One of my former students from Mississippi, Kalessia, heard about our blog, and sent us a postcard!  It was such a wonderful surprise to hear from her after all these years. She was in Tampa on business, but tells us that Florida was as beautiful as always. She also said that she enjoys to travel…so we hope that she’ll have the chance to go somewhere just for fun next time.




I had to opportunity to teach Kalessia Spanish I and II when I taught at T.L. Weston High School in Greenville, Mississippi, as a young 20-something. She was a member of the Class of 2000, a group that holds a special place in my heart as I had a group of those students in my homeroom for my first four years teaching.


A page from the T.L. Westin yearbook during one of my first years as a Spanish teacher.

I’d never really thought about a career in education until after college when I graduated with degrees in Spanish and Anthropolgy and had no job. I heard about a program called the Mississippi Teacher Corps that offered college grads the opportunity to move to Mississippi and teach. The program offered me free tuition, room, and board at Ole Miss working toward a Master’s Degree. In exchange, I agreed to teach for two years in a district in Mississippi that couldn’t find enough teachers.

Long story short, I fell in love with my school, its students, and teaching. I stayed there six years before moving back to the Midwest to be closer to my family.

On Monday of this week, I started my 20th year working in education, first as a teacher and more recently as a building administrator. Kalessia and her classmates were the first group I had from their freshman to their senior year. They were a special group of kids–after all, they hooked me on being a teacher. I’m blessed to have known them, and am thankful that I had the opportunity to work with them.

And so far, Kalessia remains one of this teacher’s favorites, especially since she’s the only one from T.L. Weston to send us a postcard (wink, wink) so far.

  • We walked in to the @elevatepeople store in Kearney, Nebraska, by mistake. We'd been looking for a coffee shop. Elevate wasn’t a coffee shop, but what we found was a store full of beautiful, handmade leather goods. These ethically sourced products were actually produced around the world by artisans who are working to escape poverty. Elevate, a non-profit, provides them with small, low interest loans to start their businesses. When the money is repaid, it is then re-invested into the same community to help another person start a business. It's a purchase you can feel good about.
  • Florida is a wonderful place to go in the winter. There you'll find sunshine and warmth while much of the rest of the country is experiencing the chill of winter. We love seeing the plants and flowers in bloom when we visit.
  • When our daughter, Meghan, was younger, she wanted an affordable, easy to store souvenir from her travels with her mom. She settled on pencils. Over the years, she's collected a couple hundred pencils from various destinations including the ones that others have given to her. She keeps them in a jar in her apartment, creating a great conversation piece.
  • We won't lie, our cruise aboard the @CelebrityCruise Edge was more about the ship than the destination. We loved sitting in The Retreat while watching others head ashore for excursions. But let's be honest, we really loved just sitting in the Retreat, soaking in the beautiful sun.
  • There is nothing quite like preparing a perfect dish in your own kitchen. Courtesy of @thechefandthedish, Ann prepared a traditional Spanish paella with Cyndi Kane, a.k.a. Ree Drummond's BFF Hyacinth. Sure, learning to make the dish was fun. Savoring the meal, and the friendship that went with it, was the best part of that great afternoon.
  • In the chilly, pre-dawn light of an early spring day on the Platte River in central Nebraska you can be sure of one thing: soon you'll witness one of nature's greatest spectacles, tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes taking to the air for a day of foraging for food. If you have never witnessed this incredible sight, you must make sure you @visitnebraska so you can experience this for yourself. @visitKearney
  • A good cocktail is an experience. Instead of just having a drink to throw back, we love savoring a well-crafted beverage. Something we love about @celebritycruise is that good cocktails are easy to find. We aren't huge drinkers. Instead, we are strong believers in quality over quantity.
  • Something that always impresses us is the sheer size of a cruise ship. The fact that something that large can move and float and provide great service never ceases to amaze. But one of our favorite views is when we're docked next to another ship, and walking down a pier suddenly feels like walking through a canyon.

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