All posts by Anna Maria

Jukebox Memories

Music is a powerful thing. It can evoke emotions, convey moods, bring people together, and can trigger memories. Sunday I was listening to a 90s country radio station and a song I hadn’t heard in ages began to play. We tend to think of snapshots or of people when you hear certain songs. Today’s slice is going to do exactly that.

Why Should I Worry-Billy Joel

I can see myself at my grandparents in their living room singing along to this. It was on the Disney Sing-Along-Songs tape. Fun with Music to be exact. I would always watch this one or the Peter Pan one and put on a concert for them.

A Dios Le Pido-Juanes

When I was in high school the first two years my Spanish teacher loved the artist Justo Lamas. He was a Latin singer who would travel around to local high schools performing concerts and providing a positive message of some kind. But then junior year she started Spanish III off by playing a song by Juanes. For the rest of the year when we were practicing conjugating verbs or acting out a scene she would use his music. I can still remember using the dictionary to translate his song La Camisa Negra.


I have 2 distinct memories. The first being senior year of high school.  This was the last song in our field show that halfway transitioned into Let the Sunshine In. Senior year had a very psychedelic feel to it because we played Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit too. The second memory is my freshman fall semester at Marshall University their theater department had chosen the production Hair to kick off the season. I think I went to the show a total of 4 times. Twice was during my UNI 101 class during a dress rehearsal, another time with a friend from that class, and the final time with my entire floor because our RA bought us tickets.

Humble and Kind-Tim McGraw

It had been an unexpected shopping trip with my best friend. We were driving back from the outlets when this song came on. I was listening to it already loving the lyrics because of the simplicity of it and then the lyrics visit grandpa every chance that you can/it won’t be a waste of time/always stay humble and kind came along. I had only lost Pap B two months ago and so I felt the tears prickling behind my eyes. I gripped the arm rest harder and clamped my eyes shut hard. The next thing I felt was her hand slipping into mine and one soft squeeze. Squeezing back I realized two things: I have a kind and wonderful best friend and second-she was going to be an incredible mom.

Teenage Dream-Darren Criss’s acoustic version

Heartbreak. In the beginning this song brought the emotion of joy and love. But eventually it brought heartbreak and hard sobbing because of how much an ex blindsided me. For the longest time I couldn’t listen to this song without feeling a clinch around my heart. But then one day I turned it on and I was okay. And it was because the book had been closed.

Friendship’s Theme-Ernest & Celestine Soundtrack

This lovely track makes me think of 3rd graders of my first long term sub job at Central. Our Silent Reading playlist started with this song and everyday as soon as they heard the opening few notes they knew it was time to get lost in the magic that is reading. That class holds a very special place in my heart and they always will.

Forever and Ever, Amen-Randy Travis

Mam & Pap B. Closing my eyes I can smell their house and see them sitting in the living room. I can hear Pap telling Mam she needs a hearing aid and her becoming all stubborn and flat out refusing. I can see them sitting on the swing on their back porch just enjoying each other’s company and listening to the butterfly wind chimes that Mam bought at Dollywood. Oh how I miss them….

Can’t Help Falling in Love-Haley Reinhart

One April day last year I was sent the YouTube link to this particular song.  The message read when I hear this I think of you. I should’ve figured out then that he loved me but I just loved the song for its sound and how it made me feel safe and secure. It took another two days when he finally told me he loved me. Since then this has become one of two songs that we associate with one another.

Darling so it goes some things are meant to be

Take my hand, take my whole life too

Indeed he has.

❝My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.❞-Sir Edward Elgar


A Dream & Reality

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

These words were spoken by Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28th, 1963. Most Americans and citizens of the world know this part of the speech. He had a dream that went beyond just the African American community. There was the inclusion of other races and it was a beautiful dream.

In the world of education we see this a lot and hear this buzzword a lot: diversity. We know what it means by how does it play a part? In most large cities it’s glaringly obvious of how it plays a part. But if you’re from a small town in West Virginia where a majority of residents are Caucasian it’s not so obvious. I work at my childhood elementary school and I see more diversity there now then when I attended there. Allow me to give you a snapshot of my classmates. There were 2 Latinos, 1 African American, 1 Asian. That’s it. All of my teachers were Caucasian and that was just how it was. I saw zero representation of my ethnicity anywhere and that’s not my parents fault nor anyone else’s. And none of my classmates every pointed out that I had a different skin tone or looked completely different from them. But what’s the point of this background story? And what does it have to do with Dr. King’s dream? Everything. 

Let me put it into better context. I’m the lone teacher at my school that is of another race. A few weeks ago I had a new student arrive and throughout the morning he kept staring at me and smiling. At first I thought he was just happy to be making friends but finally I asked him why he was smiling. He said, “Because my teacher is just like me. I’ve never had a teacher that looked like me.” I asked him what he meant by that and he pointed to his skin and then mine. It was then that I fully understood how this student was viewing me. A few weeks later I get another new student and he’s Latino. When I went to the front office to meet him the second he saw me and I introduced myself as his teacher his smile grew. Later in the afternoon the first student, D, motioned me over and then pointed to himself, me, and K and whispered, “Ms. Barrick, slowly but surely we’re taking over this classroom.” “What do you mean,” I asked. “You know, we’re adding a splash of color to this classroom.” Smiling I knew exactly how he felt. It would have been nice at times when I was in elementary school to have looked around my classroom and seen someone else with my skin tone. I wouldn’t have felt so alone.

As a teacher of another ethnicity I always take the time when I’m seeing so much hate in the news (nationally and locally) to talk to my students about the events. I want them to understand different viewpoints and to realizing not everyone has the same opportunities as themselves. Whether that’s based on the color of their skin, their SES, gender, physical abilities, etc. My classroom is one that fosters inclusion and we value our small family in Room 204 on their character and morals. Not the color of their skin. If you’re seeking some bright and good news come to my room & you’ll find it because I’m so proud of all of my kids.


Untamed Land & Adventure

What if you woke up one morning and you found yourself in a cabin in Virginia. You look down and the clothing isn’t of this time. And most importantly you are not in the year 2018. Instead you’re in the year 1774 and the adventure you’re about to embark on is full of danger at every turn and hidden along the Ohio River.

From Thursday evening to Sunday evening I was on that kind of adventure. A few months ago it was suggested to me that I read this book:


At first when I was told the time period of the novel I wasn’t interested. The Colonial era has always bored me ever since 5th grade and my boyfriend knew that but he kept insisting I would love this book. I kept declining his suggestion telling him there’s no way I would like even a page of it. However here lately my curiosity was growing about this book and so I downloaded a sample. It was just the first 50 or so pages but after 14 I was hooked.  I devoured this book & quickly understood why it was his all-time favorite book. Now it’s not a thin book by any means. It’s a total of 626 page but 100-something of those are full of annotations and a list of Native American vocabulary. It’s set mainly in the Northwest Territories.  Historically it focuses on the settlers moving further into that particular territory and the tribes of that area-namely the Shawnee.

Ever since I finished that novel I decided to stay with the theme of Westward Expansion and because we’ve had two snow days my next pick is Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’ve only read 50 pages but it’s already hooked me in. I was already told numerous times by B that the time of frontier days was harsh and not for the faint of heart. I thought I knew how hard it was but after reading The Frontiersmen and even this book I didn’t fully understand just how strong you had to be not only physically but mentally and emotionally. I had read The Little House on the Prairie books when I was in 3rd grade but now that I read them at age 29 I realize that they were written like an episode of Growing Pains or Full House where everything works out in the end and is all tied up nicely with a big bow. As I was reading his favorite book there were points I stopped and thought how I would’ve handled the situation being presented to Simon Kenton and realized some of them I could handle but others I’m not that quick thinking.  I wonder if any of us could in this day and age. However this novel has given me an idea to do with students once we get to Westward Expansion in Social Studies. My question to you is do you think you could handle being a settler during the time of the frontiersman?


Sunday Lately #158

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe, which is fearlessly led by Angelica (Gardening in High Heels) and myself. We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own worlds. We’d love if you could join us!

In a blink of an eye the first complete week of 2018 is now behind us.  Time for a snapshot review.

Cherishing…my additional free time to read. I read a couple of books while on Christmas Break but then I resumed watching Unsolved Mysteries on Amazon. A few days ago I bought the book The Frontiersmen by Allan Eckert. It’s set during the 1700s which is a time period that I’m typically not a fan of. However by the first night I had read for over 2 hours and found it extremely captivating. I finished it today and I was quite sad to see it come to an end.  Sticking with this time period I’m going to continue with Prairie Fires. This novel is a more in-depth look into the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and now that school is canceled for tomorrow I’m going to have another free day!

Applauding…the love of music my students are fostering this year. I found a ReadWorks Article a Day set about 20th Century Composers for last week. The first day we read about John Cage & his aleatoric music. Thursday was Claude Debussy. After we read that article I had the students complete a Venn Diagram and then we listened to their music. The class was split on whether Cage’s aleatoric music was truly music or not. One student compared it to what one would hear during a scene in a horror film while another compared it to the music the Demogorgon would listen to in the Upside Down. That comparison made me laugh. They loved how dreamy and soft sounding Debussy’s pieces were. Next week we will read about Duke Ellington & Scott Joplin and compare/contrast their music. Then we will compare/contrast Amy Beach & George Gershwin. My students love how much of a musical person their teacher is and one told me, “Ms. Barrick you make music so much fun! Even that boring classical stuff they play at the opera.”

Singing…the new song Bruno Mars released. Finesse has a 90s feel to it and with the addition of Cardi B it sounds almost like a TLC song with Bell Biv Devoe. It’s so upbeat and the perfect song to get me up and moving in the morning.


Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup presented by the Blogger Tribe.Next week’s themes: Redoing, Altering, Borrowing.

Step One




‘Just another mile…’

‘Don’t give up…’

These were the sounds, thoughts and feelings I felt as I was trying to finish that last big hill when I completed the Wheeling Ogden Half Marathon back in May of 2016. Last year I wanted to do it again but in March I caught a bad case of bronchitis and it caused me to miss a lot of training and I knew in May I wasn’t ready for it. From there my mental mindset to get myself to the gym fell to the wayside too. I’ve gained another five pounds since this summer and while that may not seem like a lot I know if I don’t change my mindset now it’s going to continue. Starting today I’ve already drank more water and made myself a healthier lunch.  I know I can do this because I did it before. And just like in 2016 I’ve signed up for a half marathon again. But not the Ogden. I wanted a new challenge and this time I’ve selected the Pittsburgh Half. It’s in the beginning of May and gives me 3 less weeks of training but I can do this.

This is where my One Little Word comes into play.

Steadfast-resolutely or dutifully firm. Unwavering. Loyal. Faithful. Devoted. Dedicated. Steady. True. Single-minded. Uncompromising.

2018 is off and running and so am I.

Welcome 2018!

This morning I woke up to sunshine beaming around the edges of my blind.  Pulling it up I was welcomed with the sight of glittering snow and abundant sunshine. However the sunshine was being quite deceptive. Looking at the temperature on my phone it was a balmy 7 degrees. After getting my coffee fixed and some Cocoa Wheat I sat down to begin writing my Aspirations for this year. But after sitting there for 15 minutes with nothing on my paper I decided that this year I’m doing something different. This year I’m choosing a word-just one word to keep me focused on this year. My word is:

Steadfast-resolutely or dutifully firm. Unwavering. Loyal. Faithful. Devoted. Dedicated. Steady. True. Single-minded. Uncompromising.

What I like about this word is I can apply it in all areas of my life. My job, family, relationship, faith, and fitness. I’m going to attempt to be more steadfast in writing in this blog this year too.

Before I went to work on my room and do some lesson plans this morning I drove on up to the local park and took some pictures.

The photo with the swing set is the view from my window at work.  There was a breeze while I was at the park and the way the snow fluttered off of the branches it looked like glitter. There is beauty in winter, despite the cold, if you’re willing to look for it. I have hope for 2018. Day 1 of 365 is nearly over but I’m happy with what I did today.

A Moment of Reflection

2017…ah what can I say? It’s been a year of ups and downs for most of the world. But in my little corner of the world in West Virginia it’s been full of nothing BUT ups. And I’m grateful for everything that happened to me this year. At the start of the year I had 8 Aspirations for 2017. They were:

  • Read a book a month.
  • Travel somewhere new at least 4x this year.
  • Take more pictures with people and of people.
  • Challenge myself during every workout.
  • Train 4 days a week for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
  • Be more bold.
  • Love fearlessly.
  • Spend more time with my grandmother.

We are in the final few days of 2017 and I accomplished 4/8. 50% isn’t bad but as a teacher I would tell my students there’s a lot of room for improvement.

2017 I did take more pictures with people and of people. I was bold. Never in a million years did I ever think I would do a boudoir photo session. BUT I DID! I spent more time with my grandmother because if there’s one thing I took away from this year is Death is unexpected and if you blink you’re loved can be taken away. I was fortunate enough to not lose anyone in my family but several of my friends had to suffer this heartache so close to holidays it seemed. I loved fearlessly and for once I didn’t get hurt. Actually I’m still loving fearlessly and I plan to continue to do so going into 2018.

2017 brought the fun of Adult Prom with friends and adventures with friends (new and old). However, the biggest and brightest part of my 2017 was being hired at my old elementary school for a 4th grade position. I love this job and all 22 of my kids. In my next post I’ll reflect more on this. But these kids have taught me so much in the course of four months.

I’m very curious to see what 2018 has in store for me. But it’s going to be adventure and I’m ready for it. 2018 let’s do this!


The Calling of the Saints

Every year there’s one Sunday that is quite difficult to get through. All Saints Sunday is a time when every church comes together to remember our loved ones who have passed away. For me the past few years have been hard to to say aloud the names of the my grandparents during the roll call. And at some point during the service the tears build behind my eyes and the next thing I feel are them sliding down my face. When I awoke this morning I knew that today was that Sunday. I was as prepared as I could be or so I thought. And then I checked my Facebook only to learn that a beloved member of our congregation, my church family, had passed away yesterday. My heart broke a little more and I knew then that today was going to be a little harder than planned. For you see, this man had only been diagnosed with leukemia this past July. He was in church a few weeks ago and now he’s gone. There are times when life doesn’t make sense to me and right now is one of those times.

When I arrived at church I sought comfort from my church family and they supplied it. For we were all hurting not only for his family but for our family too. My church is a tight knit group and we would do anything for one another. Even if one is a newer member they will still be there for you. The beginning of the service was okay but there were still a few solemn faces. The first hymn started to play and as we stood to sing I could feel that familiar feeling. At first I fought it and sang clearly for Charlie because I knew he always loved to hear me singing. But by the third verse the tears were streaming down my face & I had to stop.

The sermon for today was about family and how families come together during times of happiness such as weddings and new births and during times of sadness such as death. And even though the sermon was about death and the grief families often feel for months and years after one’s passing my pastor was able to make that grief a little more bearable. The next thing I knew the names of our church members who have passed away were being said. This year though we added a bell being rung after each name was said. I thought it was a nice touch. And then the pastor turned the roll call over to us and the names began to be said loudly and clearly from my church family. I took a few slow breaths and then just as clearly as the others said John & Virginia Barrick. But I could still hear my voice waver. When I said Glen Goddard again my voice wavered at the end and I could feel the tears prickling behind my eyelids. But I kept it together a little better. At the end of the service I hoped and prayed that the church ladies would not want to go to the Court restaurant. Today my heart would not have been able to handle it. This afternoon a friend shared this on Facebook & I thought it was absolutely beautiful.


Let us remember…

Seven Years

Yesterday something big happened. Something that I’ve waited patiently (and here lately impatiently) since the day I ended my student teaching back in 2010. I had an interview at 10:20 AM for a 4th grade and Kindergarten position at my childhood elementary school. At the end of the interview I was told that the only way I’d receive a call if I was the successful applicant. I knew that. I’ve been told that several times in the last seven years. At 12:46 PM my phone rang. Let me repeat that….IT RANG!

I’m now the newest staff member at my childhood elementary school for 4th grade! I tried so hard to remain professional but my new principal mistook my silence for not wanting the position. I told her that wasn’t the case at all.

I went in today to see my room & that was an adventure in itself.  The main entrance was closed because the hallway was being waxed. The rest of the doors were locked & I didn’t have my key yet. Ten minutes later my former 8th grade Lit teacher pulled in and he let me in. After meeting with the principal again and getting my account set up so I can order stuff I was taken to my room. I had forgotten how big the classrooms were!


I was able to move a bookcase, a couple tables, one computer desk since it was on the carpeted area & two book cubbies on wheels. I have two very tall and heavy cabinets that need moved and my desk. When I go up tomorrow I’ll grab two of the college boys that are helping out to move said items. After that I can really begin setting everything up.


I love the view I have from my windows & it’s going to look gorgeous in the fall.


Excited doesn’t even begin to cover the feelings I’m feeling right now! I’ll post again once I have more of my room set up. A part of me still can’t believe it’s finally happened. But I give credit to my long term sub job last fall when I had a 4th grade class from September to January. It gave me the confidence to answer all of their questions about centers, keeping a positive classroom environment, and what amount of experience I could bring to a grade level PLC meeting. Here’s to the 2017-2018 school year!

Sunday Lately #135

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup hosted by the Blogger Tribe, which is fearlessly led by Angelica (Gardening in High Heels) and Katy (Wild and Wanderful). We e-hangout every Sunday, sharing a small glimpse into the past week of life in our own worlds. We’d love if you could join us!

This week’s themes: Pairing, Acting, Opening, Drinking, Balancing.

Pairing:  Reading with some pool time. This afternoon was well spent outdoors reading a new YA novel. Normally I’d sit on a swing and read but today I wanted a change of scenery. I chose to sit near the Splash Zone they call it. It was the perfect spot because I was able to get the mist from the fountains.



The slides are the latest addition to the pool, but they don’t open until tomorrow night. I may just have to go up there tomorrow night after the gym.

Acting:  Like I’m thrilled that it’s almost time to go back to school. I’m really not. Can we have another month off please?

Opening: Thinking more open-mindedly and more positively. Between something that happened this past week and today’s sermon I’ve decided it would be wiser to be more positive minded.

Drinking: More water!

Balancing: Myself on my new thinking place. Wednesday night I finally ventured down to our new docks. Well they’ve been there for over a year but I just NOW finally went all the way down onto them.


If there’s ever a night I don’t want to drive out on 536 I can always come down to this spot. However I did learn that anytime a boat went by the whole thing rocked and I had to re-balance myself slightly.

Sunday Lately is a weekly linkup presented by the Blogger Tribe.Next week’s themes: Instagramming, Lifting, Embarking, Producing, Approving.

Sunday Lately with Blogger Tribe