Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homecoming Week: Thursday

 The homecoming theme at home, sweet high school this year is "Rocky:  Knock Out the Hornets."  That particular theme may not sound so interesting, but each class has its own interpretation--which is cool.

Today was class color day.  For us, class colors are the same every year and each student dresses according to his/her year.  Freshmen wear green.  Sophomores wear yellow.  Juniors generally wear red, but this year opted for orange and the Seniors wear black.

Here's the Junior shirt:


This is the front.  We had to explain to a couple of kids what "Hey, Adrian" meant, but I thought the Sly Stallone likeness was pretty decent, no?


This is the back of the shirt, and, in case you can't tell, those figures are Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots.  We will have the same figures on our float, and the same figures made an appearance in our poster. 


Here's an awesome class of Juniors who are dressed in order to make their class proud.  As of this morning, they were in the lead with 80 pts.  The closest class was the sophomores--60 pts.  We'll see where we stand as of tomorrow morning.


And I couldn't help but give you a brief glimpse at my first hour class of sophomores because they were all dressed to the nines this morning.  I'll also readily admit that yellow is my favorite color--so this was a sea of happiness this morning :)

Tomorrow, we'll face off in class competitions.  That will be followed by the parade (where our float will be judged) and then the game where we will *hopefully* knock out the hornets!

PS.  Tomorrow is Kate's birthday (not just homecoming).  Stop over at her blog and wish her a happy day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homecoming Week: Wednesday

Don't hate me.

I forgot my camera today :(

There would've been so many great things to show you, too!  I had a student who showed up, head to toe, in polyester with a large afro-type wig on his head.  In addition to his outfit, he was wearing 70s appropriate jewelry.  If he doesn't win, it's an injustice. 

Here was the breakdown:
Freshmen--90s
Sophomores--60s
Juniors--70s
Seniors--80s

The faculty had to dress like we were from the 50s.  I didn't get to wear my poodle skirt because it didn't fit...motivation to go on a diet (like my arch-nemesis, Jay, who will be blogging his progress.  Maybe he and I can do a weekly update together or start a competition to gain some motivation).  Anyway, I wore a pair of black capris, a cardigan and a white shirt with a scarf tied around my neck.  Hope that was "50s" enough.

But I did want to let you know...


Keep scrolling...


THE JUNIORS ARE IN FIRST PLACE as of this morning!!!

Hopefully it's a sign of good things to come.

Go, juniors, go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homecoming Week: Tuesday

I'm not sure when it became a tradition to come up with all sorts of weird dress up days for homecoming week, but I LOVES it!  Seriously.  I can't even explain to you the childhood joy I get at the prospect of wearing non-matched clothing and theme outfits.

It's not weird.

Today was a day for non matched clothing.

This is yours truly with her extremely inspiring get up.

Now, you will be especially interested to know that our respective classes get points based on participation during these days.  As a Junior Class Head Dean, I have a deep need to win the spirit cup.  Unfortunately, we were in last place as of this morning.

Yet there was a light on the horizon.

I WON the faculty vote for best dressed!!!

Thought you might appreciate a breakdown of the award-winning outfit.


You start with two very different shoes (my hips are now completely out of alignment, but totally worth it).

Add a business skirt, an odd colored tshirt from a few years ago, a bright colored cardigan, a scarf, a couple necklaces and some bracelets...

Scrunch part of your hair and put the other half in a braid, top it off with a crown...

And, of course, don't forget to focus on your make-up.  That might just be the winning touch.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's offering:  decades.  The faculty has the 50s.  My mother-in-law managed to get me a skirt that's shaped like a poodle skirt, so here's hoping it'll pass :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Homecoming Week: Monday

It's homecoming week here at community high, and we are livin' it up large.  I always look forward to homecoming week, but I dread the chaos and mayhem that seems to take place during this particular week.  Just part of the nature of high school, I guess :)

Anyway, today was pajama day.  I thought you, my loyal readers, might enjoy pictures from homecoming week.  The one I'll provide you with today is me with one of my beloved students who just so happened to be wearing the same pajama bottoms as me.

I would also like to say, for the record, that he bought his lovely pants in the girls' section of Walmart.  His identity has been obscured for his privacy.

Stay tuned for Mismatch day updates tomorrow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Letter Series: To Whom It May Concern

I skipped church this morning because I haven't been feeling the greatest lately.  I don't sleep well, and I'm tired all the time.  But that is neither here nor there.  For your reading pleasure, I have composed a few letters.  Enjoy.

Dear Gum Chewers of America,

First of all, let me thank you deeply for your devotion to fresh breath.  Like most Americans, I appreciate conversation that isn't tainted with the awful rank of halitosis.  Gum does indeed make those conversations a little more bearable.

It has come to my attention, however, that when you are finished with said piece of gum, you tend to stick in random places.  Take for instance, my brief jaunt into Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday.  I was admiring those big prints in the hallway of this store only to realize that some unthoughtful gum chewer thought this would be the best place to dispose of his/her breath freshening device.  One word:  gross.

This event led me to recall the many times I've been privvy to the little breath freshening wads that have come out of your mouth--desks, chairs, lamp posts, walls at amusement parks, the ground, ashtrays and the like.  I think I speak for the majority of civilization when I say the madness must stop.  We can no longer tolerate random pieces of garbage to litter community property.

When you feel your breath has reached maximum freshness, wrap your gum in a tissue and dispose of it properly.  The world will thank you.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Citizen

________________________________________

Dear Brain,

It occurs to me that things haven't been going well for us lately.  I haven't been feeling well, and you are obviously aware of this fact, because you've chosen this time to allow my disposition to become less than magnanimus. 

That said, it's time you get your filter working again--full blast.  It's your job to monitor my mouth to make sure I'm not a jerk, and you've dropped the ball, Brain.  You cannot use my illnesses as an excuse to push some sort of agenda.  Maybe you're feeling angry at my lack of sleep.  Maybe it's the lack of oxygen due to allergies.  Whatever the case, it's not okay to allow anything to fly just because you can.

Be responsible, man.  I am, after all, the one who suffers as a result.

Sincerely,
The Management

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Mess

A mess of thoughts:

1.  Appreciate your local concession stand.  As Junior head dean, I am responsible for making sure our football concession stand is open and running.  Since I've been working this post, I can't help but marvel at the rudeness of people in the community.  Please realize that just because a student doesn't look developmentally disabled doesn't mean that student doesn't have significant learning disabilities.  Those same students do not benefit from nasty comments about an inability to make change.  Those nasty comments also ignore the fact that this student signed up and showed up to work--a feat many of his/her classmates did not/could not accomplish.

2.  Sometimes I think I assign more work than I am capable of grading without losing my sanity.  Currently, I am working through a mass of research papers and the thought of grading any more makes me want to cringe.

3.  Insulation is going in the house starting tomorrow.

4.  I fear I'm losing my creative ability regarding lesson plans.  I don't want to be "blah" in the classroom.  I don't feel like I constantly have to entertain, but I do like having options when it comes to sharing material.

5.  I haven't scheduled an observation with my Principal yet.  I've done this a few years in a row now, but I get just as nervous as I did for the first one.

6.  I need to clean my kitchen and will probably get started on that as soon as I'm done here.

7.  We actually have grass growing in front of the new house.  Amazing.

8.  I miss Alex.  Weird how attached you get to some parts of your life.

9.  I need an adult size poodle skirt.  Know where I can get something like that?

10.  Homecoming is next week.  Next week will be CRAZY in my classroom.  But I still get a little excited about the event, and I'm even more excited about the prospect of cooler weather.

11.  I'm learning to get purposeful about praying.  I'm not good at it, but I'm trying.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shower Faithfulness

Some mornings you cry in the shower.  I guess it's a good idea to get it out of the way while you're still all wet, because there's a day coming and lord knows no one is going to hold the day off just because you ask.  Those are the same mornings your hair will look awful and you'll swear you've gained 20 lbs overnight.

*In a singsong voice...overcast by a bit of sarcasm*  I en-joy be-ing a girl.

None the less, that day will hit you full force as soon as you are willing to step out of the aforementioned shower.  If you're like me (and let's hope you aren't), you will likely spend the morning conversing with God in an attempt to figure a few things out.  There won't be a lot of answers--which is good, because you aren't really in a listening mood anyway.

The morning will carry on as normal, because your students are used to the process and you know better than to bring your issues into the classroom.  But when you have a free moment, ready to listen or not, God will speak.

"Talents," he'll say and you'll reconsider your notion to audition for American Idol.

Then you'll remember you are now too old to be an American Idol and God wasn't likely to parade you in front of the likes of Steven Tyler anyway.  You'll reread Matthew 25 (the parable of the talents) and you'll be reminded of the necessity of faithfulness--with your few things or your many things.

When I got that reminder and read the passage, I needed a little bit of clarification.  I was caught offguard by a comment in Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible:  "It is the real Christian's liberty and privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting his glory, and the good of his people:  the love of Christ contrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that died for him, and rose again."

All of my dreams haven't miraculously been granted since I became a Christian.  I have been given some pretty great stuff, but there are a good number of things I sincerely struggle with.  There are some struggles that are even serious enough to break my heart every time I consider them.  But I want to be faithful to share that it is a privilege to serve My Savior.

He doesn't always pull a rabbit out of His proverbial hat for me.  But I'm learning to be content with the fact that He doesn't need some optical illusion to convince me that He's the real deal.  I mean, the Guy who created the rabbit doesn't actually have to pull it out of a hat, too, does He?

He is faithful when I am not.  Another section of Henry's commentary reads, "Those who think it impossible to please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose in religion.  They complain that He requires of them more than they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot help.  Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the character and work of the Lord."

Unfortunately, those words were a reminder that I often live my life in that very fashion.  I complain because I feel that the road God has given me to walk is too hard.  What I fail to appreciate is the fact that I've been given a stretch of road and the feet with which to walk.

It's not simply a matter of gratitude.  It's a matter of living out loud so that people have the opportunity to watch and, possibly, to know your Father who is in Heaven.  I want to be faithful with this life I've been given.  I want to bring Him glory.  I want to glorify Him in all I do.

Even when I cry in the shower.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Visit to Mabel's House

I don't normally link up to blogs of people I don't know, but I'm going to make an exception.  I have been following Liz over at Mabel's House for a while now, and I really enjoy her short, to the point posts.  I think she is an interesting person, and, based on what I've read, I think she's the type of person I'd want to be friend with in real life.  (She would run screaming from me because I make a horrible first impression...but that's something we'll have to discuss some other time.  Or, if you recall our first meeting, you probably don't need me to discuss anything because you are totally nodding your head in agreement).

Anyway, go read Liz's thoughts here.

I like what she has to say, and I agree that there has to be some balance in life.  It can't all be me, me, me.  And if anything should remind me of that, it would be the regular goings-on of high school life.  Unfortunately, it occurs to me that I have lately been very me, me, me.

Not purposefully, mind you.  I just don't know what to do with myself in a lot of instances.  And while I have no intention of becoming ego focused, it appears that I have spent much of my personal time attempting to deal with feelings I don't even want to have (much less deal with).

So I'm making it my goal to find something to do for someone else this week.  I don't know what that something else will be, and I have no idea who will be the beneficiary.  But maybe it'll refocus my attention...and I can get some rest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the Hope of a Little Morale

In my former office, my coworker and I had a sign:  "Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel will no longer shine."  It was amusing--in a tongue in cheek sort of way.  Unfortunately, the reality of that statement is leaving more and more people offering a slight "ha."  Frankly, it hits a little too close to home.

I could spend hours sharing my frustrations with the expectations in education.  I can't, for the life of me, figure out why we are never allowed time to see if a program will be successful.  Instead, we are forced to change strategies every two years or so.  We are constantly being held alongside other countries that have completely different expectations for students (and that don't even test the entire student population) and that comparison is not favorable for us.  It makes me wonder why we're so willing to compare our students, but rarely any other aspect of living in two very different countries.

Morale, unfortunately, isn't just evading the workplace.  I've seen a definite lack of it in my church, and in myself.  Maybe it's a dry season.  But it's depressing to think that the place with the "good news" still lacks in the spirit of optimism.

I have to be honest with you.  I'm tired.  I'm just about tired of everything, and the good majority of that feeling revolves around a general feeling of inability.  There are so many things that I just can't fix.  I know it's not my job, and I'm not trying to declare that it is.  If you want to tell me that God can fix everything, you will be completely right.  God can.  I can do all things through Him because He gives me strength (Phil. 4:13).

I believe in Him wholeheartedly.  I know what He is capable of.  I have seen Him deliver.  But in the deepest recesses of my heart, what I fear has nothing to do with whether or not He can. 

Sometimes, I just wonder if He will.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

For Something to Believe

Today has just been a lazy Saturday for me.  Sure, I did a little bit of laundry, but I mostly read and enjoyed a few books I hadn't read in a long time.  I'm not sure why, but I haven't started the Bonhoeffer book yet.  Lemony Snicket was interesting.  I could see how kids would like it.

Anyway, in the midst of reading and waiting for the dryer to buzz, I just felt an overwhelming sense of frustration with a long list of things in life--some my life and some just life in general.

I finally just looked at God (or into the other space in my room) and said, out of frustration, "Give me something to believe in."

No break.  No pause.  No waiting.  He said, "Believe Me."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alex: Updated

Alex died this morning.  He was my rescued puppy.  So now, I'm sitting here typing this when I should probably be using my planning period to grade papers.  I guess my mind is a little too occupied.

Part of me feels really stupid for being so upset.  But, as the students in English III pointed out this morning, dogs become like a member of the family.  And Alex was certainly a member of ours.

I don't know what kind of life he had before he came to our house.  I do know, at some point, he was mistreated and suffered from some ailments due to his mistreatment.  He never did have very many teeth, and always looked a little pathetic as far as dogs go.  But he had the sweetest demeanor anyone could ask for, and didn't even offer to growl at my neice when she wanted to feel his eyeballs.

I hope his life with us was a comfort to him.  He gained weight, his coat started to shine and he played with toys and his buddy, Barky.  He never did quite get the hang of only pottying outside, but if that was his only downfall, he was a pretty good dog.

I knew he was sick last night.  I didn't realize how sick he was.  This morning, he started seizing so Favorite decided to take him to the vet.  Unfortunately, he took his last breath on the trip there.

I'm going to miss him.  How do you not miss something that's been so much a part of your life for the past 4 years?  Thankfully, Favorite will be burying him by the new house before I get home.  We wanted to bury him in the dirt he liked to roll in.  I know that sounds stupid, but I guess you do stupid things when you're just a little heartbroken.

I want to remember his high-pitched bark that we didn't hear until he had been living with us for a year.  I want to remember how he would shake a toy, let go and then try to figure out where he had thrown it.  I've dreaded walking through this house knowing that he isn't going to be here anymore.  Mostly, I just know that we are all going to miss him a great deal.

Farewell, buddy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

UPS: The Reason I Need a Nap

The kids in my building are spending more time blowing noses, sniffing mucus and looking dejected these days.  Allergy season?  Maybe.  I don't want to think about the other possibilities--mostly because I want to believe that my exhaustion is due to over-working.

I don't care if it's denial.

I love denial. 

And denial may carry me through this week.

In my defense, it's been a trying week.  First, there was my fight with the UPS people.  I ordered a couple of books from amazon (Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Bad Beginning--yes, I realize these books don't have anything in common) and I was anxiously awaiting their arrival.  When they didn't make it to my house on Monday, I logged into amazon to view the tracking information.

The tracking information indicated that my address did not exist.

I looked around, trying to figure out if I was the only one who could see my invisible dwelling.

Turns out, no.  The dogs can see it, too.  And so can my in-laws, because they knocked on my not-so-imaginary door.

In an attempt to rectify this situation, I called UPS.

UPS:  So the address DOES exist?

Me:  Um, yeah.  You've been delivering here for the last seven years.

UPS:  Ooooooh.  I see.

Me:  Did you get a new driver?

UPS:  *Apologetically*  Yeah.  He may not know his way around.  Could you give me landmark directions?

Me:  Sure.  There is a big pond out in front of the trailer and we are building a house beside our trailer.

UPS:  *Writing*  They are building a house...there is a pond...

Me:  I also had a second package.  Can I expect both of those tomorrow?

UPS:  A second package?  Hang on.  Let me check that.  *Pause*  Huh.  You're completely right.  We'll deliver both of them tomorrow.

Me:  Thank you.

On Tuesday, both of my packages arrived.  Written on the top of the package from amazon:  "a pond in front...their building a house."

*Sigh*  I guess I can send my struggling English students to apply for a job at UPS?

__________

If you pray for dogs, would you pray for mine?  His name is Alex, and when I got home today, he seemed very sick--won't even take a biscuit (his favorite).  I'm pretty worried.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Hope You Laugh

I'm jealous of bloggers who have something worthwhile to say every single day.  My life just isn't as exciting (see the title of the blog if you don't believe me).  Funny things do happen to me on a regular basis, but, with this medium, it's difficult to relay the hilarity of the event.  Take for instance a conversation I had with a freshman student yesterday:

Student:  *Looks nervous*  Who are those men standing in your door?

Note:  The state fire marshal was paying us a visit.

Me:  *Smiling*  I don't know.  Did you do something bad?

Student:  *Confused*  Maybe.  Do you think they're here to get me?

Me:  *Really amused at this point*  You know, it's a possibility.  They might just take you out of my classroom.

Student:  *Stares at the men and assesses the situation.  Finally shakes his head*  Nah.  I think I could outrun them.  I'm fast.  I'm a ninja.

Me:  A ninja?

Student:  Yeah.  I'm fast like a ninja.

And there you have regular occurrences in my classroom.

I'm sure I'll have equally hilarious stories to tell about the speech team, and there have been a few funny bits about the house...including Favorite running after an imaginary intruder (outside) wearing only a pair of flip flops.  True story.

But I'll never be sure if you find these stories funny.  Personally, I think part of the funny is in the telling.  So I desperately wish we could all sit in a circle and share our collective stories.

Until that can happen, I'll just go back to baking my apple pie.

Yes, I really am baking a pie.

OF COURSE I CAN COOK.

I cannot, however, sew--which might've been a topic of conversation in the teacher's lounge today.  The Home Ec teacher was really amused with my solution to the non-sewing problem:  I staple.  Not only do I get a great hemline, but some bling as well.

Win-Win, people.

And that's all for today.  May your tomorrow be as ordinary as mine.

And may you laugh for a million different reasons.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Letter Series: NOTICE

Dear Laundry,

I am writing this little letter because I need to redefine our relationship.  As it stands, this "sit-around-and-wait-for-me" thing isn't really working for me.  Don't get me wrong; I appreciate your consistency.  I appreciate that you are willing to meet me day after day thereby alleviating any lonely feelings I may develop while Favorite is at work.  What I have realized, however, is that there is no follow through with you. 

That's right, Laundry.  I said it.  You don't DO anything.  You just sit there.  And I've had enough.

It's time for you to start doing yourself.  Dirty connotations aside, Laundry.  Now is not the time for jokes.  In fact, I would like to suggest you form a deep, personal relationship with Tide and Snuggles.  They are going to make your day a whole lot easier.

Feel free to submit your concerns to me in writing.  Until then, I'll expect you to follow through with your end of the bargain.

With Regards,
The Management

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough

(Bonus points to the people who can name that great tune).

Ever felt inadequate?  Completely out of your comfort zone?  Ever realize that you've been thrown into a situation that is so not even on your list of abilities?

Then you've come the right place!  Here, we offer all sorts of services that we are incapable of delivering with any amount of regularity or adequacy.

Good news.  His grace is sufficient for you and his power is made perfect through weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  So when you take on things beyond your ability level (like Women's Prayer Group), know that your God can and will fill the gap...if only you would listen.

But that's another subject for another day.

Or rather, another several thousand posts for several weeks in a row.

Thankfully, you will also be provided with an amazing group of people who will discuss just about any topic with as much vigor and stamina as the U.S. Swim Team (I would've said curling...but I'm pretty sure no one uses the words 'vigor' or 'stamina' in that sport...er...activity).  You'll constantly second guess yourself, but those women will plow through myelin with as much force as they give to the subject of the Proverbs 31 woman.

It will be a humbling experience.

You will learn to lean heavily on God for subject matter (mostly because, on your own, this is going to be a disaster).

Yet, even leaning heavily on God, the sobering reality will be that you're not cut out for this.

But you'll love it.  And you'll stick to it.  And you'll pray that, one of these days, your love for scripture and your love for women will eventually translate to some sort of real knowledge to share with them.

Let's pray that day comes soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast (and house updates)

Saturday morning breakfast.  I have no idea what images those words create in your mind, readers.  I have no idea if you think I'm crazy for mentioning them because you don't get up early enough to eat anything but lunch.  I don't know if you have breakfast every morning with your family so Saturday isn't anything special.

But in my family, Saturday Morning Breakfast has become a bit of a legend.

From the earliest Saturday I can recall, my family always headed to my Mawmaw and Papa's house for breakfast.  It wasn't just me, my two brothers and my parents.  It was all of my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my second cousins and whatever tag-along was lucky enough to warrant an invite.

My grandparents would get up and fix biscuits and gravy, bacon, fried eggs, sausage, grape juice, orange juice and coffee.  I have no idea how much they fixed, because my grade school eyes just couldn't fathom that much, but I do know that my dad is only one of six.  He is the youngest.  So by the time I was born, I had cousins who had kids who were older than me.  I hope that gives you an accurate picture.  There were a LOT of people eating.

Because I don't see Favorite during the week (we work opposite schedules), we've started going out for Saturday morning breakfast.  This morning I had some awesome biscuits and gravy (that I shouldn't have eaten).  But no matter how great they are, they are never as good as my Gramma's.  And every time someone serves up a plate, I can't help but remember Saturday Morning Breakfast and how very much I miss her.

--------------------

On a lighter note, the house is coming along.


We got garage doors.  The guy showed up at 6 am to install them, and when I left for work at 7 am, they were in and ready to go.  Favorite is just excited to play with the garage door openers.

Speaking of Favorite, he has finished all of the "small" plumbing jobs today so that means we are moving on to bigger and better.  Looks like I'll start staining next week, and then we are looking at insulation.  I thought this house project would go really slowly, but it really seems to be moving at this point.

My dad showed up to help favorite put up all the OSB in the garage, and while it doesn't look like a difficult job, it's pretty time consuming and strenuous.  We're more than thankful to have good help.  Without Chris' dad, my dad and Chris' cousin to this point, we would've had to change the move-in date.

The cabinet guy is coming at the end of the month, and I need to get to pickin' some flooring.  Good thing this girl generally knows what she likes :)

--------------------

Fall weather is well on its way here...now I just need someone to remind me that I can't spend hundreds of dollars on new, cute sweaters from L.L.Bean because I have a house to pay for.  Ha!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thank God

Thank God for...

1.  Veteran teachers who can make suggestions when you are at your wit's end.  An English teacher from my high school days suggested I try modeling a concept in class instead of talking about it abstractly.  So I found a new article, and formulated the questions for the students.  So far, IT WORKED!  And I'm breathing a sigh of relief.

2.  Good friends who text you to try and determine whether or not you are ok after reading blog entries. 

3.  Husbands who work their rear ends off in order to make a house livable by the set move-in date.

4.  Fathers who volunteer to help husbands make a house livable by the set move-in date.

5.  Random opportunities to share my belief system in the classroom without actually "preaching" (since I can't do things like that).  Here's to Puritans and their belief system, because, as I tell my class, you can't understand the decision process until you get the belief system under which it was made.

6.  Students who share their beliefs openly and honestly after a conversation in English class opens the door.

7.  The atonement of Jesus' blood.  And I got to mention it (verbatim) in class today.

8.  Fun blogs written by people I love.  Namely (so you can check them out):  Kate, Sarah, Morgan and Sheena.

9.  Fun blogs written by people I don't really know, but am positive I would love just because of their material.  Namely (so you can check them out):  Blogush (an amazing teacher), Kelly, and Shauna.  (There are a few more, but we'll limit the list for now).

10.  The chances and opportunities I still have...even though I often complain about the circumstances I feel I'm stuck in.

Basically, thank God that He is.

And thank God He gave me enough grace to realize it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Gesture

You know how some days you get to work, you begin your morning routine and you think, "Wow...I'm really on top of things today.  It's a good thing I took care of everything yesterday.  This is making my morning so much easier."  Then, first hour begins.  You realize they are supposed to be taking a quiz...but you have no copies.

As that hour continues, you realize that your attempts at making the research process easier did not, in fact, help the papers.  Nope, the papers you got were, for the most part, plagiarized.  Those that weren't were not on topic.

You stare at the stack of grading on your desk.  You sigh.  You think, "I am really tired today and I have no idea how to fix these problems."

You'll want to cry, but you won't.  No, instead, you'll wait for lunch and think that will be a more relaxing time.

Instead, you'll realize that you are not living up to the promise of eating better at lunch and spending some time walking.  You'll try to think of some way to rectify this problem, but will instead find yourself too tired to leave the room.  Someone will make an off-the-cuff comment, and even though they have no idea it will bother you, you'll get upset.

You'll spend your planning period sending reminders to those who need to work the concession stand because you gained the post of junior head dean.  You will get some grading done, but the stack on your desk won't diminish.

Then, for sixth hour, you'll stand outside your door and welcome your students to class.  You'll smile, even though you don't feel like it, and something interesting will happen.  A student will walk by and hand you a package of chewy sweetarts.  You'll look at him wonderingly and he'll say, "Remember you told us you liked them last year."  You'll be shocked, but you'll smile and say "Thank you."

Then, despite the fact that you'll have to relive the research paper nightmare in 7th hour, it won't be so bad.

Funny how one little gesture can change a whole day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brief Updates and a Reason to Share

First of all, I want to thank all of you for the comments and emails regarding the facebook decision.  Like many of you, I enjoy looking at pictures and keeping up with friends I no longer see.  What I failed to realize was the fact that facebook's negatives far outweighed the positives.  I just didn't want to see it.  So here I am, my first official facebook-less day.  And I'm still breathing.

It can be done.

__________

House update:  The plumbing is finished (for the most part).  Favorite is in the process of getting the Pex system together (You can ask me about it, but I'm not going to be able to tell you much.  My job is this process is anything that equals pretty.  Pex is not on the list). 

I'm so thankful for Favorite's dedication to this project.  He works all morning on the house and then gets ready and heads to his real job.  He deserves a whole lot more than what he got in me.  Guess that means I'd better provide some awesome meals when I get that awesome, new kitchen, eh?

__________

If you've been reading very long, you would know that I started this blog with the intention of chronicling my weight loss journey.  Since it was more like a weight loss drive-thru followed very quickly by a fall off the wagon due to a medical diagnosis, I obviously haven't kept up with that commitment.  Recently, however, I've been contemplating re-joining Weight Watchers.  I have a difficult time reminding myself that this decision really isn't about weight so much as it is about doing something that requires me to eat in a healthy manner.  And while I'm a smart girl, I'm not really all that great at this particular task.  I'm interested to hear what you think, so feel free to share.

Other things I'd like to know:  Your favorite scriptures.  I've shared of few of mine on here, but I find encouragement in reading your stories and your favorite scriptures.  It gives insight into who you are as a person and your personal encounters with our Deliverer.  And nothing says encouragement like a good dose of Bible.

Share away...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Goodbye, Facebook.

I am deleting facebook.

When I gave up myspace, it was like quitting smoking to take up chewing instead.  This time, I am going cold turkey.

There are several reasons why I no longer feel the need to keep a facebook account despite the fact that I am going to miss correspondence with people I really enjoy.  First of all, it's a time issue.  I really do spend way too much time on facebook, and it's easy to while away hours waiting for someone to post a status update.  My blog, fortunately, doesn't demand I spend hours of time staring at the screen while I wait for someone to invite me to play Farmville. 

Secondly, internet sites like facebook promote a fake type of relationship.  We know things about people without ever developing a lot of involvement with many of them.  I am particularly guilty.  I used the information as conversation fodder when half of it was none of my business.  Plus, it was really easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of other people's lives when I really have things in my life that require attention.

These aren't the only two reasons I'm giving up my social networking site.  Favorite and I talked about it briefly, and I just feel like this is the best decision for me at this point in my life.  And, like I said, I'm going to miss the correspondence with a few of the people.  But I hope to get emails from you (just click the "Contact Me" email button) or comments from you here.  I don't want to end the relationships I have...I really just feel like it's time for me to make some of those relationships a little more "real."

Of course, one of those relationships is my prayer relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I am forever complaining about the lack of time in my life but I never seem to lack for facebook time or television time.  So I'm declaring what's important. 

Facebook didn't make the cut.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For the Love of a Lesson

As an English teacher, I often have to face the reality that some material is boring.  Unfortunately, MLA style just isn't compelling stuff; however, it's necessary.  And I generally try to emphasize the fact that there are just times when you have to learn something boring in order to get through certain tasks.

But some material becomes boring when it doesn't have to be.

I'm learning that students will learn more when they can relate material to personal experience.  When they don't have any personal experiences that relate, it's up to me to create them. 

The Puritan life is just one of those things that students don't quite get.  They are too far removed and there's no explaining "need" to people who have never needed.  In order to circumvent that problem, I created a simulation activity called "A Classroom Colony" (Teachers, if you are interested in my material, simply click on the "contact me" button to the right and email me.  I'm glad to share).

I always use this activity before I introduce any information about the Puritans, and it generally creates some pretty interesting discussion.  All of a sudden, they understand why people who disagreed with the Puritan worldview would stay in their colony.  It makes sense as to why the rules were so rigorous.  Plus, they appreciate teamwork and how hard it is to get others to cooperate.

My favorite part of the lesson?  Number four on the back of my sheet.  Basically, it says that I will not answer questions for the duration of the activity.  EVERYTHING is in their hands.

You'd be shocked at what they come up with.  Tomorrow, I'll be telling them whether or not they survived based on the information they had to provide by the end of the hour.  So far, I'm pretty positive that both of them made a decent go, but I'm not sure they survived past a week.  I'll try to remember to post what I share with them on my blog.

For my amusement (and discussion purposes), I generally write down what they say as they work through the activity.  Obviously, it's impossible for me to get every single conversation so I try to focus on the things that are most important to my purposes (Ha.  Evil teachers...always looking for that teachable moment). 

Fun quote from a 6th hour student today:  "You have to find the will inside your heart to survive."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Little Conversation

Since my husband works evenings, I generally come home to two little dogs who still haven't managed to learn English.  Tonight, I figured I would just have a conversation with myself.  Feel free to listen in.

Why haven't I posted a glorious picture of my new, red, front door?

We're supposed to be getting hardware sometime in the next two weeks, and I'd really prefer you see the finished product.  I know I generally post the "in progress" pictures, but this is going to be so much better if you let me wait for the hardware.  As soon as that happens, I swear you will have pictures.  Until then, go to your local Chevy dealership and look at any bright red car.  If the color is Victory Red, you've seen the color of my front door.

How did your day go today?

It was pretty good.  Those power point presentations went over a lot better than I anticipated, and the students really seemed to follow the information fairly easily.  Tomorrow they get to put that information into practice, so we'll see how effective it really was.

I got our first prom catalogs in my school mailbox today.  I've already been scouring them for the crown the junior class will purchase for me.  I NEED a crown.  Need.  Desperately.  But no cheapie, $10 number.  I need one of the completely round Miss America deals.  With yellow diamonds.  To match my sparkling personality.  Did I mention the junior class will be purchasing it?

Anyway, those prom catalogs also have a series of props you can buy to decorate.  Those props are generally named according to a specific theme.  What I found disturbing?  One theme was "Your lucky night."  Maybe I shouldn't have jumped to this automatic conclusion, but when it's common occurrence for me to pass a girl who is 8 months pregnant in the hallway, I get a little antsy about naming a prom "Your lucky night."  Add to that the fact that the next theme in the book was "Afterglow."  I think someone in the marketing department of that company might have dropped the ball.

Thankfully, the class officers have made some decisions regarding homecoming.  Since they've been so responsible, Morgan and I haven't really had to worry too much.  Wait til you see their idea for the float and the homecoming shirt.

What?

Oh.  No, I'm not telling what it is.  We have to keep things under wraps from the wily sophomores who have already started working on their float (and homecoming is 3 weeks away!).

Did you schedule your first speech team meeting?

Ha.  No.  But I've been practically mauled by students who want to join.  You'd think this would excite me, but I'm terrified.  I have a hard time finding material, and I don't know that I'm going to be able to find enough material for this many students.  I hope they are as capable as my class officers are, because if not, it's going to be a rough season.  But that fear aside, I'm kinda excited at the prospect of having an actual team (as opposed to two students and myself).  I'd be so much more excited if they had a coach who knew what she was doing.

So I guess that wraps up my "me time" for the day.  Keep praying for me.  I know everyone struggles, but I've been having a particularly hard time lately.  It wouldn't hurt my feelings to know that I'm not crazy or that occasional bouts of tears are normal.  I am, after all, a girl.