps me on my toes. 

I'm still a new teacher, so I know I'll learn and I'll grow. I work with some of the most talented people in this profession. They wouldn't let me fail. I know this will get easier and harder and better and worse as I go forward. I can't help but be excited. It took me awhile to figure out what I was called to do, and I'm certain now that this is it. I spent so much time praying and freaked out because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I "grew up." God's timing and his plan is perfect, it just takes us a long time to realize it. I can't wait to see how he uses these kids to shape my life even more.

Musings of a new teacher...

I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I have my dream job. I am teaching 10th grade English at the high school I graduated from. I get the privilege of working alongside some of the people who have helped shape who I am and who have challenged and encouraged me intellectually and personally. 

I look forward to going to school every day. I can't wait to see my students. My favorite part of my job is just getting to hang out with them every day. I realize that it is impossible to have a very close relationship with all 150 of my students, but I do my best. 

The best part of my job is also the worst part, however. I have students who go home to parents who don't seem to care about them. I have students who come to school and have no friends because they are a little bit different than everyone else. I have students who have lost family members. I have students who don't even know where their next meal is coming from. I have students who have to deal with more than I've ever had to deal with in my life, all before the age of 16. 

Every teacher knows that there are no truly perfect days. Even the best days, where I've created a home run of a lesson plan and my students actually get it and understand what I'm trying to teach, have their down sides. There's always a student who doesn't get it, or an administrative issue that makes things a little less than perfect. It's impossible for 150 people to all have the same "good day." 

I want so much to help. I want so much to be able to make things easier and better. I want to take away all the pain and the hurt.  I want each and every one of them to succeed, but the sad truth is that a lot of them won't. I want to encourage my struggling students and help them understand that school and learning are worth it and that it is in their best interest to try their hardest, even if their hardest is only a C or a D. But I can't. I can't do this for everyone. I can't keep up with every single student the way I want to. I can't make sure they're all ok all the time. Sometimes the situation of one of my students makes me want to curl into a ball and just cry. Sometimes the students whose circumstances are all set against them are the ones who want to succeed the most. They try the hardest and still struggle to make it every day because their lives are so much harder than a 15 year old's life should be. At the same time, I have students who have everything: a family who loves them, parents who make a decent livelihood, and 3 meals every day. These kids live normal teenage lives and are set up for success and yet they don't even want to try. They are content to sit and do nothing and expect that life will just hand them what they want on a silver platter. I can't help but think how unfair it is that little Susie wants so badly to go to college, but everything in her life is against her. Her family can't afford it, or her foster parents refuse to pay, or her family isn't here legally, or she's pregnant and has no idea who the father is or any means to provide for the baby. Yet in spite of the fact that Billy Joe's dad makes $200,000 a year at a fortune 500 company, his parents are still married, and he has everything in the world a teenager could want to be happy and comfortable, he refuses to try and is content to fail because he doesn't feel like putting forth the effort. 

I hurt so much for both of these students. I want Susie to have every opportunity that I know Billy will have, and I want Billy to have pride in what he does. I want him to be passionate about something that will help him make an impact in some small area of his world. Honestly, I can't let myself dwell on these things too long or I will collapse. I will never be able to do enough. The nature of my job is such that no matter what I do, how many hours I put in, how many parents I call, how many tutoring sessions or conferences I have, it will never be enough. I read a blog post once about how a teacher's job is never done and that there is never enough time, enough resources, or enough of us to go around. That resonates with me because it is so true. There will always be students and lessons that fall through the cracks. For every student I reach there are 2 more that are slipping. My heart breaks for some of my students every day.

In spite of all this I don't believe I could ever do anything else. There is nothing more fulfilling than a simple heartfelt "thank you," or a hug from one of my kids. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a kid smile at a grade that I know he worked his butt off for. There is nothing that fills me with more pride than seeing a student come to me to do extra work to bring his grade up. I love watching my students succeed. It's hard some days, but every good and happy moment makes the hard moments worth it. I am so blessed because even though sometimes they make me want to tear my hair out, I love them. All of them. Which is something I never thought I would be able to say. I'm not very touchy-feely or sentimental. I'm not good at expressions of emotion (except maybe anger or frustration). But this job brings out a side of me that I'm not used to. It scares me a little, but it's refreshing. When I'm discouraged and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere or that I'm doing a terrible job, one of my kids always manages to do something that wakes this fuzzy, adorable, little creature inside of me and it just purrs in contentment. I feel ALL the feels with this job; the sadness, the anger, the frustration, the defeat, the heartbreak, the joy, the excitement, the pride, the encouragement, the love. It's an emotional roller coaster every day and it keeps me on my toes. 

I'm still a new teacher, so I know I'll learn and I'll grow. I work with some of the most talented people in this profession. They wouldn't let me fail. I know this will get easier and harder and better and worse as I go forward. I can't help but be excited. It took me awhile to figure out what I was called to do, and I'm certain now that this is it. I spent so much time praying and freaked out because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I "grew up." God's timing and his plan is perfect, it just takes us a long time to realize it. I can't wait to see how he uses these kids to shape my life even more.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Penguin Classic's List of "100 Classic Books to Read Before You Die"

I've found the Penguin Classic's list of books to read before you die. I'm disappointed to say that I've only read 7 of these. As an English teacher, I feel like this is unacceptable. I'm going to try to read at least 10 next year. If you're interested in widening your experience with classic literature, this is for you.

Frankly, I'm a bit upset that Jane Eyre isn't on the list. Which books would you add? 

100 Classic Novels You Must Read Before You Die
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
2. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories – Nikolai Gogol
3. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
4. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
5. Notes From Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
6. Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille
7. Spy In House Of Love: V4 In Nin’S Continuous Novel – Anais Nin
8. Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H.Lawrence
9. Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
10. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
11. The Karamazov Brothers – Fyodor Dostoevsky
12. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
13. Diamonds Are Forever – Ian Fleming
14. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
15. The Secret Agent – Joseph Conrad
16. A Room With a View – E. M. Forster
17. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
18. Don Juan – Lord George Gordon Byron
19. Love in a Cold Climate- Nancy Mitford
20. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams
21. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
22. Middlemarch – George Eliot
23. She: A History of Adventure – H. Rider Haggard
24. The Fight – by Norman Mailer
25. No Easy Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
26. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
27. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
28. Notre-Dame of Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – Victor Hugo
29. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
30. The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens
31. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
32. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Bram Stoker
33. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
34. The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
35. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
36. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
37. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
38. Baby doll – Tennessee Williams
39. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
40. Emma – Jane Austen
41. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
42. The Odyssey – Homer
43. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
44. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
45. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
46. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
47. Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh
48. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
49. The Beautiful and Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
50. Against Nature – Joris-Karl Huysmans
51. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X
52. The Outsider – Albert Camus
53. Animal Farm – George Orwell
54. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
55. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
56. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
57. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
58. The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
59. The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
60. We – Yevgeny Zamyatin
61. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
62. Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga – Hunter S. Thompson
63. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
64. Another Country – James Baldwin
65. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
66. Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk – William S. Burroughs
67. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
68. Confessions of an English Opium Eater – Thomas De Quincey
69. Subterraneans – Jack Kerouac
70. Monsieur Monde Vanishes – Georges Simenon
71. Nineteen Eighty-four – George Orwell
72. The Monkey Wrench Gang – Edward Abbey
73. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
74. Bound for Glory – Woody Guthrie
75. Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
76. Maigret and the Ghost – Georges Simenon
77. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
78. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
79. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan, Sir Doyle
80. The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
81. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
82. Therese Raquin – Ãmile Zola
83. Les Liaisons dangereuses – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
84. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
85. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
86. I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 – Robert Graves
87. Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
88. The Beggar’s Opera – John Gay
89. The Twelve Caesars – Suetonius
90. Guys and Dolls – Hal Leonard Corporation
91. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
92. The Iliad of Homer – Homer
93. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
94. From Russia with Love – Ian Fleming
95. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
96. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
97. The Diary of a Nobody – George Grossmith
98. Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
99. Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
100. Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis

Penguin Classic's List of "100 Classic Books to Read Before You Die"

I've found the Penguin Classic's list of books to read before you die. I'm disappointed to say that I've only read 7 of these. As an English teacher, I feel like this is unacceptable. I'm going to try to read at least 10 next year. If you're interested in widening your experience with classic literature, this is for you.

Frankly, I'm a bit upset that Jane Eyre isn't on the list. Which books would you add? 

100 Classic Novels You Must Read Before You Die
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
2. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories – Nikolai Gogol
3. Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
4. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
5. Notes From Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
6. Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille
7. Spy In House Of Love: V4 In Nin’S Continuous Novel – Anais Nin
8. Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H.Lawrence
9. Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
10. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
11. The Karamazov Brothers – Fyodor Dostoevsky
12. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
13. Diamonds Are Forever – Ian Fleming
14. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
15. The Secret Agent – Joseph Conrad
16. A Room With a View – E. M. Forster
17. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
18. Don Juan – Lord George Gordon Byron
19. Love in a Cold Climate- Nancy Mitford
20. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Tennessee Williams
21. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
22. Middlemarch – George Eliot
23. She: A History of Adventure – H. Rider Haggard
24. The Fight – by Norman Mailer
25. No Easy Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
26. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
27. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
28. Notre-Dame of Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – Victor Hugo
29. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
30. The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens
31. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
32. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Bram Stoker
33. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
34. The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
35. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
36. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
37. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
38. Baby doll – Tennessee Williams
39. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
40. Emma – Jane Austen
41. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
42. The Odyssey – Homer
43. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
44. Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
45. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
46. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
47. Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh
48. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
49. The Beautiful and Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
50. Against Nature – Joris-Karl Huysmans
51. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X
52. The Outsider – Albert Camus
53. Animal Farm – George Orwell
54. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
55. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
56. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
57. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick
58. The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
59. The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
60. We – Yevgeny Zamyatin
61. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
62. Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga – Hunter S. Thompson
63. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
64. Another Country – James Baldwin
65. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
66. Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk – William S. Burroughs
67. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
68. Confessions of an English Opium Eater – Thomas De Quincey
69. Subterraneans – Jack Kerouac
70. Monsieur Monde Vanishes – Georges Simenon
71. Nineteen Eighty-four – George Orwell
72. The Monkey Wrench Gang – Edward Abbey
73. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
74. Bound for Glory – Woody Guthrie
75. Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
76. Maigret and the Ghost – Georges Simenon
77. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
78. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
79. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan, Sir Doyle
80. The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan
81. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
82. Therese Raquin – Ãmile Zola
83. Les Liaisons dangereuses – Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
84. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
85. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
86. I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54 – Robert Graves
87. Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
88. The Beggar’s Opera – John Gay
89. The Twelve Caesars – Suetonius
90. Guys and Dolls – Hal Leonard Corporation
91. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
92. The Iliad of Homer – Homer
93. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
94. From Russia with Love – Ian Fleming
95. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
96. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
97. The Diary of a Nobody – George Grossmith
98. Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens
99. Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
100. Lucky Jim – Kingsley Amis

Friday, April 18, 2014

Today, we remember. . .

"What shall I do then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?' Pilate asked them.  'Crucify him!' they shouted. 'Why? What crime has he committed?' asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!" Mark 15:12-14

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for OUR transgressions, he was crushed for OUR iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds WE ARE HEALED.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgement he was taken away.  Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53

Today we remember.  We remember what you went through for us.  Father, today our hearts should break for what our sin did to you, and today we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what your pain and your sacrifice has done for us. Today is not just any other day; today is the day you changed the world. Today is the day you displayed your love for me, even knowing I would throw it back in your face.  "Thank you" doesn't even come close to showing you the amount of gratitude you deserve. I am unworthy of this sacrifice you made for me. I absolutely do not deserve it. I am humbled by your love for me, and I am in awe of your compassion and your grace.  Thank you Father. Thank you for loving me. Forgive me for how often I disregard your love and your sacrifice. Your love for me is indescribable and incomprehensible.  Do not ever let me forget to be grateful.

Today, we remember. . .

"What shall I do then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?' Pilate asked them.  'Crucify him!' they shouted. 'Why? What crime has he committed?' asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, 'Crucify him!" Mark 15:12-14

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for OUR transgressions, he was crushed for OUR iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds WE ARE HEALED.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgement he was taken away.  Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53

Today we remember.  We remember what you went through for us.  Father, today our hearts should break for what our sin did to you, and today we should be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for what your pain and your sacrifice has done for us. Today is not just any other day; today is the day you changed the world. Today is the day you displayed your love for me, even knowing I would throw it back in your face.  "Thank you" doesn't even come close to showing you the amount of gratitude you deserve. I am unworthy of this sacrifice you made for me. I absolutely do not deserve it. I am humbled by your love for me, and I am in awe of your compassion and your grace.  Thank you Father. Thank you for loving me. Forgive me for how often I disregard your love and your sacrifice. Your love for me is indescribable and incomprehensible.  Do not ever let me forget to be grateful.