Friday, September 30, 2011


Today was one of those days where my to-do list was so long, and the things on it were critical to be done today. I was overwhelmed and honestly had no idea how it would all get done.

So in my morning prayer, I asked God to help me accomplish only what He wanted me to do today. By 9:00 am, I had completed a huge chunk of what I was responsible to do. There's still a lot to be done, but without returned emails, my hands were tied. I had an incredible amount of peace about that.

It was a good day at school. (See previous post.) The pinnacle of the day was running into friends at the pumpkin patch. They had never been before, so Dayna and I had fun playing tour guides. Their son David even got to ride in the front of the train with Dan.

So, I didn't accomplish everything on the list, but I'm going to bed now with a content heart and memories of a day well lived. (I can even rest easy knowing I made it to 10 posts this month...with 2 1/2 hours to spare!)


After a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day yesterday (really...8 out of 10 classes had really horrible behavior, and Mrs. Wilson turned into the Music Teacher from the Black Lagoon), I came home exhausted and grumpy.

Dayna suggested I tell my students the same story her teacher uses to get kids to stop talking. Would you know? It really worked! Those same 10 classes were *almost* angels today; at least, the talking was under control. I can't believe it's taken me 13 years to figure this out. And really, it may not even work next week...but today, I'm happy.

So...what is this secret trick? When I say the word "bubble", the students have to catch a bubble in their mouth. The bubble will pop if they talk, hum, or even open their mouths. Any student caught talking or making noise after I say "bubble" receives a check. (Do students even know what the checks mean? I wonder sometimes.)

Anyway, I think I only needed to say it more than once in about 3 classes. Even my extremely chatty (that's a charitable description) Kindergarten class did so well we were able to get out the instruments and play today.

Here's hoping it still works next week...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Don't Even Know Where to Start...

I saw this comment on a news story tonight. I'm torn somewhere between speechless and having way too much to say on the matter.

It is frustrating to me that so many conservatives hand over their kids to the state for “FREE” care & education. Our state-run education system is a monstrosity that is feeding our crumbling nation with a mass of poorly educated population that will willingly swallow all things anti-liberty. Rather than expecting the agenda-driven educators and administrators to be something that who and what they are, why not start a mass exodus out of the state-run education system. Imagine if every PROFESSING conservative put their actions where their rhetoric is and gave their children a real education (i.e. homeschool). We would have quite a generation to rise up to secure freedoms that previous generations so foolishly squandered. If you send your kids to the state school you will get a state education — think Nazi youth movement.

1. I'm not handing my kid over to the state for a "free" education. I am preparing her to be a light in the world.

2. Last I checked, neither myself, my colleagues, nor my daughter's teachers are agenda-driven or anti-liberty. Administration, maybe (in some cases)...but the vast majority of teachers in the public school system are simply trying to teach.

3. I believe myself, my colleagues and my daughter's teachers ARE providing a "real" education (to those students who are coming to school ready to learn.)

Honestly, I'm sick and tired of conservatives who are shooting the rest of us in the foot by spewing such ignorant, close-minded rhetoric.

Thoughts on Heaven

Dayna's favorite pastime is "tickle wrestling" with her dad. Not just tickling or wrestling, but tickle wrestling.

We were talking tonight about heaven and giving Jesus our crowns. Somehow, the conversation turned to the fact that we will actually be able to touch Jesus in heaven, and not just think of Him or look at Him.

"Can I tickle wrestle with Jesus?" I'm pretty sure that will be in the cards.

"Will he tickle wrestle like Daddy?" Probably even better, because He'll know all the best tickle spots.

"Like my knees and my toes and even my armpits?"

Yes, Dayna. Even your armpits.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spa Day

I came home from my meeting this morning to be greeted by a little girl who wanted to serve me. She found my inflatable foot bath and had her daddy help fill it with warm soapy water. She found a pillow and put it in a chair, brought me a book and a can of pop, and encouraged me to just sit and enjoy. She massaged my feet, painted my nails, applied many, many, many layers of top coat, and (not-so)-gently blew on my little piggies to help them dry.

Then she brought out my makeup. She took a warm cloth and (not-so)-gently removed my existing makeup, then applied many, many, many layers of foundation, blush, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, lip gloss, and so on.

Next, she (not-so)-gently brushed my hair and placed many, many, many hair clips and rubber bands in it.

(You's really too bad that we're having computer issues and I can't post a picture.)

Finally, she placed a pillow on the floor and gave me a massage. She applied many, many, many layers of baby lotion (to moisturize) and baby powder (to keep me dry), followed by several sprays from a water bottle (to moisturize) and pumps from an air pump (to keep me dry) {can you say brrrr......?}

Despite my strange looking toes, somewhat decent makeup, unusual hair and goosebumps all over my back, I've got to say...I kind of enjoy having a spa day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Survey Says...

This is a little bit of a pet peeve warned!

I'm looking at a receipt I recently got from an office supply store. At the bottom, it says "If you were happy with your service please take the survey and give us 5's."

I've got a problem when people tell you how to fill out a survey. You know...sometimes I "agree"; I don't have to always "strongly agree."

Last year, Dan & I bought a new (to us) vehicle. The salesman was wonderful. Former Marine. Family guy. Honest. A straight shooter. We really enjoyed working with him. As soon as the sale was final, he turned to Dan and told him that a survey would come in the mail. We should fill out "strongly agree" for everything. Dan & I talked about it, and felt that we needed to fill it out honestly, and not necessarily the way we were told. Frankly, although we were quite happy with our purchase and the salesman, we just didn't "strongly agree" on everything.

A few weeks later, the salesman called Dan quite upset. He wanted to know what he had done wrong that we would not give him a "strongly agree" in every category. Dan said that we were quite happy, and had no complaints. The salesman went on to tell Dan that he missed out on a large bonus because we didn't fill out the survey the way we were told.

Wait a second...I don't believe the salesman was justified in blaming us and the survey for not getting the bonus. We didn't have any complaints...we just weren't gushing over every detail of our used car purchase.

This survey situation left a bad taste in our mouth for this dealership. When did we start dictating how people should feel about their shopping experiences? A survey should be optional and people should be able to fill it out as they see fit. Maybe that's just old-fashioned of me, though...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today was one of those days...

Kindergarten going wild while trying to give a test.

Second grade out of control talking...after 5 different "do-overs" for the class, I finally put myself in time-out before the volcano known as Mount Wilson erupted...for 15 minutes!!!!

Another second grade class that literally took 6 minutes to figure out that I was waiting for them to be quiet...and 4 sweet children sat quietly looking at me with their beautiful brown eyes waiting as well (I hear they got to eat lunch with their teacher as a reward).

That's how it all started today.

Forget the Calgon...I'm headed straight for the chocolate!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just Because You Can...

...doesn't mean you should.

A few weeks ago, we went camping at our favorite local campground. We are usually the only people there (maybe 3 or 4 other sites taken in the entire campground), but this time, at least 2/3 of the campground was full. It's on a quiet motors allowed. The facilities are primitive (pit toilets). It's really a peaceful, lazy spot to get away for a little bit.

Until our recent trip. One of the campers near us kept his generator running well past midnight. Then, bright and early (around 6am), he started it up again. So, I'm awake long before I planned, and stumbled bleary-eyed to the nearest hole in the ground. On the way, the "gentleman" with the generator let his little yapper dog chase me down and start licking and sniffing me. I raised an eyebrow and mentioned that it was pretty early. He seemed oblivious, so I asked if the generator was necessary at that hour. He looked at his watch and said "It's legal." He went on to tell me that in a campground with no hookups, you can run a generator 24/7 if you want. He even dared me to call the Sheriff and ask. I did call the Sheriff's office to confirm this. I was told that Nebraska campgrounds had no quiet hours, and that people go camping to party all night long.

Despite the assertions of this horribly arrogant man and the local sheriff's office, I discovered that Nebraska campgrounds do indeed have quiet hours, and they extend to generators, regardless of the availability of electricity in the campground.

So, once I got past the grumpiness of the early morning wake-up call, I realized that this was the perfect teachable moment for Dayna (who slept until 9:30, by the way) that just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

What many people consider to be their rights are really responsibilities. We had a lovely time around our breakfast table brainstorming things that may be allowed but aren't necessary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

Ten years ago this morning, I was driving to school when I heard the news that an airliner had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings. There didn't seem to be a huge urgency from what I heard on the radio. Just a lot of confusion about what could have possibly happened to create an "accident" like that. I arrived at school, parked my car, and walked into the building. In the short time it took me to walk from the parking lot to the school, a second plane hit the other tower. At this moment, the horrible feeling filled my soul that this wasn't an "accident." This was a cold, calculated attack on our nation...unlike anything I had ever witnessed.

The next hour was surreal as the staff sat speechless in the library watching the horrors unfold. I remember calling Dan at work and telling him he really needed to find a television and see what was took several phone calls to convince him that this wasn't just "an interesting news story."

We were instructed to continue through the day as though nothing had happened. We were not to discuss it with the students, and to continue "business as usual." Fortunately, this was in the days before we all had ready access to the internet in our classrooms. The Kindergarten classes had gone on a field trip that day, leaving me with an hour in the middle of the morning. I sat in the teacher's lounge and watched as the towers fell. I heard of the two subsequent planes that went at the Pentagon and another in a field in Pennsylvania.

After school, I drove home, only to hear that the President was in Omaha. I feared for our city, not knowing if Omaha would be a target with the AFB and Strategic Command nearby. I was so focused on getting back to my apartment, I didn't think to fill the gas tank...just in case.

Once home, I was confused why Dan didn't come home. He had a rehearsal that evening, and decided to go. This was before we both had cell phones and I had no way to reach him. I continued to get more and more worried. I needed to have someone to help me process what had happened that day. By the time Dan finally came home, I was very upset. I don't recall how everything got resolved...that entire evening is now a blur. But I do remember playing (over and over and over) the Twila Paris song "God is in Control."

It's amazing how much has changed, and how that day changed my life forever. I'm not convinced that all of the changes have been good. But I do know that September 11, 2011 did not come as a surprise to God. I do not believe that God caused this to happen, but I do take comfort in knowing that He is still in control, and that He is bigger than al Qaeda, bigger than terrorists, bigger than evil, and bigger than the Evil One who would dare to orchestrate such horrific events.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Questioning and Teachability

Pastor Mark finished his summer series on the Minor Prophets yesterday with a sermon on Malachi. It's funny how America in 2011 isn't all that different from Israel after the exile.

One of the statements he made in the sermon that keeps sticking with me is how Israel (America?) was a nation that questioned and argued everything and had lost their teachable spirit. Wow. I'm a questioner...I want to know why I'm supposed to do something.

But the more I think about it, the more I see that while questioning is not a bad thing (How did you come up with that conclusion? What is the rationale behind this decision?), Americans have refined the art of questioning for the purpose of challenge and argument. I can't even read the comments on news stories anymore, because people have become so nasty. You may think it takes courage and boldness to "say what you think" in an online forum...but really, it's cowardice to sit behind the anonymity of a computer monitor and spout hatred.

This whole concept of questioning for the sake of confrontation and losing a spirit of teachability was illustrated in my classroom on Friday. We have just spent 3 weeks digging deeply into the Star-Spangled Banner...learning history, vocabulary, singing tips, and the value of defending your opinion (e.g. you can say the song is stupid, but I want to know why...) After dealing with 2 weeks' worth of outbursts from a particular student, he managed once again to get the last word and spout off in a disruptive and disrespectful tone. When I spoke to him privately, he didn't seem to see a problem with the way he spoke to me. (I have also been warned that this attitude comes from his parents as well.) I see a classic example of someone who feels he has the right (when it's really a privilege) to free speech and interrupting the instruction of his classmates so he can question, challenge and argue with a teacher. In the process, it is clear that this student does not have a teachable spirit.

As a questioner myself, I ask: do I question to be informed or to start an argument? What is the heart and spirit behind the questions I ask?

What about you?