Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hi! I'm checking in to post things on animals! I am like SUPER obssesed with animals.:)
See? I love animals. I want to have an animal breeding center and shelter in one with my friend when I grow up. Here are a bunch of pictures of animals i think are cute.

See? I love animals. :) :P

Introducing Cora!!!!

Hi!
My mom said I could help with the blog! SWEET. I am in 7th grade just turned 12 and I love cats
but my mom is allergic so I just look at them online.

this week I am working on history day.  my mom is totally crazy with homework but she still surfs everyday. BLAH
BLAH
BLAH
see you soon!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Feeling Productive

Only a few days left until grad classes begin and I am doing a mad dash to organize my life before things get real crazy. Two weeks ago I started this crazy race with a 2 page, double column list of to-do's and today I am down to one single-sided, single-columned page. Woohoo!

Some of the items on the list were little like put a new battery in the clock, email someone, or cancel an appointment. But others were big--real big--and I had been putting them off for months. At least half of my list was filled with large tasks that required multiple small to-do's beneath.  These monsters had been haunting me and I really needed to get them off my back in a bad way.

One such project was sorting/filing/taking action on the huge pile of papers (mail, notes from school, etc.) that had accumulated over the last 9 months in my kitchen drawer.  Make that 2 kitchen drawers. It was bad. At one point it had gotten so overwhelming to me that I stopped opening mail and just stuffed it in the drawer instead. I'm happy to report that the drawers have been set back to their original purpose and my file cabinet is happily full. The amazing thing is it only took me 2.5 hours to get through it all. I sure wish I had done it sooner and saved myself all the grief and months of anxiety.

Another big project was culling my fabric stash. Recently we took on two boarders, college students, which necessitated Kirkham moving into the sewing studio room/guest room. Moving all his stuff into the room was a challenge and the poor boy has been living the life of a trapped hoarder this past month.  The floor was cluttered and piled high with a mixture of his stuff, my stuff and stuff Heath left when he went on the mission. I started by just going in for 15 minutes each night to fill a bag with donatable items. Just three nights made a big difference. At day 5 I had some extra time and I spent an hour in there repairing the closet shelves to better support the stuff we needed to store. And day 6, yesterday, I spent 3 hours and finished it all off.  In the end I had 7 bags of fabric, clothes, patterns, hangers, craft supplies and books to donate and now I have a clean and organized room to share with Kirkham.

Those two things alone would have been a great burden off my back however I have accomplished a lot more than that.  Remember a month or so ago I redecorated the front room? Since then I have also cleaned out and organized the pantry/storage room, cleaned out the front hall closet, cleaned out the bathroom cupboards and drawers, shredded and eliminated old files, cleared through all the kids craft and paper supplies and school supplies, cleaned my bedroom!, redecorated my office at the university, sorted through all my university files, transferred a bunch of my disorganized handwritten research and files to digital format, emptied my email inbox (it had 1000+ unread emails in it) and imported my several email accounts to one Gmail account with POP3 and forwarding. Yep, feeling productive.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Letter to a Friend

I'm cleaning out my email inboxes and came upon this letter I wrote to a friend. It was a good reminder to me today as I am preparing to start classes next week. Feeling a little overwhelmed this spoke peace to my heart and reminded me that yes I know I am doing what I should be. 

T,
After you shared your thoughts in relief society today I wanted to share something with you but didn't feel I wanted to say in front of the class so I held back. You talked about not receiving that big confirmation that you were hoping for and it made me think of a conversation I had with Beth the other day.

I've been trying to decide if I am going to start a Masters program in fall. I have wanted to do it for a while and have felt an increased desire over the past year and Dave too has felt like it is time I should do it. But it hasn't come as a big GO DO THIS NOW AND DO IT THIS WAY! which I would prefer. Instead I've just kinda felt like I wanted to do it and I've had a lot to figure out on my own, a lot of research to do on different schools and stuff. Though I feel like I should do this I have also caught myself, in the next thought, thinking/whining "if heavenly father wanted me to do this he would tell me exactly what to do." I've had a lot of self doubt over whether I'm smart enough, have enough time/money, whether it is something I should be doing when all I've ever wanted is to be a stay-at-home mom.

In a conversation with Beth about this while Visiting Teaching she had an interesting insight. She said," if heavenly father didn't think it was a good idea don't you think he'd stop you?! He doesn't want you to waste money and time. He doesn't want you to inconvenience or disrupt family life. If he isn't stopping you you should do it."

Her comment immediately made me think of my students in my costume class. Though I am technically the designer for the shows I really just give them an idea and point them in a direction and tell them x is where we want to end up. Sometimes I give them more specific direction if it is important that it be done a certain way. I LOVE when I have students who say OK and just go for it. I HATE when I have students who ask me at every turn, "what do I do next? Is this button ok? Should they wear socks? where do I find the iron? do I need to try this on the actor?" I always stop students who are on the wrong track. (though sometimes I let them make a few mistakes knowing that they will learn something from it).

I think Heavenly Father is like a costume design teacher :-). He has a big master plan and sometimes he needs and wants to give specific direction and sometimes he just wants us to use our own initiative and make some decisions and maybe make a few mistakes so we can learn along the way. If we get too far off course though he will stop us. He wants this whole production to look beautiful in the end and he doesn't want any of his materials to be wasted. The moral of the story is pray always, be open to inspiration and revelation but when it doesn't come quite when or like you expect it, be motivated to act on your own and trust that He will stop you if it is wrong.

One line from the lesson today stuck out. Pres. Eyring said, "Continuing revelation comes to Stake presidents to lift them above their own wisdom and capacities." I swapped "Stake presidents" for "Dani" and realized Heavenly father doesn't need to give me a huge revelation over school because it isn't above my own wisdom and capacity to make this decision. It is something I can totally do and his lack of big signs is just a sign that he has confidence in me.

I think it is the same for you maybe? I love you and empathize with you. I know it is very difficult to uproot your family and leave everything you've known. I know how hard it is to sell a house and to sell and pack and throw away years worth of stuff. If there is anything I can do to lighten your load I will be there.

You will be missed dearly,
Dani

Monday, August 17, 2015

We Can Repent

In my Student Development class today we were discussing procrastination.  One of my students was leading the discussion. She asked, "How does procrastination make you feel?"

The immediate change in the room was palpable.  Shoulders slumped, brows furrowed. The air was suddenly heavy and thick. "Stressed" mumbled one of the students. "Tired" offered another. "It makes me worried and achey." sighed the final reply.

My mind suddenly flashed back to this morning's discussion in seminary. The topic was Adam and Eve being cast out from the garden. "How do you think they felt;" I asked, "how do you feel when you sin?" No words were offered then but the weight was the same.  Their hearts were heavy and their eyes sad. They knew the feeling.

I revealed my thoughts to my college class and confided "The answer is the same! We repent!". Like a fresh breeze the spirit whooshed into the room and filled us all up. An audible sigh of relief as I recited the definition of repentance in the bible dictionary, "Repentance is a change of mind, a fresh view."

"We can repent and start over." I reiterated as other excited whispers began to swirl across the room. "That reminds me of  . . ." and "I just read this morning . . ." and "remember when . . ." all briskly bubbled up into the discussion as the Spirit bore witness to us that the atonement is real. We are all sinners missing the mark in one way or another and we all need His help to reset our sights and be a little better.

I am thankful to work at a church University where I can share my impressions and testimony freely with my students. I love my job and the opportunity I have to be a seminary teacher, and that those two spheres can miraculously collide in ways that strengthen my testimony. I am so very grateful for my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ; that a way has been provided for me to continue to improve and progress in every aspect of my life.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Change is a Coming

I have been accepted into the University of Arkansas Master's Program!! I will be studying Apparel Merchandising and Product Development beginning at the end of this month. No, I'm not relocating (phew) it is an online program.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this but a little overwhelmed with all the change this will entail.  I have been working all summer trying to get things cleaned up and organized. Though I got a lot done it seems there is still so much done until it is perfect. I will have to apply the atonement to my life and learn to forgive my shortcomings and let the Lord fill the pukas. He will make up for what I lack.

I knew I would be starting school this fall but what I didn't know until a couple weeks ago is that I am also teaching seminary too! The Lord works in mysterious ways and I think he is telling me I need to focus my efforts one learning how to be an effective teacher. Oh, and how to manage my time better.

Dave and the kids are very supportive and even excited about all that I will be doing. I am so grateful for them and their willingness to pick up my slack. Even with their help, however, I can't continue doing everything I currently do.  I decided to let my sewing business go, or rather taking a sabbatical from it. Effective immediately I am no longer taking any jobs.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Makeover Madness

The girls and I went kinda crazy the last week or so.  We were sitting on the beach and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the day. Dave and Kirkham were off on a scout adventure and we wanted to have some "girl time".  What do girls do? we asked ourselves.  So, on a whim we decided to redecorate the house. Make the decorate. We've lived here almost 2 years and we haven't really done any real decorating: we just moved in.

We love the beach and wanted to bring that home. The only caveat: we would not be changing any of our furniture. We started with curtains, did some reupholstering and threw in some accessories.  Afton's newest piece of art was our inspiration piece.

The apartment came with really ugly, faded Aloha print curtains.  They looked super dingy. Afton said they made her feel angry. We ditched the aloha print and bought some cream material. I spent about 6 hours sewing all these simple curtains.  As you can see in the picture below they let a LOT of light in and make a big difference. Though you can't see them due to my poor photography and light balance, they are cute. Super beachy feeling.


Afton's art--the beach scene painted with acrylics over my old Klimt print (it was fading) was our inspiration pieces and serves as a focal point hanging over the piano.  We cleared the cluttery piano books off the top and put some of our most beautiful large shells, driftwood and a candle on one end of the piano and one of my orchids on the other. The piano books were all gathered into a basket on the floor to the left of the piano.


I bought a couple of cute throw pillows and made a few. The coloring in the above pictures is way off. I promise it is a blue and NOT grey.  It was fun playing with the embroidery functions on my new machine.  The girls had a blast learning how to program all of it.

We recovered the seats of the dining room chairs from black to a nice bright blue Waverly print purchased at Walmart. I'm so excited about all the new fabrics they've brought in over the past few weeks! I left the old fabric on and placed a layer of batting and a layer of muslin before placing the new material over the top.  I also scotchguarded the cushions before screwing them back onto the chairs.  This is a very important step when you have kids around!
We also found this cool planter that I just had to have. Of course can't have an empty planter so we grabbed a few plants for a living centerpiece. I was so sick of the old worn table cloths when the table underneath was so beautiful! I fell in love with these woven placemats and, knowing they wouldn't last long alone, bought plastic placemats too. The plastic ones aren't quite the look I was going for but they hide nicely under the woven mats and when it is time to eat we just pull them out from underneath.
The buffet got a pick me up with a new runner made of another beautiful Waverly sea print. Just a few family knick knacks rest here.
I really wanted a seashell wreath. I went a little out of my comfort zone here and pulled out the glue gun.   I bought a wreath form and had a really hard time getting shells to stick to it. At first I blamed it on my lack of glueing skills but Afton assured me it was the form.  I changed it to a cardboard cutout wrapped in wire edge ribbon for stability.  It didn't turn out quite like I wanted it to but I've gotten a lot of compliments on it--and they didn't even know I made it! Or at least they didn't let on that they could tell. I'm not sold on the goofy ribbon.  I'm gonna trade that out for a weathered looking rope maybe. It is stuck to the wall with 2 sets of velcro command strips.
Another out of my comfort zone project: a driftwood clock. It speaks for itself.  I still haven't decided how I feel about it.



We didn't stop with the front room but I will share the rest in another post.  We went on to put new curtains, duvet covers, pillows and more in the girls room, and made changes in the bathrooms and the hallway. It has been a fun project to do with the girls.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Report

I have spent the past month catching up on everything that I didn't get done during the school year. Scrubbing tiles, cleaning the pantry, harassing the kids, fixing screens, sorting through paperwork, sewing, and reading. Lots and lots of reading.

Most of the books I have been reading I started somewhere in the midst of the school year. A few of them were textbooks that I was reviewing for my classes and classes I am proposing.  I reviewed the Textile Kit Eco Edition for a proposed Textile Science class. I love it! I enjoyed putting together the swatches and I learned a lot from their online textbook. It was a good refresher for me and will be perfect if my proposed course is approved. Basic Sewing for Costume Construction I looked at as a potential textbook for my costume class. It will be an OK resource in the classroom but not right for my class as a textbook. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy has been a very interesting book.  I am learning a lot from it and am not done yet.  It too is a book for a proposed class, not one I'm teaching yet. And then another book I haven't finished yet is Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes, also for a proposed course.

Just for fun I read through a few chapters of Heath's anthropology textbook; the chapters on fashion and the body. Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology, an interesting read and I may require my students to borrow the text from their friends in Intro to Anthro to read sections of this.

I also like to steal Dave's textbooks from his Doctoral studies.  The other day I finished The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable and next up is Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.  I'm really excited about that one. I listened to a podcast interview of him a few months ago and he was fascinating.

The book I think I've gotten the most from this summer however, is What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain. As you can see from the picture above I have marked it up extensively with post its. Here's a list of a few things I want to remember from this book:

  • Does my class change the way students think about the subject?
  • "Knowledge is constructed, not received"
  • "Those who work from intrinsic motivations will pick more ambitious tasks."
  • "Activities most likely to help them learn---struggling, grappling, and making mistakes."
  • "Characteristics of highly respected courses include high demands but with plentiful opportunities to revise and improve their work before it receives a grade, thereby learning from their mistakes in the process."
  • "Avoid the language of demands and use the vocabulary of promises instead."
  • "Know the value that intellectual challenges--even inducing puzzlement and confusion--can play in stimulating interest in the questions of [the course]"
  • "The only way you will ever learn is to read and think." --Ralph Lynn
  • "If students can't learn to judge the quality of their own work, then they haven't really learned." --Paul Travis
  • Teaching is a conversation not a performance.
  • "In real science you're not too worried about the right answer . . .what you are after waits patiently for you while you screw up."--Dudley Herschbach
  • Does my teaching change the way I think about the subject?
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