Season Phrases – Part 1

Now that I have you all caught up, let’s move on.

As you now know, my life has had several pretty major changes in the past 8 months or so. I have found myself longing to better know my God and grow in understanding.

I started something new.  I started praying and asking God for a word or phrase for the season of life that I am walking through. I heard about this from a mentor. Jeff and Alyssa Bethke are awesome people who have written outstanding books about identity and walking in Christ’s love and what it is like to live as a Christ follower. You guys should totally check out their books [see more information about them below]. They also have a podcast which is where I heard Alyssa share about receiving a word or phrase that really characterizes your current season of life.

I first started it in July. This is when I really started seeking out and asking God to give me a word or phrase. The word that  he gave me was preparedness. As I meditated on this and began to seek out what He wanted me to learn, He gave me Ecclesiastes 3:1-15.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every season under heaven….A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted…A time to tear down and a time to build up…A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing…”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

I began to see how this word was truly fitting for the season of life that I was in. It lasted from about May until October. I was preparing to student teach, preparing to finish college, preparing to move back to my hometown into my own place, preparing for the birth of my nephew, and preparing to start a new life.

There were days that I dwelt on all the changes and felt overwhelmed. It was in those moments that I felt God speak my word of preparedness and I realized that He was preparing me for my destiny. Student teaching was the first time I was able to feel likhearte a real teacher. I had a classroom, I had students, I had the responsibility of lesson planning and teaching and managing the classroom. God was preparing my heart to trust Him. It became very tangible to me that He never left me and never would. He walked with me, gave me strength, brought me joy all while constantly loving me with a neverfailing love.

This season of a few months was a season where God was moving in my heart. He was drawing me close to Him so that I could began to change the way I saw. Change the way I viewed my life, challenges in life, and people in my life. He was revealing truth to me and helping me to better understand His grace, joy, and mercy. He was building up a community of people around me who supported me, encouraged me, and spoke His truth to me through them.

You see, God was pursuing my heart. He was chasing me down through my thoughts, failures, and distractions. He sought me out. And He was patient with me until I realized just what He was doing. His love and grace have become so tangible and real to me.

Once I saw the work that God was doing in my heart in this season of preparedness, I began to pursue Him as He was chasing me. I prayed and sought to know the heart of God. I wanted more. I wanted to be just like Jesus. One song became my anthem in this season.

Away from the noise;

Away to hear your voice and meet with you.

Nothing else matters, my one desire is:

To worship you, I live

To worship you, I live, I live

To worship you

To Worship You I Live (Away)

Israel & New Breed

I sang this song over and over and over again. I was declaring that my life was God’s. Whatever I did was going to be a form a worship to Him. Nothing else mattered, as along as I was giving God glory and praising Him through my actions, words, prayers, and thoughts.

Little did I know just what exactly He was preparing me for.

“…the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:10 – 11



A Girl Being Relentlessly Pursued by God


P.S. Check out Jeff and Alyssa Bethke at their website here.


Hey Strangers!

Hey ya’ll! It has been a while. The last time that I posted on here, I was still in school blogging about all things education.

Well, I have decided to change it up.

And a lot has happened since we last spoke. Let me catch you up.

In May of 2017, I moved back to my hometown.

In July of 2017, I became Auntie Cara for the first time. That little boy changed our family. He is so loved and brings so much joy!

In August of 2017, I began my semester of student teaching and last semester as a college student. I spent 8 weeks teaching an awesome group of 2nd graders. Then, I spent another 8 weeks teaching an equally as awesome group of 5th graders. I loved my time spent in the classroom and learned so much. I had great mentors and a supportive school.

In December of 2017, I completed my student teaching and classes and I graduated from Chadron State College with a BS in Elementary Education and a Supplemental Endorsement in Early Childhood Education.

In January of 2018, I found that my life was completely different from what I had been used to all my life. Suddenly, I didn’t have to work 7 days a week. I was no longer writing lesson plans and spending hours collecting ideas on Pinterest (Teachers, ya hear me?!) I had actual days off where sometimes I literally had no obligations for the day. After a couple weeks of boredom and feeling lost, I began to settle into a new routine. I work two part time jobs and manage to sub 1-3 days each week. (Sometime, I’ll have to write a post about subbing because you learn so many things about teaching when you walk into a classroom as a substitute teacher. )

It is now February of 2018 and I finally have a semi-regular routine. I have set days that I work at each job. Sometimes, I work 2 jobs a day but it keeps me busy.

I have now decided to get back to blogging. I hope you enjoy the new look and content of csanchezstories. I have a loose idea of what I want to share with you all so we will see where it takes us.



A Girl Passionate about Jesus and Life

Calling All Innovators

Attention Innovators:

Yes, you brave souls who are daring to do school differently. Those of you who are creating new, branching out, experimenting, and sharing ideas.


Photo CC By Tookapic

This is a call to you to help me.

Help me be a better innovator.

Currently, I am an innovative learner who has spent time creating and learning new things. I have discussed the non-traditional. I have learned in the way that works best for me thanks to a class and instructor who allows me room to do so. I have challenged my own thinking and hopefully the thinking of others. I have used new resources to create and complete tasks in a new way.

But help me be better.

Help me innovate the way a classroom looks. Let’s innovate the way we teach and learn. Let’s use technology to our advantage and not let the stereotype of trouble get in the way. Let’s encourage learning through play and exploration. Let’s get down and dirty for the sake of forming a connection. Let’s try new things because there’s a chance they just might work.

As George Couros said in “The Mindset of an Innovator“,

                      “I question thinking, challenge ideas, and do not accept                                                                                        “this is the way we have always done it” as an acceptable answer                                                              for our students or myself.”

In order to be the most effective innovator, though,  sometimes you have to unlearn.

Unlearn there is only one way to learn a concept. Unlearn technology is a nuisance. Unlearn social media is only for teenagers. Unlearn people can only connect with each other in person. Unlearn you’re too busy to learn something new.

Although I have innovated the way I learn and want to teach, I still have more to learn.

I want to learn  how to continually learn new things without being required to.

I want to learn how to help my students learn in the way that works best for them.

I want to learn how to better use technology. I’ve had a start but I want to go deeper.

I want to learn how digital tools can make my life easier, more fun, and more colorful.


Photo CC By Kaboompics

Throughout this class, I’ve been able to experiment with technology and what it has to offer.

Twitter is definitely one of the tools that I want to continue learning more about. I’ve learned so much already, not only about how to use it but also from those sharing ideas and thoughts. I will continue to use it to interact with my PLN.

The three other technology tools I see myself continuing to use include Pixteller, Canva, and Smilebox. The first two are great for creating posters and infographics. I can use them in my personal life but also use them in my classroom. Either could be an option for my students to create a presentation or create posters to hang in my classroom. Smilebox is fun. Its simple to create an attractive slideshow of pictures to tell about a trip or event.

In addition to learning new tools, I learned new things about myself.

I became willing to share my thoughts, ideas, and emotions through my bog posts and on Twitter.

I became willing to set aside several hours per week to learn a new tool.

I spent more time in this class than ever before reading articles about mostly education, not just required ones but also those I came across on Twitter.

I have come to love blogging. Something I was unsure about in the beginning but now look forward to continuing in my own classroom.

So now what?

This class is winding down and what will I do with the knowledge learned.

Well, armed with my new technology information and experiences, I will keep learning more. I will build on what I already have and adapt as needed. I will take everything into my classroom where it will hopefully help my students. I will continue to learn and connect with others who have knowledge to share. Most importantly, however, I will continue to learn. Not just because I want to but because I want my students to be life long learners and I want to model that.

To quote George Couros again,

                    “I model the learning and leadership I seek in others. I take risks and try new things                                     to develop and explore new opportunities…I believe that isolation is the                                             enemy of innovation, and I will learn from others to create better learning                                            opportunities for others and myself…I listen and learn from different                                                    perspectives, because I know we are much better together than                                                                we could ever be alone.”



A Slight Delayed Yet Heartfelt Learner Who is Still Learning

Keeping a Journal of My Attention

This week has been a fun and interesting week.

In addition to learning about neat online creation tools and being digitally mindful, I have also spent time keeping an attention journal.

Throughout this week, I have paid more attention to my body language, emotions, and where my time was being spent while being online and using technology.

For each session in my journal, I was to document the following:

  1. Date
  2. Description of Physical Space and Device
  3. Duration of session
  4. What occurred
  5. What you did
  6. How you felt
  7. What worked
  8. What did not work

I learned several things throughout the week. Probably the most interesting to me is about the time I spend online. The majority of my time was for homework. This included reading articles, watching videos, reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, and writing my own blog. Each of these activities require a good amount of time.

IMG_2381IMG_2142Whenever I work on time-consuming homework, I try to work for about an hour and then take a short break. At the beginning of the week, I found myself reaching for my phone to scroll social media but by the end of the week, I decided to truly give my eyes a break from the screen and would play with my dogs for a bit.

As for my social media time, I actually found I did not spend as much time as I thought. Truthfully, I try to unplug as often as I can and make a conscious decision to do something other than scan social media when I have a free minute. The most common time of day that I do get on social media is in the evenings. By the evening, I tend to be finished working on homework for the day and spend a chunk of time scrolling. I only have notifications turned on for Instagram and Twitter. I don’t get a lot from Instagram because I don’t post very frequently and I have Twitter turned on so I can interact and correspond with classmates.

Another interesting thing I learned this week was something that surprised me but probably shouldn’t have. When I journaled about my time spent on social media, I repeatedly reported not exactly feeling much emotionally. What I’m saying is that I realized I only check social media for something to do to waste some time. This made me wonder, what am I gaining from social media? It should be noted that I am talking about Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram (I’m gaining tons from interacting with my classmates on Twitter!) Sure, I stay in the loop of my family’s adventures but aside from that, I don’t need to know what everyone else is doing.


Photo CC By Lia Leslie

One last thing I learned while journaling was that once I had been paying closer attention to my online time for a couple of days, it made me more conscious in other areas. Not only did I tend to steer away from social media more but I began to ask myself what the most productive option was for my time. It also opened my mind into reflecting upon my homework habits.

This week has been quite a thought-provoking and reflective week. I enjoy learning more about how technology can help us but I also enjoy taking breaks and unplugging.



A Girl Giving Her Attention to Real Life Events

Digital Tool Production

This week, I have enjoyed digging into online creation tools. After reading the following article, Tech Review: Online Creation Tools Piktochart and Canva, I decided to give Canva a try. I choose Canva because the article said it was a good option for creating posters, which is what I was after.

Canva was really easy to use. There are tutorials available online but also upon signing up (for free!), it walks you through a few brief steps to get you familiar with the various aspects of the program. This was much appreciated as I had never heard of Canvas previously.

One thing that was challenging was figuring out which format to use. There are several different categories which have various dimensions and shapes. Some of those categories are social media, documents, blogging and eBooks, marketing materials, headers, events, and ads.

Once I picked which one I wanted (one called Presentations under the category of Documents) I had to start filling in the blanks. Another challenge I had was choosing images and backgrounds to include. The program offers a free variety of both, however, the selection is limited. Several times I would find an image I liked but would have to pay to include it in my creation.

Here is my finished creation: 03

I choose to include what I learned and my takeaways from painting, my ILP.

I found the great image on the left and put my biggest takeaway : Create. Throughout my ILP and this entire class, I have so enjoyed the challenges and adventures of learning to create. I included “Paint” since that is my ILP.

In the top middle, I included my favorite abstract piece with the word “abstract.” This was one of my favorites styles that I experimented with. There was so much freedom to use many colors and lines and shapes and patterns.


Photo CC By Jocelyn Durston

In the top right corner, I used a paint splatter. This symbolizes the freedom to go outside the lines and have fun. I also used the words “relax” and “express yourself” because this is what painting was for me. I also looked forward to painting because even though it technically was homework, it was a break for me. It was a chance to calm down and have fun.

The other three sayings were other things painting was for me. I enjoyed trying out so many different styles and techniques throughout my ILP. Some of them didn’t always turn out but I tried to remember to have fun with it. Over the course of my ILP, I discovered that I preferred watercolor over acrylic. “Paint your Style” represents my preferred style. Finally, “Be an Artist” speaks to my overall learning. Throughout this process, I have learned every artist is different and that’s part of what makes art so fun and interesting. Each piece is unique.

I could definitely see myself using Canva and other online creations in my classroom. If I had a good time creating with it, I am sure students would.

Students could create posters to accompany their presentations or reports. It is a great way to creatively and attractively organize information for others to see. For older students, it could be fun to have students create a poster showing classroom rules to display around the room. A great project to accompany rule review and a conversation starter for respect and positive relationships.

The eye is naturally drawn to color and I think Canva could be used to create classroom posters as well as students creations. Presenting information in this way could prove to be quite effective. I think students would much more prefer to get their information from neat, creative posters rather than plain posters. There most definitely is value in tools such as Canva.

It brings an added level to the table. Canva could really enrich the classroom.



A Girl Bringing Creativity into the Classroom



Digital Mindfulness 101

Technology is a great tool, right?

Yes, correct. We’ve covered that. There are limitless amounts of information and activities which can be done with it. You can be almost instantly connected to people around the world. It’s great!

However, this week I have spent some time reflecting on the balance of technology use.


Photo CC By Debra

The term to cover this balance and reflection would be mindfulness.

Am I being mindful of my use and time spent online? Am I digitally mindful?

I think in our world of ever-increasing dependence on technology, we need to consistently be asking ourselves this question. So, what does this look like?

Being digitally mindful is essentially being aware and conscious of your time. It is taking into consideration your actions and feelings. It is then taking that reflection and evaluating the influence and impact of it on your face-to-face life.

When I really reflect and think about it, I am not always digitally mindful. I would like to think that I am but I don’t think anyone is, all the time. And the truth is, its hard. I mean, our lives are almost totally consumed with technology. From email, to social media, to games, to online reading, to online banking, our lives revolve around our devices.

So, in order to be more digitally mindful we should just disconnect, right?

Well, maybe not. In a TedTalk called A Year Offline, What I Have Learned, Paul Miller describes his experience of going totally “off-grid.” I encourage you to watch this video, it is quite interesting. Miller discusses first his dependence on technology, then his total disconnect,and finally his entrance back into technology.


Photo CC By Matthew G.

The interesting aspect of his talk and experience is the lapse and exit from his social circle while being disconnected. While watching, I thought about this. If we are so dependent on technology to stay in touch with our family and friends, I think something is a bit off. Yes, I understand when you don’t live in the same area, technology such as texting and face-timing are such a blessing. However, I worry we are forgetting the meaning, importance, and impact of a coffee date with a good friend or an unexpected surprise visit or even phone call from a special friend or family member.

Perhaps, totally disconnecting is not the best option to be digitally mindful. The good news is, there is another option – limit and simplify. Leo Babauta wrote a great article about just that. You can find the article here.

Babauta lists tips by category of online tools and technologies. Some of those categories are social, email and work, and reading accounts. Some of the tips include limiting time, limiting number of accounts, limiting notifications and letting go. As I read this article, I found myself reflecting upon my own device and technology use.

According to the list, I would say that I am not doing a horrible job at being digitally mindful. I only have a few social media accounts that I check regularly, same with my readings such as blogs, and my email is not all that complicated.


Here I am touring WWII bomber planes! Such a neat experience I’m glad I was present for!

I tend to give extra effort to be mindful when I am spending time with friends and family. Paul Miller talks about the intensity of his conversations when he was offline and I like the idea of creating potential for the same in my life. I know that this is a well-talked about topic but I really think we should at least attempt to disconnect when we are face-to-face with real people. When people are in front of us, we need to be in front of them. I think part of it comes down to common courtesy.

Katrina Schwartz wrote an article that described what happened when teens were asked to give up their phones for three days. (You can read that article here.) One of the quotes that really stuck with me was one of the teens said it was ironic that the older generations who had previously been criticizing them for device use were then the ones who were on their phones while the teen was not. This reminded me of the saying, “Practice what you preach.”

This week of reflecting has reminded me, once again, of the impact technology has on our lives and society. When we give more attention to the device in our hand rather than the people in front of us, we miss out. We miss out on deep conversations, funny picture opportunities, and even some memories.

So, if there’s one thing you remember from this post, let it be this: Be present. Don’t let the power of technology overtake the opportunity to appreciate life’s adventures.



A Girl Being Mindfully Present


New Attempts : ILP Update

I would say my ILP is coming along quite well.

This week I was able to view two new shows in a local art gallery, completed yet another attempt at alcohol ink (or my version of it), and completed both an acrylic and watercolor.

First of all, I really love visiting art galleries!

I just love to walk around and view the pieces while I speculate the inspiration behind them.

IMG_2288This week, a local gallery was housing two new shows. One was the Art Society of Ogallala. This is a group of artists who create in all art mediums, compile several pieces and take them on tour.

The second show was Association of Nebraska Art Clubs, Inc. Each year there are roughly 27 pieces selected from about 700 entries. The chosen pieces then travel the state for one year.

In the back of the gallery is a small courtyard. It is a beautiful, quiet space with a very neat windmill sculpture. Viewing the shows and all the art pieces was quite inspiring. It definitely was a great idea to go before I painted. I was creatively inspired!

Now, onto my alcohol ink.

This week, I tried a different material and method.IMG_2289 In the photo, you will see a wooden square. I applied the sharpie and then used a spray bottle to spray rubbing alcohol. The colors blended and ran to cover the wood nicely.

I also found a porcelain cross at Hobby Lobby. This seemed to work better than wood (because the wood is more porous). The alcohol created a neat effect on the color when sprayed. I’m quite pleased with the way both the wooden square and cross turned out, however, the cross is my favorite.




I drive by a field everyday on my way home. In the field, there are hay-bales. This was my inspiration for my acrylic painting. I think it turned out pretty good.




IMG_2287Last week, I mentioned I’d like to try to include text in my painting. I did so with my watercolor this week.

I choose a nice subtle teal color with yellow and purple mixed in. I choose one of my favorite bible verses to put in my painting. I settled on Jeremiah 31:3. I love the power the verse conveys – an everlasting love. Wow!

My writing could have been better. I just free-handed it with tracing it beforehand. With more practice, I am confident I can improve.




Lastly, I have been wanting to incorporate newspaper clippings with watercolor for some time now. While looking through old newspapers, I found some great images from a story covering the burial ceremony of a soldiers’ remains which were recently recovered after having been lost for some time. There is little that compares to a military burial service. Such a great way to honor our fallen soldiers.


This week, I really enjoyed the pieces I created.  Looking back, I do see some improvement. I found myself paying attention to the small details in my art as well as other artists’ art I viewed in the gallery.

Looking forward to the remaining weeks, I think I will pick 2 or 3 of my favorite methods to focus on. I will continue to reflect and pick my choice techniques.



A Girl  Reflecting on Her Artistic Taste


Leading World-Changing Generations

Remember when I talked about digital citizenship and digital leadership last week? I covered the meaning and importance of teaching it in schools in my post Leading Generations in Digital Citizenship.

This week, I have taken time to research a term which has a similar name but means something a little different.

Digital Activism

So, what is digital activism?


Photo CC By Virtual EyeSee

This is where people use online tools and programs to communicate, connect, activate, and influence others. Currently, I would say the majority of those who would be labeled as digital activists are teenagers.

Teens have discovered a way for them to have their voice heard about something which they are passionate. Seemingly, the most effective method teens are using is social media. They are using social media as a way to reach other people from around the world. They are letting their thoughts and passions be known in the popular way of 140 characters (Twitter). They are communicating with those who share their passions. They are influencing and changing the world.

I recently read an article in TeenVogue called The New Face of Teen Activism. This article discussed the influence social media,specifically Twitter, has on the world. Twitter and other social media sites give teens an outlet unlike any other.


Photo CC By jst.fd

They are letting their voices be heard. They are speaking to others who are struggling with issues such as bullying, depression, suicide, and many other situations. (Read about teens truly making a change in the world here.) Twitter is unique in that it has the ability to give an encouraging word of support but it also is a way for bullies to share degrading comments.

This is where digital activism separates from digital citizenship. The latter focuses on behaving ethically and responsibly. The former is about getting something done and having an influence.

The idea of digital activism sounds good but does it really work?

Well, the answer may not be as straightforward as you think or want. As stated before, Twitter or any social media site for that matter, has two sides. It can be used for positive matters but also, unfortunately, can be used for negative. In another article I recently read called The 6 Activist Functions of Technology, the author Mary discusses the limited number of things technology tools can accomplish. The list includes shape public opinion, plan an action, protect activists, share a call to action, take action digitally, and transfer resources.

Functions like shape public opinion and take action digitally can take some time to come into effect. Other functions such as plan an actions and share a call to action may not be as time consuming to create or write, however, who knows the time it will take for it to circuit the world and actually be effective. I think with anything or any new change, it is a process. I think the potential is great but it requires dedication and passion.

What does digital activism look like?


Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo


Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

As covered in the articles mentioned above, digital activism can look like many different things. It includes but is not limited to: online donations or fundraising, blogs, online social media accounts, online petitions, and online boycotting. I’ve participated in digital activism through fundraising online, writing and sharing my blog and thoughts, and joining groups on Facebook about something I support.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about digital activism is the voice it gives users. I think it is important to teach children and everyone that they have a voice and how to share it. That being said, it is also important to teach them how to do so in a way that is respectful and responsible.

As educators, we want our students to become responsible citizens. We want them to discover their passions. Digital citizenship and digital activism take that a step further. Teaching and modeling digital citizenship and activism will help our students to be courteous of others’ opinions online but also let them know it’s okay to share their voice. And if they do so, they may just change the world.



A Teacher of Potential World Changers

New Style : ILP Update

Hey all!


Isn’t this just beautiful? Photo CC By Karsun Designs

This week has been a busy one. Also, because of the holiday (God Bless America!) I have had absolutely no idea of what day it is…

Anyway, in terms of my Independent Learning Project – Painting, its been a fun week!

This week, I tried my hand at abstract painting. Two of my painting were actually inspired by 1) a storm and 2) me!

Let’s get to the paintings!

First up, my watercolor abstract. Having decided last week that watercolor is the medium I prefer, I was excited to complete this one.

A little backstory on the painting first. We got quite a threatening and severe storm midweek. It was also strange. It seemed to come out of nowhere but it came with a vengeance. There were weird clouds, crazy lightening, booming thunder, tornado sirens, and ridiculous winds! Thankfully, no one was injured, however, some trees and light poles did not fair as well. IMG_2242.JPG

My inspiration for my painting came from the weird clouds. At one point during the storm (while I was standing outside watching it – its a Nebraska thing) the sky was literally split. The West side was dark, mysterious, and troubled while the East was a beautiful blue, normal, and un-bothered by the incoming doom. There was a literal line down the sky – one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

So, as you can see in my painting, I made one side darker while the other was lighter. The added greens, reds, and purples are additions to balance and include other colors.


Next up, my acrylic painting. Painting with acrylic feels more permanent to me. Its not as easy to flow the color with the brush. I’m working to feel more comfortable with using acrylic. IMG_2240

The only thing I had in mind when I began this painting was to use mostly warm colors. You will see that in my choice of reds, oranges, and yellows. I also included some blue and purple to add balance.

One thing I did enjoy about completing this painting was the brush strokes I was left with. I seem to enjoy the texture and movement they provide in a painting.

Another thing I enjoyed was the freedom to just paint and see what I ended up with. I tried to use various lines and include different directions. I am pleased with this end result!


Last up, my mixed medium painting. I completed the background with watercolor and then added the details with acrylic. IMG_2241

The inspiration for this painting was, I guess, myself. I began with my favorite colors as the background. Then, I added a heart which, I suppose, represents love. Along the side is a play on the rhythm of a heartbeat, signifying the steadiness and importance of love in life. Opposite of the heart is a sort of tornado. This could still be linked to the storm or (going deep, here) the troubles and confusion of life. Lastly, I added a faded lightening bolt (again, could be the storm or could signify the impact and strike of knowledge).

The background is not neat and tidy because, well, life is not neat and tidy. Sometimes, life is real messy. I think my painting says that yes, life gets messy but love and knowledge makes it worth the struggle. (Sorry to get all philosophical on you!)


On the agenda for next week is…more painting!

There is another art gallery coming to town that I am excited to check out! I’m thinking about  another abstract watercolor and maybe some text using acrylic. Also, I have an idea in the works for another attempt at alcohol ink.

Stay tuned! (I’ll try to keep it lighter next week!)



An Artist with Meaning Behind Her Art