Monday, August 21, 2006

Family Ties

I spent the last few weeks in Utah with my family. Now that I am back at home everything is so quiet and I find that I had gotten used to all the noise that family and kids make, so the quiet is a little weird. I had the best time with my sister Sue and her husband Josh and their three little ones. We also spent a couple of days up at Moon Lake with most of the family. Sarah and John took Donny and me out on the boat with all and we had so much fun, even though only John caught one little fish. Sarah's baby Austin was so cute and funny, I hope if I have a baby one day he or she will be like that. Sandra came the next day and had a whopping three hour boat ride. We all had a great time. Sue and I are hoping to make Moon Lake a yearly tradition! Alas, the only photos I have are of Donny and me in the lake (we were foolish enough to go in and it was very cold).
Here are some pictures from the trip.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Stranger In A Strange Land

I have been thinking about how interesting it is to live in the world at this time. You can pick up and move and leave everything and everyone you know and then arrive in a new place and live totally alone for a long time. It used to be that when you moved you had to make contact with someone in the community, be it a landlord, a realtor, or a neighbor. You depended on those neighbors for information and contacts. We moved to Massachusetts three weeks ago and we have not met anyone (except our bishop and ward clerk). We have done all our setting up of accounts online. When we have to go somewhere we look for directions online. We paid bills online, dealt with the movers via email, figured out where the church was online, and set up my class management program online--and I haven't even signed a contract yet!

It is amazing to me how completely detached from personal contact you can be and still lead a successful and relatively uneventful life. There is no doubt that the internet makes things more convenient, but I wonder what the cost is of being so unconnected with your community. On a happy note, the friendliest people in the world can be found at your public library. That is where I have enjoyed myself the most since we moved here. Massachusetts people are friendly, but not as friendly as in North Carolina. It's taking some getting used to, but any transition takes time. I am homesick for North Carolina and impatient to have Massachusetts feel like home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I hate moving

I have decided that I truly hate the moving process. It is truly awful (unless you have someone to do it for you). I hate packing. I hate unpacking. I hate doing it at all when I know I am going to have to do it all again after a short time. It is doubly awful in the summertime. You see all the moving tips webpages and there are smiling people on those websites. ¡¿¡¿What are they smiling about!?!? I see only one solution--stop moving. Maybe I can get my husband to catch on to this idea.

I have also realized that Juan Carlos and I have a ridiculous amount of possessions. Since our new home is in an area that has a much higher cost of living, I have set a new goal to simplify my life. There is no reason why we cannot be satisfied living in a small space for the duration of our lives, unless we end up having several children, which at our age looks unlikely. Most of the people in the world live in a small home, if they have any home at all. It will be a challenge to learn to "be happy with less" in a world where the ultimate goal of everything is to get more, more and more. I expect that in the new Annie Martin's life there will be a lot less stress about storage, a lot less worry about a mortgage, and a lot more gratitude for the blessings that I have received.
So, the new Annie Martin will stop buying books and learn to spend more time at the public library. She will also stop trying to complete five embroidery projects at once and instead will complete one at a time. The new Annie Martin will limit herself to 10 pair of shoes and will give the rest to the unfortunate shoeless. And she will realize that you can have enough Bath and Body Works lotion. She will stop complaining about the lack of space and live within the space she has.
In the meantime, I guess it's back to packing.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Packing up...

The last few months have been very hectic as we have finished graduate programs, interviewed for new jobs and looked for housing during our preparations for our move to Boston. I finished up the school year last week. The end of the school year is always a little sad for me. After working every day for a year with 120 kids it seems a bit anticlimactic to have them walk out the door and never see them again. It is one of the hard things about being a teacher.
I am surely going to miss North Carolina. We took a short trip up to Massachusetts last month to look for a place to live and so I could interview at several schools. I obtained a position at a great school in Attleboro and that is where we will live for the time being. Hopefully we will love our new place as much as we have loved North Carolina.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

General Conference was never more welcome than it was this past week. We have been in the middle of an extensive job search that has taken Juan Carlos all over the country. Until last week, we had no prospects and had just decided to stay another year in North Carolina and see what options came up next year. Then within two days Juan Carlos received two offers. This should be exciting news, but we are feeling more bewildered than anything else. We would both love to stay where we are, but feel that we have to take the opportunities that come our way.
Anyway, my wise mother reminded me that General Conference was this weekend and that sometimes the answers we are looking for pop up in the conference talks. As usual, by the end of the conference all the talks run together and we have a hard time remembering who said what. One thing stood out to us in particular. President Faust spoke about how to have faith instead of fear. He quoted Mark 5:36; "Be not afraid, only believe". Juan Carlos and I both were touched by that. We have certainly been living in a great deal of uncertainty and trepidation these last few months.
I am grateful that we took the opportunity to listen for that great counsel.
It looks like our decision will be made between High Point, NC and Boston. There is an outside chance that we will stay in the Raleigh area if a lecturership comes through at Duke. I am trying my best to not be afraid of moving to a new place. I am tired of moving and I am ready to stay somewhere. I had hoped that that would be here, but the Lord may have another plan for us. I hope to be strong and to support Juan Carlos in whatever decision he feels is the right one.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Techno Freak

I was asked to attend an educational technology conference for my school this past weekend and realized that I have unofficially become my school's technology guru. This comes somewhat as a surprise to me, since I feel I am constantly asking the other technical people questions and feeling unsatisfied with the answers.
In any case, the technology conference was great and as usual I came home feeling more energized about teaching. One of the presenters was from UNC Wilmington and in addition to his excellent presentation, he provided all attendees with a disk full of digital, editable games that he created. He gave these to everyone free of charge. I was so impressed with this guy. Almost every presenter was trying to sell programs or other software. While the programs were great (I actually downloaded a free trial to use in my Gospel Doctrine Lesson), I was frustrated at the high cost of educational software. The high cost made it virtually impossible for teachers to purchase the programs. Only school systems might be able to afford their prices. Is it any wonder that so many schools have inadequate technology?

Unfortunately, many of the programs are highly effective tools for teaching. Of course, it's important to let technology enhance the lesson and not build the lesson around technology. The program I used today helped me visually switch between outline, pictures and scriptures to enable me to make maximum use of the lesson time. My stake president spoke with me afterward and wanted to know all about how the program worked and to comment on how effective and engaging the lesson was. Others commented on the same thing. Probably the best example of using technology is blowing up the Bible maps from the church web site and using them in Powerpoint. Since the maps have recently changed, and maps are important in the Old Testament, it was causing a lot of confusion.
Of course, high school students know almost every technological program out there and if they don't they become experts about two seconds after you show them how it works. They certainly keep me on my toes. Despite the unattainability of many programs, I am grateful to live in a time where technology can assist us to teach better and can help students to learn better.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's finally done...

Well, it has been three and a half years and we finally submitted Juan Carlos' dissertation to the graduate school today, so he is officially Dr. Martín! We have enjoyed North Carolina so much and we are hoping for a way to stay right here, but of course we have to go where the jobs are. But back to the dissertation!!! Juan Carlos gets a little hysterical when he is trying to deal with the more complicated functions of Microsoft Word, so as he was trying to format his dissertation for publication I had to step in to prevent him from throwing his computer out the window. Working with his manuscript was a real eye-opener for me. Just seeing the work he had to do to format the thing was enough to deter me from wanting to start a PhD program. Juan Carlos has worked so hard in this program and as I formatted the 229 pages for publication I realized just how much work he put into the dissertation. It is one thing to hear about what he is writing about and quite another to read through it as a complete work. I realize yet again how extraordinary Juan Carlos is and how lucky I am to be married to such a mover and a shaker.