Last year I assigned my students the task of writing a rap about cells and since it was such a big hit I decided to do it again this year. But since not all of my students are particularly outgoing or willing to dig to deep to find their inner "gangsta" I gave my 63 biology students the following two options:
1. Write, memorize and perform a rap on The Cell and put it on youtube.
One of the best thing about my wedding was having an excuse to have some of my best girlfriends come to be with me throughout the whole process. Courtney, Jill, and Katie are my very dear friends and I was so honored to have them and my two sisters, Heatha and Aarti be apart of my day.
Look at how pretty they all are!
We spent the Thursday before the wedding getting pedicures and eating appetizers at my parents' home. It was so great to have their love, support, and entertainment. They five of them were there for me in every respect. They made me eat, sleep, enjoy myself, and laugh. They provided me with food, rides, alcohol, jokes, and didn't even get mad at me when I locked my keys in the house. They have all been very dear friends to me throughout the course of our friendships, but during those few days when I really needed an entourage of ladies to help me accomplish the long list of things to do as well as relax, they were there for me.
I am so very grateful for them. Even though I always knew them as people who loved me and would be there for me when I needed them, to have them there by my side during the days leading up to my wedding was so amazing. Girlfriends are the best.
Since I'm writing about girlfriends, it's only fair that I mention Jennifer Tessneer who read a lovely passage by Thomas Kemper. Here she is with her son Evan.
Isn't she beautiful. Jenn has been such a loving and devoted friend to me and she is just so wonderful. Like the ladies I mention above, Jenn is the type of friend who will be there for me whenever I need her, will tell me the truth, but also offer me love and support regardless of what that truth is. She's an inspirational woman and I adore her.
I would also really like to mention my darling friend Jess Tabak. She and her guy, Ty just got engaged yesterday and I am so very happy for them. They are a great couple and I am ecstatic that they have decided to "tie the knot". Jess is a loving and supportive friend as well. She has repeatedly offered me an ear and honest, sound advice. I love her way and I love that she and Ty were able to make it to my wedding.
The list of great female friends could go on, but I'll end with this one, my dear friend Donna was a great help to me this summer and has been ever since I went to UNH in 1998. She has taken care of me and my dog Zucca many times and I love her for that and so many other things.
I do not have any of the professional pictures from the wedding, but I thought that I would share a few am mature ones in the meantime. Thank you to everyone who has been sending them to me.
Rachel, Will's (my new brother-in-law) girlfriend was our photographer and the pictures she took (the few that I peeked at) were unreal. I can't wait to see them. I dare say that Rachel made Jeremiah and I look the best that we've every looked, although the sun and the beautiful foliage in the background didn't hurt either.
Anyways, once I have her pics I'll post some of them, but feast your eyes on these in the meantime.
This is Tim Eriksen playing in Goshen after our wedding. You can see us walking down the hill way way far in the background. He played this hymn, The Garden Hymn, in our wedding. I think that it's my favorite song that he sings. The hill on which he is playing is where Jeremiah asked me to marry him and also where we were married. We were so blessed to have gorgeous weather and Tim playing in our wedding. I'm still in shock.
I was looking online to see what folks thought of the debate last night and I stumbled upon this article.
In order to motivate you to check out the link, I'll tell you a bit about it. The two women interviewed in the article were sterilized in order to prevent themselves from adding to the burden that humanity is putting on this earth.
In efforts to reduce her ecological imprint, one of the women had an abortion and then was sterilized at 27 years old to prevent any future mishaps.
I'm not going to write a response to this article, but I'd love for you all to read it and tell me what you think.
Here are some pictures from the Engagement Party that my parents threw for Jeremiah and I. The party was really nice. I keep telling my folks that they need to open a Bed and Breakfast, they are fantastic entertainers. The food was amazing and everything was really really nice. Enjoy the pictures!
Jack and Claire...and me.
Nana and Mum
Nana and Bill
Helena, Lorraine, Cheryl, Sabrina, and Gabby
Heather and Jess
Jean and I
My cousins Pauly and Kristy and Kristy's husband, Patrick
Jack and Claire and Jeremiah in a deep discussion
J and I.
Singing "Happy Birthday" to my dad.
A little picture that I like to call, "our future".
We had so much fun and so much food. It was a blast.
It's back to school time so I'm scrambling to write college recommendations for my students. And as most of you know, I'm also planning a wedding. But let's talk about the college recommendations. I have about 10 different college recommendations that I have to write for my students. All summer long I have been staring at these things hoping that they would write themselves and now it's the 11th hour, and I must get myself in gear.
The challenge is to make them short and sweet. I don't want them to get to long, because Admissions Officers read tons of them and the longer they get, the less the must pay attention to them. But, they have to be chock full of flattering remarks that makes it sounds like I really know these students and admire their character and academic motivations.
Any suggestions for attacking these? I wish my friend Jess could write them, because she is one of the best writers/editors I've encountered and I could just dictate a few things to her and admissions committees would admit all these kids just because they know someone who could write as well as she does.
To amuse myself while writing these stupid things I will be listening to The Fleet Foxes.
Hey all, Many of you have communicated that you would like to "comment" on my blog, but can't figure out how. Well, here are some simple instructions for you.
1. Click on the "comments" tab 2. This will bring you to a new page with a box for your comments, if you do not have a "Google" account, then simply scroll down to "Sign up here" 3. Fill in your email address, password, display name, and word verification. 4. From now on you should be signed in automatically (most of the time) and if not, you can simply sign in with your email and password.
Good luck! Email me with any problems and I look forward to your comments.
This is Laura Levangie, now Schepman and Julie Doherty, my friends from the old academy, NDA...high school. We went to Laura's wedding this weekend at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. It was gorgeous. I have neither the time nor the energy to make you all aware of what a really great party this was, but I leave you with the follwoing: Jeremiah and I had filet mignon and lobster tail and there was a 11 person live band complete with a trombone player and guitar player that came down into the crowd and played/danced with guests. They played everything from Whitney Houston to Fat Man Scoop and Faith Evans. The dancing was great and I was able to re-connect with some high school folks.
Many of you have already heard that I am engaged to my sweetheart, Jeremiah Smith. And many of you have met him, so that saves me writing an entire blog introducing him. (This picture is from New Year's Day after a long crazy night of Scattegories.)
Jeremiah and I have known each other for almost our entire lives. Our mums are friends since high school and my brother Ryan and Jeremiah have been best friends for as long as I can remember.
The two of us were always friendly and played on the beach together during vacations, but I always regarded Jed as Ryan's friend, so I never thought too too much about him.
Many of you know that I was in Arizona from 2005 to January of 2007. Upon my move back to Massachusetts I was not in the best of places. I had been in graduate school at the U of Arizona in Tucson. Tucson had its bright moments, but there many disappointments and heartaches there as well. I really felt like God was telling me to go home to Massachusetts, but at 25 I had a hard time believing that going back to Mass (a state that I really don't like) where I had absolutely no prospects and would have to live at my parents' house was the best thing to do.
I pretty much sat on a couch for 2 weeks and thought, prayed, and agonized about my decision to move home...and then my Dad flew out to Tucson and he, Zucca, and I drove back home. It was a truly humbling experience. I just felt like the Lord was telling me to go, and to trust him regardless of how bleak the future looked, much like Abraham had to do. I'm really grateful for my dad coming out to rescue me. I had developed into someone who wasn't very good at asking for help, couldn't be vulnerable and when I was completely broken, my father stepped in and was strong for me. And even though my mom didn't come to Arizona, she was at home praying for us and holding down the fort while waiting for me to come home.
The first few months were rocky. I didn't do much but sleep, eat, pray, and watch Law and Order...the original not SVU or CIS. I think I developed a bit of a crush on Jerry Orbach, I'm not gonna lie.
In addition to watching Law and Order, which is very therapeutic, I started to attend a women's Bible Study with my mum at my very dear friend Jean Bishop's home.
Throughout the next few months I started to get my bearings and God really blessed me with friends and encouragement. I interviewed for and accepted a job teaching at my high school, Notre Dame Academy. I now teach there as an AP Biology, Biology, and Chemistry teacher.
And then, and then came Jeremiah. (look at his fantastic face)
When I first moved home I wasn't interested in socializing at all, but after a few months I wrote him and email because I knew he was living in Mass and he always seemed like a lot fun. Over the past few years I had spent time with him and Ry, and the two of them cracked me up, more than I as the cool older sister, would have admitted. We played phone tag for awhile and eventually got together so that he could give me a guitar. Both of us are passionate about all things music, so we had much to talk about. Because I was just going to over to see Jeremy, who I had know forever, I didn't do anything about my appearance. I planned on being there long enough to get the guitar and then leave. Well 4hours later we had laughed so much, eaten Thai food, and I had succeeded in stringing the guitar incorrectly a bunch of times. From there we hung out intermittently. Once we even had a long discussion about how much he loved being single and about how I was never going to get married.
Angie, one of the women from my Bible study emailed me one day and told me that she had found this great single Christian guy for me. Coincidentally, it was Jeremiah. And it was about that time that everything changed. I will spare you the intricate details of how everything changed. It involved a lot text messaging, going to (music)shows, hiking, and driving around listening to music.
Here we are well over a year later and I am so thrilled. I never thought God could have made my trip back to Massachusetts so rewarding. I have a great job, spent a year laughing with my dad and driving my mother crazy with my messiness (just kidding mum), found a fantastic Christian man who was so obviously made for me.
Song of Solomon urges its readers, "Young women of Jerusalem, swear to me that you will not awaken love or arouse love before its proper time!" Song of Solomon 8:4
A lot easier said than done.
We live in a world where sex is glorified as the end all be all of existence. As women, being loved and cherished is so important to us, and if we don't feel as though our needs for these things are being fulfilled, we seek out that fulfillment in romantic relationships.
But Isaiah 54:9 says, "For your Maker is your husband- the Lord Almighty is his name-." God has designed us to yes, yearn for love from a man and to want relationship with him. We were made to be man's helper and he our protector.
But there's only room for one God in our lives. By seeking him first above all things, we are strong in him and the knowledge that we can never earn his love. Filled with God's love and the knowledge that he made us in his image, we can then appreciate the imperfect humans in our lives. Rather than fixating on what it is we want them to do for us, we can determine to serve them and honor God through our relationships with all of our friends and family. Then we can just love them and appreciate them for who they are and what they bring to our lives.
Because I have learned to give God the number one role in my life, I wasn't looking to be fulfilled by another person. Instead I was just content to find a companion, a partner who loves the Lord and also wants to honor him as we make our way through this life. I would venture to say that Jeremiah is perfect for me. We laugh all the time. Even our arguments serve as fodder for inside jokes later. He understands the good things and the annoying things about me. He considers it his task to honor and love me as Christ loved the church.(Ephesians) He also is pretty long-winded in his writing, so he will understand why this Blog post is so long, and he might even read the entire thing.
I know from the bottom of my heart that the blessing that is Jeremiah in my life is the result of prayer, trust, and prioritizing God. God has guided us every step of the way, helped us to honor him and one another in our relationship, and he will be with us in the future as we prepare to spend the rest of our time on earth together.
Lisa Berkin, the woman who owns the cottage where I reside, found a deserted baby bunny in the parking lot of a local park the other day. Unable to leave the little thing there, she swooped it up and brought it home.
It turns out that the bunny is a domestic little baby and in need of a home, soooo now it lives here with the two dogs, 4 frogs, 2 fish, and many hummingbirds. I think that one of things I love about Lisa is that she is as much a sucker for animals as I am.
Shira, Lisa's daughter, has named the bunny "Mitten" because it has one little paw that is all white and truly resembles that of a mittened foot. The Berkin's pug Lucy is mildly obsessed with the new addition to their family. She is constantly rattling the bunny's cage trying to free Mitten from captivity in order to engage in a playdate/mawling.
The funny thing about the bunny is that it appears to be fearless. For those of you who have held a rabbit, you can attest to the fact that they are very anxious little creatures. The number one killer of all members of the hare family is heartattacks. If you hold them too far away from the security of your body, or bring them near water or another animal, they immediately experience heart palpitations.
Well this little girl is the definition of brave. When the dog damn near tries to kill her, the Mitten just sits there and stares Lucy down. When rogue pest management professionals tried to brake into Lisa's house the other night, Mitten defended the family and the entire block, singlehandedly. No one actually saw it happen, but the police did report that the robbers were mysteriously bound and gagged, and found unconscious in the garage and the only clue as to who had intervened was a small marigold leaf and a piece of half eaten carrot.
Now consider a moment that the bunny is size of a baseball, has no means of self-defense and a brain the size of pea and when we let her loose in the garden, she skips and hops around in little spurts almost as if she has somewhere to go, something to do, some sort of bunny business that we humans couldn't even comprehend. This why Jeremiah, Shira, and I have renamed the rabbit "Tough-y." Mitten now longer seems an appropriate name for the hopper come "crime-stopper." We have even coined phrases like, "What do you think Toughy would do about that.?." or "Toughy would be ashamed of how fearful you acting right now," all of which must be said in a bad British accent. When I babysat Shira the other night, Jed and I entertained Shira by making copious amounts of jokes referring to Toughy's intimidating and indestructible manner. We also took Shira to the fireworks where she received a mile long shoulder ride back to car amidst the hundreds of people, courtesy of Jet-man. The two of them also wrote a song together on the electric guitar and the hammer dulcimer. The song was called "Mitten" but now we will be re-recordind and releasing a heavier, rockier, gutter punk version of the tune, now entitled "Beware the Hare". She's freakin' crazy.
Jeremiah is the type of person who is game for most things. As far as I can tell he almost never turns up his nose at any opportunity to explore uncharted waters. BUT, I was a little surprised at how enthusiastic his response was when I asked him if he would like to take some dance lessons. I was also thrilled. I had been wanting a dance partner since I was about 8 and now I was going to be going to dance lessons with my very charismatic energetic boyfriend, and he is just as excited about it as I am!
Mosley's on the Charles in Dedham charges 12 bucks for an hour lesson and three hours of dancing to fairly decent live music. This past week the band was "Trilogy" which features a drummer from the Glen Miller Band. This Wednesday was our second time, and already we've made friends. The first night we attended we were warmly greeted by dancers 20 to 40 years our seniors. The first woman to welcome us informed Jeremiah and I that, "it's nice to have some young people here who will replace us." She looked to be about 102.
That night we danced the tango and were aided and coached by many seasoned dancers as they made their way around the dance floor.
The first night we showed up with rubber soled shoes that stuck to the dance floor. As if being in our 20's didn't make us stand out enough, we had to abandon our shoes to even dance. There we were, a couple of shoeless rugrats amidst folks who have been dancing since Benny Goodman was a nobody.
This time however, we were prepared. Jed found some $2 dance Florsheim leather soled dance shoes at the Goodwill, and I duct taped the soles of my shoes and tied used straps from a flotation device hanging in Jeremiah's apartment to strap the shoes to my dancin'feet.
As soon as we entered we said "hi" to some of our friends from last time.
This one guy Joe (who appears to go pretty regularly and is most likely in his late 60"s, early 70's) dances in bowling shoes and refers to himself as "we". Of course we didn't know that at first. During his conversation with Jed, Joe said, "We might go up to the North Shore a few nights, or we sometimes check out a singles dance around town." Jeremiah responded, "so you guys travel around a lot and dance?" Joe looks confused, "What do you mean 'you guys'?"
We saw Barbie and Ken too. No lie, that's their names. Much like the dolls, they are both very lean and almost equal in height.
Our dance instructor was a spitfire. First of all she was gorgeous. A petite blond sporting a navy blue and white floral silk top with some sharp white slacks, her hair was almost platinum and you could imagine her sitting next to Cary Grant as they drove up the coast of the French Riviera a la "To Catch a Thief." She was a horrible teacher and had the thickest Boston accent you've eva huhd.
"Turn so ya facin' tha baaahh. Bahk step, qwahta turn so that yah back is to the baaahh. Staht again"
The couple beside us could barely understand what she was saying. This was a couple that we had become familiar with last time because they resemble two people you might have seen dancing at a club in Saigon during Vietnam. The male wears a mullet-esque Daniel Defoe-type haircut, cargo pants, and a grayish blackish, greenish shirt tucked into his pants which tuck into his combat boots. The female is Asian, has jet black hair in a long blunt cut, wears a flowy dress, and saunters like a beauty queen.
While I have some good pictures, I wish that we had a couple of us actually dancing together. I guess ya'll will have to wait until our reality tv show, "Dance till you drop."