Friday, December 30, 2011

Books for High Schoolers (or adults)

I was cleaning out my parents' attic earlier this week and decided to let go of many books from my high school English classes.  If you're interested let me know.  These are free or only the cost of shipping (if you're far enough away for that.)

Cliffs Notes:
Moby Dick
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man
Lord of the Flies
Brave New World & Brave New World Revisited

Brave New World

Lord of the Flies
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Moby Dick

A Farewell to Arms
The Great Gatsby
The Catcher in the Rye
The Scarlet Letter
One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest
Tender is the Night
The Old Man and the Sea
Of Mice and Men
My Name is Asher Lev
The Gift of Asher Lev
Anna Karenina
A Man for All Seasons
The Notebook

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Showing Hospitality

I'm a Christian fiction reader.  I have a few authors I read as favorites and truly enjoy reading their stories over and over again.  The characters become friends and the stories weave in and out in a slightly unreal, but full of life, way.

I'm currently about half way through one of these books.  The pastor of the small church is teaching on hospitality.  One of the characters has some commitments that keep her from showing hospitality, but she wants to be an obedient follower of Christ and works to do as much as she can. 

For some reason today, this particular part of the story arrested my attention.  How often do I show hospitality?  How often does my group of friends assume everyone coming to an event should bring something?  Is it cultural?  Financial?  Are we trying to make everyone feel a part?

How often do I feel conviction and instead of focusing on the feeling, I actually focus on changing?  I know it's not as often as I should.

I enjoy showing hospitality, but I have learned that it makes people uncomfortable.  They want to bring a bottle of wine or the dessert or "no big deal, I just threw the salad together." 

Is this hospitality?

I looked up some verses in Scripture that talk about the command to show hospitality.
These verses are from I Peter 4.

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I want to be obedient in this.  I want to show hospitality.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Parent Story

We (my teaching partner and I) received an email from a parent late Friday afternoon regarding an incident involving her son.  She was simply making us aware.  We received another email late Monday evening asking for a conference, but maybe we didn't need to actually conference about it, she thought.  We received an email Tuesday morning asking to meet over our lunch time.

Um, wow.  We hadn't even had a chance to reply to Friday's email before two others arrived!

All of that not withstanding, we are now having a first time parent/teacher conference when there are only 3 days left in the school year.

There are just some things I don't understand.

Heir Apparent

About a week and a half ago, I was in Arkansas for my cousin's high school graduation.  The Mavericks were playing the Thunder in the playoffs...which is quite humorous in my family since we're from Texas, but all of the extended family is from OkCity.  It made for some fun conversations!

Anyway, at one point my dad and I were chatting about Jason Kidd and Dad mentioned his "heir apparent."  I wasn't familiar with that terminology and asked Dad to explain.  No big deal..."learn something new every day" and all that.

I think I've heard it no less than 5 times since that conversation.

Always funny how little things catch my attention!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

End of May update

What a boring post title! 

I haven't blogged in awhile and when I have thought of blogging, it hasn't necessarily been original material, but more to link to someone else's blog.  I'm still probably going to do a couple of those, too...

We only have 3 1/2 more days of school to go and I am VERY ready for summer to arrive.  On the other hand, this year has been fairly drama free in regards to kiddos behavior and parents' too, for that matter.  We haven't had kids talking about sex at lunch or any major fist fights or anything like that.  For the most part, parents have been friendly and supportive.  I've heard next year won't be the same way, so I'm trying to relish this year while I've got a few days left of it!

In exactly 9 days, I will be departing on a Carribean cruise!  It was pretty funny how the decision was made.  I'd sent an email to some people asking if anyone was interested.  When it came down to it, 5 were possibilities.  We were looking at a 4 or 5 night cruise.  Out of our options, I emailed out the dates that worked for me.  LJ responded with the ones that worked for her.  The other girls ended up not being able to go.  So LJ and I said, "Ok, which of these dates do we prefer.  June 6 sounds good.  Great!  Now, where are we going?  Cozumel and Progresso.  Ok!"  Haha!

Either way, I'm excited.  The last day of school is Friday.  I'll pack over the weekend, and we sail Monday afternoon.  YES!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Terrific...or Exhausted

Remember in Charlotte's Web, when the goose was trying to help Charlotte spell?

"T, double E, double R, R, R, double I, double F, double I, double C"

Or something to that affect.

That's how I feel right now...except with 'exhausted' in place of 'terrific'.

"Double E, double X, double AUS, double T, double E, double DDD."

There's not anything overwhelming going on in my life right now.  I'm just running on not enough sleep and then dealing with cranky, ready-for-summer, sometimes slightly clueless people...and of course the children, too.

My bedtime tonight =  EARLY.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What have I done?

I borrowed this from Arshunda over at Ride of My Life.

Everything below in bold, I've done. I would like to do many more than I have! Copy this on to your own blog & bold/underline the things you’ve done if you like.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland (Disneyworld, but I'm counting it.)

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child  (I WANT to do this!!!)

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run (Haha, this is funny!)
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (I'm not totally sure where they're from!)

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing (no desire...)

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Camp Fire candy counts, right?)

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (Not yet, but I will!)

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check (On accident!!)

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a lawsuit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Saturday, April 23, 2011

God has been up to an amazing work.  Hmm, let me correct that.  God is always up to an amazing work.  Lately, He has opened my eyes more to what He's doing and I am joyfully walking closer and closer with Him each day.  It is a blessing to actually see, understand and be a tiny part of His plan!

Jesus is patiently walking me through some lessons on trust and what it looks like to have faith in Him.  Our trip to Haiti back in March was fabulous, without many bumps.  I did have a slight heartattack the night before we left.  I had made a mistake in adding up the amount of cash we were supposed to take and we were short...but no small amount.  I didn't immediately trust.  I didn't immediately turn to Christ.  My first thought was one of panic.  He wasn't surprised.  He had known all along I had made that mistake, and He quietly took care of it. 

Thank you Jesus!  I will choose to trust you next time!

We had a slight ticket glitch at the end of our trip.  I didn't even miss a beat.  I need Jesus had it all under control.  Thank you Lord that you're helping me learn to trust you!

My small group has been studying Ruth lately.  While I was in Haiti, God took me back to the end of chapter 2, specifically the verses where Ruth goes out into the barley and wheat fields.  She had met Boaz.  She found him appealing.  She wanted to be married again.  God asked her to be patient.  And to wait.  Two things I don't do as well as I would like.

Another lesson I learned, to be prayerfully patient.  I can't just be patient.  I can't just pray.  God is asking me to do both.  I need to be prayerful for my friends' salvation.  I need to be patient with them as I'm talking with them and praying for them.  I need to be prayerful for my future spouse.  I need to be patient with God's plan while I'm praying for my husband.

Earlier this week, MJ and I interviewed for a video our church is making to promote Haiti.  Our Missions' Office is starting up a new website about Giving Your Life Away.  This video will be on the website and perhaps shown in our church service at some point, too.  

Mark and Lacey are in town this weekend.  They were able to come to our Broken for You service on Thursday night.  Both of them commented how large the church was and how intimate the service felt.  Praise God!  I had been specifically praying they would feel poured into.  Mark, Lacey, MJ and I are all meeting with our missions' pastor tomorrow morning.  I am so excited to continue to see God working!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Student Stories

If you know me outside this blog at all, then you know I do not leave near the school where I teach, for a reason. 

I love my children and their parents.  I genuinely enjoy interacting with them throughout my day.  However, I have no desire to run into them at HEB or the carwash. 

About a week ago, I'm at a Tex-Mex restaurant EAST of where I live.  I've run into the ladies room and am washing my hands, when a little boy and his slightly older sister come in.  I don't pay much attention, until I realize they're trying to look at me covertly and then glancing at each other.  I start to wonder if something is wrong with my clothing.  I'm wearing a high necked blouse, but maybe something is hanging out that's not supposed to?  I start glancing down at my clothing, in the mirror at my face, neck, arms, quick glances, attempting to see what has their attention. 

Finally, the little boy exclaims, "You're from our school!"

The lightbulb goes off, and Ms. Ross turns on the smile.  "Yes, yes, I am!"  I chat with them for just a moment, finding out he's a kindergartner and she's in 2nd grade, feeling slightly awkward as we're in a public restroom and it's just the three of us.  We all finish washing our hands, and head back to our parties.

It was a slightly odd occurrence, as I work WEST of where I live.

I tell the story to my girlfriends, we laugh and carry on with our evening.

Flash forward a little over a week...I'm meeting a friend for coffee, and am walking by Crave Cupcakes.  I can tell a teenage girl has glanced at me and looked back at her friends, embarrassed.  She looks familar, and I'm pretty sure she's a former student, but I can't pull her name, so I don't say anything.

I walk into Starbucks, chat with the friend I'm meeting, get in line to order my drink and sit down to begin catching up.  A girl I do not recognize appears at our table.  "Um, hi." Awkward, teenage girl smile.  "Is your name Ms. Ross?"  I give my best, "Welcome to Ms. Ross's class!" smile and admit that I am, while sincerely hoping she was not a former student, because I had no clue who she was, but didn't want to disappoint her if I didn't know her name.  On the contrary, her friend was my former student, but was too embarrased to come say hello.  However, her friends convinced her, and it made me remember the awkward life of a 14 year old girl, when talking to an adult was mortifying, yet desirable. 

I actually enjoyed running into these children, though I still firmly stand by my decision to never live in the area where I teach!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Can I be 4 y.o. again?

A 4 year old has the pleasure of taking a nap.  They don't always appreciate the opportunity, but they get it nonetheless.

I would love to be a 4 year old for today. :)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

"I've clicked send. Why hasn't she replied!?"

I love my job more than most, but we all have our frustrations, right?

It really bothers me when parents of students expect me to drop everything to get back to them.  As if I don't have anything else going on, or as though I live to respond to their email or phone call. 

Honestly, it's a little dehumanizing.  I'm not a human, but a teacher: a product to supply their needs.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I love springtime!

I would never have thought I would enjoy working outside.  I just didn't as a little girl.  Grandma loved piddling outside in her garden and her backyard flowers.  Mom and Dad always keep a beautiful yard, too.  I just never had a desire to learn about all the different types of plants...shade, sun, partial direct light, blah, blah, blah.  I just wasn't interested.

Except now, I have my own garden area and I LOVE working out in it.

When I first moved in, I had a jungle. :)

In October 2009:
I dug out buried black plastic pots that long ago had something growing in them, cut down three trees and uprooted dead branches of unrecognizable origin.

It was incredibly satisfying to clear out the jungle!

Doesn't this look SO much better!?

Obviously, things need planted, but oh, my goodness!  I can see what I have out there now!

Spring of 2010, I attempted to begin cultivating the garden area.
This is English Ivy.  It didn't work very well.

 I like the yellow butterfly, though!

 So now, we're current.  Yesterday, I went to Joshua's Native Plants of Houston and bought several items.
I have zero direct sunlight, so my options are limited.  However, I'd really been wanting some color.  Greenery works best, though.  Joshua helped me find some greenery with some white in the leaf, to help add some light to all the dark greenery!

This is what I brought home!  There's a lot of digging to do!

 See what I mean?  Some white in the least it's lighter than dark green!

 Already looking better!

Whew!  More to go!  I think at this point, I'd only planted 11 of the 23 plants...and I was dirty and gross and LOVING the progress!

I brought home some chimes, too!  I've ALWAYS wanted some, but for one reason or another they weren't priority.  Today, they came home.  I put them up immediately so I could enjoy them while I worked outside!

It's coming together!

I got the red cardinals at my family Christmas gift exchange.  I still need some flowers for these pots, but I have up the Easter flag!  Garden flags are a family tradition, and they make me smile.
 Oh, you bet I had the fountain going while I was out there, too.  LOVE it!  It certainly needed cleaned out, though.  Black water = yuck!

I've planted everything I bought on Saturday, but still need some flowers for here and there.  I love Spring weekends!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Houston's First Baptist Church

Kelly's Korner has a Show Us Your Life each Friday.  I don't participate each week, but this week is SUYL: Your Church, and I wanted to exclaim about God's blessings!

I am a member of Houston's First Baptist Church.  I moved here in July of 2002, fresh out of college and ready to begin my first year of teaching.  I was looking for a church home.  I had grown up in another First Baptist Church, so that was my starting point.  It was as simple as that.

God clearly opened doors for me to make friends and form a second family.  Being single and living in a huge city can be overwhelming.  What do you do when you need a ride to the airport?  Have a flat tire?  Need a sounding board?  Well, I could go to my church family. 

Me, Heather, Jayme and Julie at a Paradigm Retreat!

I am a member of an evening Sunday School class and absolutely love it!  Sunday is truly a day of Sabbath, a day of rest, and I spend time resting!  Church is at 5:30pm and Sunday Bible Study is at 6:45.  It's great!

This is Paradigm a year or so ago, just before our Girls Serve Guys event.  We took them to an Astros game and then grilled out steaks and had twice baked potatoes.  Yumm!

The girls in the kitchen, just before Easter lunch!  I love these women!

Houston's FBC is extremely missional minded.  People from our church go on approximately 40 trips each year to everywhere from Boston to Kenya to Costa Rica to Haiti to right here in Houston. 

Me, Melody, Mark at Houston Project

Dan and me at 2010 Houston Project.

We strive to truly live out Acts 1:8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This is such a blessing!

 Our March 2011 Haiti team in Jeremie, Haiti. =)
 Rebecca and Naomi..two little girls in a small village outside Jeremie, Haiti. 
 Our team working on the roof of a church building.
 The schools there do not have textbooks or any other supplies.  They have a chalk board...and that's it!  We were a part of helping them get a map for their wall!

I LOVE my church and would love for anyone visiting this blog today to come visit!  Whether you're new to the area or simply looking for a place to belong with other believers, come and visit!  Yes, we're a large church and that can be intimidating at times, but our church really does a good job at trying to help everyone find a small community to call 'home.'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I mentioned at small group last night (as I was clearing the stacks of mail off my kitchen table) that I was tired of getting mail.  The girls partly laughed, partly groaned...because they totally understood!

I stay at work on Friday afternoons/evenings to clear away each week's paperwork and prepare for the next week...

It's only Tuesday morning, and my desk, media cart, top of the refrigerator, tops and sides (due to the help of magnets) of filing cabinets and the floor around my desk are already a hodge-podge of paperwork.

When it comes to computer files, I am oh, so organized.  When it comes to hard-copy paperwork...not so much.

Anyone have any bright ideas?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rock a Bye...

I didn't sleep very well last night, but it wasn't for lack of trying!

I had been getting to bed later than I intended for the past few nights.  God's work in me through Haiti and the readjustment period back to Texas was taking it's toll, and I was exhausted.

I decided I'd go to bed early and catch up on rest.  I was in bed at 8:15.  (Yes, you read that correctly.)

I got a couple of texts around 10:00.

I was awake at 1:15 petrified I'd overslept for work.  Ummm, no.

I woke up again multiple times and finally texted Alison at 3:20 that our 5am walk wasn't so much going to happen.  I turned off my 4:30 alarm...hoping to get some sleep between 3:20 and 6, when my alarm would now be going off.

At 4:30, she texted back that extra sleep sounded good to her and from then on, I only dozed.

I snoozed quite a bit this a.m.  Something I've been successfully attempting to not do lately.  I finally crawled out of bed with a very sore throat (dang allergies!) and feeling a little tired.

Friday is my day to work late...and I depend on that time to stay sane.  However, I am praying I will sleep much better tonight.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Final Clinic Evening...tomorrow is the beach!

This was emailed out Thursday morning, March 17.  It is the update for Wednesday, March 16.


Bonswa from Haiti!

Today we went back to the village of Grand Vincent. The view as we drive up to the villages each day is a sight that I will never get used to and is one that, unfortunately, pictures could never do justice. It was our last day of clinic and the guys make some amazing progress of the roof of the new church. We have loved visiting this village because each time we drive up there are children who have already come down the road to meet us and they run behind the trailer waving with huge smiles on their faces because they are so excited we
are there.

Helping in the clinic has been both an amazing and emotionally difficult experience. There have been some encouraging cases where our doctors have been able to help people who have been sick for a long time. Lacey Stockeland and some of our nurses have gotten the chance to teach some of the mothers how to better care for their babies. What great knowledge that they will be able to in turn share with the other women in their village.

Today, we had one of the more difficult cases. A forty-seven year old man came in with a cancerous tumor in his neck. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do for him and he probably wasn’t going to live very long. I was in tears as we circled around this man to pray over him, but at the same time
gently reminded by the Lord that all of our days on this Earth are numbered and we must make the most of each day.

The Lord has placed Psalm 139 on my heart this week. The Lord has ordained every day of our life and He knows every step of our lives: past, present, and
future. We spend so much time worrying and stressing over our past or our future that we miss what God’s will is for our present. My prayer for this week has been that the Lord would allow me to make the most of every moment I have here in Haiti and not to worry about what my future in the States might hold. God has called me, for this week at least, to Haiti and I want to use every chance I get to share His love with the Haitian people.

When we got back to the compound, there was a surprise birthday party waiting for Lacey. The pastors of both churches we have visited and their wives, along with some of the Stockeland’s Haitian friends had come to help celebrate. What a fun time of fellowshipping together!

This week has been a life-changing one for me. I pray that I never forget the work that the Lord has done in my heart this week. Dave Stockeland, the founder of the Haiti Bible Mission, said tonight, “You shouldn’t have to go on a mission trip for the Lord to change your life, but if you go on a mission trip and He happens to change your life, then Praise the Lord!!!”

Bonje bene ou! (God bless you!)

Brittany and the Haiti Team

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A break in our regularly scheduled program

I know Elizabeth Taylor and Haiti don't have much in common...yet in a way they do. 

Anyway, I'm inserting a small post here about Elizabeth Taylor.  I absolutely love her as an actress.  I'm sorry to hear this morning that she passed away.  I have no idea if she had a relationship with Jesus.  I do know she had some addictions in her life and some heartache that I pray no others have to endure.  I regret not praying for her then. 

I think I will watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof this weekend...or maybe National Velvet.

Grand Vincent

We sent this out the evening of Tuesday, March 15.


Bonswa. Komon ou ye? I have no idea how to spell these words, but this

is my attempt at saying good day and how are you in Haitian Creole.
This is Aaron giving an update.

It was another exciting morning at 5:30am when the rain woke up
everyone on the roof including myself. Other than a surprise wake up
call, it was another typical day here: eat breakfast and then take a
45 minute rocky ride into the country.

Today, the team was in Grand Vincent. It was another day for the
medical clinic, but it was really the first time that the construction
team started work on the roof. It was difficult to start building
because a lot of the wood was warped and bowed, not exactly your Home
Depot quality wood to work with. Anyways, we were able to get a truss
built. We'll be going back up tomorrow to hopefully finish the
remaining two trusses while the medical team serves more people in
that area.

Highlights of the day:
A few of the team members got to ride on a motor bike up to Grand Vincent.
Kids chasing the trailer full of Americans back down from their village
Team bonding has been fun and we enjoy each others company.
Our Haitian friends sang a song for us.

It's been a good four days so far and I'm looking forward to the fun and challenges that we will face tomorrow and for the remainder of the week.

Alright, it's time to get cleaned up before devotional/debrief time.
Thanks for all your support!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Village Clinic

We emailed this out the morning of Tuesday, March 15.


Good morning, America! This is Katie reporting to you from Haiti. So sorry we didn’t get a blog out last night. Alyssa and I sat with the computer for about an hour trying to get internet connection with no avail. So here’s my attempt to get you guys up to speed on the adventures from yesterday…

We woke up to a typical Haitian morning – roosters cock-a-doodle dooing at 5:30 am, a breakfast of baked oatmeal, and all 20+ of us piling in the trailer to head out to Des Champes for clinic. We encountered a few traffic jams, criticisms from locals, and some very rocky roads before making our first stop at an “orphanage” afflicted with malaria.

As the doctors began to treat those suffering in the home, I made my way to the back of the hut to play with one of the orphan toddlers. I became disheartened as I could not seem to crack even the slightest smile from her after several attempts. This child had been through more loss and abandonment in her mere two and a half years than I had in my twenty-four. What a sobering way to start the day…
My spirit slightly lifted as we pulled up to the church in Des Champes and saw a multitude of parents and children anxiously awaiting our arrival for clinic. As we set up and began seeing our first few patients, I noticed a familiar face – one of the teenagers from the orphanage had made his way to clinic to be treated individually.
After his physical needs were met, he confessed a need for spiritual healing and a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. After coming to the Lord for salvation, I led him over to the church pastor for prayer. Without even the slightest indication, I began to weep and weep and WEEP at the joy of this soul being saved for eternal life!

Two others were also saved later in the afternoon – one being a frail 80 year old woman!

As a young lady who just recently surrendered my life to the Lord (3/13/10), I cannot believe I am witnessing others find salvation in Him. If you told me a year ago, I would be in Haiti planting these seeds of hope and the healing of the Lord in others, I would have never believed you! It is such a blessing to be able to share the grace and life I received when I traded my life for the life and
spirit of Christ.

We view Haiti as a poverty-stricken third-world country in desperate need of our help, intelligence, and monetary resources. In contrast, we view America as the wealthiest land of “freedom” in no need of external aid of any kind. The primary focus God has been impressing on my heart while I have been here in Haiti is how absolutely backward we have it in America. America clings to materialism and pleasure for comfort and fulfillment, while those in Haiti cling to family, the community of believers, and total dependence on the provision of God for sustenance. America sees beauty in sky-scraping lofts, while real beauty is so obvious in the natural landscape and architecture
designed by our God here in Haiti. America stresses over self-inflicted endeavors to gain worldly success, while there is no evidence of selfish worldly gain here in Haiti.

Mark is really challenging our group with going back to Houston and being “radical” for living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s true – the place in which we will all have the greatest impact is in our workplace, amongst friends, and in the comforts of our own home. By seeing the true transformation that Christ brings to those who trust Him and Him alone, we can in turn plant seeds in others. The mission field is not simply in third-world countries. The mission field most available to us (and the one we tend to ignore the most) is our homeland. America is starving for the Gospel, and as each day passes
here in Haiti, this is what I am beginning to realize more and more.

I am so excited to go back to Houston and live radically for the Lord.

My plea to you today is to do the same. Christ never said His way would be easy. In fact, He said it would be narrow and full of persecution. I hope that both you and I can experience this persecution and take JOY in it and in knowing that along with the persecution Christ suffered on Calvary comes eternal life to those who believe and live radically for HIM!

Until tonight’s update,

Monday, March 21, 2011

My reactions to our first clinic

I'm not a doctor...or a nurse...

I didn't feel particularly useful at our first clinic.  My job was to help someone find glasses that worked for them...if they asked for them.  I was supposed to keep them bagged up and out of sight otherwise.  Soooo, yeah.  Basically, I didn't have much to do.

Until a family of three came in.  I'm not sure why, but one of the little girls caught my eye.  I asked, through hand motions, if her mother would let me hold her and she agreed willingly and smiling.  However, the little girl wasn't so excited about it.  It worked out okay at first, but pretty soon she wanted mama...and only mama!

Her older sister on the other hand...I could tell her sweet smile was simply her way of asking to be held.  I held her, and I rocked by and forth like I love to do...and I sang.  I'm not a singer by any means, but I love holding a little one and singing Amazing Grace.  It's my go-to song when I'm holding a baby or toddler and I feel...I don't know how to describe it...a special kinship with my inmost one God created to be a mother.  A way of connecting with God through worship and adoration while holding a precious lamb of His.  Does that even make sense?  Anyway, I'm singing...and she falls asleep...and there is no feeling in the world like snuggling with an asleep child.  Oh, I love it!

They were next in line to see Dr. Karen, but the little one I was holding wasn't one of her patients today.  I could just hold her...and rock her...and be helpful in that way. 

Now the mom ended up being a patient, too.  She had a very uncomfortable toe, that the doctors soon diagnosed to be an ingrown toenail.  It needed to be removed, and she was petrified.  Katherine did a fabulous job.  But the woman was so scared, she was trembling.  At this point, I handed over the sleeping 3 or 4 year old and wrapped my arms around her mama....I never got their names.  I just held her, and sang.

It was peaceful...and such a clear-cut way I could be such a minor way, but a way I will remember.  I don't know if she was a believer, but the name of the Lord is calming...and can be called on in times of trouble...anxiousness...excitement...and simply holding on. 

Sunday in Haiti

We emailed this out Sunday, March 13, about 7:30 in the evening.


Bon Soel!

(Good Evening!)

I just watched a minor surgery take place! THAT was exciting!

Our Internet connection is very slow, so uploading pictures isn't possible. Do we have some to show y'all, though! (Tom, your safety goggles came in handy!) :)

This morning we went to Des Champs, an outlying village of Jeremie for church. The team had a wonderful time! We (Haitians and Americans) worshipped our mighty God together through song, prayer and preaching.
God is good! This church had just completed an evangelism outreach with the children and were passing out Samaritan's Purse "Operation Child" boxes to all the children this morning. Our team's ladies enjoyed rocking the babies of the room at the back while all the parents crowded around to see their older children open their box. It was a blessing to see. =)

I'm going to give Christina an opportunity to write now from her perspective of the rest of the day. Hopefully a different team member will write each day :)

Our trip has been quite adventurous as we travel on a trailer attached to the back of our host's pickup truck. It is a very, very bumpy ride and you have to hold on tight! But the 45 minute rides have been rather enjoyable as we get to see just how beautiful Haiti is. Today we drove through the town, past the beach, over a river (on a bridge of course), and through the bush before reaching the church.

After lunch, we held a trial clinic in the mission's compound. We had 2 doctors and 2 nurses and saw more than 50 people in about 5 hours!

It was a bit crazy at times, but God gave us the patience and wisdom to handle it. One of our patients accepted Christ near the end of the evening! Praise God! We will be taking what we learned today and applying it tomorrow when we hold a clinic in another village named Grand Vincent. We will also begin the construction of a roof on a church tomorrow as well! Keep us in your prayers!

In Him,

Christina =)

Arriving in Jeremie

As a first time team leader, it was a blessing to arrive with all of our baggage and no problems!

I wasn't sure what to expect from the week.  Would we be productive?  Would the team feel as if we had wasted time?  Would our team continue to serve in unity?

The Lord continued to do more than I could have asked or imagined!

Praise be to the Lord!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We've Arrived!

 Hello Loved Ones!
We have made it to Jeremie! Everything has been INCREDIBLY smooth so far and we are PRAISING THE LORD for that! The Houston team made it to Jeremie with ALL (yes, that's 14 pieces) of our luggage! Don't we serve an awesome God!? The three from Seattle barely made the Miami flight to Port Au Prince due to weather delays, so their luggage will join us tomorrow.

We have spent this afternoon sorting supplies and enjoying the BEAUTIFUL weather! It's maybe 65 degrees and breezy. =)

We are excited to visit a village church tomorrow and then we plan to have a clinic here at the Stockelands house for their neighborhood to come too.

Internet connection is spotty, so don't expect to hear from us each day, but we'll email out each day we can!

A friend shared this verse with me in a sweet note and I have been praying it for our team.

Ephesians 3:14-19 "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Thank you for your prayers! We feel them and we are so overjoyed to have you in our support circle!

In Christ,


HFBC Haiti Trip 2011

Haiti Updates...the email way :)

Bon Jour!

I had hoped to blog throughout our time in Haiti, but the internet connection was spotty...and when we did have access, it was very slow.  Sending out email updates was the priority, so the blog got bumped.  I'm sorry for that, but I want to post our email updates here with a little of my own interpretation thrown in afterwards.  I'm not entirely sure what that looks like, yet pray I will be able to fully articulate what the Lord has done in me and through our team over the last week.

I can't find my camera-computer connection cable right now.  So I'll add pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

T minus 2 days

I bought a wireless keyboard/mouse, dry dogfood and yellow cake mix today.  Random supplies, I know...but that's what the Stockelands requested!  We're trying to bless the missionary family as much as possible.  I know if I was serving overseas, I would be begging for diet coke :)

We have one completely empty luggage container.  We're not traveling with suitcases, but instead with black plastic storage containers.  They're on wheels and have a handle.  We're just going to leave them there.  (Which makes traveling back VERY nice!)  I know some items Mark and Lacey want, but am waiting to hear back regarding some more items. 

There are only 7 items left on the to-do list and they're all very easily (and quickly!) handled tomorrow.

I'm so excited, but I'm SO TIRED, too.  I've seriously been going to bed super early, because I'm just exhausted.  (When I say super early, I'm talkin' 7:30 on the couch...early!)

I don't have any pictures today, but will take some soon!

MJ and I met another friend for Tex-Mex tonight.  As yummy as it was, it made me ready for some Haitian goodness.  I can't pronounce most of the food items, but oh. my. word.  Good!

Please be praying for our team as we make last minute preparations!  If you would like a prayer calendar, let me know and I'll email one to you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


I knew it had been awhile since I'd posted, but I didn't realize how long it had been.  I've thought of things over the last month that I wanted to put on here, but right now their topics escape me.

Tonight, I'm going to post about Haiti.  I know I've mentioned it some, but definitely not often enough.  I'm leaving for Haiti with a team of 12 from Houston's First Baptist Church this Friday.  We'll be gone for 8 days and I'm really excited. be honest, pretty nervous and just a teeny bit scared.  Not for my physical safety mind you.  I'm not being naive, but we're not going to be in Port Au Prince.  We're going to be in Jeremie, a smaller town on the west coast, where crime isn't as prevalent or rampant as is currently the case in PAP.  No, my fright comes from wondering what the Lord is going to do.  What does He have to teach me?  Do I want to learn it?  I'm just being honest here...usually the Lord's lessons are hard as I walk through them.  It's after I've come through them that I enjoy His smile of pride for a job well done and the wisdom of the lesson learned.  During the lesson...well, during the lesson, it just sucks.

My excitement comes from our awesome team.  I'm thrilled with the team that God hand-picked.  It is so incredibly obvious He put our team together, and I'm over the moon to serve with them.  They have each been an immense blessing through this time of preparation.  Most of the team has not been to Haiti before, and a few are about to embark on their first mission trip.  I CAN'T WAIT to see what God is going to do in their lives and in their walk with Christ. 

I'm nervous like I typically feel before traveling internationally.  The nerves are mostly due to "What if I forget something?" and this time, I'm worried I'm going to forget something that will affect more than just me.  Or what if I mess something up that affects the team?  I've led in other areas, but a team overseas is a new experience.  I know the Lord has brought me to this time of service.  I'm trusting Him for every future step of the way. =)  Some minutes I do better at that than others.  (Just keepin' it real here, folks.)

I'm packed!  I still have some shopping to do for food and miscellaneous supplies we're taking to the missionary family down there.  However, my backpack is completely packed.  I just made a to-do list and there are 13 items on it...and I just received an email answering one of them!  So, it's all coming together!

Praise the Lord!

I plan to blog while we're gone, and hopefully add pictures, too.  Be on the look-out for updates!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Father to the Fatherless

Pete Wilson is in India right now, blogging about his experiences.

I cannot even imagine the emotional pain this little girl has experienced in her life. 

I pray God, in His will, erases her memory of that time, and if that isn't His will, that he would enable her to trust Him and shower others with His love because of her story.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Everyone needs healing

I follow Pete Wilson's blog.  I'm pretty sure you've seen his name on here before. :)

He is a pastor in Nashville and is so real in his posts that it's easy to connect with him and his heart behind his message.

Today's post rung true for me. 

How often do I forget that every person has a story?

How often do I need to remember to treat each person I come in contact with as a person?  Not just a student...or a student's parent...or a co-worker...or a waitress...but as a person.

Lord, help me remember.  Give me compassion.

Friday, January 28, 2011

God's Provision

I know God provides.  I trust Him.  I trust He provides.  Why am I always amazed when He does?

I'm getting a 3/4 crown on one of my teeth next Tuesday.  I wasn't sure where the money was coming from to pay for it...but it needed to happen and I scheduled it for Tuesday.

HISD teachers received an extra pay check this past Wednesday.

My check was $3 more than the amount of my 3/4 crown.

Isn't God awesome?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wrong Number

Yesterday, my mom called me twice when she intended to call my sister.  It didn't bother me at all, but she felt guilty for having to hang up on me quickly.  It was actually cute to listen to her apologize!  Once she even called right back to chat with me because she felt so badly for calling the wrong daughter.

Awww, Mom.  You're funny!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I was at church on Wednesday for a meeting and took a couple of minutes to walk through our church bookstore.  One book caught my eye, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.  I wasn't sure exactly what he was referring to regarding "the hole," but I paused in my spirit.  A thousand thoughts flashed through my mind including we, as American Christians, don't always act Christian.

But, in all honesty, it made me uncomfortable.  I didn't pick up the book.  I didn't read the back.  Just the title...and I was uncomfortable, so I moved on.

I read a friend's blog post today.  She and her husband are adopting from Ethiopia and are hoping to bring home their little girl in the next two weeks or so.  She's reading a book right now that is changing her viewpoint on Christian action.  I'll let you read the blogpost.  But you guessed it, the book is The Hole in Our Gospel

Ok, Lord.  I hear you.  I will go get it soon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Odd Evening

I was driving home from a meeting last night and had a couple of errands to run.  I was trying to decide the best order of things.  I needed gas, the grocery store, Babies R Us, Hobby Lobby, and Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Though not all those things occurred to me at one time.

Sometimes I laugh at my wayward thinking...and sometimes I groan.  I've decided I only need a couple things from the grocery store, so I'll go to my neighborhood Randall's instead of dealing with parking at HEB...since it's so cold outside.  Hobby Lobby is on the way.  Then I remember I'd wanted to stop at Babies R Us...except I remembered as I was driving by the store...which, when on the highway, means I'd already passed it.  It's in the same parking lot as HEB, so obviously that makes sense to just handle it all at once.  But I've already passed it, so I decide to go on to Hobby Lobby, and then u-turn and come back.  It's 7:36 and Hobby Lobby closes at 8...but I know exactly what I need and where it is located, so I know it will work. 

Hobby Lobby is the same exit I use to go home.  Yep, the SAME exit I use almost every day.  If not every day, at least 5 times a week.  I mean, it's MY EXIT.

Do I take that exit?  Nope.  That would make sense.

I didn't think my mind was wandering, but obviously I wasn't paying attention, because instead of exiting the Beltway Frontage Road...I got ON the beltway.  Yeah, because THAT didn't take me way out of my way!


So, I exit as soon as possible, u-turn, go through a bunch of red lights and head back to Hobby Lobby.  I get what I need and go to HEB where I get gas and stop off next door at Babies R Us.  At this point, I decide not to go to the grocery store and know I don't have to go to BBB tonight, so I head home.

I pull into my alley and la, la, la, la, la...just drivin' along.  Wha!  I just passed my spot!

What's my deal?!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Password, schmassword

I have so many usernames and passwords floating around in my brain, there is no way to keep them straight.  I know I'm not the only one that deals with this.  How do you keep up with your passwords?

I try to use the same ones (which I know is a big no-no, so I started mixing it up some...which became part of my problem.)  However, our district requires us to change our passwords every 60 days?  90 days?  whatever.  And we can't use the same password as any of the last 6.  Grrr...

Our computer screen goes to 'sleep' after 5 minutes of inactivity.  So not only do we have to log in quite often to access email, lesson plans, etc, but we are also encouraged to use many aspects of technology in our lessons.  Brainpop, United Streaming, Renzulli Learning, Shelfari, KidsReads, and these are just a few of the resources which we have access.  They all require different types of usernames and passwords.  Some require capital letters, other require numbers or symbols, still others can only be 6-8, while another one wants 8 or more.

I spent my entire lunch time today attempting to register for a test.  When I completed my degree in December, I became eligible to be a Reading Specialist.  I have the degree.  I do not, yet, have the certification.  I went to TEA's website.  I only log in there about once every five years, so of course I had to click on "forget username" and "forget password."  I have an ID number assigned to me...who knew?

I figured all that out and logged in trying to register for this test.  It took ten minutes of surveying the site to realize, they give you the certification (for a small (and random) fee of $77) but they do not oversee the testing.

I went to ETS's website.  Yes, I can take the test.  I can register, but guess what?  I need to log in to the site with a username and password.  What's that you say?  It's not the same as TEA's username and password?  Of course not...because that would be too easy.

I know all this is necessary in our 'identity theft' ridden society, but Holy Time-Waster Batman.

Hi, My name is Alyssa...

...and I can really be an idiot sometimes.

Choral response: "Hi Alyssa!"

I stayed up until 2:00am last night.

(Oh, it gets better.)

I was watching DVR.

Yup.  You know...those little RECORDING machines.  Yeah, the ones that KEEP the television shows until you choose to erase them so the shows are available ALL THE TIME.

(Oh, but it gets even better.)

I'd already seen them.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Spam anyone? Did I order this?

Does anyone else feel like email newsletters have gotten out of control?

At some point over the past years, I've signed up for Delta, American, WebMD, Broadway Across America, Ticketmaster Events, RODEOHouston, HoustonsFirst, Groupon, Southwest, Paradigm, Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I don't even know what all else!

Some of those I'm still interested in, but most I just delete without why even get it?

Starting Thursday, I began to unsubscribe.  Delta, WebMD, Broadway Across America, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Ticketmaster Events are already marked off the list.

Even though I (apparently) ordered it, it's become spam.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A New Life

I'm still getting used to life after grad school.  Having a weekend to do with as I wish is amazingly wonderful!

This week has been slower at work, which means I was home by 4:30 yesterday.  I had fun outside.  I know it was a LOOOOOONG time ago, but I haven't forgotten about the additions from Joshua or my brownish-green thumb and certainly haven't forgotten about the major changes made over time!  This time, I was just doing maintenance.  No big changes, so no pics, but I loved it!  It makes me smile that I like working outside, because it makes me think of Grandma and how very much she enjoyed 'piddling,' as we called it, in her garden.

I had fun at Mark and Darrick's house last night.  We watched the Aggies start off wonderfully well!  And then...well, end not as well.  However, we had fun chatting, laughing and eating great food!

This morning, a few of us helped Veronica pack and load up the truck for her move to Dallas.  I'm sad to see her go.  We had fun walking together EARLY one morning each week.  However, I know she's excited and following the Lord so I'm excited for her.

From there, I joined Nancy and Roy for breakfast at Pappasitto's.  Nancy introduced our small group to Pappasitto's pancakes in early December.  They're fabulous!  If you haven't been, you definitely need to try it out.

After that, I was going to be productive and run a few errands.  I got REALLY sleepy though, so came home for a nap.  That I ended up taking 2 hours later because I did get a bit of a productive bug.  It was just nice to do things around the house!

While I was writing this post, Katherine called to chat and catch up.  I was able to articulate how very much I am valuing my life post grad school.  It's just been a new found freedom that I am loving every minute of!  Even such a thing as being able to answer the phone to chat when a friend calls!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Kids say the ...

Under “Reminders” on my board today, it says “Book Order due Wed. 1/12”

As I’m passing out the book order, I say, “When is this book order due?” and one student very proudly calls out “Wednesday and a half!”

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Sleepless Nights

I fell asleep on my couch last night at 6:00 and woke up at 8:45.  By the time I turned off the lights, blew out the candles, shut down the computer, set my alarm clock and put a cup in the dishwasher, I was "awake" enough to not go back to sleep....until 1:45am!

Each night this week has been "something" in regards to sleep...not enough of it, or nightmares or weird hours or something.

Here's hoping that tonight is early, restful and uninterrupted!

An overheard convo

Student: I had a wonderful Christmas Mrs. _________
Adult: What did you get?

Out of all the questions, that was the one asked?

It made me sad.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

2010 Annual Review

I got an idea from Kelly's Korner to do an Annual Review of my life and goals in 2009. I decided it was a great way to reflect and loved doing it here and continued it here.  I've decided to do it again this year!


1. I'm thankful for friends. I love hanging out with my college girlfriends. We try to do it yearly and were able to meet in Houston this year for a weekend of shopping together, laughing together, and praying together.  Now that's my kind of weekend!!  Each of us had a rough year...or at least a 'weird' year...and it was good to be with women we can count on...let our hair down with...and just cry...and remember...and laugh.  Love y'all!

Ever have a friend that you may not get to see all the time, but when you do there's a connection?  An honest 'realness' that both of you show? 
AJ, you are someone I can be that person with and I love you for it!  You make me think.  You make me laugh.  You push me to be a better me.  Love you!

Julie,  I love that we think alike and are already thinking the same things about a certain situation before one of us brings it up!  :)  You make me laugh and smile and laugh some more!  I loved watching you lead the women of Paradigm!  I love that you're "girly."  Your sweet notes and drop by gifts always make my day!  Love you!

Melody, your friendship has been constant and I so appreciate that!  You're a tenacious friend that doesn't give up.  Know that and claim it!  Your laughter makes me smile and your name on my phone does the same.  I know there are many things that bring up "I'm not sure we can be friends anymore." but I'm oh so glad we can! :)  Love you!

Meredith, I'm sitting on the floor of my dining room and thinking of what I want to write about you and just smiling.  That's what you do!  Your love of music and your love of children and your WONDERFUL teaching all shine through in you.  I LOVE that you love kids and want to instill a love for music in them.  You are a FABULOUS teacher and whether you continue in your own studio or are on staff at a school, I know you are a blessing.  Love you!

2. I'm thankful for my family, both immediate and extended. I love our traditions of gathering at certain places for certain holidays. I love the games we know we're going to play and the new ones we learn. I'm thankful for their advice through life's struggles. I'm thankful we all live within driving distance of each other so we CAN see each other as often as we do.

3. I'm thankful for good health. I never thought about how much that meant, or how much I took it for granted, until I didn't always have it.  Right now, I'm doing fine and I praise God for that.

4. I'm thankful for a job environment that is supportive and challenging.  I don't always agree with the top dog's decisions, but I love my kids, my team and my bosses.

5. I'm thankful for a church family that has fun laughing and playing together. We are constantly in each other's lives. We grow together. We sharpen each other. We teach each other. We serve together. We stretch each other. We travel together. We work together. We are family.


1. I'd like to have more patience.  This is a scary thing to pray for...because He will provide opportunities to grow my patience!

2. I'd like to be a better daughter. I want to pray for my parents more often.

3. I want to be a better teacher. I want to search out creative ways to teach a certain concept and not trust the old way all the time. I want see each child as a little person and not just a student.  I want to mentor them and help to shape them into the person God has for them to be.

4. I want to pay off debts.  This was a little bit of a tough year with some medical bills as well as tuition.  I want to be as wise as possible when it comes to spending money and pay off my debts as quickly as I can.

5. I want to make my word mean something...well exactly what I said.  I want my yes to mean yes and my no to mean no.  My generation has gotten very sloppy with this.  I want to model something better for the next generation and glorify the Lord in following His word by doing it.


1. I have applied to be a Child Advocate.  I know adoption is in my future, but it is not in my present.  I pray that being a Child Advocate, I can begin helping the neglected and abused NOW even though I can't bring one into my home.

2. I want to pay attention to the little nuances of life through conversations with friends and help when I can.  I want to be paying attention enough to think about those little things that can really brighten someone's day.

3. I want to do babysit for friends so they can go out.  I want to chat with friends while we clean their house together.  I just want to live life together and help someone out at the same time.

4. I want to create a sense of community in my little neighborhood. I'd like to invite my close neighbors over for a meal and start the process of getting to know each other.  I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but other obligations impeded the process.  Those are wrapped up, so now I can move forward!

5. I want to see a stranger's need and be able to help it practically.  I'm not sure what that looks like, but I pray He will show me in His timing.