Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas break...

A friend of mine asked me last night what I was going to do over break... I started rattling off a list of ALL the great people that I get to hang out with this break. She laughed at me and said, "wow, so you are just going to hang out all break?!?" I responded with an enthusiastic YES!

I am SO excited for the 17 days off of school that I get. (Christmas (I mean "winter") break has to be one of THE best perks for being in education. I absolutely love this time of year. I love Christmas. I love getting together with my crazy family! (I have some of the coolest cousins in the world...and trust me they HAVE traveled the world!)
Here is just a glimpse of some of the people that I will get to hang out with over the next 17 days.
Tommorrow the fam (mom, pops, sister and bro-in-law and myself) are taking a little road trip to CO. Then I'll be back in the city for a day before I head south to CV for Christmas with the fam. Then its back to the city for a week of hanging out with some of THE coolest people I know, having a party with the WC, taking pictures at a wedding, going to another wedding, ringing in 2009... its going to be a wild time let me tell you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Brooke tagged me so...

Here you go.

(6 random things)
  1. I am an unofficial member of the coolest "club" in town. (aka the white crew)
  2. My favorite ornament on my Christmas tree is pink with polka-dots.
  3. I am addicted to diet coke. It's my version of "coffee."
  4. I like to have my Christmas decorations up as long as possible and as long as my roommate will allow! :)
  5. I am the 11th most fascinating person of 2008. (only the top 10 made it on tv with Barbara Walters.)
  6. My car is named Mabel. (Mabel the Malibu) Mabel means "my beautiful one."

And now I'm supposed to "tag" people... so Amy, Lindsay B, Sarah K, SB, Jana, and Cassie TAG, YOU'RE IT!

Monday, December 1, 2008

a raw rant of sorts....

A friend of mine asked me tonight, "so how are you?" My response surprised went something like this... "I'm good, life is crazy, and insane, wonderulf and busy. After Saturday I won't know what to do with myself, I'm ready for Christmas and the LONG 17 day break from school, everything has changed but yet everything has stayed very much the same, (i.e. I'm getting restless but not entirely for sure why.)"

-a little more info - - the part about Saturday.... I have a 15 page paper due on Wednesday (can you say procrastinator? I've started writing it, I'll get it done, I've just had better things to do, like hang out with people! Who am I to sacrifice time with people for writing a paper?!?) Anyway along with the paper, I have to give a 10 minute presentaion over my "research findings." I'm not entirely sure how much my professor will appreciate this but this is what my research has shown....
  1. I am SO ready to be done with my master's, it's not even funny. Whoever encouraged me to start working on it my first year of teaching was wise even though right now I'm pretty sure I am crazy. I am grateful for their wisdom and will be even more grateful when this is all said and done.

  2. May 2009 can not come soon enough.

  3. I need a break from being a student... (21 years of this is enough... I don't know how doctors do it....but Dr. Call does have a nice ring to it, okay not so much!)

  4. I do enjoy learning but not when it is according to someone else's syllabus.
  5. I really do like my job and through this whole master's process I have come to appreciate where I work, who I work for, and some of those I work with much more than I thought I ever would.

I am going to attempt to tie my findings into my "research on curriculum" blah blah blah... it's really not as terrible as I am making it out to be but I sure do have a bad case of senioritis. But it will all be worth it... and one day in May this will be me!

Monday, November 24, 2008

baby shower adventure

The original Call girls at a baby shower for Heidi and baby Josiah!

Heidi and the grandmas! (I love how well they coordinate!)
Holly, Eleanor, Heidi and me!
I have a pretty rockin group of cousins and cousin-in-laws! :)
We wanted Tamra to know that we missed her!

After the shower I got to hang out with one of my bestest buds from K-State VOLZ!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If you give a student a camera....

They will take a picture of you and then plead for your permission to use it in their video project...

You've all read, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" right?!?

As a high school teacher we very seldom have opportunities to read children's book, which is a crying shame I think... Anyway today I made a reference to the book "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" today in my Digital Productions class and they all just looked at me like I was crazy. Now granted there is some truth to that statement but good grief. I want to know what books these kids are reading if they have not heard of the classic, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie."

If you need a Christmas gift idea for a little person in your world may I suggest this wonderful book, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wide Open Spaces...

Thank you Dixie Chicks for putting into words part of what I'm feeling right now....

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

This small town kid turned cityfolk is desperate for some space. Some clean air to breathe, a place to think, time to reflect, time to just be...a schedule that is completely free would be nice too.

This is where I want to be...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

two visits...

When students graduate they always say, "Miss Call, I'll come back and visit you." I respond with, "I would love to see your face again but even if I don't, go and do something great!" (or something along those lines....)

Students do randomly show up and usually it's the ones that you least expect to see. Anyway on Monday a student who I honestly did not think would actually graduate from high school, stopped by my room to say hi and to tell me that he is enrolled at Butler with hopes of going to K-State in a year. He wanted me to know that he is ready to do something great with his life. Hearing that he was considering K-State made my heart smile but more so than that, hearing his excitement about school and hearing him realize that he needed to start making better decisions if he wanted to turn his life around, was pretty special. Seeing him in a place where he is thriving reminds me of why it is that I do what I do and why it is that I really do love my job.

Then yesterday a student who graduated two years ago stopped by my room in his army garb. He stopped by to say Hi, to say thanks, and to tell me that he will be leaving Wichita this weekend for a while. He is being stationed at Fort Bragg next week and is being deployed to Iraq in 6 months. The reality that my students grow up and do go out there and do great things was staring me in the face. I didn't know how to respond, part of me wanted to cry and the other part of me stood there so proud of the fact that this young man who is going off to serve our country did sit in my classroom and I am a better person, a better teacher because of students like him.

When I forget why it is that I do what I do and why it is that I love my job so much, I get these reminders that blow me away.

Monday, September 29, 2008

good friends + good music = one great evening


Jen & Volz... two great gals.

It's hard to believe that a little over 8 years ago I met Volz and Em. I am so grateful for them and their friendship and how the Lord continues to allow our paths to cross when we least expect it. These two are the true definition of heart sisters.


Tim and Patrick

Shane & Shane



Sunday, September 7, 2008

a great weekend...

This weekend was absolutely wonderful...

here's the recap - picture style:)

here's the recap - bullet style! :)
  • road trip to manhattan, surprised Käte (it was great, she didn't know KT was coming with me!)
  • hung out at Larissa and Erin's apartment with Käte, Allison and Kelly! (P.S. I love it when my friends meet my other friends and become friends!) YAY!)
  • Kdot, big al, and KT and I took a late night adventure to walmart... good times! :)
  • Stayed up until 3 a.m. and had a great conversation with Larissa, Erin and Amber! (I sure do love those girls!)
  • Stopped by Java (Bluestem Bistro) got a sweet love and an orange chocolate chip muffin, it was a great way to start what turned out to be a pretty amazing day!
  • Went to my class (blah...)
  • Met little Ellie Johnson, (SO CUTE)
  • took Käte, Allison and Kelly to Java (none of them had been there yet) and had a great lunch
  • had my second sweet love of the day
  • returned to Wichita just time for a party at Mary T.'s
  • ate sushi (yummy)
  • ate sashimi for the first time (raw tuna - it was GREAT!)
  • hung out with some pretty great people...played Catch Phrase and Apples to Apples
  • church was fantastic
  • took a great nap this afternoon
  • the junior girls came over for dinner, I love those girls so much!

the end!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A recap of years 1-25...

The first quarter century of my life has been pretty amazing... I decided to make a list of just a few "highlights" from each year of my life up to this point...

Starting with the year the world was graced with my presence.... :) Each of the following numbers represents the highlights from that age... Enjoy!
  1. I'm sure this is the year that I began to talk, thus the beginning of a life long of verbal processing...
  2. Enter little sister! (who would have thought she would turn into one of my best friends...)
  3. I'm sure life as a three year old was pretty great...
  4. Preschool... is it bad that the only thing I remember is playing with play dough?
  5. Kindergarten - this year began the first of 13 years in the Cedar Vale School System
  6. First Grade - had the privilege of having my grandma as my teacher... still cherish those memories (5 minutes Abbey!)
  7. Second Grade - honestly I hated second grade. This kid had ZERO desire to learn about dinosaurs... sick.
  8. Third Grade - LOVED IT! I fell in love with reading as a third grader. Miss Church introduced us to Laura Ingalls Wilder and so many other fantastic classics. I also fell off a horse sometime during this year of my life... it took a couple of years for me to want to get back on a horse again.
  9. Fourth Grade - my least favorite grade in school.... not entirely for sure why, but I remember being so excited for 4th grade to end. My mom was my counselor at Kids Camp... (who would have thought that 16 years after that first summer at Camp Quaker Haven I would still return as often as I can....)
  10. Fifth Grade - even though I hated Mrs. McKinley's math homework sheets that we had to do every single night, she helped build a foundation of math skills in me that did prove beneficial later on. Leslie Trumpp was my counselor at Kids Camp this summer. She shared Jesus with me in such a clear way that week. She will always be a woman who I hold near and dear to my heart.
  11. Sixth Grade - the beginning of junior high sports.... I thought I was God's gift to the volleyball world...
  12. Seventh grade - still thought I was God's gift to both the volleyball and basketball world. I did convince my dad to let me "quit" choir, much to my sister's dismay even still to this day! :)
  13. Eighth grade - we dominated the SCBL athletic world that year, I don't think little ole Cedar Vale girls have been that good since we left...
  14. Freshman year - Sandra (exchanged student from Ecuador) lived with us. Went to Maranatha with Heidi... met people who helped me see that there is much more to "life" than athletics. Thanks Charlie, Scott & JoAnn. Returned to Kids Camp as a counselor, connected with a group of women that would be my heart sisters. Thanks Kacie, Amy & Rachel!
  15. Sophomore year - 22 & 1... that record will forever be engraved in my mind... the perfect season, well until the first round of sub-state. Big deal? Well now it's not, at the time I thought it was the end of the world.... but it was the beginning of the Lord opening my eyes that greater things that were yet to come.... there was much more to life than high school sports. (Another week at Maranathan, another week spent as a counselor at camp.)
  16. Junior year - struggled with finding my place at school. I was torn between who I was around my great friends from church and who I was around my "friends" from high school who had known me since birth basically. The summer of 1999 was a huge summer in my life. The beginning of the summer I went to the poorest island in the Bahamas and saw poverty for the first time and really began to see God's heart for the nations. On August 4th, 1999 a friend of mine was killed in a car wreck. Rachel's death rocked my world. It was the first time that I began to think about God's sovereignty. (Another week at Maranathan, another week as a camp counselor)
  17. Senior year - In November I went on a campus visit to K-State mainly to humor my dad but little did I know that those few short hours would be a huge turning point in my world. From that day on I fell in love with the campus and knew that I was destined to be a Wildcat. I graduated valedictorian, big woo... at the time it was pretty huge to me. (Another week at Maranatha, this time as a coach. Another week at Kids camp.)
  18. Freshman year - 431 West Hall is where it all began. 4W4L...need I say more! (Carmen, Sarah Jeanne, Volz, Em, Missy, Mommy Carla, I could go on for a while... these women became my support system, my sisters, women who know me better than I know myself.) I met the Navigators. Changed my major a couple times. Spent a summer in Colorado back in the day when K-State went to Snow Mountain for STP... had the privilege of meeting with Linds, I very much value the time I spent with her.
  19. Sophomore year - RA on the third floor of Ford Hall. Led a Bible study for the first time. Began to learn the importance and value of accountability and discipleship. Finally realized that the Lord was calling me to be a teacher... Spent 6 weeks of the summer in Zambia... loved the time with Maran, Cora, Anne, Sue, Mumbi, Nasima, Siku, Nkem... Zambia will always hold a special place in my heart. Returned to kids camp as a counselor.
  20. Junior year - RA on the second floor of Ford Hall. Had the privilege of being the part of the first ever year of FC at K-State. LOVED the freshman girls in my study. This is where I met Sarah Kaiser... Finally met Amy Martin! :) Spent another summer in Colorado, this time as a team leader. Crissa, Jada, Mer, Fitz... thank you.
  21. Senior year - Marmalade mansion. 1616 Osage. Loved living there. Enjoyed living with Al and Andrea and Tammy. Continued the study from FC, those girls will always hold a very special place in my heart. Suffered through education classes with Josh, Tara and Wes. Returned to Africa, this time for 8 weeks to Malawi. Loved getting to know Snat, Liz, Beth Ann, Danny, & Luke... Sam, Eunice, Lillian, Jackson... I left a piece of my heart in Malawi.
  22. 5th year - last semester in Manhattan. Lived in Jardine with Betsy! (Before Jardine was all new and remodeled...) Continued the study with my FC girls... handed it over to Beth. I loved my last semester in Manhattan. Moved to Wichita, student taught at Heights... wow. Began attending First Free. Went to Guatemala for two weeks. Returned to kids camp... this time as "staff."
  23. 1st year of teaching - cheer leading coach? (why did I ever do that?!) Lived by myself... (who thought I would ever say I would actually enjoy living by myself?) Got a taste of what the Lord had in mind as to why he wanted me to teach. Monday night Bible study started up. Summer #1 as Judy Hollander's "Happy summer Intern." (camp year #2 as staff)
  24. 2nd year of teaching - freshman volleyball coach. Little sister joined me at SE. Really began to enjoy teaching. Finally felt like I knew what I was doing. Wichita became "home." Monday night study continued! :) Summer #2 as Judy Hollander's "Happy summer Intern." (camp year #3 as staff.)
  25. 3rd year of teaching - JV volleyball coach. Moved in to Bramblewood with Kara. (P.S. She is the best roommate EVER!) Monday night study continued! Jumped on board with the sophomore girls at FrontLine! I sure do love them! Summer #3 as Judy Hollander's "Happy summer Intern." Loved working with WAT! Challenge 2008 was amazing! (camp year #3 as staff)
  26. 4th year of teaching - so far so good... NOT coaching! Monday night study continues. Those sophomores are now juniors and I am so excited to get more time with them! I am really excited about the classes that I am teaching and the students that I have in class this semester!

I am blown away at the first 25 years of my life. The Lord has been good. There are countless people who have influenced me, encouraged me, challenged me, loved me and as a result are a part of who I am today. So thanks for being a part of my story.... and now for the rest of the story.....

I'm excited to see what's next!

Monday, August 18, 2008

pretty close to a perfect evening...

A sailboat, amazing temperature, just enough wind to sail, good friends... does life on this earth get any better?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

first day of school...

Up until today they were just names on a piece of paper... a list in alphabetical order. The only information given along with the name was grade and gender. Who will sit in the chairs inside my classroom? Who will ask the silly questions? Who will challenge me? Who will make me laugh? Who will make me cry? Who will break my heart? Which ones will make me cry when I hug them for the last time as they walk across the stage at graduation? Which familiar faces will enter my classroom door again? Which ones grew up a little bit over the course of the summer? How have their lives changed? How has my life changed?

All of those questions were running through my mind as I drove to work today.

Today those names became faces. Stories. Lives. My students.

I absolutely love the start of the school year. (More so now that I'm not coaching.) Sometimes over the summer I forget how much I love my job. I love my job for the simple fact that I get to work with students. The roster that I get at the beginning of the year quickly turns from a list of names into faces that I greet each and every day as they enter my classroom. Those faces become personalities and with each day I learn more about their story. Their lives become part of mine.

I am a better person because of the students in my classroom.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How sweet it is...

This past week was quite possibly the best week of my summer. There is something about the Kids Great Getaway down at Camp Quaker Haven that continues to hold a very special place in my heart. This was my tenth summer to be a counselor or on staff and I am continually amazed at how the Lord is always faithful to show up at Kids Camp each and every summer. I was reminded what a privilege it is to be a part of giving students the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. (Thanks Jordan for reminding me of that!) I love seeing the counselors love on their campers and give their lives away to them for a week. JWad did a great job of challenging each of us to put our yes on the table. Dale continues to challenge me. It is such a privilege to serve alongside him for a week. I could go on for a while but for now I'll let some pictures do the talking... my "voice" is shoot, thanks to "da accent."

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the week.

It's the end of the world as we know it... actually it's just the end of a pretty great summer.....

Here is the progress on the list of "The Summer of Mandy!" There are a few things that I had accidently left off and just had to add! :)

  • Sand Volleyball (Check!)
  • Play Mexican train Dominoes
  • Drive-in
  • Wing-nuts game (Check!)
  • Sushi-party (Check!)
  • Music Theatre Wichita (Check, one more show to go!) :)
  • Thursday night jazz at Bradley Fair
  • Sailing (Does canoeing count?)
  • Movie at the Old Town Warren
  • Putt-putt
  • Camping (Check!)
  • Eat gellato at CHILL!
  • Bowling (Check! Have I mentioned that I have THE best summer job?)
  • Watch the OLYMPICS
  • Kids Camp (Check!)
  • Watch Spiderman 1, 2, and 3 (Check! Check! Check!)
  • CHALLENGE in Salt Lake City (Check!)
  • Scrapbook (does sorting pictures count?)
  • Get a library card/visit Eva’s library (Check!)
  • Shopping trip with the gals

Road trips to…

  • Cedar Vale (Labor Day)
  • Manhattan
  • Concordia/Newton
  • Springfield (Check!)

Read some books...

  • The Shack (Check!)
  • 4 Loves (Check!)
  • The Last Lecture
  • The Great Divorce (almost finished)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bonding at Bramblewood

So my friend Brooke posted this link ( on her blog and I just had to try it out.... It was a lot of fun to play around with the words! Try it out sometime.

My roommate, Kara, (who is fantastic by the way) and I have started a little thing called "Bonding at Bramblewood." It has evolved into something that anytime someone else is over at our house, "bonding at Bramblewood" is in session. It is a great opportunity to hang out with the people we know and love and a good way to get to know other people a little bit better.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I passed...

I just got my results from the ESL praxis test and I passed, YAHOO! That test was maybe the most ridiculous test that I have ever had to take but hey its over and I am one step closer to finishing my master's....

I leave for Kids Camp early Monday morning. When I was at my parents house this weekend I found all my old t-shirts from my days as a counselor. It was pretty funny to read what people had written... and I also realized why I will never be able to shake the nickname, "Macho Mandy..."

I am looking forward to takes so much time and energy to get everything ready but it is worth it because the Lord has always been faithful to show up and do some amazing things during that week in the lives of the campers and the staff.

More after camp!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Updates all around...

Challenge Recap: Challenge was great. I loved getting to experience it with the students from First Free. I am blessed every opportunity I have to be around my junior girls, yes they are mine, I am a tad possessive! :) Starfield is even better in person, I love all three of their cds, but their newest one just might be their best yet. The speakers were amazing. I am currently reading Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love." (check it out, read it and lets talk about it.) It was awesome to be a part of a week where students made some pretty big decisions and commitments in regard to their relationship with the Lord. I walked away with a better understanding of prayer and a clearer picture of what the Lord wants to do with me right where I'm at.

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words so maybe these can do some talking....

Dad's surgery/recovery update: My dad's surgery went well. The doctor said that he had a really big neck, which cracked up me. He is at home, recovering, probably anxious to get back to work. My dad really isn't one to just sit around for too long. Thanks for praying.

School starts in a month...In exactly one month from today, a couple thousand students will once again be walking the halls of Southeast. I am actually looking forward to the start of the school year. There is something very refreshing about starting the school year and not having to worry about coaching.

Kids camp is in a week, lots of work to do but I am really excited to see what the Lord has in store for that week.