Highlight of my day!

Today, I had a friend drop by school to see me. I have to say it was the HIGHLIGHT of my day. Tooldude is (outside of my family, of course!) my favorite person on the planet. He has endured so much in the past few years and has come out stronger than anyone I know. In some ways he's my hero but more than that he's simply a good friend.

I find that the older I get the more selective I am about sharing my thoughts and feelings completely, but with him I don't feel that. And I think everyone needs that. Everyone needs a safe person to share thoughts and feelings with that won't squash them like a bug or judge you in the process. Tooldude has done that for me. And I will be forever grateful to God for the friendship that God has blessed me with in Tooldude.

So, now that I've rambled on, I need to go get some more boxes to pack up my classroom for the Summer.

One more day...PRAISE GOD!

LATER!

Friendships

About 6 weeks ago, Karen (one of my three Spiritual Moms at church) gave me a word from the Lord. At the time I thought it was "cool", but like a lot of things in the Spiritual World, God only gives us snippits that we can handle at the time. I am so very thankful that God does that. I tend to think that if everything would be on my time table, then I would just mess it all up! (It's that whole "human" thing, nabbit!)

So today I got another "snippit" of it while I was eating lunch with a friend from church. I don't always do lunch with someone from church, as most people have families to be with, but my friend asked me to lunch and I went.

We spent two hours sitting and chatting. Well, we ate too, but honestly, we talked more than anything. My friend, "Grandma" to many in my church, opened up to me and shared things that only true friends share with one another. She trusted me with her thoughts, feelings, and her heart. For that, I feel both honored and blessed. And it's not because she's this "at arm's length" kind of gal, she's actually quite the opposite, very loving and kind to those around her. But I feel blessed because as she shared her ENTIRE life story, I could tell she doesn't share that stuff with just anyone.

And lately I have found that many people have been trusting me with their hearts, seeing me as a "safe" person. I think God does things so carefully and in his timing that He knew when I would be ready for the depth of conversations that I've had lately with people. I imagine if this had happened one or even two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to be as responsible as I am today. Does that mean I'm perfect...nowayjose! But, I find that when people open up and talk with me about "real" stuff, I am ALWAYS honored that God put me there at that moment in time for the person, and in turn I get blessed in return.

Isn't God cool like that?

Deep friendships are a gift...one that I don't take for granted.

And today was a great day, and "Grandma" was the highlight of my day.

Go figure.

Later!

Wall-E!

I got home yesterday about 5-ish, and I received a call from a kid from church. I had promised that I would take all three kids from this family to see Wall-E, but figured that we would go Sunday after church. Well, of course, the kids were up for a movie OPENING DAY! And, to be honest, after seeing the worst movie of my life earlier in the week, I was up for an adventure!

I went and picked up the Three Little Munchkins, and we did dinner and then we went and saw Wall-E. And, I am proud to say, Pixar did not let me down on this one! From start to finish I REALLY enjoyed this movie. It made me laugh a lot, which was what I needed after my character-building week with LostBoy.

So, I am glad to say, I HIGHLY recommend this film!

And of course, I want to share my favorite quote from the film. (I know, you're shocked!) The Captain in charge of the Aircraft where everyone now lives because Earth has become so polluted, so he wants to go back to Earth says, "I don't want to just survive, I want to LIVE!"

Good words for us Earthlings here on this planet.

Later!

No. Freaking. Way.

Seriously, it's a real school.

Save Your Money and Time!

So, yesterday I went with a friend to see "The Happening". It's by the same guy who did "Sixth Sense." I was pumped, ready to go, and excited because I hadn't been to a movie all Summer (Which is a shocker!) and it looked interesting from the previews. It was also cool because my friend had given me a gift certificate to the movies as my Birthday Gift, so it only cost me treat money. (Which, I'm proud to say I can eat popcorn again!) Now I'm REALLY glad it only cost me treat money.

I knew it was rated R but figured I could handle it. Afterall, I'm 35, I figured it would be something like "I see Dead People."

Um, NO!

It was, quite possibly, the worst movie I've ever seen in my life. It was a waste of a gift certificate now that I think about it.

If you enjoy seeing people kill themselves, go see it.

Otherwise, save your money and your time.

It's not even worth a rental.

So, while this is usually a blog that lists movies to see (this is my first real "NO" recommendation), this time it's a recommendation NOT to see it.

By the way, in the theatre there were 2 adults with a baby and a toddler in the theatre. Idiots. It's Rated R for a reason!

As for me, Wall-E comes out Friday.

I can't wait to see it!

No human killings in it.

Sounds REALLY good to me.

Later!

Friday and Sunday

So, I tried to blog yesterday morning but since my computer isn't liking me, I quit and became a bum. So, I want to give a few thoughts on Friday and today.

Friday, LostBoy and I had a chat first thing in the morning. Ms. H. in Texas and I refer to these chats as "Come to Jesus" chats. No, I didn't make him meet Jesus (although he needs to) but I did let him know what I was thinking and feeling. He sat perfectly still while I talked. He knew I was at the end of my rope. But I was upfront and told him that my goal for his life was for him not to wind up in jail. I also told him that my goal was to not become like every other adult in his life but his behavior the day before made that difficult. I told him I'm not a quitter and I'm in this for the long haul. I knew it may not change a thing, but at least I had tried my best to make a difference.

Then we went to his regular class. His teacher thought he was gone, as in, kicked out of Summer School. We went down and found out that Mr. A. had allowed him to return. I was okay with it and left the office. His teacher wasn't okay with it, but it wasn't up to us. We went on with our day.

Around noon, Mr. A. came to me, wanting to know about our daily documentation that I send home each day on LostBoy. I explained, but he still didn't get it. I took him the notebook later in the day and was informed that LostBoy's Mom wants to come up and make copies of all my documentation. Apparently the higher ups are now involved too.

But I came to a realization on Friday. Mr. A. commented that LostBoy's Mom was upset with him because he kicked him out for a day. His Mother said that we're punishing him for something he does all the time. Mr. A. commented back something to the effect of "If nothing's changing, then something needs to change."

Two thoughts occurred to me at that moment. First, I realized how little my former principal did. Secondly, it made me INCREDIBLY glad that Mr. A. is in my building now. He wants to help LostBoy too. I can't wait to see what happens. I'll keep ya posted.

Today I got my first Sunburn of the Summer. We had our annual church picnic, and this year we had water games for the kids. We had Water Balloons, Water Guns, wading pools, and a Slip and Slide. You guessed it, I was right in the middle of it! It was probably the best day I've ever had at my church. I was DRENCHED! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

I think I'm gonna rest a bit before the workweek begins.

I also need to find the Solarcaine!

Later!

A twist on things...

So, I will openly admit, I am earning my keep in Summer School this year. Typically, it's an easy gig. Kids come and go, so my caseload is typically pretty light. This Summer is different.

I have lunch room duty everyday. Somehow I am the one "in charge" of it. Now, in our building, there are people that really like this duty. In fact, one teacher REALLY enjoys the microphone. I am not one that enjoys it.

Yesterday I found myself raising my voice to the 5 year olds, which is a joke. It's a waste of energy, as they just get louder, not softer. And I feel horrible because I've yelled at God's kids.

So today was different. One of our experienced teachers came in and gently made a suggestion to me. I will be quite honest and say that it made a WORLD of difference. I'm used to the older students, not the little 5 year olds. They're cute, but you have to be creative with them. And, I'm used to saying, "Zachery, be quiet", and that doing the job.

So, we broke out the old "this table is being quieter than this table." And, of course, it worked! My stress level was lower, the room was quieter...how much better can it get?

And, for those who have inquired, LostBoy has been in fine form this week. In fact, he was out of school yesterday due to a suspension. I will be honest, I'm at the point that I hope he's released from Summer School, but that's just me. He has broken the "Three strikes" rule, and is still here because of the IEP. We'll see what happens in the coming days. Tomorrow's a field trip and he's lost that. We shall see. IEP's are great, but this is Summer School and I hate to say it, they're not required to be here. So we shall see what happens.

I tell ya, Summer is for relaxing...8 more school days and I get to do just that.

I'll be honest...I can't wait.

Later!

Pay it Forward

Years ago there was a fabulous movie "Pay it Forward." If you haven't seen it, you need to rent it. You will be inspired and challenged all at the same time.

The idea behind the movie is an honor system full of people blessing one another in big ways. In the movie, a child challenges people to do good things, HARD things for other people, and then those who receive have to pass it on to others. And the cycle isn't supposed to end. Kindness is passed on and on and on.

Well, for the first time in my life, I feel as if I've been the recipient of this. Granted, I have been blessed abundantly in my short life, so it's not like I'm hurting.

But yesterday at church I was given a tremendous blessing. My pastor's family was blessed with a home makeover from the congregation of our church. They went all out a new bathroom, new countertops, and new furniture. While I haven't seen it (I will tomorrow night when I go for Discipleship Group) I hear it is spectacular.

So yesterday Mary came in told me that the Lord had laid me on her heart, and they want to give me all their old furniture! The cool part is, it's not old. It's really really nice stuff. So, Wednesday I get to go and pick out what I want! I'll need to rent a storage shed until I move, but this is a tremendous weight lifted off me because I was going to have to buy furniture.

And Mary said, "It's like a Pay it Forward" sort of deal, with the Lord's leading."

Wow.

I'm so excited!

Life is good!

Later!

A week in review...

So this week Summer School continued, and I found myself scratching my head quite a bit. I have pretty good kids this Summer, but I will admit it feels a lot different this Summer because I have a new crop of kids. The past 2 years I've had the same crew, and now that they're at the Middle School, I have a new crew. Which is good, I am enjoying it, but some of the things they say have caught me off guard.

I still have LostBoy on my caseload, and he was in fine form yesterday. He has already been sent to Mr. A. twice this Summer, and we're only 8 days into it. The first time he was sent for flipping off a kid on the playground. For the teachers who sent him for that, I commend them, as they don't realize that's actually pretty tame to what he's done in the past.

Yesterday, however, was his worst day for me yet. (Mr. H., if you're reading this, I have a WHOLE new respect for you!) He doesn't come to me in the afternoons, which has turned out to be a good thing. By the end of the morning, I find that I need some time away as he's worn me (and the other students) out. So yesterday after I did my lunch room duties, I came back to my room with Zach, who turned to me and said, "Someone's on my computer!" I looked at him, as he was walking ahead of me so I hadn't reached my room yet. Sure enough, I walked toward my room and LostBoy was sitting on the computer playing a game. I just about became unglued. He's not allowed alone in the classroom, much less unsupervised for ANY length of time. Through playing detective with his regular education teacher, it was found the he had lied to her (which sort of shocked me that she even fell for it because I warned her he lies, but that's a moot point at this point) and told her that I needed him for the afternoon. He was left unsupervised in my room for about 25 minutes. Nit wit.

He went on to say that he had smoke a cigarette the night before on a dare. I tell ya, by the end of the day I was WORN OUT. I did take him to Mr. A. I'll be interested to see if he lasts all of Summer School. Summer School is optional, so they can ask him not to attend. I have mixed feelings...part of me knows he needs me, but another part of me would like a break. We shall see what happens.

I did ask LostBoy what he wanted to be when he grew up, seeing as that he is showing no signs of caring about squat. He said he wants to go to the Juvie Hall that his brother is in so that he can follow in his brother's footsteps. He said from their he wants to go on to jail so that he doesn't have to work for a living. Was he saying it just for my reaction? Possible. But I doubt it. Go figure...

I also have Zach who is a diabetic and I am learning A LOT about Diabetes. He is in the MR room during the year, but due to overcrowding I have taken him. I REALLY like him. He can't even write his name, so this has been an interesting challenge for me, but I am enjoying it. Granted, I'm glad he's only mine for the Summer, because I like the high functioning kids more, but I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. He makes me laugh, and want to cry all at the same time. He is a really special kid, who honestly makes me pause each day and thank God for the abilities he's given me. That doesn't mean that I think I am better than Zach. It just means that I'm thankful I can read and write and function normally. I have a feeling that at the end of the Summer, I will truly miss Zach a lot.

Finally, Lea simply frustrates me. Lea is a nice kid, I will give ya that, but she wants to do as little as possible and still get by. I was teaching them calculator skills the other day, and Lea says, "I like calculators, it's just another way to be lazy."

That caught me. I know I hate laziness. I mean, I REALLY hate it when people are lazy and won't do their job. But, here is a kid, who is about 11 years old and is already seeing laziness as a good thing. I am attempting to break that cycle, but it will take more than 20 days to do that. She's already overweight by quite a bit. Not that that matters to me, but I sat there and looked at her and wondered if that was true of the rest of her family. Laziness at the age of 11. Geez....

Well, I guess that's my ramblings for tonight.

Have a good day/evening!

Later!

For Father's Day, A Bit Early

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World

by Sherman Alexie


The morning air is all awash with angels . . .
- Richard Wilbur



The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.
I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?
Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because
He's astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. "Hey, Ma,
I say, "Can I talk to Poppa?" She gasps,
And then I remember that my father
Has been dead for nearly a year. "Shit, Mom,"
I say. "I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—
How did I forget?" "It’s okay," she says.
"I made him a cup of instant coffee
This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—
And I didn't realize my mistake
Until this afternoon." My mother laughs
At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days
And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.
Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.
Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.




Reprinted from Thrash, © 2007 by Sherman Alexie

A lesson about life...

So, today I FINALLY got to see the movie, "The Bucket List." And, let me state upfront that if you haven't seen the movie, you need to! Is it an award winner? Nope, but it is one I plan to go buy tomorrow. It has really grabbed me...and made me think.

Two questions brought out in the movie were "Do you have joy in your life?" and "Do you bring joy to others?"

And that caught me.

It reminded me of a worship set at IHOP that I attended back in March. Cory Asbury came out to lead worship, and he carried the JOY of the Lord. I mean, you can see JOY on him. Is he perfect? nope. But, you could tell he was/is happy. I remember asking the Lord if I was that happy. I don't think I was...I'm not really sure to be really honest with you. I mean, I wasn't depressed, but I will admit, I had lost something.

This whole Crohn's stuff has been teaching me things left and right that I don't think I can explain in words completely. I imagine anyone who goes through health challenges learns more than they expect. I dunno.

So, that leads me back to that worship set. I remember laughing to the point I couldn't stop in that set. And, everyone in the room was doing the same thing. We were laughing, singing, snapping, it was incredible. A night I will never forget.

And, I have found myself taking time to enjoy those sort of things. I mean, perhaps that's a normal thing for Cory's team to do, but for me, that night, it was a first.

And over the past few months, I have found myself laughing and really enjoying things in a new way. I now sing a little "ba doo ba doo ba doo" in the halls at school. Granted, it's not loud, as singing isn't one of my gifts, but people have been catching on.

I hear my students now do the song when I'm around. Even Zachery today was singing it, and I thought to myself, "He's enjoying this."

So, does that mean I'm bringing joy to others? Gosh I hope so. I hope and pray each day that I am bringing others up and not pulling them down. I now make kids laugh in the cafeteria and find it being one of the highlights of my day. Seeing a kid smile melts my heart. And I can only imagine how God enjoys that.

And all this has made me wonder what else I can do to get the most out of life. The theme of the movie was that these two guys are going to die in a year and so they want to do all those things that they had always wanted to do. It has made me ponder. What would I put on my list? Here's what I've come up with so far.

1. See the Ocean. I would like to stand on a beach and just stand in awe of the ocean...what a vast thing our Lord has created.

2. See "Mystere" in Vegas again. This is a show that my Dad and I saw years ago on our first trip to Vegas, and it still remains something special to me.

3. See Ms. H. in Texas. A few years back I agreed to go see her, and backed out. Now she's living in a house in Texas with a pool. I'd like to go see that.

4. Spend a week this Summer at Camp Barnabas. I know, this one I will probably do this Summer, but I will say that after you spend one week out there and see life through the camper's eyes, and serve them, life is not the same.

5. Spend more time at IHOP-KC. I realize this seems weird, as I will be spending eternity in Heaven, but I am changed everytime I visit there.

6. Laugh more with my students. Sometimes I get very frustrated in the classroom, and found myself realizing I need to enjoy more and bring more laughter and love into their lives.

7. Continue to not let the little stuff get to me. My newest phrase has become "Somehow I think our lives will go on." I see SO MANY people get all bent out of shape over little, silly stuff and they're missing the point of life.

While I realize there are only 7 things on my list, I know there will be more to come in the days to come. There are others that I could put, but they're things I can't control, such a getting married, etc. So for now, those will go in my "Dreams" list.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will actually post that.

For now, I recommend you rent the movie and start looking around for the little things in life.

Life is TOO SHORT to miss all the GOOD STUFF in life.

Later!

Torture...sort of...

So, this is typically a "G" rated blog, but I will admit, today I'm gonna get really, real with you. So, be prepared. If you don't want me to be "real" just skip this post.

Today I battled a fear, and won.

I went to the doctor...the female doctor.

Was it really a fear, a phobia? Nope.

I just hate the experience.

There's just something really wrong with that whole experience, and I kept thinking to myself, "And I have to pay you to torture me like this?"

In all seriousness, this doctor was very professional. It was nothing against him.

But, when you're in there, and he's trying to make small talk and you're being tortured, you just think, "GET IT OVER WITH, QUIT TALKING!"

Or at least that's what was going through my mind.

I will be the first to admit, I tend to be a wimp when it comes to tough stuff. And, I will be very honest, I said, "OUCH!" outloud...yes, call me "wimp" or whatever you like. I'm okay with that.

I'm just glad it's over.

I'm going to live in the land of denial that one day I will be tortured like that again.

Later!

At home, at church...

I don't think a single Sunday goes by that I don't thank God for my church family. If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love my church. While I believe that "church" isn't the point, it's God and the people inside, having a healthy church home is very important to me. And today, I was reminded, (once again) how happy I am at BYKOTA.

I am now on the Worship Team, playing Bongos, as well as spending two Sundays back in Children's Church. This month I'm spending three back there because I owe someone for covering for me last month. So, literally, I go from the platform (and typically I leave before the band is done because I need to go be with kids) to the back where the kids are at.

And, I can honestly say, I'm happy doing that. I've been in dry seasons where that would wear on me, where I just wanted to go and relax and enjoy service. And then I think God gives us seasons where we are better off being in the middle of it all. Right now I'm in that place where I enjoy being involved in the ministry, and in the midst of what God is doing in my church home.

And, as I looked out this morning on the congregation He's put me in, I am in awe of what WONDERFUL people are in my church. I imagine every church has a Regina, Karen, or Martha Lee, but in my little world I don't take one of them for granted. At this point, I can't imagine my life without them (or the rest of my church family) in it.

Go figure.

I am one blessed gal.

Later!

Idiotsville, Continued

So Summer School is now underway. Yesterday was the first day, and I was amazed at what transpired yesterday. I'm going into my tenth year of teaching, and I still get thrown curveballs in my job. By the end of the day I thought, "These parents are idiots!"

A strong statement? Yep.

But, after you hear my stories, you can make your own decision.

At the beginning of the day, I was making the rounds, seeing who was there and who was absent. Typically, I have many students on my caseload, but not very many actually show up. So, I was doing my rounds.

I walked up to one of my teachers and said, "So, Lea isn't here today, right?"

She said, "Yes she is, she just went out for P.E. with the class."

I just stared at her. I thought I had my students confused, I thought Lea had a wheelchair in her IEP, but I never saw a student in a wheelchair.

She said, "What?"

I explained the wheelchair scenario, and she said that Lea was brought in late by someone, but she never saw a wheelchair.

So we went outside, and sure enough, Lea was walking and participating in P.E.

I thought I was mistaken, and I went inside to talk to C.D. about it because she has Lea during the year. C.D. said, "Yes, she has a wheelchair."

I said, "Nope, go check outside."

C.D. went outside and came back in laughing, saying "It's a miracle!"

We both laughed.

We played detective, and as it turns out Lea is supposed to be in the wheelchair all day due to a hip issue. The parents just didn't feel like bringing the chair up to school.

Idiots.

Then I was doing lunchroom duty, and one of the teachers came up to me and handed me a letter from a parent about their kid.

I just stood there.

I was in the middle of teaching 4 and 5 year olds how to carry their lunch tray (which I must say is always a highlight for me, it's quite funny!) and didn't have time to read a letter.

So, I just asked the teacher, "Who is this kid?" She told me, and I said, "Yes, it's C.D's kid, not mine!"

Then I went back to lunchroom duty.

After duty, I went in the office and gave C.D. the letter. I was walking away and C.D. said, "Didja read this?"

I told her that I hadn't because once I found out it was her kid, I didn't bother to look at it.

The letter literally said: "If you don't want to follow the IEP, you don't have to, afterall, Summer School is just a babysitting service for the parents."

I just stood there, dumbfounded.

Their kid is in Special Education, and yet they view it as babysitting.

Idiots!

Finally, the last story of the day.

When I was in the office, I was informed that Becca was brought in just before lunch. Becca is a student that has required multiple clothes changes due to toileting issues. She's not mine, so she isn't one I had to change much, but I have done so before just to help out.

So, they were playing detective on Becca because she wasn't enrolled in Summer School, and an IEP wasn't prepared for her for the Summer Session.

I walked away.

Not my business, and I definately didn't want it to be my business.

Then around 2:30, our speech gal came to me and said, "She pooped her pants, and we don't have ANY clothes from the family to change her into."

I just looked at C.D. and said, "She will be yours by the end of the day, prepare yourself."

C.D. said, "I don't want to teach Summer School anymore!"

I laughed. I told her it was too late!

Then at 3:00 C.D. came back to me and said, "She isn't coming any more. Bosslady told the family that if they couldn't come up and change her, then she couldn't come back because we don't have staff to change her."

On one hand, that is best for everyone. Summer School is not required.

On the other hand, the parents should have planned ahead.

Becca is a student that needs massive academic help.

But, in their case, they just wanted that "free babysitter."

Idiots.

I need to crash.

Tomorrow is another day in Idiotsville.

Pray for me!

Back in the saddle again...

Greetings!

So after a WONDERFUL weekend without papers to grade, lessons to plan, or schedules to worry about, I am back at work preparing for Summer School.

And I will admit, I am excited. I got my folders today, and as of right now, I only have 9 students! Granted, two of them will be character-building, but, that's okay. I can do anything for 20 days!

I spent the day preparing for kids...or...well, talking more than working. I'm glad tomorrow is a free day because I need to get some more things done.

The coolest part of the day is that Mr. C. was hired for Summer School TODAY! That's right, he woke up today without a job, prayed, and wound up on Summer Staff this Summer. I am pumped! It just wouldn't have been the same without him. I'm so glad he's going to be with us!

So, now I'm headed to spend my whopping $25 for Summer School.

Have a good one!