A Day Turned Around

So, I got home tonight in a crummy mood. My day at work was the hardest day I have had so far. And, I will admit, it wasn't the kids, or the teachers, I just stink at asking for help when I need it. I need two of me to effectively do this job. I'm such a people pleaser that it gets me into trouble. It will all work out, it always does, but by the time I got home I was tired of thinking of how to work a schedule that makes everyone happy. It's not possible, I've decided that. I'm in a workshop tomorrow so I get a break before I tackle it again Wednesday.

So, I drove in the driveway, and Blondeboy came riding up on his bike. He put his bike in his garage and came over and grabbed my keys. He came in, let Jay out, and I went upstairs to put on my walking clothes while the boys were outdoors. Then we headed out for a walk.

I have a route that I usually take, but Blondeboy asked if I wanted to go down to a different part of the lake. I said, "Sure." We wound up on a bench I had been on before, but we took a different route than I usually take. It was GREAT. We walked and talked, and met some new people along the way. We met mostly kids who Blondeboy goes to school with, but it was still neat. We even met another dog with some kids. Jay still isn't playing well with other dogs, but I believe we'll get there.

We sat at the lake for a few minutes and just admired the scenery. Jay did plenty of exploring, and got away from Blondeboy at one point. Blondeboy did a GREAT job of rescuing him. I wasn't too worried because he was headed to the lake instead of toward cars. I think Jay really likes Blondeboy because he can run with him.

After returning home, I have sat and thought about what a blessing they both are to me. Jay is a blessing for obvious reasons, but having Blondeboy in my life is more of a blessing than he even realizes. I know today he turned a rotten day into a GREAT day.

Thank You, Lord.


Serving God...

Well, I don't have much to share tonight except for the fact I'm now officially a shuttle driver for IHOP-KC. I'm excited as I am meeting some wonderful people, and making a few new friends along the way. IHOP is so big that it is going to take me a while to get to know everyone, but this has been a great transition spot for me.

Every night is different too. Last week the people talked ALL the time. Tonight I had quiet shuttles. I wonder if it was the choice of music I had going. Usually I have Cory Asbury's CD on, but tonight they had a new "20" CD in the office, so I grabbed that. It was really cool. Plus it had two new Misty songs on it! Woop! :-)

So, while it's a little thing. I mean, being a shuttle driver is one of the most behind-the-scenes jobs you can have at IHOP, as it's just God who sees me doing it. But, somehow I think it makes Him smile! :-)

So now I need to go. Little minor detail of teaching little people tomorrow.


A Day with Jay

For the most part, I have spent the day with Jay. It's been nice. We've cuddled, played fetch, gone for a walk with my parents and me, and is now chewing a bone while I watch NCIS. The highlight was when I returned from dinner with my parents, and he went NUTS when I came in the door. I mean, it was priceless. I told my Dad (jokingly) that Jay doesn't like me at all. He replied with, "Yeah, I came in to say good-bye to him and he doesn't even know I'm here." :-)


Happy Friday!

I began the day with saying "Happy Friday" to our first graders in the hallways! I've never really been a big "Happy Friday" sort of gal, but today it fit. It was our first "full" week, and we were all feeling it today. It wasn't a bad week, it was just busy. I got my schedule worked out, and I really like all of my students. If you've been reading the blog this week, you know that it's been a fun week in my classroom. Two boys are still pushing the limits, but other than that it's okay.

A true highlight this week has been my 9 year-old next-door neighbor. Blondeboy has bonded with Jay, and they are best buddies. The past two days I've come home, and Blondeboy has been the one to take Jay out right when I get home. They go out while I change, and we take a walk. Sometimes Blondeboy rides his bike, and sometimes he doesn't. Tonight we walked down by the lake and let Jay play. It was REALLY fun. After returning, Blondeboy came in for a while, went out to play with the neighborhood kids, and is now back with jay. It's really cool to watch.

Well, I think it's time for me to cuddle with the little furry kid.


Back to School Picnic

Tonight we had our PTA Back to School Picnic. I must admit, I was tired and DIDN'T want to go. I came home and walked Jay, and sat down to eat, and then thought, "I promised the kids I would go." So, I went.

I find that whenever I feel that I don't want to go to something, I'm always glad afterward that I went. Tonight that was true.

I was standing with some teachers and Opponentboy's Mom came up and introduced herself. She went on to say that her son LOVES my class. I smiled and told her I love her son as well. She went on to say that her son NEVER talks about school and the past several days he won't stop talking about my class. While I've had parents tell me this before, it was a highlight of my day because it was my first one to say it here. And, it helps that the family is split, half KU fans and half MU fans. So, when our deal comes up about us wearing the opponent's team shirt if our team loses, and HE HAS TO WEAR KU, he's covered! :-) His Mom laughed about it all and said that on Tuesday he came home from school, went straight to his closet, pulled out the MU shirt, and said he had to wear it because his new teacher is a KU fan!




So, today was another day full of laughter in my classroom. The day was going along smoothly, and the kids are getting to know me just as much as I'm getting to know them. It's proving to be entertaining!

Popkid still wants a Pepsi. I'm still not caving. I'm pretty sure he's taken up residency on another planet, as I never promised the little people Pepsi. Of course, I didn't have my Pepsi on the table today like I did yesterday, so he couldn't take it. Forget the fact it was on my desk, but he wasn't that quick to notice!

Smartkid made me laugh today, as he came in and sat down. We were discussing KU versus MU, and he said, "I like KU." I told him I was liking him more and more! Then he followed with, "Since I like KU, can I have a Pepsi?" I replied quickly with, "Nope." He just smiled.

Finally, OpponentBoy was my first true connection in my new school. He came in today ON PURPOSE with an MU shirt on! He was smiling as he walked in, as he knew I would given him a hard time. Of course, I couldn't let the kid down! We made a deal that when sport seasons come up, we will wear our opposing team shirts on the day of the games, or the Friday before the games. I really connected with him, which was REALLY COOL.

I tell ya...


Overcoming Slackeritis...

So last night my post on Facebook said I was suffering from Slackeritis. I wasn't suffering from it like I have before, but I was REALLY struggling to stay motivated. Today, I was feeling SO MUCH BETTER and hit the ground running today!

I started with a meeting for our school dedication ceremony. Apparently in this district when you open a new school, you do a dedication ceremony. Fortunately I'm on a staff of people who are far from Slacker-status, so it's going to come together really well. It was a good use of my time.

Then, I started today with students. I can honestly say I like all of them, even though two of them wound up in the "red" seat today. It is the season for setting boundaries, and I'm not making every student just thrilled to be with me. :-) You know, I can be a mean, rotten, horrible, teacher. Just ask my students from last year!

There is one kid that cracked me up today. Granted, he's going to be the student that builds my character the most, but it's always those kids that I love the most. Popkid thought it was funny that I drink Pepsi. I explained to the little people that I don't drink coffee, so don't give me coffee cups for holidays. (Don't worry, I covered a lot of other curricular stuff today, but this is one of my two stories for today) I told them they can buy me a can of Pepsi and M&M's. :-) Well, I needed to cover the serious stuff today! Ha! So, during my lesson, He took my can of Pepsi and I told him, "Look, it has my name on it!" It did, it was written on a sticky note on the can! He grinned and gave it back. So, at the end of the day he was headed to the bus and talked to our secretary and told her that he liked my Learning Center better than the one from last year. The secretary asked Popkid why it was better. To which he replied, "We get Pepsi here!" Now, when I heard that I laughed. Then I told our secretary, "I don't know what planet he was on during class because I NEVER promised Pepsi!' She said this was normal for him. Forget the fact the kid has MAJOR ADHD...like I'm going to give him sugar and caffeine. Seriously, I need to ask him tomorrow about what planet he lives on!

I had another kid, Tiredboy build my character as well. He told me he's ALWAYS tired. He kept putting his head down and saying he was tired. So, after all the kids left, I asked him about his sleep routine. He told me that he watches TV to go to sleep. He said he watches TV until his Mom comes in and turns on "something boring" to make him fall asleep. I asked him if he was afraid of the dark, and he said that was why the TV was on. I said, "Well, how about if you tried a nightlight?" He said his Mom didn't know where to buy those! (Seriously, he said that!) He went on to say that at his Dad's he can't watch TV before bed. I said, "Okay, you can go back to class." After school I called his Mom, who explained that during the Summer he was allowed to watch TV to fall asleep because it didn't matter what time he got up. However, now that she knows he's "always tired" she will take the TV out of his room! Woop! Oh, and the whole nightlight story, he has 6 of them! Go figure.

Finally, Jay and I went on a LONG walk tonight. As we started our usual evening stroll, we heard yelling a few doors down. This honestly isn't unusual, as that couple fights quite a bit. I'm just glad they're not right next to me. So, we headed out. We met Gunnor, who is a tall dog, who wanted to play with Jay. Unfortunately, Jay doesn't have the whole "playing with other dogs" thing down yet. He snapped at Gunnor. So, we started walking and the two kids from the Yellingneighborshouse came walking toward us. I said a prayer, wanting to support them without letting them know I had heard. Needless to say, we wound up on a LONG walk to the park where they both confided in me what was up. My heart leapt for them, as they're just kids and they can't fix a thing. They just have to live in the house with the drama. Trust me, after the last chapter in my life of drama, my heart leaps for them. In the end, the rest of the kids in their family met at the park, and I quietly exited with Jay. I walked home and prayed the whole way home. I remember the feeling of dreading going home because I was afraid of the people in the house. I can only imagine what that looks like for kids. Seriously. So, if you believe in prayer, please pray for the kids. God knows who you're speaking about, and will bless that.

Well, tomorrow begins earlier than usual with a 7:45 Faculty Meeting.

It's a good thing I'm over my Slackeritis. This week would be TOUGH if I wasn't!


Quote for Today

As I was walking down the hall today, a small little person, about first grade, turned to me and said, "I hate that Jayhawk jacket you have on!" I looked at the little guy who I didn't even know, and said, "I can get you one! Free of charge!" He looked at me, puzzled, and then it hit him, and he said, "No way!" I said, "Then keep on walking!" He grinned and started walking.




So, tonight I went and drove the shuttle and met some REALLY cool people. It is so encouraging for me to find people with hearts like mine that are so deeply rooted in the knowledge of God. I realize many of my readers will stop reading now and tune-in tomorrow, and that's okay. I drove the shuttle from 5-9, and met some incredibly nice people. One of them even got on and said, "Hey Shortone." I stopped and looked, and sure enough, he was one of my passengers last week! It was great.

So, since it's late, and I have a little detail of work to get to tomorrow, I wanted to simply put a quote that is from a song on Cory Asbury's CD that has gripped me.

"I've counted the cost...I count it all as loss, for the sake of knowing You..."



Jay and the Walgreens Gal!

Today has been incredibly low-key, and I have enjoyed it! I was a bum most of the morning, cleaned up, and Jay and I went out to run a few errands. We went to Borders, where I have a gift card to spend, and found NOTHING I was looking for...bummer. Then we went to Famous Footwear. You wouldn't think finding just the right tennis shoes would be difficult, but when you walk with a limp, you have to be pretty picky. I have to run to another store in KC tomorrow after church because they didn't have the shoe I wanted, nor was it available online in my size....another bummer. After the shoe store, we hit the library, where I did get the book I reserved the other day. I'm sure a book report will follow one of these days. :-) Woop!

The exciting part came when we went to Walgreens to get my prescription! We did the drive-up lane, and Jay had done VERY well until a car pulled up and had two other dogs in it! Yep, it became a barking drive-thru! When the gal tried to get my name, I had to yell over the furry kids to tell her who I was and what I needed. Then, she followed with, "You want some treats for your dog?" I said, "Sure, do you have any?" Of course she did! She sent them out along with my prescription, and Jay went nuts! He stopped barking, and I spaced them out just long enough to get us out of the drive thru without more barking! Woop! I told the gal "Thanks so much!" She said, "Sure. Anytime." :-)

What can I say?


Walking Goofy, IEP's, and the Lunchroom...

Today was an interesting sort of day. Not bad, not great, just very interesting. There were three parts that were particularly cool.

As I was walking toward my after-school duty post, I walked by a first-grade classroom and just as I had passed it, I heard "She walks funny!" I stopped and turned around. I have been praying for opportunities to explain the limp so that the kids won't stare and make comments like that. I wasn't mad at all, I just knew it was an opportunity to teach. I turned around and walked back and said, "Who said that?" I said it in a lighthearted tone, not a defensive tone. Blondeboy said, "I did." I walked up and said, "First off, I don't walk funny, I walk goofy!" EVERYONE laughed. I went on to give my speech, and the kids were okay with it. I then turned to Blondeboy and said, "Hey, do you know how to thumbwrestle?" (I'm sure his parents are hating me tonight!) Yep, I taught him how to play, and it's funny how I owe him a pencil on Monday, as well as two of his classmates who I taught as well. :-) It was great. I kind of felt like I was getting in my zone again, as thumbwrestling was sort of my thing at the old school, and I feel it's a tool I can use here to connect with kids and help them forget about the limp and see me as a real person. It was one of the highlights of my day.

My next story isn't funny, but it is worth sharing since my eyes have sort of been opened. I have been working my tail off on my scheduling (which is hard when you're teaching special education) when I met with my last teacher at the end of the day. I was talking to her and it turns out she was at the school last year that all these kids came from. There was a boundary change, obviously, so these kids were shipped to SVE. I found out that at their old school there were TWO special education teachers, not just one. You're wondering what difference this makes, aren't ya? Well, I figured up all my total minutes, and the way all my IEP's are written now, and I would need two of me to get the job done! I'm blessed to have the principal that I do who looked at me today and said, "Hey, do whatever you need to do to save your sanity. I trust you." Needless to say, I'm about to make some parent phone calls and re-do some IEP's so I can service all my little people. While it's more work, I am cool with that. It just made me glad to hear that it took two people to do it last year and that I wasn't missing some "trick" to scheduling all of them! :-)

Finally, if you have read my posts at all this week, you have probably sensed a bit of frustration as I have shared about lunchroom duty. It hasn't been AWFUL, but I will admit that my last school did an awesome job compared to where we were at Tuesday! However, the coolest part of the week was actually the frustration with it all. On Tuesday we had mass chaos and I was following our custodians lead, as that's what I was told by my principal to do. And, honestly, our principal wasn't in there much on Tuesday, so she didn't realize what we had on our hands. After school Tuesday we had a faculty meeting and the lunchroom was discussed, and I gave my two cents. Due to the fact my principal had not been in there, I think my ideas were set aside because she wanted to observe on Wednesday. On Wednesday I did the same thing, and halfway through my principal walked up and said, "I don't like this set up." I looked at her and said, "I know. I agree." The kicker of it was she had the head janitor to deal with. And, in all fairness, he was only doing what he had done at his last school. I followed with, "Here's what I suggest..." Then I looked at her and said, "Take it for whatever it's worth. I am not in your shoes, and I realize you have quite a bit to juggle here." She smiled and walked on. Yesterday I went in, and half of what I had suggested was set up. I wondered how the head janitor would take it, as it pretty much shoved his system in the toilet. When the second group was dismissed, there was a small spill and he turned to me and said, "This is why I don't like this set up." I looked at him and said, "Spills happen in an elementary cafeteria." And I smiled. I will admit, we did it that way the whole lunch time yesterday and he didn't revert to the old way like I thought he might do. SO TODAY when I entered, it was set up like I had suggested and I was PUMPED! Not just because my voice was heard and someone actually took my idea and ran with it but because it went SO MUCH FASTER! It was neat to see Tuesday to today. And, I will state that my principal has worked her tail off this week to make the schedule for the cafeteria work as well. We had a schedule change today due to coverage of recesses and lunchroom duty, but it worked out! Ah, week one is down...35 more to go!


Jay's Latest Blog Post

Dear Humans,

This is Jay. I'm Shortone's dog. I've been on here, but not for a while because I've gotten into trouble this week. Truthfully, Shortone has been pretty good to me, and we're still friends, but it has been quite a week. Let me explain it to you...

Night before last I was trying to get Shortone to play with me. Yes, we had been on a walk, and yes, she had played with me for a lot of the evening, but she was on this thing which made me mad! So, I broke my record and peed on the carpet! Shortone moved pretty quickly when she realized what I had done, and tried to rub my nose in the pee. She didn't succeed at that, but I did receive my first spanking from her. I was so scared, I went upstairs and hid in her room. She was pretty miffed and let me stay up there. After a little while, I was called back down here and she was okay with me. I was still kinda scared because she hadn't been like that with me before, so I went out to pee and went to bed without much else. The next day though, we were fine and Shortone told me that it was only one time and life goes on. Whatever that means.

Today she left out her dress shoes for work that she had worn yesterday and I had SO MUCH FUN tearing them up while she was gone! She opened the door and gave me that weird look that made me go into the kitchen. She didn't spank me or anything, but she did make some sort of comment about how it was good that she got paid today because she now needs to go shoe shopping again. I tell ya, it was so much fun while I did it, but I don't like it when Shortone is frustrated with me. We went for a walk, which made Shortone feel better as she was able to relieve some of that stress stuff she was talking about to herself as she changed.

So, tonight we've had fun. We walked around the block, met the kids on the street, came home and ate, played with the toys, went for a car ride, and have cuddled while she watched that silly thing she watches all the time now. It's been fun.

I know Shortone has been mad a couple times this week, but I know she loves me because she says it a lot.

Well, she says it's time for bed because she has work tomorrow, whatever that means.

Even though she's frustrated sometimes, I know I'm spoiled rotten...so...




Tonight my mind has been running in MANY different directions, so I figure I'll just share snippits.

1. I wonder how my friends in my old district like their new classes. Especially since the upcoming fourth grade group was a behavior issue group since grade 2.

2. I wonder if lunchroom duty should be as complicated as it has been the past two days.

3. I wonder how in the world I'm going to juggle CWC and pull-out this year. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. My tent is about to be really stretched.

4. I wonder if I'm supposed to feel this tired even though I'm getting MORE sleep with the late start school than I did last year.

5. I wonder if I should really be this hooked on NCIS. I'm on episode 3 for the night, and have about 15 ready to be watched. I guess everyone needs a hobby.

6. I wonder if Jay will ever accept the fact that my laptop is a hobby and he shouldn't be jealous of it.

7. I wonder what it's going to be like working in a school with parents of my students who actually have college degrees and care about my students academic careers.

8. I wonder how many kids I can make smile as I pick on them about their love of the OTHER college team that shall remain nameless. So far it's been quite a few!

9. I wonder how D.D. did in his first day of 5th grade.

10. I wonder if Tooldude thinks about me as much as I think about him.

11. I wonder if Jay knows how cool I think he is!

12. I wonder if Ronnie thinks about me like I think about her. I miss that camper! I can still hear her say my name.

13. I wonder if my tall friend from CF knows how cool I think he is, and I already miss saying "Good Morning, my tall friend!"

14. I wonder how I'm going to document IEP progress on my CWC kids. Seriously...

15. I wonder if Leesh knows that I think about her daily, and miss her immensely!

16. I wonder if Karen knows that I say a prayer for her at least once a day.

17. I wonder if God is shining through me in my new school where I feel as I'm the only one seeking Him. I hope they see Him and not me.

18. I wonder when I'll see Laura again!

19. I wonder when Women's Retreat is this fall, and if I will get to present what God has laid on my heart! :-)

20. I wonder if Jay wants to play fetch with me....Gotta find out.


One Day Down...173 to go!

I awoke today excited and nervous all at the same time. The first day of school is different for me than regular education teachers at the elementary level because I don't actually teach on the first day. I do all the support staff stuff, such has helping before and after school, doing lunchroom duties, and anything else that may need to be done. I actually enjoy it as it opens a door for me to get to know kids in all grades, regardless of whether or not they are in my classroom. And today was GREAT.

I started the day as Hallway Monitor on my end of the building, and directed traffic. I will say it was cute to see parents taking pictures as they dropped of kids. Several escorted them to their rooms and then snapped pics. It was cute. I did my "Good Morning, welcome to SVE, I'm glad you're here" speech. It made EVERYONE smile. It was fun.

I waited about an hour and made the rounds at my classrooms to make sure everyone was okay, and if anyone needed anything. Everyone was good, so I went back to my paperwork party.

At 11:00 I went down to help with lunch room duty. I'm not on the schedule, but I wanted to help. I wound up being the worker at the Trash Station. I tell ya, the way lunch works at my new school is MUCH more complicated than my previous school. It's a good thing that there are fewer kids. :-) The cool thing about doing the trash station was that I met EVERY student at SVE. That was AWESOME! I joked and laughed with them, making them enjoy their wait in line to dump their trays. It was fun.

The highlight of my day was when CPKid walked up. I didn't see him walking around the building yet, so I didn't know who he was yet. He walked up, dumped his tray, and I knew EXACTLY who he was! I tell ya, we had a GREAT talk, and I'm going to LOVE him. His limp is a little more involved than mine, but not much. He is a really neat kid, and I can tell I'm going to love having him on my caseload!

My second favorite highlight came when I was walking down the hall in my KU jacket (it's freezing in my building!) and a kid said, "Hey, I like your jacket." I turned around and said, "Who said that?" The blonde kid said his name, and his teacher and I kind of joked with him. There is a pretty big KU versus MU rival in our building, so it's going to be fun to see how it all plays out once sports season starts. Oh, and we're allowed to wear SVE, KU, MU, Chiefs, or Royals wear on Friday with our jeans. EVERY Friday! Woop! :-)

Finally, I did give my speech several times today. My favorite time was when one of the teachers was giving her class a tour of the building and they stopped to meet me. She introduced me as "A Wonderful Teacher", which made me smile, especially since she doesn't even know me yet! Anyway, I gave the speech, and the kids were laughing because I made the joke, "I may walk goofy, but don't call me goofy!" So, at the end of the day several said, "Bye Ms. Spring." :-)

I am beginning to feel like I've found a home!


What I've Taken for Granted...

So, today was a good day at school. I got quite a bit done, and joked with a few people. It was good.

The thing I've pondered today is how different life is here compared to where I spent the past ten years. I was in a school and community that was very accepting of people (kids and adults) with disabilities. The school I was in housed the largest Special Education population at the Elementary Level. The kids were trained that being different was good, and not a big deal. In fact, you would often see an autistic student having a meltdown headed down to the "time out" room, and kids (and adults) would simply walk on by. It was part of the community, and it was normal. I didn't really think twice about it, as the kids grew up from Kindergarten through fifth grade with the Special Education kids as their friends! I remember one student who was autistic who was quite the ladies man out on the playground! :-)

I'm sure you all know where I'm headed with this story.

In the building I'm in now, we house one Lifeskills class and my Learning Center class. I heard the LIfeskills teacher discuss with the staff at how they will try to hide any tantrums from the rest of the student population, and that you need to be fragile with what is said to the "regular" students about the students. Hum....as you can tell, I'm still stuck there. In my old school, we were straight-up about the kids, with ALL the kids. I see how much I have taken for granted the past several years.

Then I came home tonight and had an interesting encounter with my neighbor's son. I should state that MANY kids have arrived on my block, and I imagine it's because Summer Break is over and now everyone is living with the full-time custodial parent. I'm cool with that, as it simply more friends for Jay and me to meet!

So, I had Jay on his leash, and I had just gotten home from work, and the next-door neighbor came over to talk to me. He is 14 and a very sweet kid. He asked me if the lever on my garage door had always been there. I just looked at him. I had no idea what he was talking about. I looked over and his garage door didn't have a lever. I looked around, and noone else has a lever. Hum. I just looked at him and told him I really didn't remember. I remembered seeing it and thinking everyone had one. And he followed with, "Is it because you're handicapped?" I just looked at him and told him I didn't think my limp had anything to do with it. He asked me if I had requested it, and I told him, "no." Now, the kid wasn't rude. He wasn't mean. He was curious. And, I'm cool with that.

The other boys arrived and they headed for a bike ride and I came in to change. I got ready and Jay and I headed out for our evening walk. We crossed the street and the boys came riding up. Jay and I said "Hi" and kept on walking. The 14 year-old looked at me and said, "What are you doing?" I just looked at him. "I'm taking Jay for a walk." He replied with, "Can you do that? I mean, doesn't that hurt your leg?" I said, "No, it doesn't hurt. And, yeah, we usually walk about a mile a day." He looked at me and did a double-take. He followed with a comment about how he didn't think I could walk Jay because of the limp. So, I explained everything to him. Now, let me state, this kid wasn't being mean. He truly wasn't. He just had never had experience with someone with a limp. After I explained it, he said, "Okay. One mile huh?" I said, "Yep." He said, "Okay, see ya." And was headed on a bike ride with his brother.

I had forgotten how much training I'd have to do with the natives. :-) I'll give my speech A LOT tomorrow as the little people arrive at SVE. One week from now they won't even notice it anymore. I took a lot for granted where I was at. I pray that God uses me and the Lifeskills kids to teach the "regular" kids about us...we're not different, we're just people. Only difference is that I'll never win a marathon! :-) And honestly, don't want to either!

So until tomorrow night's post...


Settling In...

I really enjoyed today. I got up and went to FCF, and smiled through most of it. I still can't believe I'm a part of IHOP now. Granted, I'm not on staff or anything, but I'm a part of the FCF family and am on the shuttle team as well. Slowly but surely, I'm settling in.

Tonight the shuttle was FUN. I joked with the fellow drivers, as well as talked with MANY people. I find it funny how many people choose to sit up front by me. I love that, as it makes me feel a bit less like a taxi driver, and it opens a door for me to talk to them. All but one of them talked to me, so it was great. I am looking forward to driving again next Sunday Night. Woop!

Right now, I hear my bed calling my name. The work week is about to begin.


The World of Dogs...

I had a GREAT day today. Jay actually let me sleep until 10! It was a first in a while that I have slept past 8:30. I loved it!

After relaxing a bit and bonding with Jay, we headed out to my parent's house. We stopped off at Petco, as we couldn't go empty-handed to play with Rudy and Roxie! We got to Petco, and made it halfway up the parking lot when we realized it was "Adopt-A-Furry-Friend" Day. Jay started barking, so I left Jay in the car and got a toy for Roxie and Rudy, a well as one for Jay. Then we were off to the parents.

After a road closed and a long detour, we made it to the parents. I was pretty prepared for it to be a transition for all 3 dogs. And, I was right! I had never seen Jay with other dogs, so I really had no idea as to how long it would take, but I knew it would be okay.

Upon arrival, Roxie lunged at Jay and he hid in the corner. He was quite scared. We tried keeping them inside, and decided to go out to the backyard. Dad took Jay and Roxie for a short walk, and Rudy stayed with Mom and me. They did well on the walk, and then Jay got out of his collar and they returned to the backyard where I called Jay over and put his collar back on. Mom wound up putting Rudy downstairs, as he struggles with other male dogs, while we all went inside. We took Jay off the leash and let him wonder around. Roxie stayed close to Mom, but seemed okay. Roxie remained scared of Jay all evening, but they got along. They occasionally barked at each other, but they were fine. Jay wanted to play, but Roxie was pretty scared. So, they never really played together like I had hoped.

Jay made himself at home and by the time we were making dinner, he was asleep on the floor. It was so cute.

I thought it was cute how well Dad and Jay got along. By the time it was time to go, Jay was Dad's buddy. In fact, getting in the car wasn't his idea, and he would've been okay staying with Dad and Mom....as long as the other dogs stayed downstairs! :-)

If you've been my friend for any length of time, you know that Rudy has held the "Coolest Dog on the Planet" Award in my heart for years. And, honestly, he still has that place in my heart. Oh, don't get me wrong, Jay has become my Best Friend, and we are very close. However, Rudy has had drama in his life, prior to landing at my parent's house. And, after today I think I gained a new glimpse of how hard his life probably was out on the street.

See, Rudy was abandoned on the streets of Grove, Oklahoma and had to fend for himself for a period of time before he was rescued. I can only imagine what the little pup went through during that time in his life. So, it makes sense that another dog would be hard to be around. While dinner was being cooked, I went down to the basement and tried to bond with Rudy. He was okay with me there, but really just wanted out of the basement and could have cared less if I was there. I didn't blame him. A different dog came into his house and took over the place. He is used to me giving 100% of my attention to him, and I was upstairs with the "other" dog. My heart leapt for him, even though he was fine. Rudy kinda pulled me through the last chapter of my life without fully understanding the whole deal, all he knew was that I needed some silent support. Rudy will always hold a special place in my heart. ALWAYS...

As I drove home I pondered the whole thing. In a way, we're not much different than the little dogs. Jay, never has been abused, and is a happy little guy. That pretty much reminds me of my brother and me. We were never abused, and are happy, healthy adults. Roxie wasn't abused, but is scared of MANY things in life. I have known several adults like this, and it affects their everyday life in some deep ways. Rudy was severely abused, and it has affected him on some very deep levels. Unfortunately, I have met MANY people who fall into this category. I pray for the people in my life who struggle daily...knowing that God can do anything. ANYTHING.

So, while dogs aren't people, they sure can teach us a lot about us. And honestly, at this point, I can't imagine my life without Jay. I really can't...


My Favorite Place on the Planet...STILL!

I have spent this week at work, getting a classroom ready and have had little time for just me. So, tonight I came home and decided I was going to go to IHOP for the Prayer Room Session after EGS. I relaxed a bit, spoiling Jay, took him out, gave him a treat, and left.

I spent two hours in the prayer room as Matt Gilman led worship. I stood there and thought, "Why haven't I made time for this?" Seriously. I know that once school gets underway and we're in a routine, going to IHOP will be much easier. However, that being said just reinforces the point I should be going now. I'm so much more patient, in a better mood, and at peace after I go. So, I think I am going to really think through my schedule and pick two or three evenings to go after work and soak a bit.

Matt Gilman led my favorite chorus tonight, "My soul longs for, you lord in a dry, and weary land..." And, I felt that more than I've felt anything in worship in a long time. Gosh it feels GREAT to feel emotion on a such a deep level again. Seriously...

I tell ya, IHOP-KC is STILL my favorite place on the planet!!!


Meet Your Teacher Night

So, my journey into SVE is becoming more and more exciting. Tonight was our Open House, and it was a kick to see all the kids in the building! I only met one of my actual students, but I met MANY of the kids as I stood in the front of the building and said, "Welcome to SVE. I'm glad you're here!" Everyone smiled and giggled as I would joke with the kids. In fact, several of the kids had Mizzou shirts on and I offered to hook them up with KU wear. Noone took me up on it, but it was a hoot to see their reactions! I think everyone laughed, and I know everyone at least smiled. :-)

Tomorrow is Transition Day for us, where our Kindergarteners have a half-day of school. They will be met at the busses, taken to their rooms, and have activities all morning and will get back on the bus and head home at the end of the morning. I have never been in a district that did this, so I'm anxious to see how it goes. Throughout the district kids in grades K, 7, and 10 will have a half-day as they begin their new schools. It will be fun to see how it goes.

I came home and my neighbors were out front and we took Jay for a walk. Jay has been a great way to get to know people as EVERYONE likes to pet him. K-Kid down the road took him from us and walked him on his own. And, he's 5! It's been GREAT. Garth walked him the rest of the time, and Jay loved it because Garth would run with him. I enjoyed it as I didn't have to control him. It's fun to be meeting people and making friends.

Well, tomorrow is a full-day, so I need to crash.


Queen Sap Returns!

When I was in college, I was nicknamed "Queen Sap." I loved feel-good, sappy stuff. And, honestly, I still do. :-)

So today we had our SVE Staff Retreat, and I loved it! In my former school, NONE of what we did today would have worked because everyone is in such a routine of thinking that it would have been termed "A Waste of Time." However, today was the exact opposite.

Due to the fact we're a BRAND NEW building, clicks haven't formed yet, and we have a level playing field, so to speak. We also haven't had any staff conflict at this point, so everyone is pumped and ready to begin our adventure! Our theme this year is "Kids under Construction." I love it! We had all sorts of construction items on our table, as well as throughout our activities! It was fun!

We had team builders, get-to-know-you activities, as well as just fun little games that can be applied in our classrooms. In fact, EVERYTHING we did today could be done in a classroom setting. I loved it.

We each had to bring three things that told a little bit about us. Want to guess what I took?

I took my "Life is good" T-shirt, for obvious reasons. I also took my new Camp Barnabas hoodie and told about Barnabas, as well as my love for hoodies. (It came in handy too as the room we were in was FREEZING!) I also took my laptop bag and explained how Facebook has been great a great tool as I have transitioned up here. It was fun!

I really like the team I'm on. All of us are close in age and have been in education about the same amount of years. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out this year. It really will be.

Well, we have "Meet Your Teacher" tomorrow night, so I need to head to bed.

I tell ya,


A Full Day!

I am FINALLY sitting at the computer relaxing. It has been a very good day, just incredibly busy. Mr. H. said he wanted to hear comparisons, so I have a few to share.

I started the day meeting the Special Education Team from my building at Starbucks so we could ride together to Convocation. I find it interesting the team I am on for this year. We all get along, but it sort of reminds me of my last school where I remember thinking, "How is this all going to work?" It's quite funny that both of us special educators for the building have the same first name, so I feel like I'm back in college because everyone is calling me by my last name again! It's cool. I feel like I have a nickname all over again! It's cool!

Convocation was almost an exact duplicate of where I came from. It was the same in having the typical jazz band as we entered, mingling among the staff to begin, motivational speech from the superintendent, video presentation of teacher of the year, speech by teacher of the year, and each staff had matching shirts! The only thing they did that my former district didn't do which I really liked was that they honored the staff who passed away in the past year. It wasn't anything huge, but it was very respectful. I liked that.

After that I went to lunch with the special education team I'm on. I think it's cool that we're all about the same age. Granted, I'm the only single one so I was left out of a lot of the conversations, but I expected that. I'm pretty quiet in groups of adults but chatter up a storm one-on-one. It was fun.

After that we had the standard back-to-school Special Education Meetings. We had a workshop on measurable goals, another one on positive intervention, and one on writing a Present Level of Performance. I will say that I am blessed to have had the background of my former district, because I feel that they were a step ahead of what we have here. I need to send out a letter to the Special Education Secretary in my former district and tell her I'm glad she was so hard on me! I feel like what was covered today that was "new" to the staff here was stuff I have already been doing. :-) I am blessed.

I came home long enough to let Jay out before my Building Leadership Team (BLT) meeting tonight. Jay was EXCITED to see me, and honestly it was HARD for me to leave him. But, he is now loose in the living room and everything is still in tact. :-) I feel less guilty leaving him in the living room!

I went to BLT, and am glad I'm on that committee. There are SEVERAL differences between the world here and the world I came from.

For instance, the kids have CHOICES on what to eat for lunch. 5 different choices, daily. It sounds like a hassle to me, but it's how the district does it. I can't wait to see how that works! Also, we have AIDES that do lunchroom and recess duty. So, for the first time in my career, I won't have duty for either one! YIPPEE! Also, we have aides that will run copies for us, laminate stuff, etc. I tell ya, it's a whole other world here.

I REALLY like my new principal. She and I kept joking back and forth tonight at the meeting, which was fun. I'm curious to see how all this is going to play out, but I really have a good feeling about working for her. Which is VERY important in the teaching world! Trust me, I have had good and bad, and it feels good to be under someone I like!

I came home and my neighbor and I took Jay for a walk. I needed it just as much as he did. After sitting all day, it felt good to walk and get some exercise. I'm wiped now, but it was a nice day.

While I will share the more differences later between districts, I am wiped and want to rest. I have a dog who needs some attention!

As always...


Opening Ceremonies Eve

Tomorrow morning is the district's opening ceremonies for all staff. I am nervous and excited and sad all at the same time. I am glad I'm here, I really am. At the same time, I already miss the AWESOME fourth grade teachers that I have taught with the past several years. I know everything will be fine, I really do. I just find myself missing my friends tonight.

I think it's healthy to miss people. I mean, I could be sitting here saying I hated my fourth grade friends and I'm glad to be rid of them. :-) But, I'm not. It is my prayer that the teachers here are as good to the students as those teachers are in that district.

I have also pondered Jill and her new adventure as well. Jill also left my school to go to another school to teach a self contained class in another building. I am glad we left together, it sort of made leaving a tad bit easier.

So while my old buddies aren't back at school yet, I start tomorrow with meetings.

Stay tuned tomorrow night for the day's events.

As usual...


What a day! Awesome stuff!

So, today was one of the best days for me so far here in L.S.

First, I got up and went to IHOP for service. Julie Meyer led worship, and it was A LOT of fun. Joy broke out and the place went nuts. I just smiled. This is my "normal" now! I. Love. It. After the sermon there was ministry time, and everyone is released to pray over people. That is one of my favorite things here...God uses anyone at anytime! I went up to pray for a gal, and God gave me a word for her. I gave it to her, and she cried. It was incredible. I didn't even know her, but God used me! It was GREAT! I went over and prayed for someone else, and I got a different word for her. I gave it to her, and walked out. God had done what He wanted to do through me. I was HAPPY!

I came home and bonded with Jay, and decided tonight would be "trial" night for him. My goal is to let him stay in the living room while I'm gone. I feel a bit less guilty if he's not in the box. And, I knew that tonight I was driving the Shuttle Van for evening service, so I was interested to see how he would do.

I went and drove the shuttle for the 5-9 shift. IHOP is so big that they run shuttles from one building to another due to parking space. I really enjoyed it, as I met some really cool people. One guy and his wife are here from Holland! I loved their accent! It was really fun. Of course, my first night and my radio died. I joked and said it was my initiation! It was fun, and I will be driving the next 3 Sunday evenings. What a cool way for God to use me! Good stuff.

I came home, and Jay was EXCITED to see me. I took a stroll around the house, and it is all in good shape. I had unknowingly left my cell phone on the armrest of the couch, and it was fine. He never touched it! Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss! I will admit, I had moved anything of value up high where he couldn't reach and gated my corner with my cable box. Afterall, the less temptation the better! I am so proud of him! I'll do it again tomorrow while I'm at work in the morning and see how he does!

It was a really good day.


Grandma and Grandpa Spring

I have given some thought to this post for about 6 months, and I think it's about time to share my thoughts.

My Grandparents were wonderful people. I was never close to them like some people are close to their grandparents, but I always enjoyed spending time with them. We moved around a lot when I was young, so we would see them once or twice a year. And, I have some wonderful memories of getting up early to go fishing with Grandma and Grandpa and Scienceguy. I also have some GREAT memories of baking chocolate chip cookies with Grandma. I remember we often had cookies for breakfast because we baked them in the mornings as we watched cartoons. There were MANY other fond memories, but I will stop there because you get the idea. My childhood memories aren't necessarily the point of this post.

I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa's, where they lived my whole life until they were moved into the residence home, and I am amazed at some things.

First off, they had a bathtub. There was not a shower in their home. Ever. Not in the home I knew them in. It was a simple house, and it was nice, but it didn't have a shower.

They also never had a dishwasher. I remember the adults would help out at each meal washing, drying, and putting up dishes. I remember as a kid, putting dishes away. Well, okay, cups were my job, when I did help. I remember the adults having fun as they did it. They talked as they did it, and got closer because of it. I should also mention, we were a "no drama" family, where everyone got along, so it was always a pleasant place to be. I loved it, and only had fond memories there.

You're now thinking, "Okay, so what's the point of this post?" I'm getting there...

My Dad talked once about going to the outhouse as a kid to use the restroom in the middle of the night. At one point in his life, that was normal. So, my grandparents went from a time when there wasn't plumbing indoors, to indoor plumbing. I sit and ponder that and it's kind of mind boggling to me, as I have always had indoor plumbing. It's something I take for granted daily.

So, yesterday I was in my new school where we have automatic toilets and sinks. Yes, after you doing my business, I now stand up and it flushes for me! I walk over to the sink where the water comes on automatically, as I wash my hands with an automatic soap dispenser as well. After washing my hands, there is an automatic towel dispenser to give me the towel.

Yesterday I wondered what my Grandpa would think about the current bathroom technology. Oh sure, it's here to reduce germs, etc. I know that. But, what would he think? He went from a society that didn't even have TV's or cars, to a world with indoor plumbing, cars, and cable TV. He didn't even know the internet, so that would be a whole other post in and of itself. I wonder what he would say. I don't know...but it's fun to think about it.

I really miss my Grandparents. They are in heaven now, and are free from the pain they experienced here on this side of heaven. I really miss them.

I sit here without my own knowledge of a Wii or an ipod. In my own way, I'm out of touch myself with current technology.

It leads me to wonder where we'll be when I'm in my 80's and 90's. Where will technology be then?

I don't know. It's amazing to ponder.

Automatic toilets, sinks, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers.

What is next?



Day #2

This morning my older brother sent me a message on Facebook. My brother is a neuropsychologist and RARELY comments on anything on Facebook simply because he's so busy working. Anyway, his comment this morning made me feel better. He said that comparing situations in a new job is actually pretty normal because it helps us (basically) settle in where we are now. That's a loose paraphrase, but that was the main idea. That made me feel a bit more at ease, because I am comparing jobs all the time!

The weaknesses so far (in my opinion):
1. Laptop training was weak. I am SO THANKFUL that my last district spent 25+ hours training me on technology. Mr. H. would have been livid if he had sat in my training the other day, simply because it was so weak. I asked if they offered more training on various things, and I received a very weak "yes". Hum.
2. Our laptops are Dell computers. They're not hard to learn, and I had a PC for years, but I honestly like the Apple computer better. Part of that is simply because for the past several years I've been an apple user, but it's also because the more I'm on the Dell the more I think, "Apple does this an easier way."
3. The IEP's that I've looked at so far are weak. I would have been chewed on in my previous district for some of what I've read so far. There are some BIG mistakes on the IEP's and I'm going to need to talk to someone about it because I will be implementing the weak IEP's and if the State came in, I would be embarrassed to say I'm the case manager. Seriously.

The strengths so far:
1. The New Teacher training sessions have been much better than my previous district. (That's sad to admit, in a sense, because I was on that committee. I tried to make a difference there, but was outnumbered!) We get paid for ALL OF OUR HOURS in the training, and in my last district new teachers were not paid for it. Also, we have been given time to work in our classrooms EVERYDAY. In my previous district (at least the year before last when I was still on the committee) they had one half day to work in their rooms! Also, here it is only 3 days, and in my previous district it was 5 days! I like it! Also, the time in the training has all been relevant to our jobs, giving us information that we simply wouldn't know about the district. In my last district it was mostly fluff, and not specific information for the job. All in all, I have found it to be a good use of my time as a new teacher in the district!

2. My classroom is HUGE! I have unpacked just about everything with TONS of cabinet space left! I have 26 desks, two tables, and two study desks. I tell ya, I hardly know how to act! I do need a few more books though. I'm lacking now in the book department...

3. I will be paid for ALL of my training so far here. Each and every session has been paid for! I am looking forward to my first check!

4. The district email system is pretty cool. It has a built-in calendar function that I really like and have used quite a bit already!

5. I am 10 minutes from my school. For the past 5 years I was driving 25 minutes to work each way. Now it's just 10 minutes each way. While this isn't a big deal, I am REALLY enjoying it! Not to mention that it's close enough now that during the day I can come home and let Jay out and eat lunch. That won't be true when school starts, obviously, but right now it's GREAT!

6. My desk is brand-new with locks! I can now lock up my belongings and not worry about it! I tell ya, it's so nice! Again, it's not a big thing, but something I like about it!

7. We have an ATTENDANCE secretary. Her main job is to field calls, keep track of attendance, and maintain office traffic while the other secretary does the other stuff. I wish we had had that at my other school. That way the secretaries could have possibly been caught up from time to time instead of treading water.

8. The administration building has some incredible multi-purpose rooms for us to hold our meetings. In the other district we had to use the Y or High School rooms. It's a nice building too!

Well, so that's my list so far! There will be more to come, Mr. H., in the days to come. I promise. We still have opening session, "Meet Your Teacher Night", transition day for Kindergarten only, and the first day of school to compare!

As you can tell, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. :-)

God put me right where He wanted me!


First Contract Day......Summer is over!

So today was my first contract day with my new school district. And outside of getting up early, it was a good day! :-) I find myself comparing this district to my last one a lot, and am trying not to do that but I think that's just being human. Overall, I liked it. The best part was the fact that we were given the afternoon to work in our rooms! Tomorrow we get the afternoon to work in our rooms as well! I need to sleep now that I'm on teacher time again.

Between a good first contract day and a fun evening with the family, I am reminded once again that...


11 Years later...

It is hard for me to believe that 11 or so years ago I was living in the dorms at PSU. (I can now call them dorms, I'm no longer in Res. Life!) I was one of those weird people who actually loved dorm life, and I met some incredible people in that season of my life. I am blessed to be able to say I now live closer to many of them as they live in the KC area. I am so thankful for that. Most of them have married and had kids (or are about to!), and it's so neat to see who they are now. Eleven years is a long time, and none of us are the same people that we were then. Personally, I am glad I am not the same...maturity takes time and I have learned so much since then, which is a good thing.

So, tonight Ally came over and we just sat and chatted. I was a tad nervous, but I knew it would go well. It was really neat to see how well Ally is doing now. Sometimes in life you move on and often think, "I wonder whatever happened to so and so." I will admit over the years I have wondered that about her, as she was pretty special to me in that season of my life. I was immature and didn't show that then, but I really did care about her. And tonight I realized that I still do...

So tonight was really cool.

Ally, let's do it again, but let's not wait 11 years, okay?

Good friends are blessings from God. Let me encourage all of you not to take one of them for granted. After the last chapter of my life, I learned how quickly friendships come and go. I'm glad Ally is in back in my life...


Returning to the Scene of the Crime

After reading SingingGal's comment on the blog, I decided to go back to Wal-Mart and let them know what I witnessed. I had to go to Wal-Mart anyway, so it wasn't a special trip or anything, but I knew what I needed to say.

After making my purchases I went up to Customer Service and asked for the manager. After introducing myself to the manager, I explained the situation. I could tell from the beginning that he already knew about what I had seen, and he immediately responded with, "Well, they're supposed to let us know, but we can't accuse anyone of stealing."

That stopped and made me pause. When I worked at a grocery store in college, we were actually trained to watch for theft and how to handle it! When I went on to explain about the scale saying something about extra item on the scale, he said, "Well, it always tells them to check the cart at the end of the purchase." I looked at him and said, "No, I mean in the middle of the order she was stealing and the scale was making note of it, and your employee just said, 'well, the scale is extra sensitive' to the thief." He just looked at me. Then it clicked. He still maintained that she is not to confront and that they are to let management know, but they are not allowed to accuse anyone of stealing.

His comment caught me off-guard, but I went on to explain my concerns about the gal in charge of all the self-checkout lanes that day. I told him I wasn't out to see her fired, but I thought that if she couldn't handle that situation, then perhaps that isn't the best position for her in the store. He said he would see who was working that day and see if perhaps there was a better position for her to fill in the store.

As I walked away from the discussion, I didn't necessarily feel in my spirit that this guy took me seriously. However, I know that I did my best and did what I was supposed to do.

On the drive home, one thing hit me. In what I witnessed Sunday, I learned how to steal from Wal-Mart. I won't, I'm not like that, but it made me wonder what what would happen if my Lostboy had seen that. He steals now, but to see that a checker can't confront a customer would excite many of my former students who don't have the highest aspirations in life. Is it any wonder our society is where it is? Hum...

By the way, when I said to the manager that video surveillance could easily show that my story was true, he blew that off saying that the video recording isn't the most reliable...gosh, it's a good thing I'm an honest gal...

Once again, even when you don't understand life...


Back to the Real World

I find it amazing how quickly time flies. I find that each year seems to go by faster than the one before it. It feels as if I was just hired in my other school district, and here I am beginning life in my new one. It seems as if the past ten years flew by in many ways. In other ways, it kind of felt like forever...

I find that Summer is pretty much over for me, as I am now working in my classroom a little bit each day and have workshops everyday this week. I am excited, and am looking forward to what God has in store for me here.

At the same time, I'm a bit saddened. I was thinking today about how I won't say "Good Morning, my tall friend!" to one of my favorite teacher friends in my previous school. I know I'm where God wants me, it was just something I was thinking about today.

My prayer is that what I have gained this past week at camp really will carry over into my life...in every area of my life. I saw a glimpse of God's love out at camp, and honestly it was a bit of what I think Heaven is like. Watching those CIA's with those kids...and well, experiencing those kids in my own life, I gain a new perspective each time I go out there.

Love is the point of life this side of heaven. I already knew that before I went to camp.

While at camp, I saw a quote that said, "Love like you've never been hurt."

I liked that.

Then I saw an even better one that I have to paraphrase because I didn't write it down...

Love until it hurts, and then love some more.

In the real world, that's the point. We've all loved, we've all been hurt, and the point is to keep loving anyway.

I think about the last chapter of my life and how I loved until it hurt, and I kept loving and got hurt over and over again. And in that, I believe God is pleased with me for continuing to love, even when it hurt. I have caught myself guarded with some people because I don't want to get hurt again. Then when I read that quote, it hit me, life's too short to be guarded. Life's too short to not love with abandonment. Whether that be with a kid, or a spouse, or whatever, we're to love to the best of our ability, even when it hurts, and then love some more.

I use the phrase in my living room, "Live, Laugh, Love." I've got it up in a couple different places.

And while that will continue to be my main theme here in the real world, I think my new theme will be, "Love until it hurts and then love some more."

I like that.


Witnessing Theft....

Out at camp, Ronni had some sticky fingers. Her favorite thing to steal (in my opinion) were flashlights. That being said, anything was fair game. More than once I hid my camera because she also loved cameras. I will admit, she didn't steal from me, just from the bunks around her. Many people wound up with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and random stuff missing after F.O.B. When you would catch her in the act, she would still try to hide it, as if you didn't see her take it. And once I had to hold onto a flashlight REALLY hard to get it from her! It was one of those Character-building moments for me! That being said, Ronni is a kid, and is learning right from wrong. Well, okay, she knows right from wrong, she's actually learning how to apply it in her daily life. She's 9. She's allowed to be learning. Today I witnessed something else...

I went to the local Wal-Mart after church to pick up some things and went to do the "self checkout" lane. I always do the self-checkout lane. I choose to do that so that I can sack them the way they should be sacked. I'm kind of picky that way.

I was watching the gal in front of me, and she was not scanning all the items. She was bagging them without purchasing them. I stood and prayed. I continued to watch and the little machine would say something like "extra item on scale, please remove." She would then do a little switcharoo and go back to stealing. I went over and told the Wal-Mart gal. She then watched the gal off and on. I was amazed though...more than once the little machine said, "extra item on scale" after she did her switcharoo, and the little Wal-Mart gal just played it off telling her, "Well, the scales are extra sensitive."

My thinking was that she was waiting until she was all done, and then she was going to confront afterward. The thing was, she didn't! The gal walked out of Wal-Mart with several items she didn't pay for. I was amazed. It also kind of bothered me. I mean, in the long run, our prices will continue to rise because of idiots like this gal. Not to mention the fact this gal will do it again and again and again. I was amazed, but not in a good way. This gal knows right from wrong, and even worse knows how to play the system to steal.

It has made me think all afternoon.

I am not a thief. I would never even consider taking something without paying...


As you can tell, I haven't come to a conclusion on it all. I just thought I'd share the story with you.


Even when you don't understand it sometimes...

Coloring Contest at Camp!

I have contemplated what to write tonight, and I decided on the coloring contest we had in G5! Everyday at 1:30 we have a time for rest. It's called F.O.B., short for Flat-on-Back, Flat-on-belly, you can go on and on, but you get the idea. During the hour and fifteen minutes, the CIA's get time off while the campers are to REST during that time. I stayed during F.O.B. to help mainly with Destiny, as led by the Lord. During that time, our cabin DID NOT rest. Our cabin was full of little down's and autistic girls who lack in the social skills arena, and just about everyday wound up fighting with one another...

On day #5 I was in helping with Destiny when one of our campers threw up on herself, and the staff and I started working on getting her cleaned up, when the other 4 or 5 girls started fighting. I stopped and prayed. The Lord gave me an idea! A coloring contest!

I stopped, separated Ronni from whatever camper she was trying to steal from at the moment, and said, "Why don't we have a coloring contest!" The girls were excited! I told them they could only participate if they were on their beds and quiet! I got out papers and they each started coloring! Ah! I had them quiet, and coloring, and most of all, NOT FIGHTING!

For 45 minutes they colored! Some of them even had 3 pages done when everyone came back! They even said, "please" when they wanted me to come over and say "Good Job!"

One of our campers didn't color at first. And, I let it go. I mean, she was laying in bed, not bothering anyone, so I went on. I looked over a little while later and she was coloring, but she was trying to hide it from me! I acted like I knew nothing! After it was all over, she walked over and gave it to me and I gave her a huge hug! It was so cute!

All they really wanted was for someone to cheer them on as they colored! Even little Ms. Sara was saying "Please" and staying in bed! By the time everyone came back, I felt as if God had used me to do this amazingly huge task! I was ecstatic! In reality, it was just a coloring contest! Not a big deal. But, if you knew how those girls built our character at times, you'd understand why I wanted to do cartwheels down the aisle in the cabin. (Well, I can't really do cartwheels, but you get the idea!)

In thinking about it tonight, that's all we all want...someone to encourage us...give us a pat on the back...tell us what a good job we're doing! Even as adults we're not any different than those children. That's part of why I want to be the best, genuine, encourager on the planet! We all need that...we all need that unconditional love and encouragement.

By the way, I kept the pictures...they're all going in my scrapbook!