A Sale at the Target

Monday, September 29, 2014

I've mentioned my sister Erin on this blog before a time or two. And it seems Erin's number has come up yet again by virtue of a couple of things she's done for me lately that have just been amazing.

My 30th birthday was in July. About 2 weeks after the fact I got a letter in the mail from my sister Emma. It was on really cute stationery and she wrote about her feelings about me and how even though we're far apart in age she really thinks we're friends and not just sisters. It made my day! Then I got a note from my BFF Story. As her writing always does, it changed my life! And it was on cute stationery! Then I got a letter from my friends Kim and Dave Irwin. I absolutely love them, and I was so touched they had taken the time to wish me a happy birthday! Their letter was also on cute stationery. Then I got a letter from my friend Jenny Moosa (Story's mom). So nice! And ... also on cute stationery. When I got a letter from my friend Ashley also on cute -- and identical -- stationery I started getting a little amazed.

Turns out there wasn't a rush on cute stationery at the Target.

"Wow!" I thought. "Target must have had a rush on the world's cutest stationery and everyone knew about it but me!"

Suffice it to say it took me a solid month to realize that everyone I know who live in a bunch of different states didn't all show up at Target on their day off and randomly purchase identical stationery.

Nope. Erin had bought all of it. And sent it to a bunch of my friends. And asked them to write me for my birthday.

Best. Gift. Ever.

Or so I thought, until I received part 2 of my gift.

Last weekend I was in Morgantown to see my grandparents, my sisters, and the Mountaineers. When we went to pick my sister up for the football game, she handed me a photo album. Contained inside is pages and pages of photos -- photos of my great-grandparents, my great aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my parents and my siblings. Decades and decades of Lafferre-Massullo-Putlovis-Thomas history. Every evening I flip through the pages and I tear up because of all the wonderful things contained on those pages. Pages of my history -- my people -- the people and places where I come from; people who made me who I am.

That's my great-grandmother (Anna) at the top right, and my grandmother Mamaw (Helen) at the bottom.

That's my grandparents' wedding photo there, and my Pap at the bottom.

This is my mom and three of her siblings. From the right, that's my Uncle Bob, Uncle Marc, my mom, and my Uncle Paul.

These are photos of me and my sister and my cousins. The top shows my sister Erin, me, my cousin Anthony, my cousin Jonathan, and my cousin David. The bottom is me, my cousin Rebecca, my cousin Anthony, and my sister Erin.

I love this photo. They are senior pictures my grandparents gave each other! 

Getting Out of God's Way

Thursday, September 25, 2014

One thing I've noticed lately is the more you see the hand of God, the more you see the hand of God, you know?

Let me explain.

I have seen the hand of God in this teaching thing for quiet a while. Over and over, actually. And I saw it again today. As I said before, social studies is my content area really. My undergrad is in political science, which means I can get certified to teach social studies 5-Adult in the state of West Virginia through the Master's in Teaching program I'm in. I started class this semester, and I have one in-person class. In that class there are maybe about 30 people or so, and it's dual grad/undergrad. Let me tell you something, there are a LOT of social studies people in there. My teacher (who is my age and teaches middle school science) has even commented on it. Today she was handing out our subject-specific lesson plan requirements and she was kind of saying everyone's content areas as she handed them out. Because I actually teach language arts right now, and my teacher knows my specific and odd situation, she lets me do language arts-related things for all my assignments in her class. The girl beside me, who's area is social studies, said something like "I am really worried about getting a job now with all these social studies people in here." My teacher kind of widened her eyes and said, "Me too."

Now, I know that if God wants you to do something, He'll make a way for that to happen for you. But I also feel like God blessed me with this language arts job as an extra opportunity for me to be employable. West Virginia recently passed a law that if you score a certain score on your content-area exam you can then take any kind of subject area exam without the classes to back it up. And with actual language arts teaching experience, and the journalism master's, that really boosts my employability.

In fact, earlier this summer for fun, I was looking at the county board of education website for Greenville County, South Carolina, where my aunt and uncle live and teach middle school. There were several jobs posted for someone who is dual certified in language arts and social studies. I honestly never thought that'd be me. But I think God is taking care of me and helping me know that this is the path He's really wanting me on. And I'm trying my best to help Him make that happen -- or at least not get in His way.

Submitted for Your Approval

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

So I absolutely love my eighth grade students. That isn't to say I don't love my sixth and seventh grade students too -- I do -- but the eighth graders are a very special class. There are currently seven students, five girls and two boys. We just started a thrills and chills unit, featuring all these awesome stories you may remember from being that age. Stories like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Monkey's Paw, The Open Window, The Necklace. Stories that are just perfect for this time of year when the weather gets chilly and gray.

My eighth graders are also obsessed with the 90s, which I find pretty hilarious being a child of the 90s myself. Just today a couple of my girls were talking about how they'd love to have a choker necklace! Haha. And shoulder pads! :) They also like to talk about shows like CatDog, Aaahh!!! Real  Monsters, and Rugrats. Been there, done that, kids!

I had the kids write their names on the bottom of the sign
but blurred them here to protect the innocent. :) 
If you know me you know that I like to celebrate little things, making occasions out of the day-to-day as best I can. With that in mind, and also knowing my students love the 90s, I decided a simple reading of a story just wouldn't do. No. Not at all. So I decided that instead of reading our stories every fifth period, fifth period would become the official meeting of The Midnight Society, our new literary group. If you know the 90s like me, then you know exactly where I got this name! In true Midnight Society fashion we can't just read stories in our desks with the harsh classroom lights on. Absolutely not! Instead, we moved our desks into a circle, turned off the lights, and read by (electric) candlelight.

Today was the first official meeting of The Midnight Society, our inaugural reading being Sorry, Right Number by Stephen King. Guys, let me tell you what. It. was. a. blast. And to tell you the truth, I didn't just do it for them. I did it for me too because I had SO much fun. I'm hoping the excitement won't wear off, but we'll see. I can tell you this for sure -- we were in the middle of the story today when class was about to be over. My kids were like "Miss Lafferre, can we stay? We want to know what happens. Can we just stay here?" You want to know what their next period was that they wanted to skip in order to read?


On most days I feel like a teacher failure, but for a few minutes today I felt like a real teacher. One that has a sliver of hope of inspiring her students to love reading, to love learning, and to have wonderful memories of eighth grade. There but for the grace of God go I.

I May Have Been Vacuuming Wrong for Years

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ever heard a version of one of these stories? (I collected these from Snopes, an awesome website.)

Basically, point being, we sometimes do what our mothers did for absolutely no other reason than that's the way our mothers did them.

I realized tonight that I have one such a story.

I was vacuuming this evening and realized that somehow my vacuum height had changed from "lo" to "medium." I pushed it a few times to make sure it got back to low immediately. Why? Because that's what my mom always did. I truly have no clue what setting -- extra lo, lo, medium, high -- is best for my carpet. No clue at all. I'm not even sure the pros and cons of each of those settings. What are they even for? But what I do know is my mom always made us vacuum on low.

I mean it's kind of amazing just how ingrained that VACUUM SETTING is in me. I honestly cannot seem to vacuum my own home on any setting other than lo. If it accidentally gets to medium I'm like "Oh NO," half expecting my mom to jump out of the closet like "IS THAT SET ON LO?!"

It's set on lo!!! Neurotic's honor.

Rabbit of the Month!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I have always known that Snicks is the best and cutest rabbit on the face of planet earth, and now the whole world (or at least the greater tri-state area) will know what I've known for years. 

Snicks won a spot on the Little Victories calendar! He is now my little calendar bunny! Homes all over will be looking at his face for a whole month in 2015. Of course in this house it'll be all Snicks all year long. :) 

If you voted for him, thank you for helping him realize his dream of being in a calendar! 

But seriously, thank you for bringing a little excitement into the life of this nerdy girl who just has her rabbit. It's a little thrill for S and me. :) 

Are You Sharking Kidding Me?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

After sitting here for five straight minutes attempting to come up with an intro for this post, I decided to just shout it out --

There is an app where you can track the movement of sharks.

You heard me right.

Who: Ocearch Global Shark Tracker
What: An app that allows you to observe the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology.
Where: Hopefully on your phone!
When: NOW.
Why: Goes without saying, but in case you're slow at reading, this is a SHARK TRACKER.
How: Skeedaddle on over to your App Store and download it. It's freeeeeeeeee!!!

Allow me to go into detail. You can look at a map with dots of where the sharks were the last time they "pinged."

Watch out New York.

Or you can go to the "Sharks" section and read the details on who will most likely become your new favorite shark! Perhaps your guy is Bonac, a 9'8'', 216 lb. Blue Shark, who last pinged 4 hours and 6 minutes ago. Or maybe you're more of a Yolanda person, a 12'7'' Tiger Shark who last pinged 1 hour and 29 minutes ago.

I put it under the "Entertainment" category on my iPhone, but I'm thinking the more appropriate place is in "Utilities" alongside my reminders app, the Google app, and other things that I absolutely can't make it through my day without.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Great news!

For about a year now, my goal has been to be part of the BlogHer network. Some of my favorite blogs (Camp Patton, Tiny Green Elephants, Conversion Diary) are members of this network. In a nutshell, BlogHer is a worldwide community of women bloggers. And I wanted in.

I spent several months getting my blog in order, getting more serious about posting frequently, and I even had a complete blog redesign done by my friend Miranda of Lil' Birdie Design Shop. I applied a few months ago and unfortunately found out that there was no room for my blog in the BlogHer network at that time. I was disappointed, but I thought maybe in another year or so I could try again.

Today I received an email from BlogHer saying they have room for my blog! This month!

I am so excited to have been accepted!


In other news, Anna Marie still needs a family. I have blogged about her before. I have been praying since April that she finds a family. She is 15 years old, and, as the website says "Anna Marie is really struggling right now, longing for a family. Many of her friends have been adopted in the last year (through RR), but no family has come for *her*. She wants a family so badly — aches for a family, cries herself to sleep because her longing for a mama and a papa is so strong and so painful."

 CAN YOU IMAGINE?! She only has till December to find a family. The good news? $9,295.97 is available toward the cost of her adoption PLUS another $5,000 in a matching grant. Will you join me in praying her family finds her? Look at her! She is so beautiful. Or maybe you have an extra $5 laying about that you'd like to put in her adoption fund. For many families, cost is the barrier between them and their child. Let's help change that for Anna Marie's family!

Her "problem" is that she has a crossed eye and HIV. But in this country, HIV is so manageable with the proper medicine. I know many of you have been praying for her, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I just feel very connected to her and I take very seriously the job of helping her family find her. I know she only has a few months left to go, but I pray that God will work a miracle for my girl.

Bob and Helen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When I was growing up I spent a week every summer in Morgantown with my grandparents. Because of the way many things aligned at the beginning of the summer this year, I got to spend a week with them again for the first time in over a decade. To go to sleep there and wake up there every morning was the absolute highlight of my summer. I cried when I had to leave, just like I have every time I've left after visiting them.

I got a letter from my grandmother tonight. I cried from pretty much the first sentence. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- when my grandparents pass away, there will go the only two people on earth who think the sun rises when I wake up in the morning and that I can do no wrong. Two people who have not only always seen only the good, but who also think there is only good.

I truly thank God every day not only for the blessing of having them as grandparents, but also for the undeserved gift of having them still here with me. I don't think I do a good enough job showing my grandparents that I love them and how much I appreciate them. Whether you still have your grandparents or you've lost them, I know you know what I mean. My goal for this summer onward is to see my grandparents at least once a month. Unfortunately I missed August, but I can say with certainty that between Memorial Day and now, I saw my grandparents more times than I saw them from December through Memorial Day TOTAL. And I will see them again in just a couple weeks. I pray to God that I will be able to spend at least a week with them next summer ... or maybe two.

Praise God for the gift of them still being here and knowing who I am. I pray that I will still have a few more years with them and that I will make the most of those years. There are about 893003579573857923574 more things I could say, but the words would still never be enough. My dad's parents were also great grandparents, but sadly Grandpa passed away and my grandmother has dementia. I'll have to write about the two of them very soon.

Grandparents man. God's gift to grandkids.
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