Some Days I'm Shocked That They Pay Me For This

The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings saved my life yesterday. I taught it twice and read it aloud both times. The first time I read it, it was just a story of joy and wonder. Do angels happen in my life and are they sometimes smelly and ugly? And how do I treat them? And do I sometimes run away from my angels just so I can see a spider the size of a ram with the head of a lady? And when he finally flies away, how willing am I to let him soar over the rooftops while I cut up onions? The smelly angel was my father, my friends, my students, and all the miracles I refuse to see.

My students wondered about the angel as much as I did. They wanted his wings to grow back black like a raven and take revenge over the people who threw stones at him. They surmised from the one reference to a "fallen angel" that he was Lucifer fallen to earth. When I defined diction for them, they told me how Marquez used lofty language alongside the common smelly reality of our lives and for a second I wondered if perhaps they were loving words they way that I do.

I wanted to watch that day and that story fly away long after my onions were cut.

Soon!! I Promise!!!

I promise to be back for real soon. The gone-ness is nearly over (especially since I just ordered myself a shwank new Dell complete with an educrat discount!!).

Meanwhile, read Mme. Crib's account of our day o' culture last Saturday and if you're in the OC, go and enjoy the Paris 1900 exhibit while you can. Of course, you won't get to make cool hats like we did, but the art really is enough.

Le Chick mentions that both of us as fully grown adults sported paper hats as we strolled about the museum and while that's funny to picture, it's funnier still to see the making of the hats.

Here I am with my "hat prisoner" right before I proposed that she strip down to her undies and make a pyramid.
I kid.
and no, we didn't realize that this would look like that photo. We are patently anti-torture.

A Swimming Record!


So tonight I went swimming after work. I tried to go last night, but there wasn't a lane free. Apparently Monday nights are the adult swim class and toddlers swim class. I was bummed. So I went tonight.

Typically when I swim, I just swim. I start out counting how many laps I have completed, but my mind will wander to other things, and I quit counting. I just swim. I just swim for a specific amount of time. There's a clock on the wall, and I just go by that.

And, I will be really honest from about September through December I rarely went swimming. I was so busy between meetings and tutoring and church stuff that I quit going.

And ya know what happened? My left leg muscles atrophied, and walking became more a challenge than it had in a long time. I hated that feeling. And it doesn't help that in winter my leg tenses up, and sometimes hurts, making my walk look even more goofy than usual. I was feeling incredibly self concious, which isn't like me.

So, after the conference in December, I knew it was time to swim again. And, I must say, I enjoy it. Deep down inside I really am an athlete. Not professional, but I'm the one who enjoys swimming and basketball, and enjoy the wind pants and sweatshirt attire that goes with it. (I've often wondered how I would have made it back in the days when dresses were the "norm". That's just not me!)

So, back to tonight. I noticed on the wall that it gives the breakdown of how many laps it takes to swim one mile. 1 Lap=down the length of the pool and back once. It takes 36 laps in the pool to swim a mile. And I decided that I wanted to know how far I could swim in 30 minutes.

I swam 12 laps!

So, I swam one-third of a mile!

Now I have a record to beat! And I feel good!

Well, okay, so I'm not a professional athlete.

But tonight was fun!

I'll keep ya posted on future swimming totals!

Now I'm gonna logoff and watch the all-new House that's on!


He's back...well, he's supposed to be...

So I got a tidbit of good, good news. Supposedly one of my former students will be returning to my classroom. I can't remember if I have nicknamed him or not on my blog, but Haircut kid is supposedly coming back to my class. Haircut kid was a kid who I connected with early in the school year because I basically bribed him to get a haircut. His hair came down over his eyes, so I could never see his eyes. My heart leapt for this kid, as he's really a struggling reader, writer, and mathematician, and yet my goal each day was to make him smile.

So in the fall, he moved out of the district, and my heart sank. I received word he's returning. I can't wait!

We shall see what happens, he was supposed to be here today.

He never showed.

You might say a prayer for Haircut kid...I imagine his homelife is the pits.


Shortone's Movie Reviews

So, I conquered the ADHD monster today and actually relaxed. I didn't grade one paper, correct one IEP, write one IEP, or even open the schoolbag. I sat on the couch the majority of the day. Total movie time today, about 8 hours. :-) Did I feel guilty? Yep, a bit. But, hey, there's always tomorrow, right?

So I thought I would share my movie reviews. I realize that I am a bit of an odd ball, trying to stay in the "PG" category, but there wasn't one movie today that I didn't like.

I started the day with "Saving Sarah Cain". It's a DVD flick that I rented and really enjoyed. It's about a single gal who takes in her Amish nieces and nephews after her sister passes away. It was an interesting flick, as Tess Harper plays the non-Amish sister trying to raise 5 Amish kids. It was heartwarming and touching on many many levels. Don't read into this, I don't want to become Amish by any stretch of the imagination, but the story line was great. My favorite part was when one of the kids mentioned how dishes weren't a chore, they were (basically) family time in her family. I loved that, as that's how I remember doing dishes at my parent's house, and expecially at my Grandparents house. My Grandparents never had a dishwasher, so I remember the dishwashing days at the Grandparents fondly.

The next feature of the day was "Derby Stallion." This was an inspirational flick starring "High School Musical's" Zach Efron. I must admit, I enjoyed it. It was sappy and incredibly predictable, but had a really good message. Last I saw it was on sale at Wal-Mart for $5. I am going to see if it's still $5, it would be great to add to the collection. Not to mention I could show it in my classroom. :-)

I want to go ahead and mention a movie I actually finished last night, but is noteworthy. I was walking the "wall" at our local video store, and noticed a movie titled "Paradise, Texas". It had a "family approved" sticker on it, and so I read the back. And, it wound up being a movie I loved, as it's about a kid who gets picked on for something he loves, and in the end gets rewarded for being different. Nice heart, great message...only bummer is that it had some choice words in it, so I can't show it in the classroom. It's worth a movie rental though if you're in the mood for motivational and sappy!

Finally, my favorite movie of the day was "August Rush". Bakerywoman came home today and we met her family in town to watch this movie at the dollar theatre. Now, I'll be the first to admit that you have to suspend A LOT of reality to enjoy this movie, but I loved it. I live in the real world 5 days a week, so it was cool to enjoy a movie that forces me to escape reality and enjoy a movie about a kid and music. Yeah, basically it was also my type of movie because I love kids, and music is very important to me. Anyway, August Rush is definately one I will buy when it is released on DVD.

So, those are what I saw today, and loved. By the way, after August Rush we came back here and I watched Saving Sarah Cain again with Bakerywoman. Yep, total couch time, about 8 hours. It was a good day.

Yes, tomorrow I will probably spend the bulk of the afternoon and evening on homework, but for tonight, I plan on reading and crashing.



First off, I'm glad it's Friday. It seems to me that short weeks that have the Full Moon in them feel longer than regular five day workweeks. I'm looking forward to the weekend...sleeping in, watching a few movies...I need the break.

Which brings me to my thoughts for today. I have found that I now "work" even when I am sitting down watching a movie. Part of me wonders if I have caught ADHD from my students. :-) I know that's not really possible, but I find myself feeling guilty if I am just sitting and watching a movie. A VERY big portion of my job is paperwork, and it seems to me it's never completely caught up. Either I have corrections to make on IEP's I've already turned in, or I have to prepare for an upcoming IEP meeting or I have just had meetings (I ran 5 IEP meetings this week!) and have the follow-up paperwork to do.

And I go through phases.

Sometimes I'm okay with it. I mean, I'm single, and am not responsible for anyone else but me, so it's not like I have a family to take care of and juggle work. And honestly, when loneliness sets in, I somehow justify paperwork as "something to do" rather than dwell on my loneliness. I guess that's healthy in a certainly makes me more productive...

And sometimes I reach the end of the week (like today) and the idea of couch time and a sappy DVD flick sounds relaxing. With the exception of the two nights I had church commitments this week, I worked on paperwork until 9pm each night.

I don't mean to complain, I really don't. But I also don't like the guilt I feel when I sit and do nothing when I'm overloaded with paperwork.

Well, it's time for me to pack my bag and go tutor.

I'll keep ya posted on my ADHD status.


Full Moon

For all of you who think the whole idea that when it's a full moon people are different is just a superstitution, you need to enter the world of Education. Kids are different. Adults are different. Things are different.

I made 2 kids cry today.

Well, not really.

They made choices that I had to hold them accountable on, and it made them cry.

The sad thing is, the more I teach the more I accept days like today as just a day. I remember my first year in education, and I was this super-nice, walk-all-over teacher. Now I'm okay with holding them accountable. And if they should cry, so be it.

They will live. And so will I.

You wanna know the weirdest part?

Sometimes you gotta make them cry to make them stop that particular behavior.

I'm sure glad each day is a new day.

I'm not sure I'd be fired up about another day like today.

Time to leave today.

Time to think only about tomorrow.


Wrestling with Austin

So, my last blog stated that we had Austin and how I was being summoned to watch a movie with him. Seems a bit odd now that I think about it because Austin can't sit still to save his life, but the idea of sitting and relaxing after all those games we had played sounded nice.

So, we started Ratatouille. I love the movie, he had chosen it, it was a good pick. And about 5 minutes into it he was up wanting to do something else. I tell ya, this kid has great difficulty sitting still, much like the majority of my class. So, he came over to me and wanted to tickle me.

I tickled back. And, we wound up wrestling. I had never wrestled with Austin. I don't wrestle in the physical sense. With my left leg being weaker than my right one, I typically shy away from anything like that. But, I didn't with Austin.

I discovered I have some good upper body strength. Well, good being relative, Austin is 8 and weighs next to nothing, so I felt as if I was strong, when in reality I'm not really strong in the physical sense of the word.

So, we wrestled. And, I have to admit, I had fun. But I noticed a couple things in the midst of it all, and afterward as I was pondering it all.

First off, I have a standing rule, that whenever someone says, "stop" or "wait", the other persson immediately stops and gives the other person space. While this is a safety thing, it is also a respect thing. It's only fair when someone needs a moment that they get it.

Secondly, I could easily pin him to the ground. Granted, it was mainly a tickle fight, but at times I would pin him down to tickle him. He was a really good sport too. I think he simply liked the fact someone was paying attention to him and only him. We laughed a lot in the midst of it. It was really fun.

I had bakerywoman as a witness. She just smiled as she watched us wrestle. I was glad she was there. I wouldn't have done that without her there to witness it all. If one of us had gotten hurt without a witness it would have been a bad thing.

And now, I sit here and I think of a couple things. As always, I am deep in thought after something like that...

I thought about wrestling with God. Over the years I have done my fair share of wrestling with God. I know, I know, He always wins, so why wrestle?

I think it's human nature to wrestle. We want things our own way, and to expect God to want to conform to our thoughts and our ways on our timetable. Deep down we're selfish creatures and we want things our way.

But I thought about something in the midst of that. When I wrestle with God, he isn't wrestling back. He's just waiting. I wrestle, get mad, sulk, and draw away from Him thinking I can manipulate something into going my way.

But, I imagine He's just waiting to hear me say, "Stop", and draw back to Him.

He knows I'm selfish but He knows what's best for me in ways I can't even see or realize.

I wonder if I will remember all that the next time I decide to wrestle with Him.



Yippee! It's a three-day weekend!


I am pumped...THIS IS A THREE DAY WEEKEND! I could honestly tell by the end of the day yesterday that I needed a break from my students. Pretty much everything they did rubbed me the wrong way. I was proud though, I didn't snap at them or anything like that. I could just tell we were in need of some break time.

So this weekend we have Austin visiting us. He's 8, and is a pretty good kid. He is tired at the moment, so he isn't quite so pleasant to be around at the moment, but overall we've had fun. We've had fun playing Monopoly, Trouble, Sorry, and Husker Du. It's been nice.

So, at the moment I'm being summoned to watch a movie with him. Maybe he'll fall asleep! :-)


You gotta be....

flexible if you want to be a teacher!

I tell ya, today and yesterday were two of those days that you have to just go with the flow. I didn't have my normal schedule either day, which is fine, but I kept saying to myself, "Part of my job is to be flexible". Nothing was bad. Just busy.

I covered for Regular Education Teachers while they had meetings, appointments, Etc.

I had a meeting with a parent yesterday that built my character.

Today I had a meeting with one of the most flexible parents I've dealt with.

Yesterday I had drama with a teacher. I hate drama. Love it on TV, hate it in real life. It's over now, so it's nothing, but at the time I was thinking, "What grade are we in?" Seriously...

So, it's 5:15, and I have gobs of paperwork to do, but I need a break. So, I'm gonna go for a swim before returning home to more paperwork.

Have a great day, whatever you may be doing!

The Miracle Workers

My techno-freeze promises to end soon. Enjoy this for now, I certainly am.

Fashion versus Comfort

Well, I don't think my Sunday would be complete without a post. I'll be honest, I have homework that must get done, but I wanted a short break. I wonder, does anyone's "to do" list ever get done? It seems to me I may make progress on my list, but it's never completely done. Does that seem weird to anyone else? I just prioritize and get done what must get done and move it all over to tomorrow's "to do" list. Is it just me? Seriously. Seems odd to me.

Anyway, that wasn't the main thing I wanted to post. I've been pondering something a bit lately and I thought I'd share...

Over the break I discovered the true joy of jogging pants and hoodies. I tell ya, comfort became a priority! Forget the jeans. I used to LOVE jeans. But, thanks to my coolest Mom on the planet who went shopping with me during the break, I now live in jogging pants and hoodies.

I have been deep in thought over this, simply because I am a girl. Shouldn't I want to look "pretty" in tops and pants? I have two roommates who take fashion very, very seriously, and they look really cute all dressed up. Shoegirl can't leave the house in sneakers, she leaves the house in stillettos (spelling?). And, she's comfortable in that. Not to mention she has to spend a good amount of time getting hair and makeup just right.

Now, I'm NOT AT ALL knocking shoegirl. Deep down inside, that's who she is and she looks really nice all dressed up and with makeup and hair just right.

But, that's not me.

I'm NOT anti-makeup, it's just not my thing.

I'm NOT anti-stilettoes, I'm just a sneakers kind of girl. Well, and not to mention I'd go "ba-dump!" in those shoes!

And I'm NOT anti-jeans. I just find myself more comfortable in pants I can stretch out in and a soft hoodie.

So, while I may not be the hottest thing in fashion...really, I'm probably as far from it as I can get.

I feel pretty in all my latest jogging attire.

Even though I don't jog at all.

And you know what?

I like me...


I guess fashion doesn't matter, but what I think of me does matter, huh?


Re-entry to the Real World


Well, this week has been good, just rather tiring. I REALLY enjoyed the break and sleeping in and doing nothing. I don't think I was prepared for getting up early, going to bed early, eating back on teacher time, or working from 7:30 to 5 everyday. Yeah, so re-entry has been tiring. Not bad at all, just tiring. This was the first break I can recall where I really wasn't ready to go back. However, it was neat to see the kids again.

It helped that the first rattle out of the box Monday included Dustin running up to me, yelling my name, and giving me a hug. Dustin is autistic, so it was a really cool way for me to start the week. It helped. I was still tired all week, but it really helped.

The kids were better this week. I imagine it was a combination of the fact I had a good, long, break so my patience was in-tact, and the fact the kids had a break so they were rested and ready to go. Regardless, it was a good week for me. Throughout the building all the teachers seemed to have a bit of an adjustment issue, but overall it was good.

The overall highlight for me this week didn't come from a kid though, it came from staff member. I work in a building that is so big that you can go days, weeks, months, and not talk to someone if you don't work directly with them. I know everyone by name, but if you ask me details about everyone's life I'd do a poor job of that. It's sad to say, but it's true. You spend all day in a room with kids with about a 40 minute lunch break with those you work directly with, then your world isn't very big in comparison to a staff of 80.

So, I see our PE teachers for about 30 seconds a day, if that. They work in the other end of my building, so I rarely see them. I know their names and have joked back and forth with them about KU versus MU, but that's the extent of my interaction with them.

So yesterday I saw coach, and we were able to chat for a couple minutes. I wanted to talk to her because I'm always joking with her how she gets to wear the outfits I would love to wear to work everyday. She wears all those cute jogging pants and shirts that I wear every chance I can at home. So yesterday I was a rebel and wore one of my jogging outfits. I told everyone who asked that we were "Jogging into reading" in my class. It made several smile and chuckle as they knew I was stretching things, but I never did get into trouble. :-) So I saw coach and told her what I was doing. She smiled.

Then she went on to tell me how I've positively impacted her life. How she is amazed at how positive I am and bring happiness to those around me. Now, while this touched my heart in a deep way, I don't share this to sound prideful. Really, I don't. I am just me being me. Nothing more, nothing less. But God taught me something in that moment.

I have barely spent time with Coach. Literally. I've joked with her and the other coach in our building off and on during KU/MU stuff, but I've never spent any real length of time with them. But, I have made a difference in her life and I didn't even realize she was watching.

Makes me wonder who else is watching and I don't even know it.

Kinda cool if you ask me.


Heart Knowledge

So, it's been a couple days since I've posted, so I have a bit to share. I have a friend who returned from Thailand on Friday, so we've had fun spending time together. Unfortunately for her, she got sick on her trip and still is under the weather, but overall I think she was glad she went. It's been a pretty cool weekend though as we have watched several movies as I've gotten the necessary paperwork done for work and bills paid. (Neither of which were my favorite part, but the movies were good!) I sit here with more homework to do, but I wanted a break.

The weekend has been good, but I must admit, I do wish I could rewind and be at OneThing again. This weekend has been NOTHING compared to last weekend. And, honestly, it is fairly hard to describe everything God has done in me and through me since the conference. I don't know how long I'll be sharing about the conference, but I do have snippits I'm still pondering and thought I'd share them with my limited reading audience. :-)

Allen Hood said something rather profound in his first seminar. He stated that Discernment is one of our strongest possessions as Christians. I have to agree with that, if you can't discern what He's saying, then you're not walking in step with him to the best of your ablility. He stated that if your mind gets ahead of your heart, then you lose a level of discernment. I agree with that. As I've pondered this statement two things have come to me:

1. When I'm in conflict with someone, I now stop and try to hear what the Spirit is telling me. However, sometimes my head does get in the way of my heart, and vice versa. So, in the midst of that, I do lose discernment. It's something I'm still praying through.

2. Overall, I have the opposite problem. My heart gets ahead of my head, and I wind up devoting too much to someone or something when in reality I need to let go and let God take care of it. I'm praying through that too!

So, as you can see, I'm still pondering. I will share more "downloads" as I get them. By the way, if any of you are Misty Edwards' fans, she has a new 2-CD set out that I HIGHLY recommend! It's all I've been listening to!

Have a great day!


Time flies when you're having fun...


I find it hard to believe that break is about over. It seems as if we just got out of school for break. Fortunately, we return back to work tomorrow, but it's pretty much a workday in our classrooms, so it will be a fun day. Granted, you get a bunch of teachers together who don't have kids nearby and we typically talk more than we work, but it will be a good transition back into the real world.

I have been off-line for quite a while as you can tell. I traveled to the parental unit's house, and had a great time. They also have two really neat dogs, so it was a good trip all the way around.

Then Laura flew in, and we did a "24" Marathon. Yeah, it's crazy how you can get addicted to a TV show. My parents had the DVD set, and we did about 14 episodes in a day and a half. It was a lot of fun. My parents joined us when they weren't working and we all yelled at the TV together. It was a hoot. My favorite line of it all was when Laura and I took a break to go buy food for the conference and out of nowhere she said, "She killed her fiance!" Of course, she was referring to the most recent episode of 24 that we had been watching, but it made me laugh. We had a great time.

We arrived in KC on Friday for the conference. We were both extremely excited. It was a great conference. Then again, I'm not sure you could be with God for four days straight and not think it was incredible.

We stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the conference, which was a gift. I would literally go to the conference, go back to the hotel long enough to eat, and then go back to the conference. They had the prayer room open during the conference, so even if there weren't sessions going on, you could go sit in the prayer room. Other than sleeping and eating, I was at the was great!

Having Laura beside me was a gift. We were both there for God, but I have to admit, God uses Laura in special ways in my life. And the thing that really amazes me about Laura and me is that we laugh ALL THE TIME! Laura brings out the best version of me, and it was incredibly cool to have a strong, Godly friend to walk beside me during the conference. There would be moments in services where she would just start praying for me. While I wouldn't know it at the time, she would tell me later that she was praying for me during a specific point in the service and that is worth more than all the money in the world to me! Having a praying friend is a gift from God, and I look back on the conference now, and am enormously blessed that she is in my life. She's been a real answer to prayer...

Each day held something new and different for me, and I am constantly in awe of how God never does things the same way twice. Every year I go into the conference thinking that it will be the same as the year before, and it is never the same thing twice. God's not a boring God like that. He likes to challenge us and love on us in completely new and exciting ways!

God used me in ways I had never been used before to bless his children. There were several services where I got to pray for people I had never met before, and it changed both of us in the process. It was very, very cool.

I also had fun on one day because Jason Upton led worship in the morning, and Allen Hood led two back to back seminars, and then he spoke that evening at service. Allen Hood is a very strong man of God and God has used him repeatedly in my life without Allen even knowing it. It was pretty much my ideal day. :-)

Misty Edwards led worship several times throughout the conference, and she was a really big highlight as well. She is my all-time favorite worship leader, so it was a blessing to get to be in services where she led worship. I connect with God on a real heart level when she leads, so I was changed again and again throughout the weekend.

On the last day they had "The Call". We did twelve hours straight of praise, worship, and prayer. It was pretty much my idea of an ideal day for me. That morning before The Call, Becky Tirabassi spoke. I had never heard of this person, so I had no idea of what to expect. She was incredible. I hope I can be 50 years old and still have a passion for God like she does. She inspired me in a way noone has inspired me in a long time. It was really cool.

New Years Eve Misty's team led worship again, which blessed me and then Jason Upton led us into 2008. It was a wonderful way to enter in to 2008.

So, I'm changed. I feel different. I want to keep this feeling. I know it's hard to do that though. I'm about to enter into the real world again. I'm about to walk back into the world of abused and neglected kids, and people who think I'm borderline insane for enjoying a prayer room as much as I do.

I do know it was fun to pretend for four days that the real world doesn't exist and I was surrounded by people who have a passion for God just as I do. That conference always amazes me because you look around during worship and people are serious about God and seeking Him. I feel a bit less alone at the moment because I don't feel like I'm this odd ball on an island seeking after what I know is true.

So, for four days I was in my ideal world.

Only 359 days until I do it all over again...

Happy New Year!