Monday, December 6, 2010

Worst Decision Ever....

Let's back up to July....

I got an email from David Montague encouraging residents to sign up for the 2010 St. Jude Marathon in December. I had been feeling dissatisfied with my body, and decided this is the motivation I needed to start exercising. It worked for about 2 1/2 months. I went running at least 3 times a week and was working up my mileage... but then the life of a teacher happened. I began working super long hours and was unable to run anymore.

However, something crazy came over me this past Thursday when I got a text from David asking if I wanted him to pick up my packet for the race I had signed up for in July. I decided I wasn't going to let school stand in the way of my social life any longer. I had to follow through with this commitment.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and headed to Autozone Park. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was running on 5 hours of sleep, ate a heavy dinner, and didn't even have the pins to pin on my bib. I had to ask a stranger how to do it. I also had no clue what a D-tag was and how to put it on. I aimlessly wondered out to the starting line and stood waiting to see anyone I knew. I finally found some MTR kids. I stood around pretending that I was pumped when really I was terrified. I began having flash backs to 6th grade Cross Country. I hated 6th Grade Cross Country, but if there was one thing my mom and dad taught me from that was to not quit once you've committed. I was committed.

It was brutal. Around mile 2 I made a friend with a woman that was an expert on half-marathons/marathons. I was so impressed with her knowledge. She is the one that helped me through. She walked with me even when I couldn't walk at a faster pace than a crawl and beat me to the finish line just so she could be there waiting for me.

This half-marathon quickly became one of those moments where the Lord reminded me of my place. As I rounded the first mile and a half I began to feel the pain. I was thinking I was crazy for even thinking about doing something like this. Then I came down the hill down to riverside drive, and I saw thousands (and I mean thousands) of people that were going before me, paving the way. Tears immediately came to my eyes as I realized the reality of this in the world... Thousands of people have done life before, and as I make my way through life I will have people on the side cheering me on, people walking beside me to encourage me and help me make it through. So here I am tearing up with each step I take, and I continue running until around mile 7 1/2.

Around that mileage, my feet began developing terrible blisters. My meniscus was also beginning to pull and felt like it's going to break on me at any moment. I slowed down and began to walk. The further I went the more painful it became. Soon I was in tears not because of this profound revelation, but because of the pain I was experiencing. Every muscle, every step.. I was limping by this point. People were giving me crazy looks, because of the amount of pain they could see on my face. Then I had the realization that this is how I should be at the end of life. Exhausted, hurting, broken, and humbled. Needing mercy and grace. The amount of relief I felt as I stumbled through the finish line was almost unbearable. I was so choked up I was unable to talk.

After taking a few pictures with my friend I made in the race, she escorted me to the medical center. A nice student nurse treated my blisters (that covered the pads of my feet), and my friend Jessica and her family came down to check on me. I finally got some food, got something to drink, and my swelling finally got better after a few hours. I walked home and soaked in the tub.

The last few days have been extremely painful. I pulled almost every muscle in my body. I have trouble walking because of the blisters on the bottom of my feet, as well as my pulled leg muscles. Making this the worst decision I have ever made, but I wouldn't trade it. It felt like I was given the opportunity to bear a physical burden and have my eyes awakened to the life that Christ calls us to live. Victory through the hard things.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A few funny things

I haven't posted since I started school. I am teaching at a Middle School. I thought I was only teaching 8th, but I also have one section of 6th. Boy are these kids funny. Here are a few stories....

1. I was lecturing about the Aztec Indians, and I was trying to build up the anticipation for the Religion part of the Aztecs. The whole lesson I was saying "Wait until we get to the end of the Aztecs! They did some CRAZY things." We finally get there and I write on the board, the gods required. I stopped and pretended that they didn't want to hear it, and that it was dumb. They were so upset "Please Ms. Cogdill tell us!" So I wrote living, and acted like I was going to stop and the kids shouted out again. I wrote human. The kids started guessing what it was "organs!" "arms!" "legs!" They all got quiet and had these funny grins, and a boy in the back yells, "PENIS!" The whole class laughed and I said "NO! Hearts! It's just Hearts! Y'all are trifling! Stop putting your minds in the gutters!" It was so funny. 8th graders are so hormonal. It's ridiculous.

2. This is again my 8th graders. They had done so well working on their study guide for a long time. They started to get restless the last 20 minutes, so I told them they could ask me any question within reason the last 5 minutes of class if they worked really hard the next 15. They did. They worked so hard. When I told them time was up hands shot into the air. The first 3 were the usual.... Are you married, do you have a boyfriend, and do you have any children. After each question the kids would freak out because my answer was no, no, and no. The next question was "If you could eat anyone in history who would it be?" "You mean, if I could eat with anyone in history who would it be?" "No, for example, I would eat Santa Claus, because he would taste like candy and cinnamon!" I didn't answer the question, because I just didn't know how. I had never thought about eating someone before. So weird where their minds take them.

3. Background: 6th graders are so small! I don't know if you have seen one lately, but that is still the age range where girls are taller than the boys. It's ridiculous. So most of my boys do not come up to my shoulder.

I have this cute little boy in my class. He is one of the littlest and really quiet in class. He listens pretty well. The other day I was walking past his desk to help the girl behind him, and he grabbed my hand. "Ms. Cogdill! You're not married?!" "No, I'm not." "Why Ms. Cogdill, why aren't you married?" "I'm just not" "Well, don't you have any kids?!" "No." "Why?" He was so worried about me not being married, me not having kids... It was cute.

A lot of this is a cultural thing. In their neighborhoods, girls get pregnant at a really young age. Everyone has at least one child, or is in a relationship with someone. It's interesting to see the difference in this particular neighborhood even from Whitehaven. There are much higher rates of poverty and higher interdependence. The kids share everything, walk home in groups (mainly for safety), know all the same people... I don't know if there is true correlation between poverty and interdependence, but it's interesting to see the way that it has changed the dynamic of the classroom. Most of the time, it's for the better.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

School is Near!

I finally got a job! I will be Ida B. Wells Middle school's 8th grade History teacher!

Now it's time to get all the work done...

Wednesday-Friday I am hoping to break the standards down for at least the first two eras of time period. This means from the "beginnings" to settlement in America. It will be interesting to see how long this takes me. I am going to learn a lot along the way. If you have any ideas for supplemental resources in my classroom I am all ears.

While I am breaking down standards I am listening to David Crowder's Illuminate. Last night I decided it was going to be my cd for the year, so this morning when I began working on breaking my standards now, I got very into it. I realized an hour into it that it even felt like an act of worship. It made me stop midway through and praise the Lord for caring so much for us and allowing me to be a part of His story.

School work has never led me to anything but prayers of help me get through this, but this morning I was humbled and completely gracious that the Lord has given me this opportunity. The placement to impact lives is always a blessing, and I pray that I will always be willing to follow. Praise God that He invites us to those places.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Overview

The I love Memphis blog does a great job of explaining why Memphis is such a great city. I've found myself thinking a lot of the same things about Memphis.

Check it out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Maybe more on Dramatic side...

But I promise it has a great point.

Yesterday Matt found out one of his students was killed while robbing a man. Read the article. (Hint: Don't read the comments. It will only make you angry and sad)

Lately, I have not wanted to work on school or even go back to the classroom. I feel burned out on teaching. A lot of it has to do with the fact I was so tired of talking about education and teaching towards the end of the residency year. I needed a break.

Then something like a student getting shot, or sitting down with a friend that encourages me to seek purpose refreshes my thoughts about entering the education world in 20 days. It gets me on fire for the work that I am doing. By providing my students with a solid education I am proactively fighting for their lives. (Dramatic, I told you... the point is coming).

By caring and giving an education to a student, it tells them that they are worth more than the life society tells them to live. It is the only way out of some of the situations they live in. It enables them to establish themselves and have purpose in life. Whether they choose education over other things is up to them. It is this thought process that brings me to my own depravity.

Every day I have a choice when I wake up. I can choose life and true greatness by denying myself as being able to do anything without Christ, or I can choose a life of ignorance in self greatness that leads to death. This changes everything! It changes how I wake up in the mornings (my 1s and 2s) and what trajectory I place my life on (8s and 9s). It changes how I teach in the classroom, and how I see my students (5s and 6s). It allows me to mourn for a student while being encouraged to seal the cracks completely, so that my students will have the choice.

Pray for Matt and the boy's family. Pray for MTR and the work being done. Most of all pray that every day we wake up choosing life in Christ, because it truly changes everything.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Adventures!

Matt, Kaci, and I went on an adventure Saturday.

Kaci and I met Matt in Collierville, because I was getting new tires put on my car (I desperately needed them). Matt picked us up and we headed to bass pro shop. We looked at the kayaks there, and got a price range. We decided to go to Outdoor Inc in East Memphis to look at kayaks there. Matt drove us to East Memphis. I didn't like any of the kayaks there, but we needed to get the stuff to stabilize the kayak on top of my car. We looked into an official kayak rack, but I decided that was too much money to spend in one day. We walked out of Outdoor Inc with 2 styrofoam Vs and 3 straps to hold the kayak in place. Matt drives us back over to Bass Pro Shop. I buy the kayak (plus a dry bag and paddle), we put it on Matt's car. We go to pick my car up from getting new shoes! We go to strap the kayak down. Unfortunately, the kayak bent in my roof. This was terrible news. With my ingenuity I did something I needed to do...

It was time. This was the perfect way to fit my kayak. I no longer needed to get a rack or have V supports. Doesn't it look great? I have been thinking about buying a new car for a while now. I have plenty of money in savings to put a great down payment on the car. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's blue.....

I am just kidding. I don't have that kind of money. I wouldn't get an Xterra. I would get a new Subaru. I did the logical thing and made the investment in a kayak rack. It took us another hour to drive to Outdoor Inc on Union and then it took two hours to put it on my car (very tedious work I must say).

I spent a ton of money yesterday, but I really believe I will fully enjoy my kayak. I already went out in it once today, and my family had a blast on it. Here are a few pictures (Sarah is in all, because sarah posted them on facebook).

Taking it off of the car to put it in the pond.

The Kayak got played with in the pool. It was fun to watch everyone.

Matt and Kaci deserve an extra special shout out. They did so much to help on Saturday. Matt drove us around, helped me pick it out, put together the kayak rack, and as if that wasn't enough he unloaded it to the basement the same day. He did so much.

Kaci was there for me all day. She helped me make decisions, and comforted me when I felt sick because I had spent so much money. And then she played with me and the kayak.

I have really great friends. They are pretty spectacular.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thinking Long-Term

Few random points that all seemed to pull together....

I had an interview Wednesday. It was a weird interview. They asked some of the most random questions. I don't think I got the job, just because I feel like I had no measure to base my performance on. I think I gave good answers, but i don't really know. However, whether or not I get the job, I will still be working in Memphis Schools this next school year.

In the Vietnam war, one of the main reasons we lost was we had no plan. We were extremely short sighted. We had no definite plans. Also, our soldiers were only required to serve on year. So literally when they reached the shore they were counting down the days until they were allowed to leave. (This wasn't the case of all the soldiers, but majority).

The problem with short-term:

If I was considering teaching in Memphis as a short-term profession, just somewhere to hang out for a year, I would not be as dedicated our put my entire being into teaching. I would find ways to make short cuts and not be investing as much energy as I do now.

These short-term soldiers were often more considered with themselves rather than the betterment and protection of their group. It changed their entire mentalities about war. It made them less effective and it was a constant supply of men who needed training, so there was little experience on the field. (yet another problem with why we did not succeed)

The greatness of long-term:

By committing and planting myself, I am able to insert my self into the story of God in a deep way. I am able to spend my time becoming as effective as possible. Stats say it takes a teacher 3 years to become effective, 5 to become good, and 7 to be an expert. That's a long time, but it's an investment well made. My returns on my investment will be greater because of the amount I invested in the beginning. It's the theory of compounding numbers (don't ask me to explain. I was trying to type it out, but it got too confusing).

Long-term leads to success. Hopefully I will maintain this mentality. Short term things are very lucrative.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lessons from History

Hindsight is 20/20. Seeing the failure of event after event is brutal.

This is what my Vietnam class has been like. The United States will do something in the name of defending freedom of all people, and it will be no better than the alternative evil (communism). Today I got angry. Many of the officials seem to be pursuing Vietnam for pride and pride only. However, it goes deeper than that....

1834 a Journalist claimed that it was our "Manifest Destiny" to become the largest, best nation in the world. God had ordained us to accumulate as much land as we can and to share our freedom and ideals with them.

Without using the term Manifest Destiny this is what we do even today. We did it with Vietnam, we did it with South America, we did it with the Middle East.

The Puritans desired America to be a "City on a Hill" for all to look at and use as an example.

It sounds great. It sounds legit, but humans are corrupt. We gravitate towards chaos. Knowing the depravity of myself and those around me, the thing I should be looking up to is Jesus Christ. My pure motivation and example of what "freedom" and "liberty", "grace" and "mercy" looks like is Jesus.

The Soviet Union and China aided Vietnam in the belief that communism would free the people.

So which was right at the moment? Now we have hindsight to determine that obviously the communist triumphed in Vietnam, but overall capitalist outlasted.

Being a citizen is a hard job. You have to constantly sift structures and bureaucracy to see what is true and in line with the gospel and what is not. Then chase after those things that give glimpse into the life Christ desires for us. With the grace and mercy of Christ one day his kingdom will come and it will be restored. In that is my patriotism and conviction.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Update...

I promise there will be more of these sooner or later. It's been kind of crazy these past two weeks, just because of the amount of reading and homework I have had to do. Also, I have gone out of town the past two weekends. Here is a recap:

Interesting facts about Vietnam War:
--- We were way over our head before the beginning
--- The French are lame.

Interesting facts about Civil War:
--- There have always been cultural differences between Southerners and Northerners. It started in England.
--- It was inevitable.

Interesting Facts about the weekends:
--- MTR Barn Dance was fantastic! Memphis is fun and I love Emily's nephews
--- Any time spent with the Robertsons is always a good time.

Interesting facts about this week:
--- Test Monday
--- Test Tuesday
--- Will (Kaci's 12 year old brother) is staying with us! It's going to be great.
--- June is back!! (the dog, not the month)

Interesting books I have read or am reading:
--- Battle Cry for Freedom
--- America's Longest War
--- Pride and Prejudice
--- The Book Thief
--- Causes and Comrades

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back to school again

After a great last week in Memphis, a super fun weekend at the beach, I am back to school at Mississippi State once again.

This first term of summer I am taking a Civil War and a Vietnam class. I think they have great potential. They seem like funny people. Here is my homework list for this week (due by Friday):

-- Read prologue and 3-21 of America's Longest War
-- Read Ho Chi Minh's 1946 Appeal for Help
-- Complete a take home quiz
-- Read chapters 1-3 of Battle Cry of Freedom (110 pages)
-- Read half of For Causes and Comrades

Basically it's a ton of reading... all summer.

Greater news, I am learning new things and new ways I can present information to my students. I am loving that part of it. Already I have been really excited about the class room.

Since I am not teaching over the summer, I have decided to review the other books I am reading for pleasure on the blog. That way I will have something else to blog about than the aforementioned classes.

P.S. I have a friend that is starting to sell headbands. Check her blog out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Education and India

Education is a big deal in India too. This sounds a lot like our mission in Memphis.

Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time | Video on

The video is up!

Want to see one of the takes of the trolley ride? Here it is:

For some reason it doesn't show up all the way, but here is a hyperlink...

trolley ride Hotel Memphis - Star & Micey with Jeremy Stanfill

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trolley nights are always crazy!

Any time you want to be wowed ride the trolley in Memphis. The most random things have happened to me on the trolley. Last night Erin and I got 3 dollar sushi, ate awesome Cheesecake, and then rode the trolley:

We thought it would be a normal ride on the trolley, but we were wrong....

A band jumped on the trolley.
The trolley driver started to do the drums and counted them off.
People were dancing all throughout the trolley!
And everyone was enjoying themselves thoroughly.

Check them out!
You have to click the play button

They were filming for the Commercial Appeal, so we might be on a video soon. Go to Hotel Memphis. That's the only instructions I have. It should be up in a few days!


Last days at MTR with everyone:

Friday night I had MTR graduation. It was so fun. David talked to us and we were presented with an MTR scarf! Here's a picture from the night:
It was really fun. Then Saturday we had a long day of graduation at Union's campus. It was one of my more fun graduations. We all got to sit together and we talked throughout. It was fun.

This is me walking to my seat. Terri and I were talking about how test scores work.
This is Ashley, my roommate last year. I don't know what we are doing and why she's sitting down. Mom liked taking pictures of lots of people.The group up on stage with our diplomas!
Throwing our hats!

Sarah and Henry came to see me!!
Me, Sarah, and Robert

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Good and The Bad

The Good.

We got our test scores today. My classes got a 92% passing rate. This means 92% of my students got Proficient or Advanced on the End Of the Course exam.

Over half the kids are missing, but the ones that are here have been really funny:

-- One girl tried to spin an umbrella like steppers spin canes.
-- Another student coming in and dancing because he made a 37 on his test.
-- Another boy grabbed me and practically picked me up because he was so excited that he passed.
-- One girl accidentally spewed water over two other boys.
-- I have a kid that isn't in my class, but in Erika's. She's told me lots of stories about how he's just a cute, sweet little boy. He's been hanging out in my classroom the past few days because I have been watching Slumdog Millionaire with the kids. He came in today and took a chair and set down in front of the T.V. He turned on the movie and spaced out the rest of everything else that went on. He's now been here for 3 periods. If you've ever seen 101 Dalmatians it's like the puppy that stands on the T.V. and gets left behind because he is so engrossed. It's cute.
-- 92% of my kids passed. 32% of my kids got Advanced.

The Bad.

-- I had 5 students not pass the test. They barely missed the mark, but they missed it. I also had 4 students not show up. It's not surprising. I had never seen one of the students all year, and the other 3 have been missing for the last 3 months for different reasons. I have a total of 114 students. I think this puts me at a 92% passing rate. Looking at who failed the class, 3 of them never come to school mainly because of children at home or suspensions. Another transferred in to my class in March, and the fifth has severe disabilities (mainly with comprehension). So this is where my cracks are.

-- As with all bad. Lessons were learned.
I need to provide a better way of integrating the students into the classroom in a short amount of time. I also need to prepare packets for students to take with them if they are suspended or out of school for an extended period of time. I should have pushed harder with the SPED teachers to get me the information I need to help make accommodations to those students that need extra support.

Worst moment of the day was having to tell the child with severe comprehension problems that she failed. She looked like she was going to cry. She's already been told she failed all her other end of the year tests. She deserves opportunity just like the rest. She is just as smart she just needs a different method of being taught. I almost cried when she walked out of the room (and still tearing up now). Teaching changes students life. I am messing with their life, when I don't give it my all and seal the cracks.

Thankfully I can take this data and run with it. Next year, I won't make the same mistakes again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Are you hungry for spaghetti?

"Boys are like waffles, girls are like spaghetti"

This might be a little random, but it all is one flow of thought....

Yesterday I went mountain biking with my friend Matt. It was LEGEND- (wait for it) DARY! I have been yearning to be outside, in the woods, by water... something not in the city. I love love love the city, but I have lived here an entire year without being outside away from the city for longer than a few hours here and there. I mean out playing in nature. I have been contemplating working at summer camps again just so I can spend an entire summer outside.

In fact, what I have really been wanting to do is hike to the cross at Camp Ozark. One of the best things ever. (I could not find a picture online of the view from the cross and was too lazy to get my external)

So when I got on the bike and was going through the trails I felt alive again. It was so refreshing. It was exactly what I needed. It is definitely something I am going to be doing more often.

Tonight I cleaned out my papers from MTR. I threw away lots, and condensed it to one binder (impressive I know). While cleaning I found this written on a sheet of paper...

faces places people always find bind grind saw wall suspension each six weeks verbal conference iss tardy consequences recess assignments com back to class gross pepto diet coke love grapes goodness keep up clue half day work to do don't plan extra work competed sheets NO VACATION

I had just written down whatever word came to my mind at the moment. It was during our first MTR class, Classroom Management. I obviously felt my need to be outside very early on in the program. Unfortunately, no vacation was quite literal. Good times.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Day Ever.

That is a slight exaggeration, but it has been terrific (why does no one use that word in everyday conversation anymore?)

Woke up a little early and took a shower. It had been a while and was necessary. I got ready so much earlier than usually. So I got to fix some coffee and leave with my roommate.

She was running late, so I got to see Frank (the doorman) for longer than usual. He's a nice man.

I got to school a little before the bell, and I brought Slumdog Millionaire for the kids to watch. Here is why this movie changed my thoughts about today...

1. I get to tell all my kids about India. If you don't know how much I love India... It's A LOT. I'm kind of obsessed in some ways.

2. All my kids were thoroughly enthralled. They would linger after the bell rang to see what was coming next. They were asking many questions about things that were happening in the movie. They were laughing and commenting throughout most of the movie.

3. I got to tell all my kids about India. Because it provoked questions I got to go more in depth with what is going on in the slums of India.

So all three of these reasons are why I have enjoyed today so much. Discovering this will help me to integrate more of my passions into my classroom. Hopefully they will all have awesome movies to go along with it. ha.

The movie has won lots and lots of awards and really does give a fairly accurate idea of life in the slums as well as some of the things children in the slums go through.

Other notes: I passed MTR officially and student teaching. I will graduate with a 4.0. Somewhere along the way I have developed into what semi resembles an adult (minus one set back which might be discussed later).

Thursday, May 6, 2010



Two new great blogs:

Great times with Erin

Great times with Sarah

I love my friends are making blogs. And they're super funny!

You FAT!

So Erika and I are not doing anything today while the kids are testing. We were talking about some of the highlights from the year, and I forgot to share this on my blog. It was pre-blog.

My fourth period class on B days are a mess. They are some of the craziest kids. This one kid in particular always made me laugh. One day I was talking to him before the bell rang.

"John, what are you going to do when you get home"

"Probably going to watch T.V. and get some pizza for dinner."

"That sounds delicious. What kind of pizza are you going to get?"

"Probably the works. All of that stuff on it."

"Have you ever had pineapple on your pizza?"

"OH Yes! That is so good!"

"Heck yeah it is! I love pineapple on my pizza, and sometimes I get pepperoni, with a hand tossed crust and with cheese that's melting off the slice..."

"Ms. Cogzdill, YOU FAT!"

"Uh, Ph or F?"

"Ms. Cogzdill, you a fat at heart. You don't look fat, but you are! Listen to the way you described that pizza. See you fat."

"Uh, thanks John..."

"Ms. Cogzdill, I might look fat on the outside, but underneath here I'm skinny. Really! I have abs under here. I really am a skinny person."

"John, why don't you try and show that off?"

"Cuz Ms. Cogzdill I'd have to miss that pizza you was describing."

There we go. I'm a fat kid at heart. I don't know if my student had ever heard that expression, but he called me out on it. Later he told me Weed does his body good and lowers his blood pressure. I don't know how much of that is true, but he believes it wholeheartedly.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


All schools cause it. It is the expectation and desire to be done with school. If we didn't have breaks, I don't think it would be a problem. Motivation would hit lulls throughout they year, but it would never be this bad....

--- Frequent thoughts of calling in sick *cough, cough* (WARNING: too many thoughts can cause follow through. Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.)
--- Bloodshot eyes
--- Shortened attention span
--- Longing looks outside
--- Forgetfulness
--- Desire to listen to fun, upbeat music (or country. it swings both ways) much like summer
--- Change in schedule (go to bed later, wake up later)

Unfortunately, me and all my students are experiencing these symptoms. Each morning I wake myself up and look in the mirror. "You can do this Christian. You are changing lives each day. There is nothing better you could be doing at this moment. You're an adult now. You're being responsible. Now Go Kick Some BUTT!" (Refer to How I Met Your Mother Marshall runs a New York Marathon speech)

Side note: I played tic-tac-toe with a student today. It's the most real he's been with me all year. He beat me 13 games to 9 and supposedly he gave me two of those games. It was so fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Let it Rain! Let it Rain!

I have been wearing my new raincoat for the last 3 days hoping it would rain. Today it did. Unfortunately I was inside. The one time I was outside and it started sprinkling, I didn't have my coat on. Seriously, any time I was out of the house I wore my jacket with high hopes that it would rain on it. Hasn't happened yet. Hopefully one day it will.

Greater note.... I just ordered SEASON TICKETS! to the Mississippi State Bulldogs Football games. You can only order 3 games though. They make you order tickets for the Alcorn, Georgia, and you get to choose the third. I chose Arkansas on November 20th. Hopefully it's not too cold. I could order individual tickets for the other 3 games, but we will see. They are playing Memphis for the opener. I am excited about that!

School wise... I have been having problems with a certain supervisor. We have clashed in all ways possible, and I have begun to give up. I don't say anything in the meetings and she tells me every time I am going to fail (not that I even know what I am failing). This week she came in my room and loved loved loved my lesson. I swear I did nothing different (other than let her give input during my class), and she said, "this is the best lesson I have seen so far. I just knew you were going to fall on your face and fail when you got to the classroom next year. I thought I had done you a great disservice. But you have grown so much in the last 2 weeks... You are going to be an excellent teacher!"
PEOPLE!! Only the Lord could have changed her mind like that. Seriously. My lesson was not that awesome and I did nothing different. There was no reason for her to change her mind like that. I have been praying about this for the entire year. Finally the Lord delivered and it was just in time. He is so good. (I'm not going to fail... ha.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Quote from the commercial appeal...

"In spite of our best efforts to curb aggressive panhandling, Downtown is losing its customers because the foul-mouthed petty street hustlers, most of whom are not homeless, are still scaring off the trade," said CCC president Jeff Sanford.

It made me want to throw up just because of how harsh of language he was using. They are still people, even if they panhandle.

However, here are a few facts I know:

1. There is a problem with panhandling downtown
2. They usually show up during the weekend. You won't see them during the week (which means they aren't the homeless guys)
3. I don't have a solution.

So based on those facts I have mixed feelings. So tell me what you think. I really am interested.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"This is worse than Chuckie Cheese"

This weekend I went to Starkville. Here are a few highlights:

1. Arts Festival! It's always fun to walk around the arts festival in the spring time. It is one of my favorite Starkville events.

2. Sno Cones: New awesome flavor Spiderman (Blue Raspberry and Cherry)

3. June: The puppy is cute. real cute.

4. Seeing the Robertson family: I got to go to Meridian to watch Will and Mason play soccer. It was cute. I enjoyed it a lot

5. Eating at Outback: It was my second time to eat at Outback. I like it a lot. All these little kids flooded the restaurant from the soccer tournament so it was insanely loud. Only a slight headache.

6. Getting to hang out with Kaci is always fantastic.

7. Fire at Campus Trails. This was not such a highlight. Maybe more like a low light. Two more apartment buildings at Campus Trails was burned down on Sunday morning. Two of my friends are now homeless. It's okay though, because they are definitely being provided for.

8. Hanging out with Sarah. I only got to see her for a little bit, but it was still good.

This was my weekend in a nutshell. It was overall really great.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Saturday I got to move into my new apartment. It should be set up with the stuff I have now before this weekend. I will take some pictures and post them on here. The best part of my apartment is the view. I wake up and look out my bedroom window to see the sun rising over the Memphis skyline. When I fix my breakfast, I get to watch barges go down the river. In the evening when I come home I get to watch the sunset over the river. Again, the best part of my apt... the view.

In other news, things at school are wrapping up. These three days we are doing mock end of the course testing. This means students are taking a 2 hour test while the rest of us chill out. I am sitting in the classroom with Erika watching a movie. It's super chillax. It's a good break. Next week is senior trip (mentor teacher out). The following week I have MTR professional development. The following week is end of the course testing.

Oh and this morning I registered for summer classes! Super exciting!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Summer is coming!!

Tonight we had the first spring thunderstorm. It was so great. It makes me excited for the next few months. The air was still warm. Rain was pelting me as I ran through it. Thunder was cracking loudly. Lightening was lighting up the entire sky. I love thunderstorms.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


You can vote every day. It's for a worthy cause. Get Memphis kids moving!

OH so much to say

Few things:

--- School has consisted of END OF THE COURSE PREPARATION! This means every day the students are working in a workbook. They read and write and read some more. I will stop them every now and then to explain a concept or let them hear it instead of write it. We are covering the entire course in just a few weeks. This is a time of intense pressure.

--- I cleaned out some of my parent's storage closet. It was jammed full of things. I did however find where I get my obsession with books. No exaggeration.... 15 boxes of books. I wanted to give them all away. Mom said no. Also like any good southern family we had probably 20 different Bibles. If you need one their in my trunk.

--- Spring Break was great! I got to hang out with my friends at Mississippi State. I got advised for the summer, and I got to play with a cute puppy. It was a good time of relaxation. I worked on my Teacher Work Sample briefly and read a book on Stalin.

--- I am moving. My roommate and I found an apartment in Downtown Memphis. It's super nice. I have a loft, huge kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. It's going to be so great. We went to sign the lease and the manager handed us the keys. We can move any time we want. We have an excellent view of the river and the bridge. I love it.

--- "One eyed Cat" has become one of my favorite new songs. It's by a couple named Jenny and Tyler. Now I'm not in a relationship (in case all you boys were wondering. ha) but God has been showing me a lot about marriage and that type of relationship lately. Listening to this song, while it is very romantic and fun, makes me cringe at moments. Marriage is all about sacrificing those things that you love. It's giving of yourself so that you can better serve another person. It's one of the most sacrificial pictures we have on Earth (when it's done right). The more I think about marriage and the devotion I want to some day show my husband, the more I think about the devotion and commitment that I want to give to the Lord. For example... the song says "I gave up chocolate ice cream for you..." What have I been giving up for the Lord? What sacrifices, even as small as chocolate ice cream, have I made for Him lately? How am I showing the Lord I love him? What ways am I being devoted to Him? I hope that when the Lord asks me to give something up, I won't be hesitant. I pray that I am so committed to him that I would lay down my pride and follow his example. I am excited for the day that I get to experience the struggle and humility of sharing my life with another here on earth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I arrive at school before 7 on good days. Today when I pulled up there were 3 police cars in the teacher parking lot. I think hum, that's unusual and keep walking towards the door. When I get to the door instead of walking in the one door that is unlocked, a teacher meets me there and opens the door. Again, strange, but oh well. THEN, I run into Erika. "Apparently, there is a Crazy! lady in the school. Coach just told me." "Awesome." We talked about it more and walked to the teacher's lounge. We walk in and Senor is there. "Did you hear about the Crazy White lady that is running around the building?!" "Oh, so she's white?" Now that's funny. Sure the thought of a probably homeless person running around Whitehaven High is kind of funny, but now it's hilarious.

Warning: Teachers if you could please step to your doors and buzz the office if you see any person without a visitors pass. (AKA watch out for those crazy white ladies. They can cause you problems.)

Other note: Kids are funny. They say some of the most random things, such as "Girl if I wanted to see blue people I would find some midget to look at."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's a girl thing

In the classroom, we had some downtime while I was transitioning some of my stuff. I had a class of 8 girls and 3 boys. We were missing two of the boys, so it was a class of girls. The girls started talking about the movie Taken. One girl explained the plot and then the rest of the girls joined in and the conversation took a turn. Girl 1 "Man, I wish my daddy would do that for me!"
All the girls: "Yeah." Girl 2: "Having a daddy that would take care of you like that would be awesome! That girl was lucky that she had them." Girl 3: "If my dad could do that stuff that would be great."

A lot of girls have Dad issues. It's different for boys. We don't need respect, but we need a Father that will hold us and speak to our hearts words of love and acceptance. We need a Dad that will whisper "you're beautiful" on those days we feel our worst. We need a protector.

Today in church Brian Loritts talked about prayer. He said some really convicting things that pierced my heart. However, the part of the sermon that made me tear up the most was when he told a story about a dad who's adoptive son is being a "prodigal son." Brian cried out recalling his friend's hurt over his son's betrayal saying, "The thing that makes my adoptive son so different is that I chose him! I prayed over him and I looked at picture after picture, but I chose him." (I started to tear up here)

This is how our Father loves us. He chose us! He gave his life for us. He is yearning for us to depend on him. Hearing this satisfies the part of my heart that hasn't been filled by my earthly father. I know that I will have my Father whispering in my ear even when I feel like I can't do it anymore. He is the most dependable being.

With this, I have to run to him. When I am not praying, I am saying I don't need to share my life with you. I can handle it on my own. Leaning on my own strength is not only not beneficial to me, but it is the worst betrayal I could do to my Father. Since the Father has chosen us, it only makes the betrayal cut deeper.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Classroom Graveyard

The title sounds a little morbid and maybe it is, but it's what I thought of today.

It's the end of the nine-weeks which means time to check bellwork journals. I was going through the bellwork journals that the students keep in the classroom making sure they have doing their assignments. I get to the end of the pile and I find a journal that has not been picked up in a long while. I flip it open and read some of the words and reflect on the student who used the journal.

She was funny. Talked a ton, but it was always really fast. She loved answering questions in class and saying the most random things. The weirdest food she has ever eaten was cow tongue, and like most students her favorite thing to was dance. She got nervous when standing in front of the class, but once she closed her eyes could lay out a rap that blew me away.

I close the journal, get up from the desk, and walk to the back closet. In the back closet you will find a stack of 15 journals of students that are no longer in our class. Most have transferred or their class was only a semester. I wish each of these students success and hope that they lead a purpose filled life.

This particular girl's story is more sad than usual. She got into it with one of the teachers and somehow attacked him. I don't think there was any physical altercation, but I believe it was verbal. She was going to make something of herself, but now she's in alternative school. Hopefully she won't see this as a set back and will make better decisions in the future.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ahas of Thursday and Friday

This week was rough, but Thursday night and Friday were amazing.

As a young girl with high hopes and dreams I often fantasized about different ways I could reach people all around the world for the gospel. At one point I had decided that if all of Hollywood (celebrities in general) was converted, it would cause a wave of revival to ripple through America. Everyone has contact with Hollywood. Celebrities fill the media, news, and is a high topic of conversation between people. During these dreams of spreading the gospel, I decided the two best people for me to convert would be Reba and Julia Roberts. If only these two women fully knew the gospel everything would change (fist pounding). As I got older I realized the fact that it takes more than just saying you are a Christian to make you a Christian, so my dreams have changed.

ALL of this to say....

I saw Reba and George Strait in concert on Thursday night with my little sis and Emily. It was phenomenal. Friday night I had the incredible opportunity to see Eric Clapton LIVE with Hopey. While sitting in these concerts I had an AHA! I was seeing these three people that I have loved as artist IN PERSON! It was (as I've already said) incredible. Then it hit me....

This is how the gospel is. We can hear about the gospel and admire it from a distance, but until we fully experience the gospel it doesn't have full meaning in our life. We have to live through it in order to have full effect and conversion. It doesn't change us until we confront the gospel face to face. This is why we have to be reminded of the gospel daily. Not long from now, while I sit at my computer posting a blog, I will forget what that felt like watching Reba dance across the stage, or George Strait serenading me straight to the heart, or watching Eric hammer away on his guitar as effortlessly as typing on the computer. It's only with running to Christ and living out the gospel daily and experiencing it that we truly understand what the Lord meant in all of this. It gives us a starting point. It changes everything.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Husband List

I have a mental husband list. It is men who I admire and would want to live their life. Most of them are authors. One day when I am bored, I will write out my list so far on here, but today I only have one man to add.

Mosab Hassan Yousef

I haven't read his book, but I bet it's interesting. I have read part of his story, and I was convinced. He would be a good husband...

Favorite Past time...

I have had a lot of downtime in the past months I have been in the classroom. My new favorite past time has become surfing the BBC headlines. Here is what I found today....

There is this really awesome dad who took amazing pictures. They sold for thousands of dollars. Museums made long lists of the several different galleries they were going to have highlighting the different photographs. Opening event finally came, and someone broke into a famous museum's computers, disabled security, and stole all the photographs. The museum fired the head of security. The bad guys were captured in a public dispute.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

French Toast

I said when I started this blog that I would not post recipes. I lied. Tonight with the help of my faithful sister, I made French Toast. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures to show you (Ashley), despite suggestions made by Kaci to reenact the event.

I used a great recipe website. The first piece I did wasn't so great. I didn't mix the egg well enough, so there was actual egg bubbling up. The second piece I did was too soggy. It was gross. Then it started getting better. For the third piece, I did not add grease to my pan. I just let whatever was in there almost fry the pan. Being a southerner, I did not realize just what the recipe meant when it said "lightly grease the pan." When they say lightly, they mean just barely. The pan was not even shinning. I cooked the last four and they were fantastic! I put powdered sugar on them. Since I don't have real pictures, I found fake ones. PTL for google images.

Also highlights from being on the committee for the black history program:
  • "My two friends! Can you write the script for the MCs?"
------ Mr. Coleman didn't know our names for the longest time. He referred to me and Erika as his two friends. OH, and we had to write the script for the MCs. Neither of us are very funny. It turned out great though!
  • "I have blonde hair!"
------- An African-American girl yelled this out during practice one day. Then she looked at me and turned her head really quickly. It made me laugh really hard, especially since her hair was red.
---------This is what Erika and I did for the majority of the practices. Especially in the last week or so. It's our pledge job.
  • "Sorry I'm a Diva."
-------- A seventeen year old boy said this to me. It made me laugh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Excert from Survival in Auschwitz

Last month on of the crematoriums at Birkenau had been blown up. None of us know (and perhaps no one will ever know) exactly how the exploit was carried out: there was talk of the Sonderkommando, the Special Kommando attached to the gas chambers and the ovens, which is itself periodically exterminated, and which is kept scrupulously segregated from the rest of the camp. The fact remains that a few hundred men at Birkenau, helpless and exhausted slaves like ourselves, had found in themselves the strenth to act, to mature the fruits of their hatred.

The man who is to die in front of us today in some way took part in the revolt. They said he had contacts with the rebels of Birkenau, that he carried arms into our camp, that he was plotting a simultaneous mutiny among us. He is to die today before our very eyes: and perhaps the Germans do not understand that this solitary death, this man's death which has been reserved for him, will bring him glory, not infamy.

At the end of the German's speech, which nobody understood, the raucous voice of before again rose up: 'Habt ihr verstanden?' Have you understood?

Who answered 'Jowohl'? Everybody and nobody: it was as if our cursed resignation took body by itself, as if it turned into a collective voice about our heads. But everybody heard the cry of the doomed man, it pierced through the thick barriers of inertia and submissiveness, it struck the living core of man in each of us:

'Kamaraden, ich bin der Letz!'
(Comrades, I am the last one!)

I wish I could say that from the midst of us, an abject flock, a voice rose, a murmur, a sign of assent. But nothing happened. We remained standing, bent and grey, our heads dropped, and we did not uncover our heads until the Germans ordered us to do so. The trapdoor opened, the body wriggled horribly; the band began playing again and we were once more lined up and filed past the quivering body of the dying man.

At the foot of the gallows, the SS watch us pass with indifferent eyes: their work is finished, and well finished. The Russians can come now: there are no longer any strong men among us, the last one is hanging about our heads, and as for the others, a few halters had been enough. The Russians can come now: they will only find us, the slaves, the worn-out, worthy of the unarmed death which awaits us.

To destroy a man is difficult, almost as difficult as to create one: it has not be easy, nor quick, but you Germans have succeeded. Here we are, docile under your gaze; from our side you have nothing more to fear; no acts of violence, no words of defiance, not even a look of judgment.

Alberto and I went back to the hut, and we could not look each other in the face. That man must have been tough, he must have been made of another metal than us if this condition of ours, which has broken us, could not bend him.

Because we also are broken, conquered: even if we know how to adapt ourselves, even if we have finally learnt how to find our food and to resist the fatigue and cold, even if we return home.

We lifted the menaschka on the bunk and divided it, we satisfied the daily ragings of hunger, and we now are oppressed by shame.


My classroom smells like weed. It does almost 3 times a week now. At the beginning of the year, I would run downstairs or call the campus police. At one point I went to talk to the teachers that are downstairs to plead with them to watch the stairwell. Today, I sat in class. The students don't complain anymore. It doesn't give me a headache as quickly as it used to. It has become a part of the routine.

This morning I was talking about the Black History program with my mentor, Mrs. Smith. She was saying we needed to get the paperchase (a dance started by this upstanding citizen named EP) out of the program and replace the ending with something more historical than people dancing. The question at the end is how can you help Blacks achieve greatness? What is your role? And before the students would dance and one side would look thug and the other side would be lawyers/doctors that are flashing money.

For a long time I have been a supporter of W.E.B. DuBois' theory (not the man) about how African Americans can advance. He basically says that they need to have higher education and the Top Ten percent (elite) of the AA community needs to reach down and pull their brothers and sisters up. However, education does not always mean money. This is a hard thing to swallow. Realizing just because I have a masters, I may not ever make 6 figures. Watching this dance mentioned before it broke my heart. There is a huge disconnect between those who have and those who do not. The gap is widening. It was the first time I thought maybe Booker T. Washington's (BTW) theory was more practical than DuBois.

I hope you enjoyed some of the black history in the last week of February. It's good stuff.

Happy Birthday DuBois.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Here is the time for some confessions:

My name is Christian ______ (this is still the internet) and I am a(n)....

1. Clove addict: I haven't smoked a clove cigarette since Poppy's birthday in November. Dr. Rosenburgh was talking to us in Seminar Friday and asked where we were when Obama was elected president.

Where was I? Klancey's apartment smoking a clove cigarette with Amy drinking coke and rum.

Sitting in class I thought "I wonder where they sell cloves in Memphis." No worries. I will never actually smoke one again, because I realize even after it being a year I still crave it.

*Side note: They make my mouth numb. I'm even allergic to them and still want them.

2. Restless: I never realized just how restless I am until I have been stuck for an entire year in the same city. It's hard for me. The other night I had a break down after talking with my Colorado friends. Sometimes Memphis is too hard on me. The tensions in the city and the closeness to the family is exhausting. But it's my city. I am called to Memphis, and that is why I will probably never leave.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Today Mrs. Smith went over 4 slides. It took most of the period. I sat at a desk and read.

The book is Survival in Aushwitz by Primo Levi. He was in Aushwitz (the most famous and brutal concentration camp). Because he was a chemist, they had him conduct some of the experiments. When he was captured he yelled out "Please don't kill me I am an Italian Jew," thinking that the new Facist regime was mainly interested in killing communists (he was one of those too). He actually was at Aushwitz when the Allies came and rescued them. He has written several books about his experiences. It's a hard read, but overall very good. I highly recommend it. It's at a higher reading level than other holocaust books I have read.

Other news... The Afghans have taken up Soviet war practices.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The clock ticks

From Mrs. Smith's desk I can hear the clock tick the minutes away. I want to be asleep (aka watching Lost).

The school has blocked most of the websites that can be vital to Lesson Planning. Oh well...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What a week...

Monday: Snow Day

Tuesday: School with no mentor. Ellie's Birthday!

Wednesday: Flu (sleep all day)

Thursday: Flu worsens (sleep most of day)

Friday: Flu gets better (sleep all day)

Saturday: No energy... watch half of season 1 of Lost

Sunday: Got dressed (it was a chore) and thought about church. Parents called and asked if they could take me to lunch and get the truck. Went to lunch with the parents instead of church (it's the most I've ate since Tuesday). Watching the second half of season 1 of Lost.

Hopefully better tidings next week. Until then I'll be watching...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


MTR did a blog for an event that is happening over Spring Break

check it out!

New Orleans

We went to New Orleans for a retreat. We learned more "best practices" for the classroom and got to visit two charter schools. Here are some highlights from the trip:

New Orleans College Prep (Middle School):
-- 150 students reading quietly while eating breakfast in the morning.
-- "Sweat the Small Stuff"
-- 100% and if not, do it again.

Akili (K-2):
-- "Not complicated, but hard"
-- "When doing gap closing education every second counts."
-- "Effective Teachers have to have a complete and total belief that all kids can learn"

One of the bulletin boards at Akili was a worksheet the kids did. It said I have a dream. My dreams is.... I can help my dream come true by..... Here are some of the responses:
--- I have a dream. My dream is "I want everybody to share" I can help my dream come true by "talking to them."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "My dream in my family never lose their job." I can help my dream come true by "being the best student."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "to be mayor." I can help my dream come true by "get an educason"
--- I have a dream. My dream is "in my dream I want no betty shooting." I can help my dream come true by "taking the guns away from mens."

The last one got me. It inspired me to share these with you. Both of these schools are providing their kids with the best education. They firmly believe that every kid goes to college. It's up to the kids and their mamas to decide if they are going to go, but they will have the opportunity by golly.

It was at Akili I saw 2nd grades doing collaborative work. They were fully engaged in the writing process and were having their stories peer reviewed. I have a 12th grader that can hardly read. Memphis needs people like those at Akili.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Cousin's a rockstar


Our Young Citizen of the Year for 2009
excels in every endeavor she chooses.
She is a leader in her class.
She is a driven, goal oriented young woman.
She serves and she shines. Oh, how she shines.
She is bright, sincere, and
determined in her choices to make life
better for those around her.

She is a junior/senior member of Lead SI,
a group founded by Mantra Con and SIU
to grow local leaders and keep the best
students home in southern Illinois. With
Lead SI she distributed Veteran's Day gifts
at the Marion VA Hospital. This year
she is an APLHA Peer leader and she is a
four-year member of the Math Team and a
four-year participant in the Carbondale Math
Field Day.

She attended the World Wide Youth in
Science and Engineering her sophomore,
junior and senior years. She is a three-year
member of the Student Chamber of
Commerce and is currently treasurer.

She is a member of the Herrin Tiger Golf
team and has played for the Tigers her
sophomore, junior and senior years.
She was a freshman and sophomore
cheerleader and played freshman
volleyball and track. She was a
member of the Spanish Club her sophomore year.
She was an attendant in the Homecoming
Coronation this year.

She participates in many activities,
but remains focused on the activity she is
involved in and gives 110 percent to each.
She volunteers, she doesn't just
show up, she works and works some more.

She is a member of Lifesavers and is presently
a nominee for Miss Herrin High
School. She was voted Most Likely to succeed by
her Senior Class and is a Youth
Leader at Life Church in Marion, IL

She finds time to work part time at the
Herrin Farm Fresh Store. Her community
work has included Hospice of Southern Illinois
fishing tournaments and trivia nights.

She was an Elf at the
Williamson County Child Advocacy Center's Santa House in
December, as well as a Bell Ringer for
the Salvation Army's annual Christmas
Drive. She helped the Herrin Chamber of Commerce
with the Halloween Trail of Treats and the
autumn Chamber Yard Sale.

She was inducted into the prestigious
National Honor Society during her junior
year and is now a senior member.

Her duties have been many, but she
maintains a joy in living and a commitment to
excellence. She helps her fellow students,
the members of her church and those
less fortunate. She is a student of
learning and of life. She looks to the
future and represents what is best
about the children of Herrin.

She has been accepted at the
University of Illinois School of Bio-Engineering
and Southern Illinois University.
One of those will be her college home in

She is the only child of Chris and
Lori Cogdill of Herrin. We honor a young
woman on the brink of everything.
Let us welcome Jessica Cogdill to receive the
Young Citizen of the Year Award for 2009
from the Herrin Chamber of Commerce.

She got all the good genes. =)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just Be

Here are some great photos from a few weekends ago. Life is good.

This is Kaci and Me at my favorite place.

The group + Parkin parents at my favorite place

This is a great house we looked at. I would keep the curtains. =)

"The best drinking buddies a girl could ask for" - Hope
(Hope, Ellie, and Me)

Memphis is where I am suppose to be. I'm glad.

"Here is what I think God is saying to each of us:
Abandon your plans of escape. And Be where you are. '"

- Kyle Lake (1972 - 2005)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Joining the club

It seems like the thing to do these days, for white people at least, is to start a blog. Especially for newlyweds. I'm not married, but I am blogging. It could be fun.