Conference Eve

Tonight is the night before I begin my favorite 4 days of the year. I am leaving in the morning for the OneThing Conference hosted by the House of Prayer in Kansas City. I will be in the midst of amazing worship, prayer, and teaching for the next few days. This is the first time in a few years I'll be attending the conference by myself, and to be honest I am glad. I need a few days alone with God. I know for the past several years God has taught me a great deal at the conference and I am sure this year will be the same. Needless to say, I'm excited!

And for those of you reading the blog who sponsored me by buying pop this year, my total came to a little over five hundred dollars. It's enough to pay my hotel costs. I had set back extra money for other expenses, so this week is basically free. Thanks for your support. For this single gal, it means a lot to be able to go without getting into debt. THANKS!

So, I am signing off for a few days. I won't be taking the computer because the hotel charges $10 a day for internet. I'll just wait and blog when I return. I don't want to waste money on something I can have for free after the conference!

So until then, HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Be blessed!

At Home at IHOP-KC again...

Before I go into my deep ponderings for the day, I wanted to take a moment and give two thumbs up for the movie "Marley and Me." I went and saw it this afternoon with my parents, and I can honestly say it was one of the best movies I've seen in a while. The book, written by John Grogan, is one of my all-time favorite books. A couple years ago it was passed around through my family, and I LOVED the book. I figured the movie wouldn't do the book justice. And, I can honestly say, it did. I highly recommend this movie, and book if you haven't read it. I will warn those of you with little little kids, it does have a bit of language in it, so you will want to wait until they're a bit bigger to see it. I'll save my ponderings on language in movies for another day... (be glad!)

This evening, I rode into Kansas City to join Misty's team in worship. Justin Rizzo led the set before it, and I was in on about an hour of that set before Misty's team came out. It was all intense worship tonight. And, the prayer room was packed. I think many people came in for the conference early and are enjoying the regular prayer room before the conference kicks off on Sunday.

And, as I shared the other night, the flow time was the best part for me. Well, almost, a few of the songs tugged at my heart, but the flow time caught me...again.

Misty sang out, "I believe that You move at the sound of my voice." Honestly, this isn't a new phrase for her, she has it in at least a couple of songs on her CD's. Tonight though, it caught me.

I mean, I pray a lot. And not always the way you think. I pray in my head or outloud, so it's not always the praying where your head is bowed and your eyes are closed. I think you can pray anytime anywhere without letting the world know you're praying. And, I believe that God hears every prayer. I really do.

Do I believe He ALWAYS moves at the sound of my voice? I'm not sure. And, to be honest, that bothers me. I believe He hears me, I just don't think He always moves the way I ask Him to. Otherwise, EVERYONE I have prayed healing for, would have been healed this side of heaven. And, in reality, God healed several by taking them to be with Him. That's not what I prayed for.

I will say that the flip is true too. There are people I have prayed healing for, and they have been healed. I don't know that it was my specific prayer that healed them, but I don't care. Our faith is built incredibly when we see something come to pass when we've labored in prayer over it.

Prayer is a faith challenge in a sense. Most people I talk to have labored in prayer for things, and at one point or another in their journey have had a prayer not answered. Seems a lot of people I talk to believe in prayer, but don't always expect to see results.

I guess it's all part of that "FAITH" walk I keep coming back to.

I know tonight Misty's phrase, "I believe that you move at the sound of my voice" has challenged me to actually go deeper in prayer.

Through all my typing here, I do believe He does move at the sound of my voice...I guess I just have to be content whatever His move may be...

Blessed

Once again, I found myself incredibly thankful that God placed me in the family that He did. It was a typical Christmas Day for me, which is to say it was full of laughter, joy, fun, and relaxation. I realize that not everyone is as blessed and there was a day I took this for granted, but I don't anymore. You don't pick your family, God does. And, I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful group of people to be able to call "family."

In short, I am blessed.

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine was...

There's not one thing about today I would change, even if I could...

And that's what I call "Blessed."

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers!

It is my prayer that everyone reading this will have a very special day with family and friends...and will remember Jesus in the midst of it all.

I hope you a wonderful Christmas, with happy memories that will last a lifetime.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

"Things don't care."

Today has been sort of an ideal day. I have been in my chair for most of the day...reading, surfing the web, reading, playing with the dogs, reading, watching a movie, watching KU play ball, and of course, watching the TV show House.

During the show, there was a quote that struck me.

"Things don't care."

That statement caught me. This time of year we put SO MUCH emphasis on things. What we get and give to those we love...what we receive from those we love...things.

The things don't care about us. Why do we care about things?

It's people we should be caring about. Time spent with them and memories to last a lifetime.

Yesterday Roxie climbed on my chest for the first time ever and I actually got a picture taken of it.

That's just one example of a memory that will last me for years to come.

That's what matters.

People...and puppies...not things...

Hum....

Christmas Break Top Ten List

I was able to be a bum today, as well as bond with my parents and the pups. It was a very relaxing day for me, which was a gift. My Dad and I went out and did a bit of shopping and we got to talking about what our top ten list of movies would be. I am pondering that, and my list will be posted in the days to come. For tonight, I have decided to do something a bit different...

I'm doing a Christmas Break Top Ten List. A list of highlights when I'm on break at the parent's house.

10. Not dealing with children who aren't on medication when they should be.
9. Surfing the net on my laptop in "my" chair.
8. Watching movies.
7. Wearing Windpants and hoodies everyday.
6. Not needing to be anywhere at any particular time of day.
5. OneThing Conference December 28-31.
4. Sleeping in.
3. Reading books.
2. Spending time with friends and family.
1. Cuddling with Roxie and Rudy!

Stay tuned for further Top Ten Lists!

Later!

One True Thing








One True Thing is streaming over on Hulu right now. I watched it yesterday while attacking some Christmas knitting.

The irony of this is totally available to me. When the movie first came out, my whole family commented how much I seemed like the Renee Zellweger character (especially when they refer to her and her best friend as "The Sylvia Plath Twins") and here I am just a few years later, doing the Christmas knitting and hoping my mom will be all right this Christmas.

By the time it got to this clip, the knitting was almost done and I was sobbing uncontrollably. Don't worry, you'll only see the five minute clip here.

Weathering the Cold

This morning I awoke and stayed in bed for a few minutes doing the debate...do I go to IHOP-KC for church or stay in bed? I knew that the weather forecast was for a high of something ridiculous like 8 degrees, not counting the wind chill. Of course, I decided to go.

Matt Gillman led worship, which was incredible. Matt has always amazed me. Just by looking at him, you wouldn't know he has the INCREDIBLE voice and ability to lead a group of people in song. It was an amazing set. At one point we did "Clap your Hands all Ye people" and the intensity was incredible. I stood there and laughed. I have missed intense worship since I was up here at Thankgiving. I just smiled...a lot. It was great.

I was expecting to hear Mike Bickle preach, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bob Sorge was scheduled to speak. Don't get me wrong, I like Mike, but I have always wanted to hear Bob preach. Bob has an interesting story actually.

Years ago he was an active pastor and worship leader. From what I understand he was a very annointed worship leader. Then he had some sort of vocal chord injury and he can't talk now. He whispers incredibly loudly into the mic, which they turn up more than usual so you can hear him. I have always wanted to see him in person. He's written several books, which I have never read, but I have always been intrigued by his story.

So today he preached and I really enjoyed it. He had several good points which had me taking several notes. My favorite nugget that I got this morning was, "We're not to despise the means God uses to get us where He wants us." That gripped me. I will be pondering that one for days to come. It was a short sermon due to his voice, but it was ALL very good.

I ate lunch in KC and headed to the prayer room for the afternoon. Jon Thurlow led two sets and Nathan Panke led another. I tell ya, I feel so at-home there. It was a very good, relaxing day. I got my Bible Study lesson done and read more of "The Negotiator" while I was there. It was wonderful. I am glad I weathered the bitter cold and went.

So now I'm back at my parent's. Both dogs are getting my attention and I'm curled up with my book and laptop.

What a great way to spend a break!

Later!

Wisdom and Revelation

So tonight I drove back into KC for another set led by Misty. I will admit, I debated about going because it is SO COLD here and my leg tenses up when it's bone chilling cold like this. In the end, I knew I needed to go. So, I put the book I'm absorbed in right now aside and went.

I find it amazing how different things are at IHOP as opposed to other worship settings I've been in. Not that the others are bad, they're just different. And honestly if everywhere was like IHOP, I don't think it'd be quite so special to me.

Last night was a night of deep, slow, intimate worship. I loved that.

Tonight was a night of intense, fast-paced worship. I loved that too.

And in the midst of it, they prayed out for God to give us more wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (It's actually out of Ephesians in case you were wondering.) What struck me tonight was that we never have all the wisdom and revelation that God has for us. At IHOP they typically pray that at least once during my time there. I like that because He always has more and more to show us. It never stops. I like that...it makes walking this journey out this side of heaven more exciting.

Anyway, while tonight isn't quite as thought-provoking as last night, it was still really good.

Well, I need to crash. I have to drive back in for church in the morning!

Later!

What does love look like?

I made my way to Kansas City this evening to join in an evening of worship with my favorite worship leader, Misty Edwards. Misty has been my favorite worship leader at the House of Prayer for several years and she had taken time away from leading for a while, and tonight I was able to sit in on the set and relax before the Lord a bit.

Without meaning to get too spiritual on you all, (I know many of my readers aren't!) I wanted to share something neat that happened in the set. At the House of Prayer they do worship songs that are popular in that setting, and then they do "flow" time where they just sing whatever is on their hearts. I like the flow time because we don't have that in my church. Without getting into a big, drawn-out description, I enjoy the flow time because out of that God seems to speak to me in those moments.

In one of the "flow" cycles, Misty sang out, "What does love look like?"

That one phrase pierced my heart. I love to talk about love. How we love each other, the best ways to love people, etc. But, I had never thought about "What does love look like." I was moved.

Then she sang about Jesus on the cross. And, it grabbed me. I have been walking with God for 11 years and I had lost the depth of Jesus on the cross. I had allowed the cross to be something I take for granted. As she described Jesus on the cross with arms wide open, his heart fully exposed, I was excited to have that revelation brought back to me.

I needed that. I have struggled this year with Christmas. It seems each year I struggle more and more just because we give each other gifts, but don't always meditate on what Christmas is really all about. We give people we love gifts to show we love them, when in reality they already know that...why give a gift to show it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming Anti-Christmas at all. I'm just saying that I had personally come to a place where I had forgotten the depth of the cross and the fact He died for me. So tonight was very very good for me.

And of course, it didn't stop there. I was driving to my parent's house and I took it a step further.

In today's terms, what does love look like?

I started pondering and thinking about my life and the people in my little world. And here are just a few ways I've seen love first-hand.

My parents did an AWESOME job of raising my brother and me. They love me today with an unconditional love that can't be put into words, but you can see it in action. That's what love looks like.

I witnessed Mr. H. and his wife adopt a girl. After waiting for a long time for the right child, God gave them the perfect one for them. And this girl could have been kept by a young parent who wasn't ready to have a child, but instead Mr. H. and his wife love her unconditionally. That's what love looks like.

I watch the staff I work with deal with impossible situations in the lives of the students that God has put in each of our paths, and they love them unconditionally. That's what love looks like.

A friend of mine is walking through a season with his wife and she is very sick, and he's in there praying for her and supporting her the best he can. That's what love looks like.

Everyday I have a student drop by my room at the end of the day and we joke back and forth about random stuff. He's a neat kid, who I am glad I have in my life. But, if I'm out of my room for some reason, he leaves me a note on my computer each day saying, "bye. see you tomorrow". That's what love looks like.

I have watched several loved ones walk through Cancer and they have become stronger, better people because of it. And in the midst of it the people who support them do incredible things too. That's what love looks like.

I have walked through some drama as of late, and the people that I have let in on the situation have prayed for me and loved me in a way that I've never ever experienced before. That's what love looks like.

While this list could go on and on forever, I need to read a bit before I crash...

So, one final thought on what love looks like...

Roxie and Rudy are incredible dogs. So many times people feel they must talk ALL THE TIME to keep conversation going or to support a loved one when they're walking through stuff. Dogs on the other hand, just sit and cuddle.

And that my friends, is the simplest form of what love looks like...

You're A Mean One Mr Grinch

If you're wondering, it's me.

I'm the mean one. The only one who doesnt' give their class a party or let children play the last day of the semester. We're doing reflective writing.

I'm the mean one. Anyone else with me?

It's all about flexibility...

So, today we were back in school and I have to say it was the least productive day with my students that I've had all year. While it was fun for the kids, they mainly did arts and crafts today in their rooms so that left me with time to get paperwork done. Which, I should say, was nice.

So, now that my paperwork is done, I need to go run a few errands before relaxing with my new book.

So while my lesson plans were thrown out today, it was a pretty good day.

Later!

Knitting And The Single Woman



...or How I Ended Up With A Phone Sock



Once I realized that this fetching sock was too large for my sister's ipod, I was left to find another use for this beauty. It was still on the needles at the time and when my spirit club co sponsor noticed it, I told him I was experimenting with ipod socks.


My ulterior motive, of course, was to feel him out to see if he'd want it...


I need to stop and talk about my spirit club co sponsor. He is perfect. My love for him is deep and pure and platonic (because, seriously, he's about nine years old or something...). He is perfect for our silly club and he loves hand knits. When I gave him a hat, he went right inside to look at the striping and commented on how much he loved the inside. What!?


Comment sometime on the beauty of the wrong side of a hand knit. It's how to love a knitter.


So I was all ready to wrap this chunk of yarn and glory for my buddy until he said, "I really want an ipod sock, my wife promised to make me a felt one, but that hasn't happened yet."


Dang. Is it a strange moral line in the sand that I won't make this man something his wife promised him? I've met his wife and love her, I'd amputate my hand before I'd offend her.


So I'm left to use this sock on my phone. It might be where it should be. Could anyone else really appreciate this perfect graft at the bottom? I doubt it.

Choices and Decisions

I am on Snow Day #3 in my little corner of the world and decided to move from the couch, which has the WARM electric blanket to surf a bit. It may seem strange to hear me say this, but I really did want us to have school today. There were a few things I wanted to do with my students that probably won't be done due to the short week. But, then again, our lives will go on.

With all this free time, I've thought a lot about choices and decisions. I always get a bit reflective as the year comes to an end. I look back on the year with some wonderful memories that will have me smililng for years to come, and I also have some memories that I would like to forget for the rest of my life.

I imagine that's just life. I mean, without a bit of challenge there would be no reason to walk with God and have faith. I could lean on my own understanding and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. And trust me, that wouldn't be healthy!

In the midst of it all, I think God gives us enough wisdom and knowledge at times to let us make our own decisions. Afterall, if it isn't a door he wants me to walk through, things won't work out.

So, I am thinking I need some change.
A change of scenery.

I don't know what that means. I mean, you can ask anyone close to me, I HATE and I mean HATE change.

But for the first time in my adult life I really feel as if something needs to be changed...re-adjusted.

So, I'm in the prayer stage. And in the thinking stages.

And I know that most of my reading audience that knows me well knows what I'm thinking. So, I am asking all who read this for some prayer support.

While I believe that God will answer my prayers in my own prayer time, I also believe that God honors it when we pray for one another. In the past few weeks I have truly felt the prayers that people have prayed for me.

So, in all my ramblings, I guess this is more of a prayer request than anything else.

As much as I hate to admit it, the idea of change scares the begeebers outta me.

:-)
Later!

They're Not Hats, Just Trees

I have a tiny forest of felted trees from Mason Dixon Knitting, Outside the Lines going right now. Two different friends of mine today thought I was making rather artistic hats--not the case. Here are my favorite three--the buttons are actually pink even though they look red here.

I almost hate to give them away.

You Cannot Be Sad, Part II

Sorry, can't write about this while my toes are tapping uncontrolably!

You Cannot Be Sad, Part I

In order to get us through this long last week of school, complete with two days of State Testing, first home basketball of the season, writing folder compliation, one act play, completion of Christmas knitting and finals; I'll be offering a gift each day.

Things you cannot be sad while viewing

That's an awkward title, but I'm too danged happy to fix it.


We kick off with the real harbinger of Christmas in my family: Emmett Otter. My sister and I watched it as kids on HBO and the first year it came out on video, I was in college. My sister had it playing on the TV as I walked in the door from finals.

If these woodland creatures don't make you smile, you are dead and broken inside.

TGIF

I tell ya what, all of the teachers in my building are glad it's Friday. For some odd reason, I thought it was just me who was struggling with the kids. As it turns out, I heard a lot of teachers sharing the same frustrations I was feeling. To be honest, in my classroom the kids aren't that much worse, I just find myself less tolerant this week. I have one child who is still off his meds, so he wears on me. And, Renaldo was in fine form today, choosing not to take a Reading Test that he had studied for all week with Grandpa. I had to walk him out at the end of the day to inform his Grandpa of the events. I tell ya, it's good we have 2 days off...it seems everyone needs a break.

I was even walking through the office today and there were about 4 kids sitting there, waiting to be seen because they had been in trouble, and the secretary says, "everyone, HUSH!" I just looked at her and said, "I feel your pain, I really do." To which she replied, "We're fed up with it. We need a break." Amen!

The word is that a "wintry mix" is headed our way Sunday Night into Monday. Perhaps a snow day would help too. Of course, it all has to be gone before Friday because I need to head to the Parental's House next week. :-)

For now, I'm gonna go tutor and relax a bit.

Have a GREAT weekend!

An email

I got an email today from the Public Library saying the books I requested are available for pick up. AND the kid I was going to tutor today from 4-5 is not able to tutor today. SO I get to leave NOW and run by the library and pick up the books AND head home to read.

I don't have worship team practice tonight, or any other commitments.

I tell ya, it's gonna be a good evening!

Later!

Forgiveness

From Real Live Preacher...

Yoon Dong-yun, the only remaining member of the family killed this week when a Marine pilot crashed into a San Diego home doesn't plan to sue, he's forgiven the pilot. He prays for him, in fact, that he won't suffer mental anguish from the tragedy. Read more here.

I won't even cheapen this with commentary.

Music To Test By (Pretend It's Postdated To Tuesday)

This song drops my blood pressure every time I hear it. I've soopa favorite-ed it on Pandora and it's on every playlist I have right now. One cannot be sad whilst listening to this song and it played in my head a bit during testing.

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, Okie and Bad Ass. Kim, make note.

I Am The State

So we're one-third through testing now. The writing test is done and we've two glorious days of multiple choice before we call it a semester.

I wanted to post some music in homage to the season, kind of like I did last year, but I was dog tired and it never really occurred to me that day that I even have a blog (sorry, I think of you sometimes but dang, I couldn't even get to the bathroom). If I think about it tonight, I'll throw up some music and you can pretend it's postdated.

Mostly, our kids have a good attitude about testing. They want to do well but don't stress too much about it. I have, however, one group of kids that seems to be the perfect storm for silliness. They don't mean to talk all the time, but they must be constantly occupied or they will grab each other and make fart noises, they just can't help it.


So anything I tell the kids to do is followed by a threat of the State.


"If you speak at all before everyone has finished the test, I have to report exactly what you said to The State"
(Thankfully, this one didn't backfire on me, I can imagine what some kids would say to "The State")

"If your cell phone goes off during the test, I have to report it to The State and everyone's test will be invalid. You'll all have to retake it."

"I have to report to The State anyone who finishes their essay within half an hour. They suspect that you haven't tried if you do it too quickly."


It all really worked. The threat of The State was enough to get everyone working and behaving. I like to imagine that my kids all pictured this guy behind a desk, waiting to catch them in wrongdoing...




...except he probably wears a tie to work. Since he doesn't have a neck, he sort of jauntily hangs it off the panhandle.

Not Sure, But I Bet It's Dirty

Real question today:

"Miss, what's a biological narrative?"

Support Group Available?

I have to admit, I have a problem. I am addicted...it's an old addiction that I have just recently picked back up. And it's taking up ALL of my free time. I now get ALL my work done at school before I leave so I can devote myself to my addiction.

Are you ready for this?

I'm addicted to READING BOOKS!

Yes, I know...it's something to be REALLY concerned about.

I mean, I have to make myself put the book up and sleep each night. Otherwise I probably wouldn't sleep.

I will watch TV and read at the same time.

I tell ya, it's quite serious.

I need to logout so I can run to Wal-Mart so I can get home and READ before Homegroup tonight.

Anyone know of a support group available?

I'm told the first step is to admit there's a problem...

Later!

Limo Ride #2

I was in the middle of teaching Reading this morning and the office buzzed for me. They wanted to know if it would be possible for me to escort some of the kids in a limo to Cici's Pizza. I said, "sure." I went last year but I hadn't volunteered this year because I figured that they had already asked others to do it. I sent my kids back to their classes and went up to the office and let me pick which group to take. I opted for the 4th and 5th graders. I will admit that was selfish of me. The big kids know how to get their pizza and beverages without much help, so I was basically there to keep an eye on them without much hassle.

I only had ten kids, and they were all REALLY well behaved. I sat there at the table and looked at them and figured out really quickly that they are all from good homes. They are all probably from higher income homes, but that's just my estimation I'm not sure on that. And, honestly, I think I needed that. I think I needed to be reminded that some of these kids are from good homes like the one I had when I was growing up. I spend so much of my time with kids that have parents that are less than ideal that it was refreshing today to be with those kids.

Of course, the free pizza was a treat too! I'll admit, Cici's isn't my favorite pizza, but when it's free it's not all bad!

Hehehe!

9 school days left...I can't wait for the break!

Later!

Ms. Popularity...sort of...

Today I felt as if I was Ms. Popularity, although I will admit that I didn't want to be. I was told that this afternoon there would be fun activities for my fifth graders and not to expect them. I was okay with that because I wanted to do a few things with my fourth graders in their math stuff. I was actually going to get a big of a break too, which I needed.

Of course, it didn't last long. My new kid decided he wanted to be RIGHT BESIDE ME this afternoon. I sent him back to class once and he came back saying, "But I don't want to watch the movie." I told him I needed a break and to go back to class. He came down a few minutes after that stating that he just wanted to be by me. I'll be honest, I needed a break and I sent him back to class.

I know, you're thinking, don't ya get a break throughout the day? Yes, I do. But, I had had this kid most of the morning (with the exception of the assembly) and he required every free second I had. I. was. worn. out.

It often amazes me how kids can do that to us teachers. Then I remember what homes these kids come from. This kid who wore me out today is currently living with his Grandma because neither Mom or Dad can take care of him properly. And, neither of them seem to want him.

So, I guess it's safe to say I'm just glad it's the weekend. I tend to be refreshed and rested on Mondays because to be honest he wasn't any worse than he usually is, I was just more worn out than usual. Therefore, I think it's good we have 5 days on, 2 days off.

And, of course, two weeks from today we begin our break. :-) Not that I'm counting or anything.

Later!

My Racist Friend, Part II

So this morning, this lady told me that her jokes weren't so bad.

Because a Jewish kid told them to her daughter.

7 Posts About The Same Thing

I've been tagged by Hudd at Adventures In Teaching and she's asked me to write seven random facts about myself. Clearly, she's either an eternal optimist or isn't aware that I am somehow the worst tag-ee ever to blog. I'm flattered, though, I just can't seem to come up with anything to write about except selling school t shirts or State testing. Seriously, too close to the end of the semester. I am bleary eyed and nasty.



Instead, in her honor, I will start a whole new meme! I'll call it...



Seven Posts On The Same Topic



Find old entries on your blog that center around the same topic and give us the links to them. We'll get to know your back catalog and your hits will shoot up (even if it's false inflation and only for a short time).



My topic, appropos of the season, is State Testing!!!

Because my school is on a block schedule, we have testing in both the Fall and the Spring. You'll see entries from both times of year.

My very first English class (after teaching Speech/Drama for 10 years) was in 2004. I gave my very first End Of Instruction exam and learned along with my students. Here's an account of that time. I still often wish I could tell people I "got the finga" for them.

December of 2005 was full of all sorts of testing comedy. I had funny kids, I suppose that contributed to the situation. It was also at the height of our testing incentive efforts (we've since scaled back). The zillion year old monitor I had for the multiple choice test was worth two entries. I also shared some of the keys to my testing success.

That's four, and it only covers two testing season! Knit yourself a hat and hang onto it, there's more!

The next testing season was a hard one. We were forced to jump through new hoops to prove to district administration that we were doing our jobs. We did all kinds of review with these kids. It was at the end of this most madcap of all testing seasons that my dad went into the hospital and passed away two months later. Reading these entries were like reading the last words of the person I used to be.

Someone at Admin read a book again and that year they decided that students should test in their classrooms--except for when they can't. It was awesome. At the end, I was able to reflect on the whole time and hatched a profound thought that I chew on to this day.

My trip down memory lane of testing ends with last December. For the record, I still laugh at these teachers who just got State Exams. Their fresh panic makes me look so very Zen.

So now, it's time to tag. Since I am starting the meme, I am for once going to tag some folks.

Let's start with Hudd, since she helped me to this idea in the first place.
and we'll add to the list
Ms Cornelius
Mister Teacher
Jim
The Crib Chick

As always, consider yourself tagged if this interests you and if any of you try this, drop a comment.

Back in the Routine of Things!

So here I am back at work. Things are going along fine. No real issues.

Well, other than D.D. thought he'd take a jacket from Lost and Found and make it his own. But, hey, I am going to call his Mom tonight and talk to her anyway. He's been off his patch for 2 days now, and THANKFULLY he'll have it back tomorrow. Honestly it hasn't been as bad as I expected, but I'm ready for him to be back on it tomorrow. :-)

So, we only have 12 school days until break.

Yes, I'm counting.

Yes, I'm ready today. So are the kids.

12 days.

I can't wait until break.

Later!

Roxie's Thoughts for the Day...

Hey All!

Roxie here. I decided that Rudy shouldn't be the only one to steal the computer and blog, so I have captured the computer while everyone is busy doing their own stuff. Shortone said it's okay. She knows I take my time on things.

Today has been really fun. Shortone came out of her room just like she has the whole week and we played with toys! Every morning she plays with Rudy and me before she does anything else! It's awesome having her here!

The first part of the afternoon all the people here were really vocal about some game called football. They had the T.V. on and were often yelling loudly and clapping during the game. Rudy and I often barked when they got really loud...it kinda scared me. Shortone said it was odd just because she really doesn't follow football but she seemed to have fun. And they were happy at the end of the game, so I'm pretty sure their team won.

Shortone was really nice to me throughout the game and would pet me anytime I would come near her. This seems to upset Rudy quite a bit, and he would get in our way a lot, but I could tell Shortone really wanted me to feel included.

Shortone seems to be going through something or other, I don't know what, but I've really tried to be extra nice to her this trip. And, we've cuddled from time to time. She seems to really like that. It's not like I can talk to her or anything but I can cuddle. I think that's all she needs now. She just needs a little love right now, I think.

Shortone left with Mom for a while after that. I went down and hung out with Dad while they were gone. Dad is really cool. He has treats in his office so it's always fun to be with him.

After Shortone and Mom returned, they put stuff on ANOTHER tree! I guess Shortone didn't have enough fun yesterday doing the one little tree, so she and Dad put stuff on a bigger tree. And, Dad put a tree out on the porch! What is it with all these people and trees? There are TONS outside and noone's putting stuff on them. I don't get it. I noticed that they put stuff lower on the other tree today...maybe I'll sniff some of those since they're at my level!

Shortone made pizza and I got to sit with her a bit while it was baking. I even got scraps afterward! I REALLY like having her here!

Well, it's time to go for a roadtrip, so I need to logoff for now.

Shortone now thinks I'm one of the TWO coolest dogs on the planet. Yippee!

Later!

Rudy's Thoughts for the Day...

Hey All!

Rudy here. I have taken Shortone's computer to write a post for tonight. I really like having Shortone here, as she's really nice to me, but there are things I don't understand about her.

One thing I don't understand is why she put objects on a tree today. There are tons of trees in the world, and when I go on a walk, I don't see objects on the trees like there are in this room. What's up with that?

Also, she's had her nose in these things called books. She's never looked at these objects much before, so it has perplexed me. Especially yesterday when she was reading a book with a CAT on the front of it! What's wrong with her? She's not a cat person, she's a dog person! I left her alone while she read the book that she called "Dewey". I couldn't wait for her to be done with that book so she could focus on her DOG friends. But then she got out ANOTHER book! What's wrong with her? So you know what I have done TWICE today? I've gotten right in her face and she has said, "Okay, let me put the bookmark in the book" and she's played with me!

Actually, I should be fair. See, we share MY chair when she comes to visit. She has her spot and I have mine on the chair and we get along GREAT. In fact, each time I leave my chair to do something and come back she ALWAYS takes a moment to pet me! She ALWAYS makes time for me. Kinda makes me wonder why she doesn't have her own dog. She's good with me and my sister Roxie. Then again, if she had her own dog, maybe she wouldn't be with me so much. Hum...

So she's been here a few days and she has played with me A LOT. In fact, Mom and Dad say that she "spoils" me. Whatever that means. I just like having her here because we cuddle a lot and she pets me when we cuddle. I hope she stays a while, we get along well.

Anyway, I should go. It's almost time for me to get brushed by Dad.

Later!

Roxie

Today is a day we give thanks for all that we've been given. Honestly, I find that I thank God daily for what I've been given, I just don't share it with everyone in the universe. However, today I want to share something I am deeply thankful for as I sit at the Parental Unit's House on Thanksgiving.

Roxie is a dog my parents rescued a year and a half ago and has become just as much as member of the family as anyone else. I have posted several times about their other dog Rudy because he's so easy to love. Roxie isn't exactly like that. Don't get me wrong, Roxie is extremely sweet, but it hasn't been until this trip that we've truly bonded. Roxie is very selective about who she cuddles with and how long. I knew she liked me, but we had never really cuddled. She likes to cuddle, but it is ALL on her terms. Who, when, and where are all determined by Roxie.

So when I arrived here Tuesday Night, Roxie was in my face for the first 20 minutes. In fact, she kinda wore me out to be honest because she wanted to be RIGHT IN MY FACE. I was shocked.

And today I had a real highlight. I was watching TV, minding my own business, and she got on my lap and cuddle for a whole 5 minutes! IT WAS AWESOME!

Okay, well, it may not be winning big bucks or conquering the world, but it was a highlight for me.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! LATER!

A Walk to Remember

I have managed to be a bum most of today. I did some early Christmas Shopping, but most of my day has been spent in my chair with a book. The Book is titled "A Walk to Remember" by Nicholas Sparks. I really enjoyed this book. It is a great story line and I was sufficiently sucked into the book. Mr. H. and I have said MANY times before that the sign of a good book is that you can't put it down. This book was like that for me. Granted, it was predictable and sappy, but I REALLY enjoyed it. So, if you're in the mood for sappy and predictable, I suggest you read it. If you're not, well, hey, that's fine.

Now onto my next book. I'll keep ya posted. Afterall, there are several days left of this extended weekend!

Later!

Home

I have had quite a bit of drama lately, and it feels good to be at my parent's house for the Thanksgiving. I've got my chair, the two coolest dogs on the planet, books to read, shows to watch, and a laptop to surf the net. Oh yeah, and of course, family to visit with. What more can I ask for? Hum...?

Bosom of Family



My dad's hometown is a nine hour drive from here. We used to leave after dad would get off work and all of us would sleep while dad would drive. I can remember waking up on those trips and hearing dad sing along with Harry Chapin to stay awake. This is classic car trip music in my world.

We leave tonight for Grandma's house where we'll holiday with eighteen of our family members. I didn't realize until Sunday that Wednesday would be the 20th anniversary of my Grandpa's death. I'm glad we'll get to be there. In my memory, losing Grandpa was the first death that affected me.

I'll miss hearing Harry Chapin in the middle of the night and I'll miss Grandpa meeting us at the door with some silly 3am joke. But I'm blessed beyond belief to have these memories.

Happy Thanksgiving

Overheard

So today, a young lady in the back of my room had a full volume discussion with her friend about the anxiety surrounding the results of her most recent pap smear.



You're wondering? She's fifteen.



The young men at the front of the room were discreet enough to simply put their heads down to laugh (or to HIDE THEIR HEADS AND WEEP) as the young ladies speculated as to what sort of abnormalities the doctor might find.



All I could think of is that if I get a choice, I'm hoping she has syphillis because if she does, there's a chance that that last brief bout of severe genius might come at the same time as her End Of Instruction test. Seriously, because that would be some kind of writing score!

Firsts

It's hard to believe that I've been teaching ten years, and I'm still thrown curveballs which are "first time experiences" for me. I always throught that I'd be done with firsts by this point in my teaching career...boy was I wrong! I have two stories to share.

Over the weekend, I was grading papers and came across a paper that left me scratching my head. The worksheet had some comprehension questions as well as some open-ended sort of questions. The question was "What did your Mom do when she was surprised at her cake?" The kid was supposed to pretend he was the kid in the story who had thrown Mom a surprise party. The response the student wrote: What are you &*%#ing doing?" Yep, a fourth grader putting in symbols for curse words! This was a first for me. I waited until the end of the day to share it with his regular education teacher and the student. He was immediately saddened by what he had done. That was the easy part for him though, when I walked him to his Mother, she read it and it was clear she would take care of it when they got home. Today he came into class with it re-done and an apology letter was there too. I'm glad he was responsible and took responsibility for his choices. Amazing stuff. I don't even want to know where he's seen that before to know how to write it like that...

And then today during Math class, I had a student bring me a note from another teacher about Renaldo's reading assignment that he needed to turn in today. I was a bit shocked at the letter since I had put the work IN HIS BACKPACK FOR HIM ON FRIDAY for him to take home and do over the weekend. I pulled out the workbook pages he was supposed to do...they weren't done. I just looked at Renaldo who gave me his standard, "I don't know what you're talking about" look. I was getting more mad by the second. I asked him to go get his daily planner that contains daily notes from his parents each day. I was a bit confused. Then I read the note from his parents, "The books weren't brought home so he couldn't do the work." I was floored. I PUT THE WORK IN HIS BAG ON FRIDAY! What do they mean it wasn't there for him to do? Renaldo just sat there. I asked him, "So, if it was in your bag on Friday, how did it get out of your bag before you got home?" He just sat there. Then I said, "Here's what I think, you took it out of your bag, and put it in your cubby so you wouldn't have homework over the weekend." He was mad, but didn't agree or deny to my theory.

We went down to the reading teacher, and explained my theory and he will receive a zero for the assignment. I walked out with Renaldo to explain to his parents what had happened. They supported our decision to give him a zero and made Renaldo come back in for the workbook so he could do it for homework. I told him he wouldn't get credit for it, and his parent stated that he didn't care, he needed to get the work done anyway. I was glad to hear that.

I still can't believe he did it! I've never had a kid dodge work like that! ARGH!

Tomorrow is a new day. And next week is break.

I can hardly wait!

So When You Say Senior Assembly, You Probably Don't Mean This...

One BUSY week!

So, here I sit, killing time before I go pick up Jay to go to Sbarro and Tilt. I'm really looking forward to it as this has been a really busy week. Not bad at all, just incredibly busy. And, I have found this week that I am better off busy than bored. While I'm exhausted right now, it really has been fun. I haven't been home one evening this week, which has been really good for me. I've gotten out and met new people, and have hung out with old friends as well, which has been a gift from God.

On Monday night I went to a meeting for church. It pretty much turned into a night of fellowship, which was a lot of fun. And Karen rode back into town with me which was a gift. I'm SO incredibly thankful that God has placed Karen in my life. She's pretty much taken on a mentoring role with me, which has been exactly what I needed. So, Monday was fun.

Tuesday night I joined the singles group here in town. I was stretched out of my comfort zone and went to a meeting where I didn't know anyone. There was a Bible Study, which was good, and just some time to get to know people. It's a bigger group than I expected, which was fun. It was good just to meet some new people.

On Wednesday night I tried a new homegroup. The one I had been attending the past 2.5 years ended, so I was on a quest to find a new one. I had been told by Karen that none of our homegroups go very deep spiritually, so not to expect much. However, this group went DEEP. They're reading a book called Next Level Living which I plan to pick up this weekend. It was a really nice time. I think I want to join that group. It has some wonderful people in there and the fact they go deep excites me more than you know. The group I was in before was not going anywhere spiritually so I am excited in a way I haven't felt in YEARS.

On Thursday Night I went and visited a friend in the hospital. GigglyGal and I took a couple games and we passed the time playing games. It was really fun. Well, as fun as it can be playing games in a hospital. I'm ready for her to be well and at home instead, but it was fun anyway.

After that I went to a surprise party for Laura. It is her birthday tomorrow, and she seemed genuinely surprised by everything. I was out later than I expected, but it was really fun and I was glad I went.

So, now it's Friday. I'm going to another singles group tonight, as a friend of mine stated that it's better than the one I tried Tuesday Night. I'm a bit nervous, but I was nervous Tuesday and it went okay.

I find it almost odd that it's hard for Christians to find each other. Or at least that's been my experience. There aren't any single guys in my church that I'm attracted to and I'm not a gal who would spend time in a bar. And there's noone in any of my activities that is single, so it's been quite a drought. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to go tonight and meet the man of my dreams. I just think it's time for me to put myself in situations where there are single people. Otherwise, how can this season of waiting end?

So, anyway, that's sort of a recap of my week. I hope you had a terrific week. And I hope you have a terrific weekend.

As for me, I have about 6 hours of taped TV shows to watch and a few books to read. I won't be bored.

Later!

It's Coming!!!

Start thinking now how you'll spend the International Year of Natural Fibres! I rang it in early by knitting with way more wool this holiday (all the better to felt you with, my dear) and by ordering our ultra cool spirit club shirts in 100% ringspun cotton.

What Did You Learn In School Today?


Just so you know what we learned in school today, this work of art is from a young lady who finished our 65 question district benchmark test in a half hour.
"Ok, are you sure you did your best?"
"Uhh...Yeah."
So then she drew unicorn on her computer.
Please don't think less of me.


Back For A Visit

I stumbled over what to title this post and almost called it "The Cool Popular Girls Come Back", but then I remember that these are the girls who did The Safety Dance in a pep assembly. Laverne and Shirley (holy crap, they're really like Laverne and Shirley!) revelled in their quirky, geeky, weirdness. It paid off for them, both were elected Miss Student Body in their respective Senior years (they mourned aloud to my third hour today, "This is killer, but no one past High School cares. It's true. How awkward was it to find THAT out!?").

I love them. I love their sarcasm and weirdness and I love that at nearly 25 years old, they come visit their HS teachers once a year.

So when they come, they only visit three teachers and I'm proud to say I'm one of them. They liked to give a sort of "Stay in school, say nope to dope" talk to my class and their observation of kid-in-the-back-who-just-isn't-gonna-learn was both astute and hilarious (for the record, he was totally out of earshot).

"Oh this is learning!! Look at that one, he's resting his head so that his brain is RIGHT BY the work!! It's like he has a port for knowledege."

Thanks, ladies, seriously. Come back anytime.

This Is Where The Party Ends

So let's say your'e at a gathering of co-workers on a Saturday night.

And let's say that one party-goer is a woman who hasn't attended a social event with you in forever.

And let's say that at said party, said party-goer thinks it's a fab idea to tell Anti-Semetic jokes.

Three of them.

And she's totally undeterred by the uncomfortable statements everyone makes between the jokes ("Um, wow, I think I'm a bit too close to teaching Night to hear this..."), in fact noticing how awkward the situation is and then continuing with the jokes.

How would you handle this situation? Create a diversion to draw attention from the bigoted jokester? Skip the passive aggressive and go right to aggressive with her? Whatcha gonna do? Spit in her eye?

Seriously, I'm fascinated. Share away.

Slacker...sort of...but not really at all...

So, I have not blogged in quite a few days. I'm sure it would appear to all my loyal readers that I have been slacking on the job, but that is not the case. Well, okay, I have slacked on blogging, but have been busy everywhere else. I have been working hard on getting paperwork together for IEPs and getting caught up on grading. I spent about 3 hours on Sunday just grading papers. Yes, I had fallen behind, and it felt great to be caught up. :-) Of course, I came to work yesterday and I have more to grade now, but it felt great to be caught up for an evening. Hahaha

It's Tuesday and I already feel worn out as if it's Friday. There has sort of been a change in weather, and it has affected the kids. Today both Renaldo and DJ were in fine form. Not bad, just on the annoying side. I realize though that it could have been MUCH worse. Just enough to wear me out...

Tomorrow is Wednesday and our first Literacy Team Meeting since the last one where I opened my mouth. We were told to bring our laptops. I plan on taking my laptop and keeping my lips zipped. We'll see how well I do. I do plan on praying in the morning beforehand, so there's no telling what will come out of my mouth. Hehehe

Finally, I thought I would share the news that I received my new teacher's certificate from the State of Missouri. It is good for 99 years. I'm not kidding. 99 years. It expires in 2107. I guess that's one form of job security, huh?

Later!

Pondering...

If a kid you had in class sacks your groceries, why does he call you ma'am then despite the fact that he never calls you ma'am in class?

Love And Mercy



Somehow, through a complicated series of events, I've been put in charge of my school's Senior Assembly (the same event that inspired this). I'm more excited than overwhelmed--I haven't directed anything in ten years!

One of my plans is to gently suggest a few songs that vary from the standard graducation fare. This is one of the songs I plan to introduce. Aside from my introduction to the song (on the closing night of National Institute for Teaching Shakespeare, thoughts of grief for life without my dad echoing around in my head), I've recently become fascinated with Brian Wilson. Despite writing all these feel-good, sun and surf songs, his battle with mental illness forced him to hide from the world for some time. I love to listen to his music through this lens, it takes incredible optimism to wish for this world while knowing so personally of its dark opposite.

That's a wish I have for my students. The dark world will rear its ugly head at them sooner or later, and the optimism you find at the end of the darkness is so much sweeter.

What songs would you use for an assembly like this? Upbeat or slow, I'm collecting ideas.

New Comment For Report Cards

"Student is the reason my doctor prescribed Xanax"

a returner

I entered the building today, and started doing stuff in my room and our counselor came by and said that I had a guest in the office who was returning to Cecil. I knew who it was, as I expected him to be back, and I was right. DJ has returned to my classroom, and I am excited. DJ requires a lot from me, but is the most loving kid I've had in quite a while. So, I had him pretty much all day, and it was great! Returners are great!

Later!

The Creepiest Part of The Whole Night

Will I Am via hologram? Dang. Can I hologram myself to Anderson Cooper too?

Because You Can't Watch Election Returns All Night Without Looking Away

Carry This With You Today

You haven't felt like a citizen until you've had a teenager look you in the eye and ask you to promise you'll vote today. It's happened to me every election since I've been a teacher and it makes me proud of these students and proud to do my duty.

Someone is counting on you to vote today.

Baby's First Election

For years, I've wished my students could be excited for their first election. I've wished that they could vote for someone whose vision for this country could inspire them.

They make me remember my first election.

A group of us had restarted Young Democrats on our small Baptist campus. We generated quite a ruckus. There were shouting matches and signs defaced and all sorts of ugliness (if I were being fair, I suppose the ugliness came from both sides), but on election night, we were so excited.

I remember standing in line to vote about three people behind Brad and Kim Henry (now the Governor and First Lady of Oklahoma) and being in a huge rush to finish so I could get ready for the Young Dems election night party.

Our faculty advisor made a huge pot of spaghetti and as social chair, I planned the party activites. We had US maps to color the electoral college votes and I made party games like "Pin The Blame on The Oval Office" (Blindfold up and take a slip of paper with a Regan/Bush era failure, pin it on our picture of the White House!) or "Dan Quayle Foot In The Mouth" (rolled up sock with a Quayle-ism, aim and throw it into the cardboard box with an open mouth Dan Quayle on it!). It was quite a party, and Dr. Sanders' two preschool daughters played the games with as much vigor as we did.

When the returns came in and a winner was declared (because back then, children, we knew early in the evening), we got in our cars and hurtled toward OKC to the State Dem Party Victory shindig. We almost missed the party we were so late, but the DJ was still playing and we were giddy. When he cranked up "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)", we all took the floor like madfolk and noticed a lone, elderly gentleman, weeping, head in hands.

"Sir! Come dance with us!! Aren't you happy?!"

"I am happy. I've been waiting twelve damn years for this night."



Ahhh...youth.

Maybe My Strangest Craft Project To Date

This is Morty. I made him in observation of Dia De los Muertos. I've liked the idea of the holiday since Dad died, and when the directions for him came in my email, it just seemed right. Please note that Morty is only the prototype and future yarn and paper clip skeletons will be far more attractive and neat.

If you want to show me up, you can get the directions here.

Moms

I tell ya what, my Mom is the BEST. After having a rather rough week last week, I was able to sit on the phone with my Mom today and process things, and it was GREAT. She's great at just listening, giving her two cents, and well, calling me to the carpet if need be. But, mostly, she listens and validates what I'm thinking and feeling. I tell ya what, I have the BEST MOM ON THE PLANET!

That's all I have to say for now...later!


High School Tony Awards Honor Nation's Biggest Drama Club Nerds

Ahhhhh....

Are you ever pleasantly shocked to find that someone you like also likes something you like? Could I say "like" one more time? When I was listening to Cast On (knitting podcast) this morning and heard this song, it was that kind of squealy girl moment.

The Crib Chick introduced me to Lone Justice in High School, but this song takes me back to college where we danced to this song on our walkmans while camped out for Wind In The Willows tickets in London at the Royal National Theatre.

Like A Love Poem, But With Far Less Poetry

You know I love The Crib Chick. I've never hidden it. Tonight, I loved her more. I was at the suburban grocery store picking up processed sugary candy to throw at tomorrow night's football game (Maybe not suckers, you think? Because I totally have this vision of this kid with a stick in his eye and the business end of a Tootsie Pop sticking out, staggering to the ground, yelling for our team...) and she's driving her organic produce home to her rural paradise.

And who's the Liberal here? Who is Conservative?

That's right. I'm an Educat and she's a Crunch-servative. We're like Hall and Oates, this one and I. But we're agreeable enough that we can sing "White Devil Be Craaaa-zy!" or "Solid As Barack" to each other (If you're not down with this, go back and watch the video. You're just not paying attention.). Sure, her teenage daughter might roll her eyes and giggle and my fellow shoppers might arch an eyebrow, but this is love, kid.

And it's SOLID! SOLID AS...

Well, it's solid.

Remember The Last Time This Happened?





Can you see? It's $1.98 gas! I remember when I used to pay less than a dollar for gas. It was in my adult life, even.

The last time it happened, by the way, is here.

So to all my other kinds of nerd, you can add "gas price nerd".

NaBloPoMo

Should I? I totally might, but it means you might just see pics of knitting projects and hear me whine about grading.

Prayer by a student...

So today was quite an interesting day. The most humorous moment of the day came when Autismkid came in and immediately asked, "Ms. Spring can I talk to God about my family?"

I thought he was meaning later on, not in class. I was so wrong.

I said, "Sure, it's nice to talk to God about your family."

And with his eyes pointed upward to the sky, he replied, "God, I like my family. I like my grandparents. Be with my grandparents. See you later. Bye."

I just sat there stunned.

I have taught 10 years and have never had a kid pray out loud, much less had Autismkid come in and stay in our world for more than two seconds to talk to God.

Afterward, he stared at me. Not sure how to finish the prayer.

I just smiled at him, and said, "Amen" and he said, AMEN! as if he was cheering for a crowd of people.

I just laughed.

Everyone looked at me.

I just sat there a moment, said a silent prayer, and told the kids it was time to do our math.

However, it impacted me greatly.

In a world where this kid has to be brought back to task 99% of the time, he knew what he wanted to say to God.

The bible says we're to have childlike faith.

This kid has it covered.

Later!

Things I Cannot Do While Our Hot Water Heater Is Leaking And Therefore Unusable

1. Take a hot shower.

2. Felt the Christmas trees I've been knitting all week
Here's a pic of someone else's. Someone who had hot water.
3. Properly wash oatmeal residue from bowls without much scrubbing. Have I ever told you about how my dad used to tell us that the pyramids were actually made from dry, leftover oatmeal? He'd say that while scrubbing said oatmeal and so the declaration was punctuated with his scrubbing. "Girls...the pyramids are made of the stuff that dries in your oatmeal bowls!"
4. Did I say take a hot shower? Because I'm saying it again.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

It is always amazing to me that parents don't come to their child's scheduled conference. I have had several no-shows today and I have even called parents to talk to them and I don't even get to talk to them, I get to talk to the answering maching instead. I tell ya, it floors me. At the elementary level in our district, all students are out of school tomorrow all-day, and I'll still have several no-shows. It still floors me and I've been doing this ten years. Amazing...

I was blessed because in my family, the kids came first...ALWAYS. In fact, in our family if you got in trouble at school, it was worse at home. (No abuse, just high expectations) Today I am incredibly thankful for my parents for that. My parents were in the middle of stuff, making sure we were doing what needed to be done.

I just wish my students had what I had. I know, this is what I've said repeatedly before, but it's true.

Seriously...

defies title

We've started reading Night and have watched parts of a documentary showing Elie Wiesel visiting his old village and then traveling to Auschwitz.

I'm starting class.

"What have we seen so far?"

"Wiesel goin home"

"Right, he went to Sighet and then traveled to where?"

"Ass-wash"

No one laughed. They all believed it. We have work to do.

Sub-Normal Social Awareness

It's seemed to be the day of the annoying sub for me. I'm pretty sure the annoying albino one came on to me today during my plan.

"You have such an incredible sense of grammar. What one book was most influential in your ability to teach grammar so well?"

Now, if I were an lesbian with an albino fetish (and there's nothing wrong with anyone who does, I'm just not one of them), she still wouldn't turn my head because somehow she managed to ask me this while I was RUNNING into the workroom to pee (last chance for two hours!!) and fill my water bottle. Not smoove.

The other one (I have no identifying name for her...yet) was sitting on the sofa with a book while I was having a meltdown (left my class in the room, trying to "wake up" a computer whose monitor has died [I was not yet aware of this] so that the district tech could remote into the machine so he could help connect our super great assessment program that WON'T WORK. I really almost cried this morning...) and she somehow thought it was the right time to ask if I ever sensed that the students choose to play down their intelligence for social reasons. Does today's popular High School student want to appear smart?

You know what, Margaret Mead? I. Don't. Care. About. That.

I'm Waiting...

I have been waiting for a long time on God. I guess we all have...we all have something in which we long for and don't have. Whether it be a spouse (my waiting place), or a job to open up, or a secret dream that hasn't been shared with someone...everyone is waiting for something. I'm not saying it's a horrible thing. I'm finding that in the waiting God is teaching me things I never would have grasped if I hadn't had to wait.

For example, I'm learning how to budget and live within what I make and not rely on credit cards to get me what I shouldn't have if I don't have cash. I have done the credit card thing, am paying off my last two cards, and am not using them anymore. If I can't afford it, why get into debt more just to have something I can live without?

I can honestly say in the past 10 years I've learned how to be independent. Just ask my Mother, she'll suggest something helpful and I'll often bulk just because I want to do it my way. I'm sure it drives her nuts, but she's incredibly patient with me, waiting for me to figure it out...and inevitably learn that Mom was right to begin with. I just never actually admit that to her. :-)

I've learned to ask for help. It's hard...incredibly hard for a single gal to ask for help when I'm an adult and should be able to do things on my own. And, to be really blunt, I hate to bother people. Everyone has a busy life and doesn't need to help another person. However, I have learned that people REALLY enjoy helping me and NEVER mind to help out. This past week I had a flat tire after Homegroup, and SuperAmie changed my tire for me. It was good for me because I'm not strong enough to get the tire off, so I have to rely on someone else. That's a good thing to learn.

I have learned how to put myself after others. I have two roommates and there are moments I get into my ugly selfish mode and want things my way, but God is faithful to keep me in check and I find it's becoming easier to put their needs first. Five years ago it was a shock to my system, and now it's almost natural to think of others first. I don't know if I would have had that if it hadn't been for this season with my roommates. I still have a lot to learn but I can say I've come quite far in this area of my life...

So, of course, while all this waiting has been good...and I know each step has been led by God, it has been hard too. I often tell God I'm tired of the wait...that it should be my turn and I'm sick of waiting. Of course, he's faithful to listen and I'm sure He's up there giggling at me, thinking, "patience, my dear, patience."

So, I find myself going up and down in this whole waiting game. This weekend has been really fun. My roommate and I had a great time Friday night just talking about stuff, yesterday I went to the Maple Leaf Festival in Carthage and sat with a friend for 4 hours just yakking abuot stuff, and today I had church and went to a mentoring meeting and had a great time. This weekend has been easy. Next weekend will be too because the Women's Retreat is in Branson and it's ALWAYS a fun weekend. So, I won't be alone...won't have to entertain myself...won't have to dread what is going on for the weekend. It will be easy...

So, as I was pondering all this waiting stuff...and honestly griping to God about it...God led me to a song by John Waller. I want to type out the lyrics just because it has impacted me so greatly. You can go to iTunes and download the song for $.99 if you are grabbed by the lyrics. I realize just reading lyrics may not speak to you. As for me, when I first heard the song I had tears in my eyes because for the first time in years a song pierced my heart. Perhaps you're in a waiting place. Maybe not for a spouse like I am, but perhaps for a child to be conceived or an adoption to take place, or for your kid to get into a good college. Whatever it is, I hope this helps you...

I'm Waiting by John Waller

I'm waiting...
I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently I will wait
I will move ahead
Bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I'm waiting, I will serve you
While I'm waiting, I will worship
While I'm waiting, I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait...

I'm waiting...
I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it's not easy, no
But faithfully I will wait
Yes I will wait
I will move ahead, bold and confident
taking every step in obedience

I will move ahead bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience..

When I first heard the song, I had tears in my eyes...I wasn't hopeful...I wasn't patient. I was hurting. But, slowly, I'm returning to hope and patience...and I'll be running the race, even while I wait...

Boldness

As I was driving on the way to work yesterday I prayed that God would help me to bold throughout the day. I knew I had a parent meeting at 1:00 that the parents had requested, which is never a good thing, and a meeting at Homegroup were I would need to be bold in order to get some thoughts out that needed to be shared. Little did I know that God would give me boldness in ways I never would have thought possible.

I started the day with our first Literacy Team Meeting of the year. I'll be honest, I dread these meetings. The team I am a part of is pretty good for the most part. Okay, well, fourth grade teachers are great. My fifth grade teachers tend to build my character quite a bit, and this year that is proving to be true on SO MANY levels.

So we entered the meeting, and everything was okay. I mean, you get a bunch of teachers together the week grade cards are due for a meeting when in reality there are PLENTY of things they could be doing, and you can expect a bit of reluctance to be there.

Like I said, it started out fine. But at one point the Negative Nellies reared their ugly heads and I spoke up. I started talking and about halfway through it thought, "Why did I pray for boldness today?" But, I did it. I basically told the group that we are adults and no matter how many things are required of us, we are to be the adults and just do our job. WITHOUT NEGATIVITY.

The room was silent as I spoke. After I spoke, the topic shifted, and I was thankful. As soon as the meeting was over, I left the room thinking two things. The first thing I thought was "What did I just do?" I wasn't sure of the reaction and fallout of what I had said, and that made me a bit nervous. The second thing I thought was "I don't care. I'm working with adults and I'm tired of adults not acting like it."

So as the day progressed I was preparing myself for negative things to be thrown at me. I guess that's normal, part of being an adult and doing things we prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best. I know that's true of me.

But, as the day progessed, three people walked over to me and very quietly told me they agreed with what I said. One of them even said, "You rock!" While I didn't go looking for that, and certainly didn't expect it, it felt good to know that stepping out and sharing my heart was definately a positive for a few people. I wasn't alone. God led me. It was a very good thing.

Then I had a meeting with a some parents of one of my kids. In the meeting the parent stated, "Since last year was a waste we need to get this child caught up." I know my face didn't hide my thoughts after that comment was made. I have worked my tail off for this kid, giving 110%, and they felt last year his teacher and I wasted his time. I sat there and listened as she said it, and waited. Then I did it. I said, "Why do you feel last year was a waste?" She went on to state that he wasn't reading grade level books and that we were lowering his level of course work (having him read 2.5 level books, for example) when he should be on grade level. I listened but didn't fight her. That was her perspective, and I had to respect it. Of course, as the meeting progressed, we were able to show her why we had lowered his level of academics. HE CAN'T DO THE WORK! HE'S L.D.! In the end, we determined we're going to re-test him. As she was leaving hte meeting she said, "I'm sorry if I offended you, that wasn't my intent." To which I replied, "You did offend me, but I accept your apology." I tell ya, in the past I would've just shrugged and left the meeting mumbling under my breath how offended I was about the comment. God is really teaching me how to be respectfully bold. Whew...

I left school yesterday thinking, "I still have Homegroup to get through." I went to homegroup and for the first 1.5 hours we chatted about piddly little stuff. I knew I was going to have to break the ice and really "go there" with our leaders. I'm not really sure how I became the spokesperson for the group, but I did. As it turned out, God gave me the words, and everything was fine. It was emotional, as our homegroup is no longer going to be meeting, but I am excited. I've been in such a dry place spiritually in the homegroup and I am looking forward to trying some new homegroups and seeing where God is going to put me next. It was a long day...

I have pondered all day today about boldness. I realize I just blogged about yesterday's events, not today, but I have given a lot of thought today to boldness. I work with such an usual group of people. Some people can just be blunt and not worry about other's feelings. Others say things and don't give a rip about other people's feelings. Others say things and are just plain clueless as to how it will affect those around them.

For the majority of my life I have been the quiet one who didn't say much about anything because I was afraid of how I would look to others or worried that my opinion was wrong or just plain lacked the confidence that what I had to say mattered. What I've learned this week is that there is a fine balance between boldness and rudeness and that sometimes I'm going to piss people off or have people think I'm stupid. But, sometimes (not always) it's just simply the right thing to speak up.

In the case of the Lit. Meeting and Homegroup I positively affected people because I spoke up.

I realize I still have a great deal to learn about boldness, but for now I think it's a good start...

Later...

Shut Up, I've Earned This

End of the Nine Weeks+Mojito=Fun for you, the at home reader!

No one believes grades are real until the end of the quarter. No one understood their outside reading assignments (despite our bi-monthly library trips and repeated explanation with handout) until the end of the quarter. No one!!! How DARE I!?!??! And it's worth pointing out that a SENIOR who is somehow taking Sophomore English wanted me to take seriously her reading of "High School Musical, The Junior Novel", and allow me to count it for ten percent of her grade.

Chortle.

I spent a better part of the day logged in to our new assessment system (Have you experienced these things? You upload your exam, they print a scantron for the test, and you send those in via scanner and get kick-ass data? I'm in lurv.) and at the end of this long, wretched, day, I realize that I've been ignoring the question of my new assessment system...

What Would You Like To Do Today?

Now, none of the options were really honest for me. I wonder if perhaps I could get a button on the site that said "Leave now and go home to knit" or perhaps, "Tell the children exactly what I'm thinking" or best of all, "Feed children to the wolverines".

Their options were just ridiculous. "Manage classes". Yeah, manage my butt. You get over here and manage these bitter nasty children with a button.

It's all messed with my head to the point that when describing the free gift from the local "take and bake" pizza place, I could only think of "Father Murphy" instead of "Papa Murphy", so I keep think of Merlin Olson bringing a pizza with a tickle me bouquet.

Did I mention that I'm out Thursday and Friday? Ha!!

Death and Life

This week has been interesting. Monday I entered the building and heard that one of our former students committed suicide over the weekend. The kid wasn't in my class, but I knew who he was and really liked him. I felt kind of down all day Monday because of it. It made me wonder about life and death and how bad life would have to be for someone to do that. It pretty much put my "problems" in perspective. I have character-building moments throughout my day, but my life is really good.

And then I have another student who lost her Dad about 3 weeks ago. It was an unexpected death, and my heart leapt for the kid. I have no idea how I would handle that as an adult, much less as a fifth grader. So, I knew we would have some rough spots, and she's a pretty good kid so I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Gosh, it's been a rough week. This gal is trying to figure out how to cope and is not finding quite the right strategy to do so. Her teacher and I have been working hard to help her adjust and it's not working very well so far. This kid without behaviors has become a Lostboy Junior. All the while I'm still praying for the key to figure out how to help her. Gosh, life shouldn't be this tough for this kid.

All this life and death stuff has really made me ponder a lot. I turn on the TV to hear the news and our world isn't getting any better. It seems to be getting worse.

So, I have made up my mind to stay focused on the good even in the bad. And even though I will fail at that goal from time to time, I think it's better than the alternative.

I guess that's it for now. Later!



Let's all just make peace. If Hall and Oates can do it, the world can live at peace.

Dad Wakes Up Early

I've been awake very early this week, no idea why. Monday when I woke, I found myself putting on music. All I wanted to hear, it seemed, was Dad music. I listened to The Carter Family and Levon Helm and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and I can't explain the feeling it gave me. Crazy as this sounds, I got up for the day feeling like I'd spent half and hour with my dad. It didn't make me sad, I only cry as I remember it (like now, a little bit), and I felt rested.

Yarn In The News

I fear that this might be exactly the sort of cranky I will be when I grow old.



Criminal
gran gets knitting punishment
Tuesday, September 30 2008, 20:08 BST
By Daniel Kilkelly, Entertainment Reporter



An 89-year-old grandmother who went on a tyre-wrecking spree in her street
has been ordered to knit jumpers for her victims.



Heidi Kohl, from western Germany, was arrested after one neighbour spotted
her slashing the tyres on a car. She later confessed that she had resorted to
drastic measures after becoming "fed up" with so many drivers parking in her
neighbourhood.



Kohl was initially told that she would be fined for her behaviour, but
authorities came up with the more unusual punishment after the woman claimed she
would be unable to pay.



A spokeswoman confirmed: "When she's knitted the sweaters, then the matter
will be over for us."Kohl is believed to have wrecked 50 tyres in total.
Prosecutors have said that she will not offend again as she has since been moved
to a retirement home.


I can see my temper flare up in this dangerous sort of way. I'd be living alone, no classroom to give me perspective and practice at patience, and then I'd snap and go on a slashing spree.

This leads me to wonder, however, about the punishment. Was she forced to knit with scratchy acrylic on metal needles? Do the victims get a say in the design of the sweaters? Sad the we'll never see the woolen end to the story.

One kid...

This week I found myself working my tail off for one of my kids. Renaldo began the week lying to me twice in one day. I was ticked to say the least. I'll be the first to admit though, I believe people at face value. I know kids are manipulators, but I really thought Renaldo was at least honest with me. He not only lied to me twice, but lied to two other teachers as well. I tell ya, it was quite the day for me.

As the week progressed, my patience was thinning out with him. He was taking up just about as much time as Lostboy was, which was frustrating to me. And the even more frustrating part is the fact Renaldo is more capable than he's letting on. I have a different kid, Silentboy, who is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than Renaldo academically and he puts forth more effort than all my other kids put together.

So, last night I came home and spent some massive time in prayer. While there were MANY things I prayed through, one of the things I wanted was more patience with Renaldo.

And, of course, God answered my prayers. Today Renaldo had a much better day, and I was MUCH more patient with him. Don't get me wrong, he still has a LONG way to go, but today was a great way to end the week.

Cool, eh?

Later!

Pardon Me

This is my life's true ambition. Forget teaching, I never really graded all that crap. I want to tease my hair up high and travel the land, knitting and bringing this song to the masses.

And are you aware that the second Mason Dixon Knitting book is out? And that they are truly the most engaging knitting prose ever to be written? It is because of them that I plan to start Fair Isle knitting as soon as these essays are graded.

If you don't knit, they'll make you want to.

You may post in comments your intention to serve as my roadies, band members or whatnot when my tour hits the road. Just me, the music, the yarn, and a dream...

"We Go To The Fair To Relax" Part II

Go. And you really should vote.

Now, I voted for the pregnant smoker at the ferris wheel, but that "Crack and Funnel Cake" shot is just sad, y'all. It just totally ruins one of nature's most perfect fried foods. I've seen the funnel cake roam free in its natural habitat and it just should not be near such ugliness.

It's Monday, You Need This

If you must go to work early on a Monday morning, you should at least have a friend who sends you a link like this. I had the address all day long and didn't touch it at school for fear that I'd never work again.

So now, I offer you, MORE COWBELL!

Exhibit A: John Denver's "Annie's Song", 74% Cowbell, 100% Walken

Make your own at MoreCowbell.dj


Exhibit B: Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home", 87% Cowbell, 28% Walken

Make your own at MoreCowbell.dj


Exhibit C: ...and lastly, as if you didn't question my music collection enough, I give you (ahem...)

The Theme From The Jeffersons, 25% Cowbell, 46% Walken

Make your own at MoreCowbell.dj


Please share your own creations. Leave a link, if you will, so we can all enjoy.

The College Basketball Experience

While enjoying some time here at the parental unit's house, we went into Kansas City today. Scienceguy has a field trip coming up this week with 100 Middle Schoolers, and he needed to go check out the place before the adventure next week. So, we headed out to "The College Basketball Experience" located in Downtown Kansas City.

My family has been following College Hoops since the Jayhawks won the champtionship back in 1988. We have cheered on the Jayhawks for the past 20 years. And, of course, we have spent a fair amount of time yelling at the players as they made mistakes. Well, after today, I have a whole new respect for what those college kids do.

The College Basketball Experience is found in the Power and Light District in Kansas City. I thought it was going to be a museum, because that's how it was explained to me this morning. Well, it's not exactly a museum. While it does have the College Basketball Hall of Fame in it, it has some hands-on activities that give you a sense of how challenging college basketball really can be.

We entered and the first station we came to was a free-throw station. You have one minute to make as many free-throws as you can. I scored 7. Not bad, but then before me a kid scored something like 18. Onto the next station... The next station was a three-shot station. Basically you took 3 balls at each station and shot them from three different parts of the court. And, it was from quite a way out. I tell ya what, I didn't make one shot! I felt like I was really bad! But, at the same time, I didn't care. It was all part of the experience. The next station was a station where you were to pass the ball to players on the wall. I did pretty well on it, but I didn't have anyone guarding me at the time. How do those kids do it with people guarding them? The next station was a slam-dunk station. Yeah, right, with the limp, I didn't slam it, I just shot it. :-) It was fun and it made me appreciate the students who can slam-dunk the ball up high in the air when I couldn't do it with the hoop significantly lowered! There was another station where you were given about 7 seconds to make a shot from an assigned place on the court. I didn't make one shot on that one. It definitely gave me the feel for what the kids are able to do with other players around. There was another free-throw station where you had (I think) 7-ish seconds, and if you made one, you could shoot another just like in real basketball. I missed that too!

Then we went downstairs. The first station we came to was basically skee-ball, but basketball style. You had 60 seconds to make as many close shots as you could. This was very similar to the basketball games you see in arcades where you shoot and the balls come right back to you. I shot 47%! Not bad. Okay, okay, it's not like I'm headed to be a ball player, but it was fun!

There were other stations there, but my favorites are the ones I already shared about. At the end, there is a 30 minute film about the history of College Basketball that is very good. I learned a great deal about the sport by watching the film. And at the very end, you get to walk through the Hall of Fame.

I realize that just by reading this I am not doing the whole experience justice. However, if you're a college basketball fan, I HIGHLY recommend The College Basketball Experience to you. I can tell you it was great to gain a perspective on what those kids do, and I'll be less quick to judge them now when they miss a shot. For $10, I had a GREAT time.

Later!