Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teacher Appreciation: An Insider's Preview

Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up soon, and I'm here with the scoop.
First I'm here with the confession: I was the mom who always intended to do some sort of Pinteresty-awesome teacher gifts and never. quite. got. to. it.  If that's you, it's totally okay. 
So, in lieu of a cute idea, I'll just offer a list of things I think you might need to know.
 (Pinned on my board; link to original broken)

 Ten Things You Never Knew About Teaching (Unless You're a Teacher)
1. We are well-versed in acrononyms:
     ETC, ETC, ETC
     And I thought I was cool in the 4th grade when I knew what NASA meant.
2. We can make complicated things simple.  For example, when we teach the state-mandated anti-cyber-bulling lesson in "character education", we can take a three page suggested lesson and boil it down to what it actually means: Be Nice. 
When you are on Twitter, be nice.
When you are on Facebook, be nice.
When you are on Instagram, delete all your duck-face pictures and ...be nice.
See?  Complicated things made simple.
Which leads me to 
3. We don 't write the curriculum. We just teach it.
4. We don't mind being held accountable for our own work.  We have a problem with being held accountable for other people's work, like a student who throws the standardized test by "racing" to see if he can fill in all the bubbles in under 10 minutes.  (True story.)  "Pay for performance" sounds great on paper, but in practice it makes about as much sense as holding dentists responsible for whether their patients floss. 
5. All the scissors, suckers, stickers, pencils, etc.  in your child's class were probably purchased by the teacher out of her own pocket.  She may have purchased notebooks for students who showed up without any school supplies in August.   (Incidentally, in an effort to "tax the rich," and make them "pay their fair share", our small tax credit that reimbursed some of those funds will disappear next year.  Just sayin'.)
6. Middle school students are hormones with feet.  Some of us go home to our own little hormonal darlings, and then we look in the mirror and have hot flashes.  We do lots of hormones. 
7. We know many parents believe their children are brilliant and special.
We might agree.  Or not. ;-)
But we know that what most parents want is for their children to just be normal.  
The good news is they probably are.  
8. We wonder why we are supposed to differentiate and offer choices and recognize unique learning styles in students...and then give them a one-size-fits-all standardized assessment.  Yeah.
9.Our children have to hear about school all the time. Mine wish I'd give the summer planning a rest, but that never happens.
10.   If you've got any great, Pinteresty ideas about teacher gifts, share with me... and help me remember to get them together for my kids' teachers!

  Be blessed, 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Turn a Frown Upside Down: Gratitude and Perspective

That title sounds like a kindergarten teaching unit and a theological discourse collided!
Be that as it may, this month I've been meditating on Philippians 2:4: "Do everything without complaining or arguing."
Note to self: verse selection = a test on the subject.  Just sayin'.
As spring fever and state testing dominate our work week (talk about worlds colliding), girlfriends, I need help with that not complaining part.  Woo-wee.
So, without further ado, I present perspective, gratitude style.
I'm thankful for:
--a job doing something I enjoy.
--tests (and students) that keep me humble, seeking new ideas, and challenged.
--spring weather while I finish my last few days of car-rider duty!  
--longer days that make evening errands more pleasant; coming out of pastor search meetings with streaks of sunset in the sky is far superior to driving home in deary darkness.
--rain when new chartreuse leaves glow against ebony tree trunks
--sunshine after rain
--girls that speak their minds (even if they need to adjust tones) and think about issues and ideas
--a small group at church that prays with faith and power and challenges me to ask God for great things
--a worship team who lets me join in
--friends who speak words of blessing and perspective
--a godly husband
--laundry, because it means we have clothing--more than we need
--dishes, because they mean we were well-fed
--grocery shopping and yes, even Walmart (okay, maybe not) because we are able to purchase what we need
--the library, which might be one of the most perfect wonderful of inventions ever.
--delphinium and peony plants that may, Lord willing, bloom and grow.
What's given you some perspective this week?
Be blessed, 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Study in Green

Green says...


It says
I'm anticipating; 
I believe the Lord's promises;

I trust Him.

About a week after these were taken, we woke up one day to my favorite time in the mountains--the monochromatic patchwork of leaves: emerald, chartreuse, olive, jade.  

Be blessed,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hello, Monday: Gone but not Forgotten (I Hope)

Hello, Monday!
I wasn't around here last week.  Sorry.
It's not you; it's me.
I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee last Friday and was so stinkin' tired that I FORGOT her.  
Instead, I lay on my couch with a book and dared anyone to speak to me.
Pathetic, I tell you.  Pitiful.  
She forgave me because she's just like that, and we're meeting tomorrow.  
The alarm is set on my phone.
People, when you need an alarm to remind you to get coffee with a friend, you need some margins.  
Or some ginko biloba.

Moving on.  
Hello, state testing week.  Ready--or not--here you come.
Hello, spring fever.  You explain why I was worn.out. this past week.  You make corralling 7th graders for a test they care nothing about even more fun than it already is.
Hello, spring.   I heart you and your greenness. 
Hello, Aaa -pollen- choo.
Bless you.
Hello, science fair projects (pinhole camera, anyone?), college visits (sniff!), concert practices, and assorted other errands.  You mean May is near.  Which means summer is near.  Which is a rather nice idea at the moment, actually.
So, what have I missed over your way?
Be blessed this week,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Quickest of Quick Words

Spring has sprung around here (finally), and that means the something-going-on-almost-every-night season is cranking up, but I wanted to say hello!
Words for the Week:
Thankful...that Big Red returned safely from another mission trip to Belize; we serve a great and mighty God!
             ...for friends who let us use their showers last night when we discovered a leaky hot water heater.
             ...for provision to replace said hot-water heater and tank.  
Happy...for DD#1, who had a sticky situation resolved in an unexpected blessing
Basking...in sunshine and temps in the 70's.  Woot!
Studying...1 John.  I'm using the slow and deep SOAP method, and I'm lovin' it.
Already...mentally planning next school year.
Relieved...that the ladybug discovered in my coffee pot after I brewed a cup didn't poison my cup. (Poor ladybug.)
What are your words this week?
Be blessed,

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Mantel

Hello, Friday!
This might be one of the few Fridays I'm not enthusiastic about because it's the Friday of spring break.  Fastest.week.ever.
One of the other speedy things this year was the arrival of Easter.  
I had my mantel ready, but I never had time to post it.  
So today I'll show you the Easter Spring mantel!
This mantel features my favorite neutral, green.  (Look outside.  Unless you live out west, green is the background color, right?  
It's the new neutral.)
It has my favorite antique chalkboard.
My favorite thrifted-$1.50-each candlesticks are up there along with a few of my favorite books and one of my favorite vases from my mom.
Finally, it has (had) my favorite early spring flowers, daffodils and forsythia, now deceased.  Yes, I really should bring in something fresh, but my to-do list today is rather lengthy--and I needed to get this post done ASAP!
So without further ado (because that explanation took a long time), here it is:

 Don't you love the glitter bunny?  It was  Silhouette project from this post.
Be blessed,
linking up here and here

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday Morning: Spring Break

The weatherman declares that spring is on the way in a day or two, but today winter wins.  It's blustery and gray and wet, and I am savoring my quiet house.
My morning in a collage:
1. I love this room. The color (Cowslip 3 by Laura Ashley) makes me happy; it cheers a gloomy day and glows in the sun.  The Mrs/Mr pillows were a wedding gift gone wrong; I was afraid to share them, but the imperfection doesn't bother us. 
2. Studying 1John at the kitchen table, coffee and Kari Jobe at the ready.
3. Made a coffee cake.  Half has weight-watchers friendly blackberries; the other side has teenager friendly chocolate chips.  Their mama loves them, even if they pretend they don't know this most days.
4. Stood out in the rain to get this shot of blooms I planted yesterday before the clouds came.  Pansies tell me winter will end.  I like that about them.  
Not pictured: laundry.
Not pictured: the piles of winter clothes on the bed, soon to be sorted into keep/give away/wishful thinking stacks.  
Not pictured: ungraded papers. 
 This is spring break, after all.
Be blessed, 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Today I'm celebrating 19 years of being married to my best friend.

Back in the day.  We both have less hair now.  One of us has a lot less hair.  He shall remain anonymous.  One of us is carrying a few extra pounds.  She shall remain nameless as well.
DD#2 had this pithy observation about her parents' marriage: "I really respect your marriage.  I can't imagine that anyone else would stay married to either one of you for nineteen years." 
Out of the mouths of babes.
It's true that we are a match made (all cliches aside) in heaven.
Here are nineteen things I love about Big Red:
1. He's godly and growing in godliness.  His relationship with Christ isn't stagnant.
2. He prays for me and  for our kids.
3. He works hard.  
4. Few people, I think, can say they are doing what they were born to do.  He is one who can.  He was born to teach and coach and influence young men positively.
5. He is funny.  (He's also annoying, but one must take the bad for the good.;-))
6. He is handy.  He fixes everything--including septic tanks.  Plumbing is his nemesis--which is okay.  Everybody should admit defeat somewhere.)
7. He is respected by the people who know him and work with him.
8. He's fun to be around.
9. He has big dreams.
10. He pushes me to have bigger dreams for myself.
11. He grows things.  If green thumbs were hereditary, I would be the gardener.  Alas, my husband caught the gene by osmosis from his in-laws.
12. He appreciates things I do well, like cook and create.  He says all the right things about scrapbooks and cards and mantels even though I suspect he wouldn't notice if I didn't point them out first.
13.  He is a great dad.
14. He is generous.
15. At 45, he's still cute.
16.He makes a mean omelet.
17. He can out-clean Monk. ( Sometimes this fits under the annoying category, but I realize that it is a blessing most of the time.)
18. He is compassionate.
19. He is willing to go and do whatever God calls him to do.