Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fortune Cookies... truth or hoax?

Yesterday was an eventful day. I woke up bright and early at 10:52 am. Yup that's right. I don't know how it happened, but it did. I had made plans to make breakfast for the roommates. I even went to Smith's the night before to grab all the goodies. Needless to say I ended up making lunch instead.

I made French Toast, eggs, and bacon. Nothing extremely fancy, but it hit the spot.

After our delicious meal,Joy discovered a beautiful sight outside of our backyard; which, by the way, is a 10 by 10 concrete slab enclosed by a white vinyl fence. ha. You know you live in a beautiful place when you look out the window and spot a whole family of deer, or what Mir called a pack or something like that. The tiny little herd had 7 deer in it. They were just strolling through the field/open lot behind our house. They stopped occasionally to stare at us. I mean we were staring at them too, not to mention snapping pictures. It was a tranquil moment.

Shareka and I cheered on our friends in their intramural basketball game. Quinn, Andy, and Justin all played well. You guys should be proud. We had fun cheering from the bleachers. I had never sat up there before. And a note to self, don't sit in the front row, you're too short to see over the railing. Unfortunately they were not triumphant during this feat, but hey there is always the next game.

After the game I met Andy's Mom, Dad and Aunt. They were just as entertaining. "Andy, 0-5 on free throws, come on now" Andy's Dad. Even Andy's aunt had some advice for the boys for their next game. Two words from me: Rebound and Defense.
After, Shareka and I headed to the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City. Shareka had been wanting to see this moving for the past few weeks. This was the last night that it would be showing. I've never been before and it sounded exciting so we jumped in the car and headed north. The whole experience was fun. It was good to just talk about life and catch up during the drive there.

We met up with a few friends at the theater, waited line for a waiting list ticket and headed to one of my favorite restaurants, PF Changs. Yummy food. I think i had a little too much to eat and it caught up with me later. OOOOooooOOO but I did have my favorite drink. Its a childhood favorite: a Shirley Temple. I used to drink them all the time in my grandparent's chinese restaurant when I was little. It was my favorite thing to do while visiting the establishment. That and playing Pong and Pack man. Anywho, back to the weekend...

Here is where the title of my entry comes into play. After dinner our waiter Remington brought the customary
fortune cookies to the table. Everyone grabbed a fortune cookie and opened it up. Most played the whole "in bed" game with their fortunes. I picked up the last fortune cookie, broke it open and ate the cookie part first. Its this weird thing that I do. I have to eat the cookie first before reading the paper otherwise the fortune won't be for you. I don't know where I got that notion from, but I just do. Its not that I believe in the fortunes, but I think they at least give me food for thought. Yes I am even one of those people who keep the fortunes they like and put them in their wallet as a keepsake. Lame I know, but that's me! (its in my scriptures...yes... in my scriptures...)

So what did they say. Shareka's mentioned that money and travel would be in her future. How true! She gets paid on Thursday and she's going on a trip this weekend with her best friend Megan!

Mine? "Your life's foundation is becoming quite strong." At first I thought it was really lame. How non exciting. I kind of disregarded it at first. I didn't even share it with the table because it wasn't as interesting as everyone else's. Why was I so ashamed? Ha. I don't know. Anywho... as the night progressed I began to reflect more and more about what the little slip of paper said. My life hasn't been all roses and sunshine lately. I really have been doing a lot of "soul searching." I have had a few life changing questions weighing on my mind and on my heart. Those that are close to me know what I mean when I say that. Let me go on to a side story that has to do with the fortune cookie...I hope to not offend anyone with what I say next.

The following story is a reflection of my own realization of who I am and is not a reflection about how I feel about others and their choices.

While sitting in the theater I had no idea what to expect. I was super excited as the director told us a little about the film before it began. The house lights when down and the movie started. I had never been to see an independent film before. I didn't realize that the standards and ratings didn't exist for them. Little did I know that I was about to be exposed to the f-word more than 10 times and listen to sexual joke after sexual joke, most of which went over my head.

The first bomb that dropped went some what unnoticed. I thought, well it'll only be once. Good thing its outta the way, I can just enjoy the movie. I have always thought that I had a high tolerance for profanity. (I'm not really sure that is even anything to be proud of) After all, I did attend high school in California. I was kind of just used to tuning it out. But as the movie progressed my spirit became more offended. I had to move in my seat every time I heard it or see something suggestive. To be completely honest I think that it is the nastiest, dirtiest, most degrading word in the English language. It is also the most unnecessary word to even have in existence.

I had to leave. I just had to leave. So after struggling with everything that might be said and might happen, I did. I just left. Did I leave when I should have? NO. I feel like I should have gotten up the first time I felt impressed to. I didn't. But I eventually found the strength to get out of my seat and leave. For ME and ME only this was the right thing to do.

Previous to this experience I had made, like most of you, new year's resolutions. One of these was not to view or listen to anything that would offend the spirit. This was brought on by a self assessment of the things that I once thought to be humorous or entertaining. When I was pondering of things to resolve or make resolute a scripture came into my mind. This scripture was introduced to me by a dear and close friend of mine. He is someone that I am most grateful for. He has been in instrument in the Lord's hand in showing me certain principles of the gospel. BunBun, thank you. The scripture reads, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Cor. 13:11). I knew that I needed to be resolute in what media I chose to bring into my life.

Julie B. Beck, in our church's General Conference gave an address called "Mothers Who Know." Her words have burned in my heart since they were given last year. I want to be a Mother who knows. She says, "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home." This too influence my personal standard on media in my life.

This is a very personal and sensitive subject for me to write about. Lately, I have often felt that I don't really fit in anywhere because of things like this. My mom always teases me about being "too serious" and acting like I'm 40 when I'm only 22. In fact, she's not the only one who thinks that about me. However, I just feel like this is where I am. This is who I am supposed to be. This is the level of accountability I have to my God. And I know that it isn't the same for everyone in the world. God is no respecter of persons. I'm not writing this to get kudos or the praise of man. I also realize that this is not a situation or experience that applies to everyone. I just had one of those sweet, tender mercies of the Lord that Elder David A. Bednar spoke of.

I was afraid of what others might say or think about me. I was afraid of hurting feeling or having someone feel like I had past judgment on them or turned up my nose. I was so afraid of what to do next that I called another friend of mine and he offered words of wisdom and comfort. Another blessing was a few encouraging text messages of love not to long after that. Thankfully, I had a great support system that didn't judge me and didn't feel judged. I am most grateful.

Which leads me back to the fortune cookie. "Your life's foundation is becoming quite strong." I feel very optimistic about this fortune, however "hokie pokie" that may seem. To me at that moment, when I got up and left the movie my foundation became that much stronger. I felt as though I had added to my foundation of life. I had proved it to myself and I guess confirmed to the Lord (since he knows all) where I stand in this area of my life. That fortune was meant for me. It applies to me. I was filled with a sense that the past trails in my life and the ones to come this year are going to help me build a foundation in the kingdom of God. I do not want my testimony to be like that of the Great and Spacious building, floating high in the air (1 Nephi 8:16). I want to have a foundation that is "steadfast and immovable always abounding good works" (Mosiah 5:15). I want to stand in holy places (Doctrine and Covenants 45:32).

This experience, along with a handful of others, has been a witness to me that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I now have a motivation to build a firmer foundation in the principles of the gospel. Who would have thought, a fortune cookie! This path is not going to be easy. I don't expect it to be. Life was not meant to be easy. However, I have a changed perspective on the refiner's fire. I may mess up, I may stumble, I may eat every word that I just wrote in a moment of weakness. However, the blessings of the atonement are there to help me and anyone who seeks to make changes in their life...this change is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, my personal savior.

the "joys" or "perks" of being an educator

On Wednesday morning I was informed by my principal that one of the little girls in my class has head lice. Yup, that's right.... HEAD LICE! I was shocked. And not to mention grossed out. She had been at school the day before too! Did mom bother to call and tell me, NO! Ah! But the best part is that this isn't the first time she's had head lice this year! By now I'm thinking... WHAT?!?!?!? No one told me! Apparently she had it just before Christmas.... thanks for letting me know! Yup and it came back. If you don't get them all the first time, the eggs will hatch every 3 weeks. Naturally, you'll have a outbreak 3 weeks later if you don't do something about it. Yup, that's exactly what happened. Poor little one. I mean HELLO!

Later during the week our class was chosen to be "randomly" screened by the school nurse for "bugs" in our hair! Ha. Thank goodness no one else in our class had the little critters in their hair. The school nurse gave me the full run down on lice and what to look for. She told me more information than I wanted or needed to know. Some one once told me that lice can jump up to five feet. She said that was a myth. She also told me that most adults don't have lice or get lice as often because we shower with hotter water than children and blow dry our hair. Lice can't live in conditions like that.

One of my roommates said that if I had lice that I would have to sleep outside. How sad.
Thank goodness I don't because its freezing out there! And by the time we found out about it, it would be too late anyways. Oh well.

I have all these questions going through my head about the origin of lice. I mean where do they come from. How do you get it? I mean other than from another person who already has it. Was there a person who was designated to be the host person for spreading lice? Because it can't survive without a blood host for more than 72 hours. I know i probably sound really ignorant right now, but i was just trying to figure out where this nasty little bug came from and how one of my students ended up with a colony on her head!

p.s. the rid shampoo or whatever it is that you use to wash your hair with doesn't kill the eggs, just the live ones. you have to comb out all the eggs. at least thats what the school nurse told me...

Monday, January 21, 2008

...other happenings that day....

One word: PASSION!

That's it.

And those people who should know about this will know what I mean when I post it.

I did it. And I meant it.
the end.

Civil Rights Day aka Martin Luther King Jr Day....

I was very much looking forward to my day off. Its wonderful being a teacher. Today's celebration... Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday... oh wait excuse me... Civil Rights Day!

So after sleeping in, which was wonderful, I was greeted by my roommates. They too are teachers and had the day off!

Before I get into the story you can see above the two roommates that are involved. Joy is in the middle and Shareka is on the right. It will help with the visual of the scene that I am about to describe.

After exchanging a few texts about how we are dreading the snow, the three of us convene in my room for a little chat. Shareka made a comment to me about wanting me to make her breakfast. I passed the message through my door to Joy who was blogging down the hall way in her room. Joy responded by yelling, "Make your own dang breakfast..." as Shareka walked up the stairs to our floor from her basement abyss. Then I was thinking about making french toast, but i didn't have any syrup. Shareka was in for the French toast and offered up Joy's syrup. Just wait... the best part is coming I promise. So Joy, the Caucasian, gave me, the yellow one, permission to make breakfast for everyone. "It's Civil Rights Day, we should celebrate. Jen you make us breakfast," said Joy. "What? its your other roommate you should be telling to make breakfast," I replied. Everyone laughs. Shareka reply, "At least my people are free. Your people were slaves too. You built railroad and other half are still picking crops!" After a long pause, I finally got it, "What? I am not Mexican! And I will die saying that too!" No Breakfast was made.

So as you can see my morning started out on the immature side. We had the majority bossing around the minorities in our house. We just illustrated everything that we spent last week teaching our children about how the world used to be, not how the world is now. We love each other. We love that we are all different. Please don't think that we are narrow minded or racist. We were just in one of those moods.

On a more serious note, I do have a deep appreciation for the Civil Rights Movement. On Friday I did a lesson with my 1st graders about Martin Luther King Jr. I wanted them to understand that there is a reason why we have school off. This just isn't a holiday or a free school day. We take a day off from school and work to honor and recognize people like Martin Luther King and the impact and influence they have had throughout history.

To illustrate this point we did a little reenactment in our room. I didn't tell my kids what was going on, but during the day I started to segregate our room into boys and girls. I treated the girls better than I treated the boys. I gave the girls a candy bar (mini one), extra play time, supplies for lessons, and they were isolated from the boys by some physical barrier (i.e. desk, spaces on the rug, etc.). They boys had to remain in their desks and perform tasks that the girls did not. They had to pick up trash, clean up after the girls, do math, sit quietly, sit at the back of the rug, etc.

We went to lunch with this feeling in our class. It was awful to be in the situation that I was in. I was merely playing the role of what society thought to be right during this time in history. Some boys were sad, some were mad. Others were just plain confused. The girls ate lunch with me in our room and the boys had to go to the lunch room alone. It was intense.

After lunch came in I had them sit at their desk (the boys) and the girls at the rug and write about how they were feeling right now. Their writings were profound for their age. You have to understand that a 6 year old doesn't possess the same ability to take on a different perspective or to empathize. Naturally, I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I was blown away by their observations and the way they expressed their feelings. Most of the boys commented that it was the worst day in their life. They didn't like the way that they felt. Some little boy thought that I hated him. The girls had different things to say. They said that it was nice that they got to do all these nice things, but they missed the boys. They said that they had fun and that the game was cool, but they wished the boys could be with them.

In the middle of their writing we stopped and had a mini discussion about what just happened in our room. I asked them if they would like to come to school if everyday was like this. I asked them to think about what life would be like if boys and girls could never talk to each other. I also asked them how they would feel if someone treated them different just because of the way that they looked. They were amazing. I had tears in my eyes as they shared their thoughts about what life would be like for them if everyday was like this.

One little girl wrote, "I'm not sure what is going on. Miss Lee has gone crazy! The girls are playing on the rug and the boy have to sit with their heads down at their desk." That wasn't exactly the spelling she gave, but i wanted you to be able to

So I sent them back to finish writing about their hour of segregation. After we sat in two small circles and read what we wrote. They each took a turn sharing their feelings. After I they gave each other hugs and talked about how a lot of them felt the same way and share similar opinions about the subject at hand. Now I just want to say that these weren't things like I felt sad because I didn't get a treat. They were deeper. I was shocked by their insight.

We read a book called Martin's Big Words. I can't remember who wrote it off the top of my head. Anywho, we read about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and the "big" words that he learned to use instead of violence. We learned to love instead of hate. To use words instead of violence. "I have a dream..."

I then explained to them, in simple terms, what life was like during that period of time between African Americans and White people. At first they didn't believe me. But as we read more and more and talked more about life during that time they began making connections. The light bulbs all went on. Then our class flew into a discussion about how life has changed. That we can all go to school together. That we can all feel safe and feel like we belong at school. They had the darnest things to say.

We capped off the experience writing about what we had learned. They all commented on how they looked up to people like Martin and how they were grateful that he gave his life for such a cause. Not in those words of course, but the same idea. I'll have to get some quotes from my kids and add them here. They thanked him for saving our country. They said that he was a good person who stood up to other people. I really can't do them justice. I should look for some quotes.

Overall, they left school that day happy for the world that we live in. They had a small taste of what life might be like then. I think they have a solid sense of gratitude for their environment and not because of ignorance. I think they will have a better understanding as life goes on because they experienced it. Even if the experience was only for a short time and in a controlled setting.

Oh course I sent home a disclaimer for any concerned parents. You know how kids sometimes leave out the most pertinent information. The last thing I need was someone to go home and tell their mom that their teacher went nuts and then walk away because some show came on and distracted them! ha.

So that's some of my Civil Rights Day adventures. Not too exciting, don't know if it makes any sense... but humor me!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Olivia Lee Sellers 01-07-08
I haven't seen her in person yet. But the pictures I get are to die for. She is sooooo cute. I am planning to go out to see her soon. From what my parents tell me she is just the most adorable baby ever. Tonight at dinner, Dad told me that you can tell when she is going to cry because her whole face gets red before she even lets out a peep. Mom said that she looks like a bean in her car seat. She is so tiny that they have to roll towels to put on each side so she doesn't bounce from one side to another. My dad describe her head as being as big as a baseball. Good one dad. He also said that when they swaddle Olivia that shes about the size of a subway foot long sandwich! I can't wait to hold her!

Welcome to the world of blogging...

So I'm joining the blogging world! Look out! I don't really know what to write about or what to share... but here goes!

I'm now 22 years old! I've graduated from BYU and it feels great! I live in Provo still but farther from campus. Life is pretty good.

So now that I've joined the real world I have the "real" job that goes with it. I teach first grade at Sage Creek Elementary in Springville, UT. Its quite the experience. But I enjoy it for the most part. I have 20 little ones. 13 boys and 7 girls! Man are they a hand full. I'm sure I'll have lots to blogg about them.

Family! I love my family. Mom and Dad still live in Corona. Dad is in the bishopric; mom's on the activities committee. They're enjoying their freedom. But I know they miss me! Ha. Jackie and Brad are out in Omaha. What a joy, let me tell you. They just had a baby. Her name is Olivia Lee Sellers. She was born on Jan 7, 2008. She was 3 lbs. and 9 oz. Olivia had to stay in the NICU for some time. But we're happy to say that she's home now! She spent her first day in her room last night! Mom (Jackie) is still recovering from the c-section and bronchitis. Brad has a cold now. But the new little family is happy as can be.