Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A day couldn't get any worse...

I now can say that I confidently understand the saying, "When it rains, it pours."

Yesterday was a day like that.

1. It all started by having a conference with a parent who withdrew her child from our class because of an incident/threat from another student.

2. The day continued with another conference with another parent, in which we were left with the only option of asking mom to take this student to another school because he was not being helped in our school.

3. Lastly, we had a student picked up by social services last night because of abuse in the home. Yikes!

All this to say, yesterday was a rough today. I am trying to have a positive outlook on life today, but my heart hurts for these kids, my eyes burn because of the many tears shed yesterday, and my head hurts because I was up all night worrying and having terrible dreams about these kids. Pray for them...they need it! Life isn't fair and these kids don't deserve the situation they've been put in...all we can do now is hand them over to Jesus.

My kids are walking in...I gotta go! Sionara...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

blessed by the life i've been given...

So, Friday was a bit of an interesting day at school! I know that majority of you who read this remember me talking about a little munchkin. He was in my class last year and is also in my class again this year. He is a piece of work and I love him to death. Last year, we had a ton of behavior issues and he was just wanting attention. I have managed to build a really good relationship with him over the past two years.

When we got back to school this year, we found out he had been initiated into one of the worst gangs in Aurora (realize, he is 9). We have had parents complain of their children being exposed to gang signs, gang pictures, and lingo. Also, we found out that he has pulled knives on kids at the park close to his house. He has also been making sexual innuendos to both boys and girls in our class....ahh, makes my heart break. Well Friday during spelling he was his normal self, joking around, and some foul language got involved (nothing new, of course...we've heard it all out of his mouth). My co-teacher and our paraprofessional ignored the language, as we usually do and he tends to stop. He continued to be disrespectful and then started talking about gang stuff again, how it's cool to hurt kids. Lastly, he was pretending to be smoking weed and offering it to kids around him. At that point, my co took him to the director's office. We come to find draw pictures of weed and joints, along with more of the gang symbols. He was at this point suspended until Wednesday.

I struggle with this situation. Oh, the hours I have spent praying for this kid over the past years. I know the suspension needed to happen in order for mom to maybe wake up, but I know that all he has been doing all weekend long is hanging out with those gang kids. He has more time now where he doesn't have to go to school, so he thinks its a vacation. If you think about this little mister...just pray! I keep hoping that if enough prayers are lifted up, we can change this situation....that's a bit of my heart today. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

grace....patience....and a lot of energy!

Whoa, I cannot believe we are already in November. The weather is turning chilly in Colorado, and I just don't like it. I get to school when it's dark and I leave when it's dark...no me gusta por nada! 

I have to admit, school is blatantly just kicking my keister. I cannot seem to get ahead. I keep telling myself that it will get better. I think I entered this year feeling very confident and excited, even though I was going to be in a brand new grade level. At this point, I sometimes want to quit. I feel like a first year teacher all over again. The things I did last year, don't work this year. The lessons I spent hours on last year, don't work this year. It's all new content, it's a whole new level of independence, and there are days like today when I feel like I suck as a teacher. I would like to ask you to pray for creativity, for passion, and for energy over the next 3 weeks. I realized today that in exactly 20 days, I will be sitting in the presence of my amazing family enjoying the thanksgiving holidays...I need grace and patience to reign in me over the next 20 days. Please pray with me...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Life is just busy....

So I had my dear friend Laura over for dinner last night, she was in town visiting an old high-school friend. She repeatedly stated that I was bad at blogging....hmm, I have definitely heard that one a lot in the past. I'm not sure what it is about being so bad at this, but often times I just don't feel like I have a lot going on in my life besides teaching. Though you all love me very much, I doubt you want to read post over post over post about teaching. I am going to attempt....keyword here...to be better at informing people of the happenings in my life. So, here we go....

Last night, as I said Laura came over for dinner with her little button...Sally Jane. Oh my gosh, I swear that she is cutest baby ever! She was so good, and just hung out with us. I got my baby-fix and I forget how stinking cute they are. Remember, I work with 9 year olds all-day, but I miss the babies! :( 

Friday night, I went to a dud of a halloween party with my roommate Brit and some girls from school. We dressed up as the girls from Grey's which was fun....however, the party was lame. We ended up sitting on the couch talking about school, hmm, how fun does that sound? Got home late and crashed, slept for over 12 hours. AMAZING! 

I have come to the conclusion that I am not sure if I like Fall Back, because I worry too much about getting off on my sleeping patterns. I woke up this morning at 7:30 (normal time), which because of fall back is 6:30. I convinced myself that it was too early to get up, so I laid in bed until about 9:00/8:00. Now I have that jet-lag, feeling hungover headache that doesn't go away! Hmm...not so fun.

Well, as I said, here is my first attempt at being better. I will post some pictures from this weekend when I get them downloaded...Later gators! 

Monday, October 20, 2008


So I think I have the stomach flu. I woke up about 2:30am feeling very nauseous, and was up the majority of the night. I skipped school today and just now managed to feed myself some chicken noodle soup...we'll see if I can keep it down. I have come to the conclusion that having the stomach flu is on of the worst things in this world....I hate it! My poor roommate was sick all last week with the same thing, and I had prayed that I had avoided the flu....however, I guess not. Please pray I am feeling better tomorrow because I have about 9 straight hours of parent/teacher conferences!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hats off to a new year....

I have spent the last 10 days, for anywhere from 8-10 hours a day at school. I have been setting up my room, sitting through an overall beneficial set of in-services, and planning with my grade level team! It is quite bizarre to think that I am starting my second year of teaching in about 8 days...I am so excited about this next year. I am working with a girl named Brit, who is awesome. We click so well, have the same perspectives on life, and it just works. It is such a blessing to work with someone when it is so easy!

On another note, I am so excited to see my old student Dorian. He was a student who I prayed for repeatedly last year and finally made big gains at the end of the year. He is in my class again this year, and I am going to see him on Thursday night. He has been in my thoughts a lot over the past 2 months and I can't wait to teach him again this year! Pray for him this year.

On a more comical side, I am watching Season I of Friends right now...relaxing in my apartment. The scene I just watched was of Ross being attacked by a cat on the room. I am laughing so hard. Do you ever have those moments where you laugh so hard you are crying? Yeah, definitely just happened.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The wrong continent...

The title summarizes what I have been feeling for the past two weeks. I think I am just on the wrong continent...my heart, my soul, my passions, my mind is in Africa...however, my body is in America. How is it that you can be so immensely split over two very different places? How is it that I feel like I need to be in America right now and that is where God has me, yet my heart and every yearning in my body wants to be back in Africa?

I was talking to my friend Sarah tonight, who is still in Sierra Leone. She was asking me how I was coping with being back in the states...and I really struggled to answer that question. In all reality, I am fine. I am not in cultural shock, I don't dislike America, I can handle all the modern conveniences...but I don't really want to be here. Through my discussion with Sarah, I repeatedly said I want to be okay with being in Denver. I want to be content with where I am at right now...I know it is just a season before I pursue my dream of being somewhere overseas. I ask that as I begin this next year of teaching, that you would pray alongside me...for contentment. I want to be impact the place I live...the people I come across...the students I teach. I don't want to constantly live my life wishing I were living somewhere else. Please join me in praying for that process! :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

How can you miss so much?

I have officially been back in the US for one week. It is amazing how quickly time flies and how quickly I have adapted back into American culture. Though that is true, I find myself daily missing the beloved nation of Sierra Leone. It is not that I am necessarily missing the place, but rather the people that are in that place. I was in Sierra Leone for three weeks and formed such amazing relationships over those three weeks. It is overwhelming to think of how much you can miss something that you know so little about. I keep trying to attempt to put into words all my experiences, emotions, and stories...however, this is much more difficult that I ever imagined it would be. I knew it would be hard to share stories even with pictures, share experiences even with video, and share the passions...but the reality of how hard it has been has stirred me to be an emotional roller coaster. I know that it will get easier, but the initial transition has been quite hard.
I had the blessing of calling Sarah today (my dear friend and team leader who is still in Sierra Leone). It was good to catch up with her and see how things are progressing in Banta. I am seriously considering taking a year off and going back to Sierra Leone to live for some time. As I was talking to her on skype, I received a text on my cell phone. It was from Emmanuel (my "teacher" of African culture while I was there). He was telling me he wanted me to call him, so as soon as I got off with Sarah, I got to chat with him for a while. It has been such a blessing to connect with people that I developed such deep relationships with. I am praising God for these moments, which are really making the transition a bit easier.
These thoughts are slightly random, but that is the story of my brain right now. Bear with me as I am trying to vocalize all that is going on inside this brain of mine.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The world is getting smaller....

So, this evening I was sitting at dinner with my family here in Florida when all of a sudden my phone rings. I look at the caller ID and realize it is "unknown," which usually is what comes up when it is an international call. I hesitated answering it, but decided to go ahead anyways. On the other line, I find Albert (one of my friends from Sierra Leone). He had asked for my phone number before I left Sierra Leone and I gave it to him, assuming I would never hear from him. It is really expensive to call from Sierra Leone, and he is a JSS student. He just called to chat. He wanted to make sure I had made it home safely, and was alright in America. We talked for a couple minutes before I got cut off, luckily though, I was able to get his number before we got disconnected. I called him back and we talked for a while...what a true blessing. He told me all about his birthday party on Wednesday, about his church service today, and about his lettuce garden (that I helped him plant). I have been missing Sierra Leone and my friends I made there. Albert was definitely one of those people I think about often and miss seeing everyday. He was one of the first people I saw in the morning, and he always had a smile on his face. His love for Jesus is evident, and he served us with all his energy. He taught me how to wash dishes the right way, even after laughing at me a lot! I know that it is very expensive to call from Sierra Leone, and his effort brightened my day. This is a little tribute to dear friend, who right now is on the other side of the world. I find myself thinking about Sierra Leone daily, and asking God for grace as I attempt to live in America while most of my heart is still over there!

This is Albert and me the last night is Banta:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How do you express?

I am back from my trip. I am back from Sierra Leone. I am back on American soil. Making those statements seems so standard, but this trip was everything but that. As I look back on all the things I experienced, the people I met, the stories I heard, and the relationships I built over the past three weeks, I am overwhelmed with emotions. I am overtaken by feelings of joy, sadness, bitterness, frustration, love, hope, injustice, knowledge, power, excitement, passion, and heartache! It is amazing how many feelings and emotions can run through your blood all at the same time, and how you can feel so inadequate to fully express them in words. Over the next couple weeks, I am sure I will be blogging quite frequently as I try to figure out all that I learned while in Sierra Leone. This is the first of many posts relating to my trip. I hope you enjoy reading them and processing along with me.

As all those emotions run through my soul, I feel them all for specific reasons. I feel joy over the way that God has renewed my life and perspective. I feel sadness over having to say good-bye to good friends that I made on another continent without knowing if I will ever see them again. I feel bitterness over having to experience the materialism in American culture after seeing that people live on so little. I feel frustration of the lack on resources and money that is available to people in Sierra Leone. I feel love because of the love given to me from the people in Sierra Leone and knowing the Jesus loves us all no matter what! I feel injustice over seeing how people are treated, discriminated against due to certain circumstances. I feel hope because of seeing Christian disciples working to serve God even after the war that has plagued their country. I have knowledge because of hearing people's stories, seeing their lives, and listening to them speak about God's mercies and his will for their lives. I feel power because I know that God is working in tremendous ways in Sierra Leone and has a great plan for the people of that nation who are working to transform the new generation of leaders. I am excited to see how God will use the nationals under COTN to change the nation of Sierra Leone. I feel passion because I have found a place that I love and am passionate about. I feel heartache because of the tragic stories I heard during my time in Sierra Leone.

This is a small, small attempt to express what is going on in my brain and head right now.
I leave you with a picture that I have come to love and adore. This is Kadiatu Jongo, a girl I came to love very quickly. She is from a family of 17 kids, she lives in the village of Banta Mokelleh, she is six years. She loves Jesus and knows that he loves her:)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A light at the end of a dark tunnel...

So as you can probably tell from my most recent posts, I have been very much stressed, overwhelmed, and emotional. The added stress of having to find a place to leave was very much relieved yesterday. I think we found one. When all the "organized plans" fell through, I found msyelf not sure of where to start. Yesterday, I spent the majority of my day two places: on the internet looking at housing options in Aurora and driving around look at places to live. The first place I looked was actually my favorite. It's a two bedroom, two bath condo about 1 mile from school. The lady that currently lives there is moving to London in July. She is willing to pro-rate the rent for July, plus allow Brittany's dog to live there too! I am taking Brit (future roommate) back on Tuesday to look and hopefully get the ball rolling in regards to applications and leasing information. Please pray this works out. Our stipulations initially included reasonable rent, allowing dogs, and within 2 miles of work....and this condo fits all three of those. Pray as we continue to search and try to nail something down before Saturday.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Change o plans...

Oh my! So I got a phone call yesterday from the lady that we were supposed to move into her house in July. She informed us that she will not be moving out. We are on the house prowl now. We have had things set about housing since March and hadn't even been looking because the situation seemed so perfect. Haha, so much for being in control. Please be praying as we have 7 days to find a place to live before we go to Africa:)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sweet Endings and Happy Good-byes!

So today I repeatedly found myself fighting back tears, as we watched the year-long slide show, as we packed up our room, as I gave hugs to my kiddos. My students kept asking me, "What's wrong Miss. Cole?" How was I supposed to respond to that? Well, I responded by saying, "They are happy tears." This year has been AMAZING, beyond words, and absolutely the best thing that could have happened to me. However, as it came to an end, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Everyone always says your first year is hard, but they also say that those kids will always have a place in your heart. How true that is. My kids have surely pushed me to my patience limits this year, but I love them to death. Today, as I realized I was saying good-bye to them as second graders, I was very emotional.

All of my little "munchkins" have grown so much this year....not only in height, but academics, love, passion, and pretty much every area. I know that I will have over half of them again next year, however, it was still hard. I am now at a point where I can start looking to the future. I am so blessed to have the opportunity of working with some of the same kids next year. I find myself already praying about next year's class and the dynamics. I know some of the students I will surely have and look forward to continuing to build relationships. At this point though, it's time to say good-bye to this year! Adieu.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Gonna Be a New Year....

Today, I officially received my "contract" and invitation back to Vanguard Classical. I am so excited about next year, being with my same kiddos, working with an absolutely amazing team and having a year under my belt. The best part about this contract...oh yeah, a big fat raise:) YEAH! Thank God....

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I never have the been the kind of person to be big into countdowns, but after being a teacher, I am all for them. We officially have 10 days left of school with kids, and 14 days as teachers. AHH! I am so ready for summer. I mean, I love my students and all, but they are starting to grate my nerves and just overall drive me crazy. People have always told me that they get crazy and excited at the end of the year, but I never imagined it would be this bad:( Yikes.

Another countdown in also on, not by days, but weeks at this point. In about 3 and a half weeks I will be on the ground in Sierra Leone. I am so excited about this opportunity. If you think of our team, please pray for safe travels and especially healthy bodies. I think that is my biggest fear...getting sick. I keep praying that God will protect every aspect of our trip and I know tons of other people are praying also, so thanks:)

Today is a day of running errands and lesson planning (for school and Sierra Leone). So....as they say in Japan "sionara." Adios, ciao bella!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lysander the Highlander!

So, today was an eventful day! I went out car shopping because Rhonda (my old honda) seemed to be a on the fritz, having some issues lately. I went to the first appointment and was highly disappointed. You see, I really wanted a Highlander, however the one I was looking at was way over my price-range. I walked away and decided to stop in at another dealership... I didn't have an appointment though. 3 hours later I drove away in my new car! I managed to somehow get a 2007 White Highlander with 30,000 miles for a really good deal...anyways ,just had to share my news with all you who check my blog:)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


All I have to say is "Thank God is almost Friday!"

21 days left of school....wahoo, the countdown is definitely on for now:)
Shout out to Neil and Laura Gowan, who just had their baby girl, Sally Jane. Love you guys!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rough day

I am saddened sometimes by some of the kids in my class, one in particular. He is a little fellow with no support at home who wasn't able to read until 3 months ago, has never succeeded in school, and knows more than any second grader should ever know. He just breaks my heart. Today was especially one of those days when my heart about cracked open. He had a really rough day, Monday's are normally hard, but today especially. He came in this morning talking about his karate tournament and the WWE (which is nothing new). As the day progressed he managed to get himself to strike 5 (3 is a big deal), so this is over the top. I walked over to him to have a "chat" about his behavior. He looked at me and said, "Miss Cole, why do you even care about me?" I just about lost it. This child has never had anyone believe in him or inspire him or want him to succeed. The success he has made this year is tremendous and I am in shock, however, on days like today I feel like a failure. If you would, please keep this little one in your prayers...he's the kid that all the teachers say will be in a juvenile deliquent center by the time he's 13. I pray this is not so. I want him to succeed so bad, and can't wait to see what he does in the future. I must admit I am excited to have him again next year...hopefully, we can break through the tough guy exterior.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


-Today I woke up to 79 degree weather in the city of mile-high. Pure bliss if you ask me. I spent the majority of my morning watching one of my students play in a little league game. It was so enjoyable just being outside and sitting in the sun....even though I got a little burned.

-5 weeks left of school and counting. It is truly amazing to think I am almost done with my first year of teaching...I must admit that I am ready to have that one under my belt. They always say "firsts" are the hardest and this year's definitely been a challenge.

-I officially passed my Praxis II so I am officially Colorado Certified to teach K-6. This is an answer to prayer because this means I will get to move up with my kids and join them as one of their 3rd grade teachers next year.

-Less than 2 months until we go to Sierra Leone. I get my last 2 shots on Thursday, all my money is in, and I find myself more ecstatic than ever. I even got online and looked at the weather in Sierra Leone today....89, wishing I were there already.

-I am finally feeling "settled" in the Denver metro area, even though I will be moving again. I have loved the city and the people I have met through my experiences here. I am looking forward to what the next year will bring.

-Having spring here has changed my perspective on life in many ways! I have a renewed spirit and joy towards life. Here's to the next couple months of beautiful weather.

On a final note, I have decided yet once again to try and be a better blogger...we will see how it goes! Hopefully as you find yourself checking up on my blog, you will see new posts:) I hope you all have a great Saturday and know you are truly loved and blessed....ciao!