Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

This was our first Christmas away from family (since I obviously wasn't going to be traveling...). While we'd been a little sad when we first realized we'd be alone, we actually had a wonderful day! God has been so good to us in giving us friends that feel and act like family, that welcomed us into their homes and gave us lots of good food!

We started out the day by enjoying french toast, reading the Christmas story from the Storybook Bible, lighting our advent wreath, and then opening presents together. Currie then stuffed his first turkey and we headed off to church at OOC. (We've always wanted to attend their Christmas service, but have always been out of town.) After church we did a little more cooking, then headed over to enjoy quite a feast at our friends' house.

More pics here:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Project: Get Nursery Ready

Day two of Christmas break and we have seen a lot of progress already! We had a very kind friend come over and paint our whole nursery!! Plus, he put our crib together for us!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Project: Remodel Ugly Bathroom

This morning I took an extra long shower 'cause I knew it'd be my last in our ugly bathroom!! So I have a different place lined up almost every day this week where I'll be showering (for the off days it'll be sponge baths...). I'm just thankful that I have TWO weeks off of school, and we're praying we can get it done within that time frame. Please pray w/ us that there will not be any unexpected complications (even though every single person I've talked to have told us that there will be)! So far, so good. Check the facebook link for more pics.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

My brother's friend from church agreed to take these pictures for us after the service...I think they all turned out great!!

Just the kids...

The whole sch-bang! Yes, all 11 of us stayed in my brother's 3 bedroom house. I was thankful that my bros slept on the air mattress in the kitchen, my bro and sis-in-law slept on an air mattress in my nephew's room, my parents slept on the pull out couch, my aunt & sis slept on the guest bed, and WE got the master suite. :) Perks of being pregnant, I guess. Anyhoo, I was very grateful since sleep is a rare commodity these days!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


"The Metaphysics of Quality subscribes to what is called empiricism. It claims that all legitimate human knowledge arises from the senses or by thinking about what the senses provide. Most empiricists deny the validity of any knowledge gained through imagination, authority, tradition, or purely theoretical reasoning. They regard fields such as art, morality, religion, and metaphysics as unverifiable."
--Robert M. Persig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

In other words, empiricists have to re-invent the wheel a lot.

What I question is, do we have to view such fields as unverifiable? In the case of art, the content of the communication is received through the senses - watching a dancer, listening to music, even touching a sculpture. In the case of morality it seems that the claims of a given moral can be tested in our own sense experience, or that of others around us (at some level we have to have criteria for accepting some of the sense experience of others or we really do have to not only reinvent the wheel, but do molecular examination of each bite of food we take to make sure it is indeed food [not to mention that we would have to develop such examination methods entirely ourselves]). Metaphysics that claim to merely be imaginative speculation would be unverifiable, but it seems most metaphysics are based on ties (however tenuous) to sense experience--so the validity of the ties is what comes into question. In the case of religion, most religious teachings are in texts which we experience ourselves and can test aspects of with sense experience (to determine whether the authors are trustworthy), and most of those texts claim to be the result of the writer's sense experience of the deity, or extrapolations from previous writers' experiences. I'm not sure if Mohamed claimed his writing to be revealed to him by God (an instance of the former) or, rather, written through him by God (which, since it lacks the humans sense experience, would be unverifiable if we don't allow God's sense experience as valid for argument). In the case of authors like Moses, Isaiah and Matthew, they claim to be writing the result of their sense experience encounters with God. In the case of a writer like Paul, or the author of Ecclesiastes, they generally claim to be explaining or applying the work of previous writers, or that which is obvious from experience. Paul does develop new things, but he generally does so by inference from previous writings, not by just asserting "thus sayeth the Lord."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adventures in Third Trimester

OK, so it's been a rough few weeks as I've hit 3rd trimester. Several things happened all at once:

First of all, I started having episodes of racing heart and feeling very light-headed/faint. Fortunately, I had an episode right when my OB walked into the room and he was able to observe my heart rate go from 158 to 77 within the space of about a minute. He referred me to a cardiologist who then took an EKG and put me on a heart monitor for 24 hours. I was hooked up to 5 electrodes and had a pager-like thing that I had to sleep with. Of course, I did not have a major episode while the monitor was on, so this week I'll go pick up a 30 day monitor that I will activate when I start having an episode. They believe I have something called SVT that is a type of arrhythmia. It's not life-threatening, but can be serious, because if it lasts for more than 10-15 min. the baby wouldn't be getting enough blood.

Second, I failed my one-hr. glucose test which meant I had to do the three-hr. glucose test to determine whether or not I have gestational diabetes. I HATE NEEDLES. I mean, HATE. So, I was pretty nervous since they do 4 blood draws in the space of 3 hours. The Lord really gave me peace and I did pretty well at staying calm. They let me have a room and just lay down the entire time and listen to my iPod. Currie also came along and kept me company. The good news is: I passed!! Hallelujah. I didn't even want to think about having to check my blood sugar four times a day (like my co-worker who has GD).

Third, I am pretty sure I am having panic attacks. I think this has been brought on by the racing heart episodes, and the fear that it will happen when I'm driving, etc. So, Thurs. morning on my way to work I had to pull over twice onto the shoulder and lower my seat so that I wouldn't pass out. I walked straight to the nurse's station once I got to school and I was white as a ghost. My pulse and blood pressure were normal and she said it sounded like it was brought on by anxiety (I'd had a good breakfast, all my tests had come back normal, etc.). Since then I've had several other episodes of feeling pressure in my chest, like I can't get my breath, and like things are just closing in on me. At this point I don't know if the heart thing causes the anxiety or the anxiety causes the heart thing! I don't feel like I'm worried about things, but when I sit back and think about the major changes that have happened in our lives since Aug. they are pretty significant (new house, still settling in, TONS of projects to be done, unknown future plans if Currie doesn't get into the PhD program, new baby, etc.)!

Anyhoo, I got a much-needed break this weekend. I flew down to FL to see my fam and boy did I get the royal treatment! My aunt arranged for my 2nd cousin (a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage) to come to our house and give me a massage. My mom treated me to a pedicure (only the 2nd one I've ever had in my life). I got to go to the beach each day, we ate out, visited, and shopped. Here's some pictures of my "solo babymoon". :)

4 generations (one in utero) together

Breakfast at IHOP

The beach was SUPER windy each day, but to me it was heaven.
The picture is so foggy 'cause of the salt on the camera lens.
Whale at the beach...

Monday, November 09, 2009

This weekend I took a S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnight--See Grant Petersen's article "S24Os" in Adventure Cyclist January 2007) trip (but on a motorcycle) to Pere Marquette State Park to figure out motorcycle camping. I had more stuff than need as I brought a small library to work on a paper--but despite all this junk, the bike still got better than 74 MPG!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween Par-tay

This is probably the first Halloween that Currie hasn't dressed up in either a kilt or a cloak. :) However, in true Currie-fashion, he had to be authentic, right down to shaving the beard so he'd look younger (I've only ever seen him w/o a beard like 3 times in my life). Anyhow, we had fun and got lots of compliments. :)

I made a "pumpkin" cheese ball and my friend and I made Marshmallow Witches together.
(Check out for the recipes.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The mean ole' gas monopoly

Is there a way that word of mouth can effect irresponsible merchants when they aren't competing for your business? Here's hoping:

Our gas company--Laclede Gas of St. Louis--ignored our request to cancel service at our old apartment and over-billed as a result. After paying more than the portion we owed and spending more than four hours on the phone and writing letters explaining our case they just sent us a very rude final collection notice for the remainder of the illicit bill. Since I don't have time to fight them, I have to just pay it.

I'd like to change to a competitor but the only way to do that would be to change out all our appliances for electric; highly impractical and I know from other people's experiences that the electric company is no better.

It seems that on some level, though, negative public sentiment towards irresponsible utility monopolies must have an effect on the company--but does it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Joel Salatin at Webster U.

I got to hear Joel Salatin (of Polyface Farm) speak at Webster University on Monday night. It was an amazing experience. His insights seem so right on, and his presentation style is masterful. Salatin uses his passion for the topic to energize the audience. He is a good speech constructor (His speech followed the Polyface Farm's work cycle as an organizing principle to move through the topics he wanted to address). But the magic is that he can say whatever he wants because he’s doing what he does so well. For example: he described his operation as a land-healing “ministry” (by which it was clear he meant it was a religious action), talked about the ecosystem as God-designed, spoke of the importance of moral philosophy over science, etc. in a very diverse context and received outburst after outburst of spontaneous applause. The audience giving those ovations ranged from the very conservative homeschool family I stood beside in the book line, to the feminist professor of sexuality I passed in the lobby, to the Mennonite family I walked to my car behind, to the tie-dye clad, throw-back hippie students I sat beside during the talk. His style works because he himself is living proof of what he's saying. He isn't just suggesting theories, he's proving his method rigorously, practically and holistically (by which I mean the opposite of simplistically). People want to hear what he has to say, and will take whatever it is and however it challenges their paradigm and offer a standing ovation because he is doing it well!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

This sounds like a very cool company (and a very cool product). They're holding a special - link to their site, and click on the link, and you get entered in their contest to win an urban utility bike given away every week! (so yes, this link counts as my entry, even though you could say my bicycle "quiver is full" - it's just such a cool concept!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Our Sweet Baby Girl

This is the view we were looking at when we got the news!!
Poor baby, her first embarrassing photo and I'm posting it on the internet...

These two are profile shots. I don't think they're especially clear, but cute, nonetheless. :)

Here's where she decided to wave at us! She has such a cute little arm muscle, huh?! :)

And, finally, my personal FAVORITE. The ballerina pose...notice the pointed toes!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Covenant Friends Reunion 2009

Click here to see more pics.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

19 weeks

Ha! I tried to button my jean jacket tonight and it will barely close. :)

I still can't seem to get a decent picture that actually reflects what I look like, but here's the best of the not-so-great options. Excuse the clutter, we just moved in. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Big Happenings in the Bishop Household

We're first-time homeowners (yup, we'll be lookin' for that tax rebate, baby)!!!

Click here to see more pics on Facebook

Aug 22 was Moving Day. This pregnant mama didn't lift a thing, and yet I still felt like I could have gone to sleep for the night by 3 pm. We couldn't have done it without the help and support of so many sweet friends!

Click here to see more pics on Facebook

Saturday, August 08, 2009

First Belly Pics

Well, if you check this blog w/ any frequency, you've probably already noticed a couple recent additions: "tickers" to countdown until Jan. 28th, when we hope to meet Baby Bishop (otherwise currently known as Bito)!!!

So, Thursday we hit the 15 week mark and I've begun to document the belly growth. We discovered that it's really hard to get an accurate view, 'cause in person my stomach seems a lot bigger, but this is as good a shot as any (I promise, Mom, I'm not pooching).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nationalism in the afterlife...

Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics are German, the lovers are French, and its all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the police are German, the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and it's all organized by the Italians.

--seen on a t-shirt...

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Out of the mouths of "babes"...

Ok, not "babes" 'cause they're 7th graders...

Today the kids had a chance to write notes to their teachers/principals/counselors for Teacher Appreciation Week. This was my favorite one-- to the guidance counselor:

"Dear Mr. ____, Thank you for helping me with my problems, even though you have your own problems."

A close second was to another teacher:

"Dear Ms. _____, Thank you for making class fun, except for when you're mad..."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

You know it's time for summer break when you catch yourself about to call one of your students "idiot"

With 16 days left of school I feel I am at my wits' end. I am being snippy w/ my students ('course they've been snippy w/ me all year...), crabby, exhausted, and just OVER IT.

I am frustrated at the point my students are at, becoming 8th graders in 3 short weeks. I don't feel like they have learned strategies to cope. They continue to want me to show them how to do things, basically to the point of doing it for them. But I'm NOT doing it!!! I am really backing off and letting them make mistakes, reminding them that they should have listened in class, read the directions, saved their notes, studied, etc. No more spoon feeding. Period. It will only set them up for failure next year.

Today our math lesson had the students cutting out "nets" to create cylinders, pentagonal prisms, and triangular prisms. I repeated several times that the students should cut out the shapes as one whole unit (not cut off the top and bottom circles). I even SHOWED them how it should look and yet I still had a student who did exactly what I warned them not to do!! And, I did not fix it for them or give them another sheet! I reminded them that they should have listened to the directions and that the only way I could have done more to help them avoid the mistake is if I would have cut it out for them, which I was not about to do for an almost 8th grader.

I know this shouldn't be a big deal, but I am just so tired of how much students want you to do for them. It makes me feel like I've failed them that they still want me to hold their hands and walk them through each step. I am determined that I will do better next year at teaching study skill strategies, rather than focusing on how to do individual problems.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patty's Day 2009

Our lil' apt all decked out...can you tell we like this holiday?

This is the shirt Currie earned for running in the 5 mi St Patty's Day Run downtown. He beat his personal best by 2 minutes, running w/ about 7,000 others!

Little Win Curry...just turned a year old last week. (Good thing Currie mopped the kitchen!)

Wickers, Tamara, & Browns...getting ready to play telephone pictionary. Everyone brought a treat to share. We had Irish soda bread (2 types), stuffed baby potatoes, green punch, green apples, and green guacamole.

Friday, February 20, 2009

All in a Day's Work... of Teaching

I am a 7th grade special ed teacher in a public school. This makes up a huge part of who I am, what I think about, how I view education, disabilities, teenagers, parents, math, writing, etc. Oddly enough, today I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever made a blog post about my teaching. Most of the blogs I read are of my friends from college or seminary and since most are my age(ish), most of them are moms that are posting pics of their kids, their thoughts on parenting, etc. Since we don’t have kids yet, I guess I don’t normally think I have anything post-worthy unless we’ve been on a trip, had a special occasion, or have pics to post.

As I think through my day today, though, I realize that it is post-worthy. I need this outlet for reflection and for my own reference. I also desperately need input from other Christians who are special education teachers! So here is the first post of what will hopefully be many others related to my teaching.

Today I:

-helped students cut out “nets” of graph paper to cover plastic boxes as they learned about surface area & volume – the curriculum we use has the kids use manipulatives and hands-on activities to learn the concepts behind things rather than just giving them formulas. I was SHOCKED by one student in particular who I never knew had such poor fine motor skills. I had to help him trace and cut each design. I wonder why this student has such difficulty in this area? I wonder how I can help him overcome this? A 7th grader’s cut-outs should not look like a 2nd graders!

-had my summative evaluation w/ my supervisor and she gave me “proficient” in all categories of my job w/ 4 “superiors”!! (No “needing improvements”!)…This after praying for some affirmation in my job at community group on Wed. Praise the Lord!

-encouraged students in their writing as they responded to the prompt “What is the biggest problem teens face today?” I was amazed at their insights and honesty as they wrote about bullying (including cyber bulling), stress at school, peer pressure, and drugs/smoking. I helped students w/ disabilities in written expression get set up on the laptops to type their essays, prompted students w/ severe ADHD to take drink breaks then come back and re-focus, encouraged a student who has autism who was having a “meltdown” to go talk to the guidance counselor, and told several kids that I was proud of their “voice” in their writing (“It really sounds like you talking!!”).

-I encouraged a student who was having a bad day that he can make changes to his behavior. He feels like the other kids always tell on him and that I automatically believe them over him. I told him he needs to prove to me that it’s not him, but that when 5 kids that I trust are all telling me that it is him making faces, throwing things at them, etc. that I have no choice but to believe them. I reminded him that he is a good kid and that I really like him, and that other students will like him too, but that he needs to stop the behaviors that are annoying the other students! I told him that that’s hard to hear but it’s just part of growing up and maturing, and that I knew he could make positive changes.

-I talked several students through their mistakes on their math test over linear equations. I really enjoy this individual time w/ students and the opportunity to help them succeed in the general education curriculum. I like that I can advocate on my students’ behalf to the general education teachers that they are legally entitled (due to their IEPs – Individual Education Plans) to make corrections on their tests and that it’s an opportunity for re-teaching and finding where their patterns of errors lie.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hard at work

This is the little tool bench that Uncle Currie built Eli for his 2nd b-day (which was yesterday). The tools we gave him for Christmas...

Thursday, January 08, 2009 traffic improvment suggestions

So, I just found a place where you can make comments to the incoming congress and president about improvements to the traffic system:

Being the opinionated person that I am, I had several things I've been thinking about and thought I'd post them here to see what others' thoughts were...

I have several suggestions to improve transportation:
I. Driver Competency: We need to revamp our drivers licensing programs to look more like those in the UK and Germany. This would have several components:
  1. Testing: If tests are made more comprehensive and difficult, and training is optional though available at the applicant's expense we allow the licensing process to remain inexpensive, while demanding that drivers meet a necessary competency level before entering the streets.
  2. Driving System: The US tends to function under the assumption that "slow is safe." We tend to primarily penalize drivers who are traveling fast, while ignoring the far more dangerous infractions of drivers who are traveling slowly. This includes drivers traveling slowly in the passing lane, weaving into other lanes due to lack of attention, etc. By assuming that slow drivers are safe drivers we encourage people to get in their cars and "tune out" making them exceedingly dangerous on the road. A fast-moving driver is generally paying more attention to his/her driving as they realize that they are engaged in a potentially dangerous activity. A slow-moving driver mistakenly thinks that their speed makes the activity of driving safe and pays less attention. Further a "fast lane/slow lane" approach to interstate driving verses a "passing lane/traveling lane" approach makes the road system far less efficient than under the European system. Finally, highways with higher speeds produce more empty (and thus, more safe) highways: if the average speed limit on a highway is increased by roughly 10% (say 55 to 60 MPH), and the average speed of traffic on that highway increases by 10%, that traffic will move through the highway system more quickly, producing a 10% lower traffic density (and thus, a safer highway).
II. More complete streets (see We need to work to make our surface streets more friendly to bicyclists. This includes building bike lanes (not just designating sidewalks as bike-able: you can't maintain sufficient speed on a sidewalk to make bicycling a viable alternative to driving), but also more careful education of the driving population to the rights of bicyclists on streets, as well as a system of penalties for discourteous driving in relation to bicyclists.