Women's Retreat Ramblings

So, this weekend I got away. My church has an annual retreat every Fall, and it is one of my favorite weekends of the entire year. It's always fun to laugh with friends and get to know people and to draw closer to God together. And this weekend was wonderful!

It will take me days to process everything that God did in me and through me, but I tell ya, I feel different now than I did on Friday. And, that's the point. I think about God and all the wonderful things He's done for us, and how easy it is to get down about stuff, and then after a weekend like this, I feel more at peace and close to God than I have felt in a very very very long time. And I am thankful.

I was in a place where stress was eating me alive. And, while I can't type out everything I gained this weekend, I can honestly say I'm changed by this weekend. Praise God!

So, while I need to get offline and lesson plan and get ready to return to the real world, I am blessed to have gotten away and recharged.

Awesome stuff.

Have a great day!

:-)

No more kids!

The night before school started, the Lord spoke to me and told me that every kid that was headed into my classroom this year was sent by Him. I was cool with that. I figured it was a good thing to know going into the year. However, this year is shaping into my busiest ever. Yesterday I asked our secretary if we could lock the doors, because I don't want any more new ones. They're good kids, but I am overwhelmed.

I have 23 that I'm servicing right now, and a new one I have to meet on. That puts me at 24.

We have 4 in the referral process. If they all qualify, then I'll be at 28.

I have already moved my morning classes into the Art/Science Room because I am out of chairs for my morning classes.

So, if you could say a little prayer for me, that would be great...

Thanks!

Now I'm headed home to watch House and Bones.

Later!

One person at a time...

So, this weekend has been very different than I had expected. Friday night I was slated to have a date with the couch, and something better happened. A friend invited me to the Teen Challenge Banquet, and Melissa Snow was slated to speak. Melissa is battling Brain Cancer, and is winning. She's a mother of seven, and is still fighting the good fight.

So I went Friday Night and her testimony touched my life. She preached out of Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 29:11, which happen to be two of my favorite parts of the Bible. And, I walked out changed. Her testimony was excellent! She inspired me. I realize you had to be there to get it, but I walked out and told God that I wanted to be a vessel like Melissa. She's just living her life, and is being real in the midst of it all. I'm still processing it all. I like that. It's always good to be challenged.

So, then I got up today and wondered what was in store for me. I knew I was speaking in front of the church, but wasn't sure how it was all going to come out. I had prayed all week about it, so I knew my heart was right, but I still get nervous.

It's funny, you put me in front of kids, and I'm not nervous at all. You get me in front of adults, and it's a whole other story!

And, you know what? It was great! I didn't cry like I thought I might. But, I got my point across, which is what I had prayed for. So, then something happened.

After church this guy walked up to me, and started spilling his life story to me. I had never seen this guy before in my life, and he was so touched by what I had shared that he wanted to tell me. Then I prayed for him.

This doesn't happen to me.

But, I learned something in it all.

If you're real with people, you can make a difference.

One person at a time...

Only One?

This week I began a new rule in my class. And, the kids are HATING it! I actually got the idea from a friend of mine at church that is teaching at a school not far from here. I'm such a mean teacher now...

My kids LOVE candy! I tell ya, candy is magic in the world of my little kiddos! But, there was only one little problem...the kids started EXPECTING candy. For every little thing they would say, "Can I have candy for this?" I was getting testy.

I mean, I'm all for rewarding kids...but, there's a limit.

My rule for about a year has been that if you ask, you don't get one. And, it applies to THE WHOLE GROUP! So if one student asks, noone in the group gets anything! This has caused quite the drama over the past year. But, overall, it has worked pretty well.

So, last time I was home, my Mom got a me a HUGE bag of M&M's. Plain M&M's are my favorite candy! And, the kids know it!

So, I decided at the beginning of this week to start a new rule:
You only get ONE M&M if I give out candy!

And the response has been HILARIOUS! We had marker board races on Tuesday for the first time all year, and if a student got a problem right, they got ONE M&M! You can imagine the responses:

"Just one?"
"That's mean!"
"Don't you like us anymore?"

Kids are amazing. They say what they think, and they also know how to try to manipulate their way into getting what they want...

My response:
"Okay, if you don't want this one, I do!"
And I would eat it!

Then I would say:
"If you can't appreciate what you get, than you will not get any!"

As the week progressed, the kids accepted it..sort of...

Next week, I begin the "Thank You" rule.

It's something a fellow colleague of mine does, and I'm going to implement it into my own classroom...

If they don't say "Thank You" in 3 seconds, they lose whatever they just got!

:-)
Yes, I am a mean, rotten, horrible teacher!

I love my job!

A Crazy Week!

This has been the craziest week so far! Part of my job is Parent-Teacher conferences, and this week I had them EVERY evening, as well as this morning. The earliest I've been home this week has been 7:30pm. So, in honor of all my hard work, I am headed home and it's now 3:29pm. I haven't gotten my "to do" list completely done, but I will take it home. And, I'm taking tomorrow OFF!

Only bummer here is that I can't seem to access the Prayer Room site. Say a prayer. I'm not sure how chipper I will continue to be if I can't access it on a regular basis!

Have a great day, whatever you may doing.

As for me, I have a date with my couch!

Later!

Oddly Enough, Not a Documentary

I long for Fall Break this week not just for the end of the quarter and the break-ness of it all, but for my slumber party with The Crib Chick. I'm spending the night at their coop with this on the DVD!

Deep down inside...

...I believe in God. My favorite place to be on this planet is IHOP-KC, where I can sit, listen, pray, and sing.

...There's more to me than meets the eye. At first glance I may walk a little funny, but I am just like you. Only difference is, I can't run as fast as you can.

...I love to have deep chats with people. I believe there's more to those around me, I just have to look for it sometimes.

...I hate to be yelled at. I'm a tough kind of person in some respects, but yelling at me tears me down. I'm a child of God, and don't deserve to be treated poorly.

...I love to sing. I may not have a voice that could carry a solo, but music is a big part of my life. It makes me smile.

...I love it when someone says, "How was your day?" and means it. Noone deserves to be alone in this world.

...I love to give to those in need. Whether it's money, a handshake, a hug, or a smile, I love to help those around me.

...I love to see others be kind to one another. I hope I'm teaching my students how to do this too.

...I love my family. While I'm still waiting on God to bring me my own family, I am blessed to be a part of the family that I am. Everyone should have what I have had.

...I am an athlete. Obviously not a professional, but deep within me, I love sports. Swimming is my current favorite, and I try to swim regularly.

...I love my friends. I don't take one friend for granted. The past few years have taught me a great deal about friendship and I care about my friends as if they were my own family.

...I love my job. I wake up everyday and look forward to the day. Granted, some days I wish school started at 9am, but I love my job.

...I love my students. One of my students pointed out to me recently that my classroom is a family. Leave it to a kid to tell me what I need to hear.

...I hate Cancer. I've watched many people I love walk through their own little version of Hell. I pray for a cure everyday.

...I love to watch movies. My favorite ones are romantic comedy, sappy "you can do anything" flicks, and movies with kids in them.

...I love to read. My favorite books are Children's Chapter Books. I'm currently trying to read all the Mark Twain Award Nominees. Yeah, you could say I like kids!

...I believe in love. While I am still waiting for Mr. Right, I believe that love is real and worth waiting for the person God has for me.

...I hate violence. I limit myself to how much news I watch, as it depresses me most of the time.

...I believe in the power of prayer. I've prayed for people and had my exact prayers be answered. I believe He hears my prayers daily.

...I believe you don't have be rich to be wealthy. I'm a school teacher, I will never be rich in finances, but I am loved very well. That's worth more than all the money in the world.

...I love it when I connect with a kid. I live for moments where a kid really realizes there's someone who gives a flip about them. It takes a while, but it's worth it.

...I wish I could fix my student's home situations. If only they had what I had...

...I believe maturity is a life-long process. While I still have a great deal to learn, I am glad I can look back on my life so far and learn from it.

...I believe that the people that challenge me personally are brought by God to teach me something. I just pray I learn quickly and not slowly.

...I love dogs. Rudy is the coolest dog on the planet, but don't let Sophie know!

...I pray for someone to be a witness to my life. Sometimes being single is the hardest thing I do, and I long for someone to walk beside me daily.

...I love Camp! I went to camp for the first time this Summer. God showed me so much this summer I can't wait to go back next Summer!

...I love OneThing. My favorite week out of the year is December 28-31 when I go to a conference in KC. At the conference, I am reminded that I'm not alone in my journey with God.

...I believe that "Running is Winning." Everyone has a limp, it just may not be as obvious as mine. And, in that, I believe that God smiles down on each one of us as we're "Running the race set before us." We may mess up and fall from time to time, but God is watching, and cheering us on every step of the way!

...I love to laugh! Everyday I find something to be laugh about! Life is too short to be serious all the time.

...I believe we're all special. God made us all different on purpose! And in that, we're all unique and special.

...I love to love. That's what life is about!

Stay outta jail!

The entire time I was growing up, my Dad would encourage us to stay out of jail as we left the house. It was a light-hearted connection I had with my Dad, and it meant something to me. To the average person looking in, it may have been a bit cruel, but even as I would leave the house in my teenage years, I would have to tell my Dad I would stay outta jail. I was a good kid. My parents could trust my brother and I, so it wasn't a harsh thing, it was a special thing to me. I don't know if I ever told my Dad it was cool, as that may not have been "cool", but it was cool to me. I was (and still am) enormously blessed. I wasn't abused, neglected, or anything by my parents. I had good parents, who acted like adults, and did a great job of raising me.

So last year my class did, "I like you" as our inside joke. You can get to the site if you click on the right hand side of this blog on the "I like you" link. We still do this in my class, and they love it when we do it now because we don't do it very much at all anymore. But this year I started a new phrase...."Stay outta jail." At first it was a joke, and everyone laughed. The scary thing is, for some of these kids, I really mean it. They don't have what I had growing up. And, some of them are already problem children without parents who are adults at home. So, stay outta jail sort of became my motto for the year...until yesterday...

I have a student, Alex, who had been absent two days in a row, and I was concerned about him. He is a bit ADHD, so in some respects the break was good for me. He's a good kid though. If he has his sensory stuff with him, he's a good kid. So, he was back yesterday and first thing in the morning I was notified that Alex needed to talk to me. I knew his class had a field trip, so I figured we'd catch up after the trip. Well, I went by his room, and his regular education teacher said that he didn't have the permission slip so he wasn't going.

I just stared.
What?
I blinked and looked at her.
What?
So I said, "Did you call Dad? He'll let him go."
She looked at me and said, "No, I didn't let any of mine call. They should have brought it back by today."

The kid had been absent the past two days!
I just stared at her.
Thought bubble: What? You've got to be kidding me!
I looked at her, and said, "I think this is one you can make an exception for."
And I said this, not knowing where he'd been the past two days.
She looked at me and said, "Well, with all his drama the past few days, he should just stay here."
What?
What drama?
Stay here? My kids always go on trips!
I looked at her, and said, "Okay, may I see Alex in the hall?"
She said, "sure".

I wasn't sure what to think. I had never, in my 8 years of teaching, had a teacher not let one of my kids call for permission to go on a trip. I'll be the first to admit, my kids typically forget their slips, so calling is a normal thing, but this kid had been gone the past 2 days. What followed made me question this teacher even more.

I pulled Alex in the hall...and has it turned out, his parents were in jail the past 2 days and they hadn't been at school because Grandma was afraid the authorities would take them away.

Yeah, his parents had been in jail.

At what moment in time did the kid have time to say, "Hey Dad, can you sign this so I can go on a field trip?"
His Dad was in jail...

So, I stopped in my tracks.
In jail?
What?
Doesn't matter the charge against the parents, the kid was visably upset and not going on the field trip was going to be even worse for this kid.
I looked at him and said, "Alex, do you want to go on the field trip?"
He said yes, but his teacher wouldn't let him because he didn't have the flippin' slip!

I was pissed. Frustrated. Flabbergasted.
I sent him back to class and told the teacher I was calling Dad.
I didn't ask.
I just did it.
You know what?
His Dad was incredibly appreciative that I called and didn't let his mistake hold his kid back.
I walked back to class and told the teacher that Alex was going.
He smiled when I told him he could go.
He was still upset today, and wouldn't talk, but at least he went on the field trip.
I can't fix everything, but I can fix that...

But in light of this, I'm going back to, "I like you."

I think it's safer...

Later!

A week in review...

In the past 3 days, I've driven many, many, miles, and it feels good to sit for a bit. I have landed at IHOP-KC, which is my favorite place on the planet. I know, unless you've been here, you have no idea why this would be fun. However, I have spent the past 3 hours here, and it's gone by so fast that I can hardly believe it. Amazing...just amazing...

So, the driving the past few days has been centered around the best pizza on the planet. You'll think I'm crazy, but I have a favorite pizza place. Only thing is, it's a 90 minute drive from my house. So, for my Mom's Birthday, I drove there Thursday night, got pizzas, and came back home. I worked all day yesterday, then loaded the pizzas up and went to the parental's house to deliver them. Suffice to say, she was surprised. I am glad. It's always nice to bless someone. I like that. We had fun. And the pizza today (and for the third day in a row for me!) was great! :-)

I had mentioned in a previous post that a friend and I were in a disagreement, and I am THRILLED to report the drama is over! I am so glad. I hate drama. I like it on TV, but not in real life. So, that's probably the highlight of my week! Once we sorted things out this past Wednesday, I have felt more at peace than I have in two weeks! Yippee! I pray it continues.

So, I have done some homework, and am going to head home. I don't want to be worn out for tomorrow. We have a cookout at church and I'm on the team leading it. :-)

Well, have a great day, whatever you may be doing...

Goofball!

So, today the highlight of my day was reading with Goofball. Goofball is one of my favorite students, and he knows it. And he came by after school and I said, "You want to tutor today?"

His eyes got huge!

"Really?" he said.

"Yep."

His Aunt had told me at his ballgame that I could keep him any day I wanted. And, considering today and Friday are the only two days I don't have meetings after school, I opted for today.

So we read a book.

Goofball is a sweet kid, who loves football.

But his goal is to read better.

So, we read together.

And that was the highlight of my day.

Cool stuff.

Have a great day, whatever you may be doing!