Saturday, August 31, 2013

Car Shopping

There's nothing like going car shopping to learn your spouse in a new way.  And by that, I mean that Isaac learned a lot about me, bless him. 

Isaac has had the same car his whole driving career, and the car has been in his family for 20 years.  Meet Irvin, a 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante:

Irvin has served two generations of Ozingas so well.  Thanks to Isaac's hard work, he has over 300,000 miles on him and runs like a charm.  He might not look so spiffy anymore, but he has been a great car.  However, he was rear-ended in the Spring, and Isaac started wanting a car with a third row in our family.  We want to be able to take around youth group kids more easily, have room for our nieces AND the dogs, and have a car that my parents, grandparents, and we can all ride in at once.  We both got raises this year, so after a lot of prayer, we decided to trade in Irvin for a new-to-us car.

Isaac spent a lot of time comparing CUVs and SUVs online.  He knew he wanted to be higher off the ground than a car, but didn't want a huge SUV.  While Jacob was here last week, they went and test drove several cars to narrow his list down to two options.  On Friday, he took me to see these cars. 

This is when the spouse lessons began.  He learned I'm a brand snob.  I love Toyota, and despite their occasional flaws, I'm loyal.  I like big, gas guzzling, steel loaded, rough and tumble tanks.  Isaac had to mention that he had seen an H1 (military style Hummer) on a car lot while with Jacob.  That about did me in.  Grr.  Someday.  I'd much rather have a Sequoia if we're moving Isaac to an SUV.  It's built on a Tundra frame, so it drives like a truck.  Of course, I'd be totally ok being a two truck family.  Sarge needs a friend!  And, Isaac said no.  He's my practical, always thinking husband, keeping me from blowing the budget on gas each month.  Boo.  Isaac had me test drive a Nissan Pathfinder, which I loved.  Um, it's built on a Frontier (small truck) frame, so it drove like a truck.  However, we found a Mazda CX9 that's in mint condition.  It's got a 3rd row and is certainly larger than a car.  It's beautiful, sleek, and classy, everything I shy away from in a vehicle.  Isaac fell in love.  And after a drive, (and getting to keep it over night), I decided I could be a fan of it too.  Not to mention the Mazda folks were going to give us $1500 for Irvin, and he's not worth that much, despite the fact that he could probably run another 5 years easy.

So, apparently Labor Day Weekend is a great car buying weekend.  Six years ago, before I even really knew Isaac, I brought home this beast:

And this year, Isaac brought home this beauty:

Thank You, Lord for safe vehicles for our family!  And for really good deals on both of them.  Seriously, the dealerships always lose money when we come around.  LOTS of money.  

Friday, August 30, 2013

Princess Cupcakes

A little friend of ours requested princess cupcakes for her 4th birthday.  The only desire was that they be pink and purple.  Mr. Isaac got cutesy for her and added pixie dust, castles, and slippers.  They were so cute and got rave reviews!

And someday, we'll invest in a decent camera....

Sunflower Cake

Isaac made this for July and August birthdays/back to choir kickoff.  It was a super fun night with a very tasty cake!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Works for Me Wednesday

My furry children need washing.  Doggie baths are just part of it.  We have one that loves baths and one that just tolerates them.  What I cannot tolerate is the after scent of nearly every dog shampoo we've ever tried.  They just smell dank over over-perfume-y.  Yuck!

I love the smell of baby shampoo.  I asked Bailey's first vet in College Station if Johnson's &Johnson's baby soap was safe for him.  He told me that human shampoo isn't good for dogs because they have fur, not hair.  Human shampoo can dry out dogs' skin and make it itchy for them.  However, J and J's is not shampoo/soap, and it's just fine for pups.  Our current vet has echoed the same sentiment, so it's what Bailey's used for 8 1/2 years and all Aggie Belle has even known.

Aggie Belle's first ever bath with J&J's.

The precious sweet smell of clean dogs from J and J's is just perfect!  Sweet cuddles come after bath time at our house, and it makes their fur so incredibly soft!  J and J's on my dogs works for me!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church for me, BW3s for Isaac and Jacob

Monday: Rudy's

Tuesday: Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday: Breakfast

Thursday: Quinoa Stuffed Portobella

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Pork Chops and Fresh Steamed Green Beans

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Works for Me Wednesday: Make Up Work Folders

Today I'm joining a different link-up, and I'm excited to get some new ideas as well as give one of my own!

A friend asked yesterday how I handle make-up work in my classroom.  I teach 6th grade.  These kiddos are learning independence and responsibility for their own actions now.  When they are absent, it is their job to get their make-up work, look over it, ask questions if they have them, do the work, and turn it in.  With over 150 kids, I can't look over every absent kid's shoulder and micromanage them. 

A few years ago, I wrote each day of the school week on the front on a different manila folder.  I then taped them on my tall cabinet door.  After I take attendance, I write the names of absent students on any worksheets, notes, maps, or other instruction pages that will explain what they need to do to get caught up. I include the adjust due date, per our districts absent work policy. I'm nearly always done with this by the time the class has finished warm-ups.

When the students return, they know to look in the folder of the day(s) they were absent.  They know when I have tutorials (daily!!) and to ask me questions then or via email.  If the assignment/notes/activity/etc isn't completed by the due date, they know it's then counted late.  The parents see this system clearly during open house, and they can't argue with it.  It's awesome, and worked great for years!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Than A Feeling

In premarital counseling, couples are often asked if they realize that love is an action, not a feeling.  Teens get asked if they know the same thing about living out Jesus' love.  Folks who are dealing with forgiving a person who has wronged them will be posed with the same question.  It's true you know.  Love is more than a feeling.  It's an action.

This is true for teaching too.  Maybe it's true for any job.  I've only been a nanny and a teacher, so I don't know about the rest of you.  Here's the honest truth: I LOVE BEING A TEACHER!  But right now, this summer, I'm not feeling that love.

Before anyone begins telling me I need to get out of the profession, because we all know there is nothing worse than a bitter teacher, let me explain.  Last year was phenomenal.  I mean absolutely just about perfect.  I had the best group of parents to work with yet!  I planned a perfect field trip, had lots of kids I'd known since infancy in my class, and came up with some super fun, engaging, new ideas to teach my kids.  I was on a role, and everything felt right.  I was asked to help re-write our Pre-AP/GT curriculum, which I have a huge passion for doing.  Then, to top it off, my student Kate took my challenge to change the world and rallied the school and community to raise just shy of $14,000 to build a clean water well.  2012-2013 was just awesome!

Then this summer came.  We went to Zambia.  I adore Zambia.  I feel such purpose there.  I feel purpose here too, but in Zambia, my purpose is different.  It's immediately visible, where as here, it's not always evident for years at a time.  The rest of the summer was spent loving on precious kindergartners and high schoolers, sharing the truth of Jesus with them.  That feels like a lot of purpose too! 

My faith in my calling as a public school educator began to waiver.  I sometimes feel so constrained by public school's split on church and state.  Oh, it's there for good reason, but when I see kids suffering and can't tell them I'm praying for them or point them to Jesus, it's tough.  Then, doubt that I'd be able to inspire my kids to be world changers the way I did for this year began to plague me.  It shouldn't have...that's never in my control anyway, but it did.  I felt unable to create new lessons that would engage students and be inviting to them.  I felt drained after all of the curriculum writing and training I helped lead for our other teachers.  I just wasn't feeling the love.  I began wondering if my time as an educator was finished, that it was time for another calling.

But, love is an action.  Love for something or someone shouldn't dwell in despair or uncertainty, even when those feelings are present.  So, I did what everyone always talks about doing with love.  I acted.  I lead another training and fed off the energy of other teachers excited to hear about the new curriculum.  I bought school supplies.  I Googled new ideas for arranging the desks in my room.  I prayed.  I talked to Isaac about my concerns.  I began really looking at my lesson plans and figuring out ways to change them up and involve more technology.  I started using my NASA resources to create better ideas, because, let's face it, NASA makes everything more fun!

Did I enjoy each of those actions?  Was I excited about all of that?  Was I jumping up and down, giddy with glee to be starting a new year?  No.  Some of these actions were hard and overwhelming and incredibly time consuming.   But, little by little, the feeling of love has returned.  My job is still to teach, still to inspire.  I still had a minor panic attack when our brand new AP asked us yesterday how we were going to inspire our kids this year.  I'm not sure I can ever top this past year, but again, that's in God's hands.  But, the desire to try has never been stronger.  Trying leads to feelings of love.

So, kids, your teacher loves you.  She might not always feel like she loves her job, but her actions are going to speak love anyway, because the bottom line is, she is madly and totally in love with her job.  This job is a calling, and as long as God wants me here, this is where I'll be.  I don't know when this season will end, and that's ok.  For now,  He's not done with me yet, regardless of my feelings, and for that, I am eternally grateful!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Lemon Chicken Scallopine (didn't get to it last week)

Monday: Beef Stroganoff

Tuesday: Grilled Pork Chops and Corn

Wednesday: School for me and leftovers for Isaac

Thursday: 8th Grade Girls Dinner-Aunt Donna's Pasta, Salad, and Chocolate Mousse Pie

Friday: UBC Leadership Conference

Saturday: Pearland for D's Birthday Dinner

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 2013 BarkBox

Bailey and Aggie Belle's BarkBox arrived yesterday!  Boy, howdy is it always fun to explore this treat from the mail man! 

This month's box was all about summer fun and food!

Aussie Naturals Floatie Shark ($11.99)  This is a floating toy made of a tennis, rope, and squeakers.  A new beach toy for Aggie Belle!  This girl LOVES to swim out in the waves and retrieve things, so this will be perfect when Uncle Jacob comes back to visit next week.

Barkworthies Bullyflakes ($5.25) These are flakes of bully sticks, which my dogs munch up quickly!  The point of these is to sprinkle on top of a picky eater's food to entice them to eat.  Bah!  I'm the mean mom that makes my littlest and oldest love starve it out.  He wants canned food on his premium brand dog food, and I won't pay for it.  Besides, canned is awful for their teeth.  The last thing I need is something else keeping Bailey from eating his kibble without its addition.  We won't be adding this to their food, but putting it in their treat balls.

The Honest Kitchen Ice Pups  (.99) These packets hold grain-free, salt-free mixes that can be mixed with water and then frozen or heated for a treat to match the weather.  With the silicone dish from last month's box, this will turn into a perfect popsicle!  

Plato Duck Strips ($11.99) These jerky type treats are made of duck meat and brown rice.  That's a perfect treat for my allergy ridden Bailey!  Yum!

Primal Freeze Dried Turkey Liver Treats ($6.99) These claim to be nothing but American raised turkey liver.  Regardless, my pups think they're super tasty!

This month's box is valued at $37.21, and we only pay $18 a month.  What a deal!  And, BarkBox is totally cutting back on our trips to the pet store, which means more play time for the dogs.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love this song:

I love that the film we made for our charity: water campaign will be debuted in just over a week!  *Note, this video is not being endorsed by charity: water, but by UBC.

I loved the CMA Music Festival concert last night.  Aggie Belle and I had us quite the jam session, dancing away the night in the living room.  Yeah, we don't get out enough, but the dog and I know how to have fun!
 I love the conversations we've been having about car purchases.  Isaac's car is over 20 years old, but is in awesome working condition because he takes such good care of it himself.  However, one day, it will go to rest in junkyard heaven, and we'll want another vehicle.  Isaac's pretty much admitted that he'll get an SUV, and I'll still be driving Sarge.  Oh, thank you!!  I'd be a lost chick without my truck!

I love spending my last week of summer with a bunch of energetic kindergartners.  They are super fun and sweet, and remind me why I teach 6th grade 9 months of the year, and 6 year olds 3 weeks of the year.  ;)  Truly, there is something super special about a room of 30 sweet ones singing this song:

I've loved going through curriculum for Sunday school for this school year.  I'm so excited!!

I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

KJOY 2013

KJOY (Kindergartners learning that Jesus comes first, Others come second, and Yourself comes last) happened a month ago, but I'm just not getting photos from it.  Ooops.

My friend Kymberlee and I co-wrote the curriculum for KJOY 3 years ago.  Our preschool director Terri has a real desire to see kids learning that it's not all about 'me'.  In our week, we look at Bible stories that show how He put the needs of others before His own.  The kids always come away learning a lot, and have a special connection to the people they serve.

We work in the Walden Garden to harvest food for the local food bank and then deliver it:
We got DRENCHED in the rain!

We made snack bags for the homeless:

We dropped of turtles stuffed with prayers for the cancer patients at the local hospital:

 We loved on the elderly and made flower pots with them:

We brought goodies to the firefighters and police officers in our community:

The last day we had a little fun in Kemah!
Aside from Zambia, KJOY is always my favorite week of the summer!  I pray these kiddos learn to keep Jesus always first in their lives.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Beef Burgundy at my grandparents.

Monday: Korean Pork and Kimchi Slaw

Tuesday: Zucchini Primavera

Wednesday: Music Ministry Potluck at UBC

Thursday: Lemon Chicken Scallopine

Friday: Jason's Deli catering for Eve with Steve

Saturday: Leftovers

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

These two lovebirds, my darling grandparents Nanny and Dede, celebrate 59 years of marriage today!  They rest of Jesus and are a rock to all of us. We are indescribably grateful for their constant presence in our lives.

Four years ago, Nanny and Dede were generous enough to allow Isaac and me to share their special day.  No passage of time will ever diminish how beautiful this is to me.  They are a legacy worth patterning after for any couple.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love that I have one and a 1/2 more weeks of summer break.  I love summer, but there is a teeny part of me ready for routine again.

I love the 10 year celebration that happened at Bill and Bette Bryant House.  You can see all of our sweet kids singing here

I love that I was asked to take our new Omega overlay to a state conference this year.  I worked for two months writing this with 7 other teachers back in the spring.  This is absolutely no reflection on me but on the amazing team God has blessed me with in this district!  I really hope we inspire other districts in awesome ways to teach GT kids!

I love that so many of my sweet friends are growing babies right now.  Baby showers, here we come!

I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Whale of a Tale

Yesterday we took Isaac's parents deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.  Isaac has used Capt. Paul 3 times now, and really likes him.  He reminds me a bit of Capt. Bruce from my Bahamas trip, but with more clothing.  That's another story for another time though...

Capt. Paul doesn't waste time.  If the fish aren't biting in a spot, off we go to the next.  In our first spot, I caught 30ish" sharks in about 10 minutes.  At our other spots, I caught more red snapper than I could count.  Unfortunately, it's not red snapper season, so they all had to get thrown back.  I had really wanted to catch some mahi mahi, but they weren't to be found yesterday.  And, in case you were wondering, yes, I baited my own hooks.  Yes, I reeled in my own catches.  I didn't take them off the hooks though because Cody, the first mate, did that for us.  He had to feel useful somehow I guess!

I told Isaac that we need to start doing this a couple times a year.  It's been way too long since I've been on a small craft vessel far enough out that land was absolutely no where to be seen.  It doesn't take more than a couple of miles before the water in the Gulf turns deep azul, and it's stunning.  I was the only one in our group not to get sea sick, and I sat near the stern on our way out and back in, reading my Kindle, and watching in awe of God's handiwork.  Ten years is much too long to be one with the sea again.  My momma raised me right, and while ranch life and mountains drag me from the sea more often than I want to admit, the sea is home.  I was in the ocean before I could crawl, and my fascination with all that is the blue abyss has never dissipated.  Worship songs and hymns were on my lips as we motored out to oil derricks and old ship wrecks for fishing.  The rock of the waves is incredibly soothing to me, and the little bit of chop on Monday was just perfect.  I think I stared at the water more than I read, but that's ok.  I saw 4 different pods of dolphins and 3 sea turtles for my sea gazing efforts.  Such precious treats from the Lord! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Isaac's family is in town, so we're letting them it up all their Houston favorites this week.  Ha.

Sunday: Steak and Shrimp Kabobs and Salad

Monday: Chick-fil-A

Tuesday: Pappasitos

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Out for our anniversary

Friday: Gina's for a fundraiser

Saturday: Grilled Chicken and Salad

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Welp, today I did what most youth workers try to refrain from doing their whole 'careers'.  I cried while I taught.  Oh, that might not seem like such a big deal, but when working with teens, whose emotions are sporadic bursts of highs and lows by their own accord, the last thing I want to do is make them think their teacher can't control her emotions either.  I failed.  Miserably.

This summer the kids have watched various videos from Francis Chan, and today was a new one of Louie Giglio.  The irony of today's video is that it was filmed here in Houston and focused around space exploration.  One of our dear friends was even called out by name in the middle of Louie's talk.  It felt like deja vu, listening to Louie describe things our friend would talk about weekly in Sunday School as my teacher when I was a teen.  Louie went on and on about how big the universe is, how God is bigger, and how all of God's creation declares His glory.

The Cross in Space is from the Whirlpool Galaxy.
The galaxy in which this is seen:
And then Louie played a clip of radio wave sound frequencies picked up from thousands of light years away.  It was awesome.

Isaac and I were sitting in a room with about 20 of our most favorite teens.  Listening to Louie talk about how big our God is made me incredibly aware of just how small we are.  I was completely floored and overwhelmed by the Spirit moving, and couldn't help but think that our kids, even the ones that have grown up in church, might be sitting there thinking, "well, if God is so big, then why in the world does He need ME?"  Louie's presentation was great, but I knew God was telling me to add to it before ending class.

Overwhelmed by how much God loves each of us, in spite of how big He is, I read to the kids from John 1:1-4 and then read to them Psalm 139.  None of these verses were new to our teens.  They know them well, but I had a passionate desire to remind them that God made each of them on purpose for a purpose.  He loves them and wants them and pursues them each second of every day.  And knowing that, and trying to get that across to our kids caused me to just flat out lose it.  I'm not talking little droplets that quietly flowed down my cheeks as I spoke.  I'm talking about huge, breathe taking sobs that made me shake with the enormity of all that our Creator is and does.  Oh, how I pray the kids heard God's Word and weren't distracted by the emotion.  I'm laughing about it now, but it was a bit embarrassing in the moment.  Youth ministry, and life with Jesus, are messy things, and I'm blessed to share this road with phenomenal kids.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

UBC's Walden Garden

UBC has a garden that various groups in the church help maintain.  I know I've mentioned it in various posts before.  All that we grow is sent to the food pantry down the street from our church.  It's an awesome way to get to know people in the church, be outside, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community.  I've worked in it off and on for three years.  KJOY always spends a day out there, and our intermediate school Sunday School class are getting us more and more involved.
Work day back in April
I bonded with my ancestors today, and not in some funky call of the dead kind of way. Today was an all call work day to prep the beds for fall planting.  About ten of us worked for 3 hours to rake, pull weeds, pull dried bean stalks off the trellis, spread manure, move trellises, harvest ripe veggies, plow, and plant.  I come from a long line of farmers on both sides of my family, and I now much more fully appreciate what it took for them to make a living.  Yes, I've worked on a ranch before, but working animals and working land are two totally different ball games.  Wowsers.  I ache like the dickens right now, but I really, really enjoyed all we did.  It was a privilege to pray over the beds and the picked produce.  I'm hoping to convince our teens to adopt a bed so we have an excuse to be out in the garden much more often in the future. 
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