Our Christmas Voyage

As many of you know, Nate and I travel quite a bit for the holidays. We spend time in Omaha with my dad and step-mom, then head to Columbus to spend time with my family, and then hit up Grand Island to spend time with Nate's family. We are currently on destination 2 of 3 so far. We spent time in Kearney/Grand Island for graduation and then headed to Omaha to spend time with my dad and step-mom and our good friends Micah and Amee Yost.

We arrived in Omaha on Sunday morning and went to church at Christ Community with Micah and Amee. After church they had us over for a delicious lunch and to see their new home! The Yosts have moved all over the midwest the past few years, claiming routes in Kearney, Omaha, and Kansas City. Micah found a good job in Council Bluffs, so the two built a house in Omaha and moved in after Amee graduated from KU.

Nate and Micah have been good friends since their good 'ole Nebraskats days...they spent many days in the Fine Arts Building at UNK being best friends with Dr. Cisler ;) and we all sang in the choir together. Nate was the bestman in Micah and Amee's wedding and Micah was a groomsman in ours. We met Amee when she started at UNK...we instantly hit it off and we even played a huge role in their engagement and were both in eachothers weddings. Amee and I enjoyed many coffee and pastry dates while she was at UNK. But the majority of our relationship has been long distance ;) Haha...we talk quite frequently via telephone.

Though we live far, far away from eachother, we have continued to be great friends and hope to continue this friendship for many years. They are a solid, Christian couple who we enjoy very much!

After spending time with the Yosts, we spent a day and a half with my dad and step-mom. We went to the movie Desperoux with them and my step-sister, her husband, and their two beautiful children :) Then on Monday we went to a coffee tasting at Dunn Brother's Coffee and had great conversation over tasty coffees and pastries! We don't get to see them very often, so it was nice to spend the time with them even though it was short.

We are now in Columbus and will then head to GI on Christmas morning....will blog more! Hope everyone has a merry Christmas!

UNK Alum :)

Well...on Thursday night after Nate's concert, we decided to make the trek to Kearney for graduation. The weather was terrible that night; it had snowed almost 4 inches in just a few hours. Not only was it snowing, it had rained earlier that day which made for treacherous road conditions. However, Nate had his mind made up that we were going to
Kearney that night so I could walk at graduation....he's not stubborn at all :) It took us 3 hours when it normally takes us 2 hours, but we arrived in one piece and stayed with good friends of ours, Danielle Lear, her fiance Jesse Velenti, and their puppies (thanks for letting us crash with you!).

We had a small reception at Harmon Park with a good friend of mine who also graduated with a Language Arts degree. It was so nice to be able to celebrate the day with our family and friends! Thanks to everyone who was able to come!

It does feel very nice to be done, but Nate and I are about to start another page in our educational endeavors. I will be taking a 3 hour graduate course this spring through ESU 16 and then will take 6 more hours at UNL this summer. Nate is planning on taking 9 hours at UNL this summer. We feel so blessed to be able to continue our education this far!

So, I do want to say thanks to a few people...thanks Nate for being so patient, kind, and understanding the last 2 and a half years...you are the best husband a gal could ask for! Thanks to my parents and family for always encouraging me to try new things and supporting me in my educational pursuits!


I Celebrate the Day

On my way to school this morning, I was listening to My Bridge Radio...the Christian station in this area. The song "I Celebrate the Day" by Relient K came on and I fell in love with the lyrics...they say so much. Here they are...enjoy :)

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life


Jazz choir...

As many of you know, Nate has a jazz choir here in Og. Tonight they had their Christmas party at one of the student's homes; it was a fun night...they really are a good group of kids. We ate lots of junk food, played Wii and Mafia, and took some time to get to know the kids a little bit more. The pictures above are from a pancake feed the group sang at last week. The OHS Christmas concert is on Tuesday, so be looking for more photos!

Check out this article....

My sister in-law, Amy was interviewed for an article in Friday's Lincoln Journal Star...check it out at: http://journalstar.com/articles/2008/12/12/news/local/doc49431432d0f4c256531638.txt


Summer plans...

I know it is way early to be planning for summer, but Nate and I have already began planning. Nate will be starting his Masters at UNL this summer. He will be taking 9 hours in 5 weeks to work towards a Masters of Music Education. He is very excited to get started :) He is so much like his sister Amy. Both Amy and Nate are teachers who want to grow in knowledge and experience because they care so much about their students. I look up to Nate and Amy and hope that I can be as successful and motivated as they are!

I will also be taking 6 hours of graduate credit at UNL this summer! About a month ago I applied for the Nebraska Writing Project. I had never heard of it, but the teacher across the hall from me gave me a flyer for the program and encouraged me to apply. So, I did...and I got an acceptance letter yesterday. The project does a variety of things, but mostly (from what I understand) it gives teachers a chance to develop and share meaningful writing lessons and projects. The program also allows time for teachers to work on their own writing. Luckily, both Nate's classes and my classes will be during the same 5 weeks. We feel so blessed to be able to have these opportunities to further our education and to have wonderful family who will let us crash at their place during this time (thanks Amy and Pat)!

To read more about the NWP, visit: http://www.unl.edu/newp/

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year! I love cold weather, Christmas music, the coziness of spending time with friends and family, and most importantly, celebrating the birth of our Savior.

We put our Christmas decorations up about a month ago because we knew we were going to be so busy. Our decor is modest, but we love lying on the couch by the light of the Christmas tree...it really is beautiful.

Today we did some hardcore baking. We spent almost all morning making goodies for our neighbors (we of course, saved some for ourselves!). Earlier this week two sweet little kids from across the street brought us a plate full of cookies, so we decided to return the favor. We made almond bark covered pretzel rods, buckeye bars, peanut butter and chocolate vanilla wafers, thin mints, and marshmallow fudge. Nate was a good sport and helped me out :)

We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and we are looking forward to seeing as many family and friends as possible over break...

We have an exhaust fan!

Doesn't Nate look thrilled in this photo?!?! Last weekend my mom, dad, and brother made the trip down to Og to help us put in an exhaust fan....it was a bigger endeavor than we thought. My dad and Nate worked on the project from 8:00 on Saturday night until 4:30 on Sunday morning! Apparently they had a few issues with the wiring...I woke up about 4:30 to find two holes in the hallway wall...just a minor set back :)

But we do have an exhaust fan now. Nate and I are slowly learning how to be more handy, but I am so thankful for patient (and handy) family members who are willing to take the time to teach us. So, thanks mom and dad! Love you guys!


Celeste and Hannah

I also spent an evening with my two best friends, Celeste and Hannah this weekend. We have been friends since freshman year of high school. Actually, Hannah was the first person to say hi to me when I moved to Columbus in the 7th grade :) Celeste and I shared a special bond in junior high as well when I let her borrow my plastic, yellow, Pepe coat at a birthday party!

Celeste, Hannah, Autumn McBride, and I started a quartet freshman year and sang together all through high school. We had many good times...lots of sleepovers at Celeste's, choir trips, American government "study sessions," the list could go on....we have grown so close and I am very thankful for these girls. Many high school friends drift apart, but we have managed to stay in touch despite the distance between all three of us. Celeste and her husband Scott have just recently purchased a house in Columbus where she is teaching junior high music (bless her heart!). Hannah and her fiance (soon to be husband!!!) Shaun live in Lincoln where she is finishing up school and working at a shelter. We email one another weekly and get together whenever we can. These girls will always hold a special place in my heart!

Our weekend in Lincoln

Nate and I spent last weekend in Lincoln spending time with family and friends. Nate actually had a few middle school students in the Sing Around Nebraska honor choir, so I tagged along with him and spent some quality time at the Coffee House downtown working on school work. The Coffee House is my favorite place to work in Lincoln, it is relaxing, quiet, and inspiring. The coffee is also fabulous!

In addition to spending time downtown, we were able to spend time with Amy, Pat, and Deni. Deni is two years old and has grown up so much. She displayed this when she went to pick out her clothes for the day. I tried to help her get dressed, but she insisted that she wear those pretty pink tights and a blue long sleeve shirt. She did not want to put pants on over her tights. She assured me that the tights would keep her warm and that I shouldn't worry. She has also started talking like crazy! We now have to be careful of what we say because she will repeat anything. For example, Nate told Denelle to call me 'Poopy Pants Elle,' so Deni took this very literal and ran circles around the kitchen table yelling, "POOPY PANTS ELLE, POOPY PANTS ELLE!" She soon realized (on her own, even!) that this was not the right thing to say, so she quit saying it :) She really is a smart girl, we are so proud of the little girl she is growing into. Amy and Pat are amazing parents...we only hope we can be half that good when we become parents.

On our way back to Ogallala on Sunday, we stopped in Grand Island to have lunch with Nate's mom to celebrate her birthday...Happy belated birthday, Linda! Nate's brother Scott and his beautiful little girl, Alexis, joined us for lunch. Alexis is three and is also growing up so fast! This little girl can hold a conversation with the best of them and she has such an imagination. She know has a friend who goes everywhere with her. Her friends name is Hunny, she is 45, has gray hair, and is always the one who is causing trouble! She is such a loving little girl...she asked Nate and I if we would stay with her until Monday. We miss her so much! Scott has done a great job raising Alexis, and you can really tell that she is his pride and joy.

Well, that's all for now! Hope all is well...



Poetry is everywhere...

In my Creative Writing class, my students are learning how to create found poetry. Found poetry requires a person to look for poetry in written or spoken words. In found poetry, the poet gathers a collection of words, phrases, etc. to create into his/her own poem.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I geek out with poetry. It is a true passion of mine. But, in all my years of writing and studying poetry (I've been writing it since I was 11) I have never written a found poem. So, I thought I would try my hand at it today...please be graceful with them, they are a work in progress :)

Life, According to a Coffee House Bathroom Stall
Snippets from a chalkboard in a bathroom stall at the Coffee House
in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska

Life always comes down
to making your own choices

I am the master
of my fate

I am the captain
of my soul

something that brings you closer to complete

Be too happy to be

May your organs
before your dreams

Know thyself

More snippets from the bathroom stall chalkboard at the Coffee
House in Lincoln, Nebraska

there is too much
and not enough
black and white

ours is a World of
Nuclear Giants
Ethical Infants

if I change myself
I change the world

power to the Peaceful


Icky dog....

I sure have posted quite a bit about Sampson...it probably seems a bit ridiculous...but, we live in a small town and we have no children.....you do do the math :)

On Saturday morning we let Sampson outside like we do every morning. However, when we went to let him back inside we couldn't find him and saw that the one of our gates was open. Luckily he did not get far. We found him at the end of the street....covered in poop. So we brought the stinky dog inside, gave him a bath, and then tortured him with the hair dryer (as you can see in the photo). It was just about the most exciting part of our weekend :)

Well, we are headed to Lincoln on Thursday night to spend some time with family and friends. Nate actually has a few middle school kiddos who made it into Sing Around Nebraska, so he is going up there for that and I am tagging along. My parents will be in Lincoln on Friday so we'll be able to eat lunch with them and then spend time with Amy, Pat, and Deni on Saturday on Sunday. I'm also looking forward to seeing my two best friends....Hannah and Celeste! We are so excited for this break from the daily grind. I will try to post more photos after the trip. Hope everyone is doing well...thanks for taking the time to check up on us!



My fantastic husband...

I mentioned in my last post that it has been a crazy week....it truly has! A combination of a large school load, coursework for UNK, and trying to be a good wife and housekeeper has left me frazzled this week. I've recently come down with a killer cold (I always get stress-induced colds!), so last night when I got home from school I took a long, hot shower. When I got out of the shower, I noticed that Nate had left me a little message on the mirror :) If you can't read it, it says "I love you" on both sides. He has been so supportive and understanding this semester. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I was not that supportive when Nate was in his first year of teaching. I didn't understand the load that teachers (especially first year teachers) bear. Nate has been so gracious with me! He doesn't complain if I'm at school from 6:30-6 or if last night's dishes are still in the sink. He doesn't complain if I only make eggs and toast for a meal and he's willing to go to school with me on a Saturday to help me organize my classroom. On top of all of this, he goes out of his way to leave me a nice note on the mirror when he knows I've had a terrible day. I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband. Nate, thanks for being so understanding! I love you!

OHS Choir Concert

This post is a bit delayed...but it's been a crazy week! The choir concert went so well...all of the choirs sang their best and sounded great. There are a ton of photos here for your viewing pleasure :) The jazz choir started the night off, the mixed choir followed, then the women's choir, and the chamber chorale finished the night off. They sang beautifully and it was fun to watch the kids perform! I know I said this in another post, but I truly am proud of my husband...he is a great teacher!



Donuts, coffee, and loads of new teaching materials...I love teaching workshops! I've been to quite a few so far this year. For the next two days, I will be at the 6 Traits Writing workshop in North Platte.

Today we looked at all the traits of 6 trait writing and then did a few activities that we could use in our own classrooms. I know this probably sounds like a bore to most of you :) But it really was quite fun. One activity we did was to think of our favorite space and then to complete the following sentences:
In this space I see....hear...smell...taste...feel

Then we had time to elaborate on our sentences. I kind of liked what I wrote, so I thought I would share it. Well, hope all is well...Nate has his high school concert tonight, so I will post more photos later!

Until then,

Our House
I see hardwood floors scuffed from years of movement. I see the crack at the top of our blinds from when the dog, standing on the back of the couch, saw a person walking past the house and began scratching frantically at the window and blinds. I hear the dog barking (probably because someone is again walking by....how dare them!) and my husband singing the bass line to "Sleep" by Eric Whitacre, the piece his Chamber Chorale is most struggling with at the present moment. It sounds spotty and out of place because if you have heard any Eric Whitacre, you know there are usually at least eight different voice parts at any given time. I taste dark roast coffee and Kit-Kat bars...my comfort food for the past few weeks. I smell the apple cinnamon candles we bought to drown out the weird smell that came from one of our closets in our first apartment. I smell this mornings coffee; the leftovers will sit in the pot for another day--not because I'm lazy, but because I like the smell. I feel cold because we haven't kicked on the heater yet, but cozy...knowing that it (our home) is ours.


Lazy dog

Here are a few photos of Sampson that were on my camera. I took them on my snow day :) We have been leaving him out of his kennel while we are at school b/c we are both gone for so long. He has done really well so far. I did find a candle on the floor today. It looked like he had started to chew on it but then realized it did not taste as good as it smelled!

OMS Fall Concert

Nate has his first concert here in Ogallala under his belt! The middle school choirs did a fantastic job tonight...those kids are VERY talented! He had a small group of 6th graders, a 7th grade group, an 8th grade group, and a show choir. The show choir is the group with the orange, yellow, and red t-shirts. The large group photo is of all of the choirs, and the small group is the 6th grade. I don't know if you can tell, but Nate was actually on his phone for this photo :) He had a student call him (thanks, Zach :) at the start of the concert so he could do a a little spoor on concert ettiquete. Always the funny guy ;) Anyway...I was very proud of him and his choirs. It is always so fun to watch him conduct...he really gets into it!
We have the high school concert tomorrow evening, I'll be sure to take photos and report back!



It's a chilly Sunday afternoon here in Og. We are doing our usual Sunday activities...planning for the next week of school! We don't mind lesson planning because we both love teaching and we both enjoy our content area...but sometimes we do wish that we could just nap all day :)

One thing that makes planning easier is Pandora.com. Most of you have probably heard of this wonderful website before, but for those of you who haven't...I suggest you check it out. It is great...you can create custom made on-line radio stations. You can type in artists or songs you enjoy and the website will play that artist and all related artists. You can also "thumbs-up" a song or "thumbs-down" a song.

Nate and I both use Pandora regularly. I frequently use it in my classroom. I try to have music playing everyday when my kids walk into my class. They do a "bell-ringer" activity for the first 5-10 minutes (vocab, correcting sentences, etc) so I can take attendance and pull out the necessary handouts. I think the music helps them ease into the class...I also play music when they are completing seat work. Of course, sometimes I forget, but the kids will often request music :) Music really is a common ground for me and them.

Well, back to planning. I have my last observation for student teaching tomorrow and only 6 more weeks until I can start getting paid to teach! Nate and I had a fun trip to North Platte yesterday, I will try to post pictures from that trip later tonight :)
Until then,


First Snow Fall

Well, the pictures say it all...we had snow out here in Southwestern Nebraska! Enough snow in fact, that I had a snow day! Actually, the snow wasn't too bad here in Og, but I guess it was a bit worse in Perkins County. We have students who come from as far as 30 miles away, and some of them have to drive country roads. It was very windy today as the snow fell...it turned into a beautiful site. Here are a few photos I took this morning before the sun came out....

So I took advantage of my time at home and planned for my classes, got caught up on housework, baked a batch of whole wheat butterscotch brownies, got a new drivers license (which by the way...is probably the worst photo I've ever taken!), ate lunch with Nate, registered to vote, and watched some day time TV :) We are now watching the SNL president skits...oh so funny....

Hope everyone is doing well....have a relaxing weekend!

Until next time,



So this post is exactly as the title implies...a mish-mash of photos and comments :)

As you can see, Sampson's hair is slowly growing back! However, we think that while waiting for his hair to grow back, he has morphed into a cat. His new favorite spot is on the back of our couch...just like a cat.
We have been busy...as the picture of us working implies :) but have been enjoying the cool fall weather. I've made several pots of soup already....I tend to go a little overboard with soup very early in the fall. Here is a photo of me with a bowl of tomato soup...it matches my shirt..I know, I'm nerdy...but, hey...we live in a small town, we have to find some form of entertainment!
Anyway...things are going well. We're both trying to stay sane during these very busy times...we are looking forward to Thanksgiving! Hope everyone is doing well...have a fabulous week!
Until next time,


So, I am sitting at a round table in a gym full of teachers...can you guess where I am??? If you guessed Parent-Teacher's Conferences, then see me for a prize! Haha....actually, there will be no prize given today...sorry.

Anyway, yes, I am at my first PTC until 8 tonight and tomorrow from 8-11. I am a little anxious, but I am excited to meet all of the parents. My kids are all great, so I am not worried. However, I do tend to st-st-stutter when I am nervous....so we'll see how that goes :) Well, wish me luck...I'll report back when they are over!



On my way to Grant this morning I saw the most beautiful sunrise. The sky was very cloudy and I did not think I would be able to see the sunrise like I usually do. I was proved wrong :) The clouds could not hold back the sun and as it rose, shades of pink and orange seeped through. It really was a beautiful sight.

This time of year is by far my favorite. Those of you who know me well, know that I prefer cold and cloudy to hot and sunny. Everything is just so gorgeous in the fall. The vines outside my classroom window have transformed into a vibrant red, the sunflowers in the fields along highway 61 have lost their petals but the deep rust colored center remains. They have begun to bow their heads towards the ground...it sounds morbid, but it really is pretty. The grasses along the road have also changed into deep browns and reds and stretch on for miles. Our neck of the woods really has so much natural beauty...you'll have to see it to believe it....translation: come visit us! :)

All of the beauty I saw this morning reminds me of God's splendor and mysteriousness. I don't understand how and why God gives us these beautiful sights. We certainly don't deserve all the blessings we receive (I consider the beauty of nature one of His blessings)...yet He sends us these Kodak moments everyday...it really is mind boggling. But, I don't think I could hold as firm to Him and to the idea of Christianity if I completely understood Him.

Anyway, there's a bit of philosophy for your Thursday afternoon :) The kids are beginning to filter into the room now.....hope everyone is doing well....


So, this is a late blog....but Nate celebrated his 26th birthday this week! He had parent-teacher conferences until 7 that night, but we did have a nice relaxing and peaceful (other than the drive-by happy birthday screams from a few of Nate's students!) meal at home...chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, and peanut-butter cup frozen yogurt :) It was nice to take time and eat a nice meal at our kitchen table. Things have been very busy for us, and we often forget to take time for ourselves. I hope Nate had a very happy birthday, he is a very special man and I am blessed to have him in my life.

On another note, we are headed to Aurora/Grand Island tonight to spend time with family. We finally are able to watch my little brother play football against Aurora...GO DISCOVERERS! It is his senior year...I can't believe how fast the time flies!


What We've Been Up To...

So, as I was completing my last post, Nate asked me if I was ever going to post anything about him or if this was just a "Danielle blog" :) So...I've posted a few photos to show what we've been up to the last few months. We have spent some time out at the lake...Sampson loves to swim! We've both been very busy with school, but take advantage of any time we have to relax. As you can see, Sampson looks a little different. Soon after we moved, we scheduled a hair cut for him. Unfortunately, the groomer cut him a little too short....he was slightly traumatized, as was I! Luckily, his hair is starting to grow back.....

Nate has also ventured into the blogging world...Amy, you've started a trend! You can find his school website and blog at: OHS Choir Website


I have finally been able to add photos! Things are going well here. As most of you know, I am currently student teaching at Perkins County High School in Grant, Nebraska. I have been hired by the district to take over in December. The teacher before me has retired, so they have brought in a former History teacher to be my cooperating teacher. Because he has not taught English, I have had the privilege of teaching six out of nine classes. I will soon be taking over all of them! I have loved every minute of teaching...the kids are great!

The school is so beautiful. It is an old, three story building with ivy growing up one side of the building...as you can see from the photo, the ivy has taken over my windows! My room has the original hard wood floors and three closets with old French doors. The administration let me pick paint colors...of course, I am a wild one...I choose gray :) Haha! They also switched out the nasty orange blinds for pretty, navy blue blinds. I have littered my walls with posters, pictures, and book shelves. I really love coming into my room in the morning...it's so homey! If you're ever in the area, I'll give you a VIP tour :)

Hope everyone is well....Cheers!


Today was a good day...lately I've felt rather stressed with this teaching business. The past few weeks I have spent a lot of time at school trying to organize my classroom, plan for classes, and brush up on my grammar skills. I've come home exhausted to the point of tears, wondering if I have made the right career choice. Luckily, I have an amazing and patient husband who is able to put things into perspective for me :)


New Experiences....

So, I've copied my sister in-law (Amy) and have started a blog :) Nate and I have recently moved far away from our family and friends and I thought a blog would be a great way to keep everyone up on our lives. Writing is also a great way for me to unwind at the end of the day....

So, things are well here. We were very nervous to move out to this part of the state...we are both accustomed to larger towns and being close to family. However, we have come to realize that we are (believe it or not!) getting used to, and even enjoying, small town life! I was in Kearney on Friday for a student teaching workshop and had a few errands to run...Target, the mall, etc. On my way across town, I grew frustrated with the "traffic." Then, while shopping at Target I became annoyed with all of the people. I knew I needed to stop at the mall for a few things, but when I gazed over at the parking lot, I noticed it was fairly full. Now, the mall was no fuller than it usually is on a Friday evening...however, this time it seemed packed with people. Growing rather grumpy, I decided to bypass the mall due to the "mass quantity of people." This was when I realized.....I enjoy the pace of small-town living! It scared me at first...but on the long drive home, I had time to think about our life here in Southwestern Nebraska. We have had many great experiences in Ogallala and Grant and have been blessed beyond our wildest imaginings. I am truly thanking God for the opportunities He has given us to be here!

Of course, we still miss all of our friends and family :) If any of you ever need a place to stay on your way out West, please think of us! Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog...stay tuned for more......Cheers!