• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 148 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 170,144 hits

Five Minute Friday

I saw Joyce’s newest post and the mention of the Five Minute Friday linkup, and I thought it might be fun to play along.

adjust

Disclaimer: I know it’s Saturday, but y’all my life has been nutso this week, and this is pretty much the first chance I’ve had when I’m pure and out exhausted and can sit and think of stuff besides all things teaching, which we are officially resuming in these here parts on Monday – via online means, of course.

I’ve never participated in this linkup before, so I’m a little nervous. I am a wordy sort of girl who takes loads and loads of time to write. However, I’ve had my students do timed free-writes before, so now the shoe will be on the other foot.

And I’m setting my timer NOW.

So, here I am, and today’s word is adjust.

This is a word that does not often sit well with me. I am, after all, a self-ascribed overachieving control freak. The thought of having to adjust doesn’t usually sit well with me.

The Lord is probably laughing right now because adjust is exactly what I’ve had to learn to do over the past year and a half.

In October 2018, I had to adjust, in more ways than one, after Hurricane Michael hit my beautiful corner of the world.

Everything was closed, including schools. We were out a month, and when we returned, we had to meet in a middle school down the road from our high school campus. Talk about adjusting! Our classrooms were smaller, and our schedules went from a whole day to half of that since we had to share the campus with the actual middle school teachers and kids who were based there.

Then, two months later, we adjusted again when we were able to return to our campus; but there were even more changes. Three-quarters of our teachers were housed in portables a half mile away. Nearly everyone was displaced.

So, adjust is something I’m learning to do – especially with this pandemic we are living through.

My schedule has completely changed; I’ll be teaching remotely beginning on Monday.

Many of my lesson plans went out the window. I’ll be facilitating an online program now.

And y’all, my timer just went off, but I need one more minute to close this because this post just cannot end here.

Told you I was wordy!

Adjust doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is, as I’ve recently discovered, the springboard to the next thing coming down the road, which God is preparing in advance for all of us, if we’d just take the time to recognize His hand in our current circumstances.

The Hodgepodge is Back!

From this Side of the Pond

Y’all, I am so excited that Joyce has revived her weekly Hodgepodge! One of the blessings that the COVID19 quarantine has given me is the free time I needed to resurrect my own languishing blog. I’m sure you understand how the minutia of life can bog us down and prevent us from doing some (ahem) of the things we want to do.

Anyhoo, let’s move on . . .

If you’re not familiar with how this works, what you do is copy the questions, paste them on your own blog, answer the questions (on your blog), and then post your link at the end of Joyce’s post. The best part is visiting other people to see how they answered. I’ve made some great blogging friends this way.

So, let’s get to my answers.

1. Howdy Hodgepodgers. It’s kind of fun to be back, isn’t it?  Last time we met was September, 2018. Tell me something big-important-happy-or sad that’s happened in your life since that date. Just one thing. We don’t know how long this current isolation situation is going to last and we might need to dole out our news bit by bit.

Gosh, since many of you already know that my town got hit by Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018, let me share a different BIG happening.

My Chicky got engaged right before New Year’s – December 30, 2019, to be exact.

Her guy, let’s call him B, called the Mr. a few days beforehand and asked his permission.

Be still my heart!

But, true to the male species type, the Mr. didn’t think to ask B when he planned on popping the question, so we sat on the edge of our seats for DAYS waiting.

We were actually grocery shopping when Chicky called, and I knew this was what she was going to tell us.

Imagine being in the produce aisle, talking to someone you’ve run into, and quickly explaining that your daughter is calling to tell you she’s engaged, and you need to run.

Is she not the cutest thing?

2. Might as well get this out of the way early on…COVID-19. On a scale of 1-5 how serious are you about keeping your distance? Explain. fyi-I didn’t create the scale but have seen it several places online. Also fyi-we won’t only have virus related questions each week, but for this first one it feels right.

1-Not at all, living normally 2-Cautious but still going out 3-Going out as needed, mostly home or working from home, still seeing friends/family 4-Extremely limited, only going out when unavoidable, minimal contact with people 5-Full lockdown, no one in or out

I’d say that we are at a 4 right now. I have run a few errands – mostly last week. We were out of town visiting family when things got super bad, so when we got home, I had to have groceries. Although I used Publix’s delivery option the first week, I still found myself in need of items, so I went right when the store opened a few days after my delivery, scored toilet paper as I walked in, and did my shopping. It was unnerving, let me tell you.

Publix delivery for the win!

On Monday, I ran to my school to grab some much-needed instructional material and a few other items like my essential oils diffusers. Even then, I saw two people, said hello from a distance, and carried on. Schools in the state of Florida are “out” until April 15th . . . for now. Teaching is supposed to resume on the 30th though.

The Mr. has had to go by his office to grab a few things to work from home, but he’s pretty much staying home as much as he can. He has Crohn’s disease, so his immune system is compromised, and he can’t afford to get sick.

3. Raise your hand if you think you might run out of steam in the cooking department before it’s all said and done? What’s something delcious you’ve cooked or eaten in your own kitchen in the past week?

I actually only cook a couple of times a week, so I’m not finding myself doing more than usual. Thankfully, most restaurants are offering curbside service, which I took advantage of on Saturday when I saw that one of my favorite places was offering margaritas to-go. Ahem.

4. What’s a television show or movie you’ve seen recently (it could be an oldie) that you really liked?

I finished watching The Circle on Netflix.

The Circle on Netflix

I’d started this series a few weeks back but stopped because some of it made me cringe a little. I wound up going back to it and am so glad I did. It’s about a group of people who use a social media forum called The Circle to communicate with each other. They aren’t allowed to see each other real-time but can only chat via a Facebook-like app. This allows some of them to misrepresent themselves, which others either suspect or don’t know at all. It’s a competition where they essentially vote each other off until there’s one winner.

I found it fascinating and so relateable given how we use social media today.

5. Share something funny you’ve seen or heard this week.

Oh gosh, y’all. I know that this virus is serious, and trust me when I say that I do not think it’s a laughing matter. My heart hurts for those who have lost loved ones or are either sick themselves or are watching those they care about fight it. I’m also stressed out, majorly, for those providing care to the sick. It’s so overwhelming.

With that said, moments of humor are good for the soul. As a teacher, I have especially enjoyed all of the homeschooling/parent/teacher memes and videos. I hope that parents will give teachers a little more credit now that they’re getting to facilitate their own children’s education.

This video got me though. All of it is TRUE! Ha!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can we just talk about all of the fur baby love that’s happening right now?

Raise your hand if your baby is as happy as mine now that they’re living neverending weekends?

I watched a news segment Monday evening that talked about how pet adoption numbers have gone up exponentially during this crisis. As the mama of four adopted fur babies (well, Gambit actually adopted us), my heart soared when I saw that.

Hope you guys are practicing safe physical distancing protocols (I like this term better than social distancing) from your non-furry friends.

Faith Looks Ahead

Oh, how Sundays have changed the last couple of weeks, eh?

We, along with probably millions of people around the world, turned in online to hear this morning’s sermon.

Actually, the Mr. and I listened to two of them. Sinners be needing the preaching, let me tell you (spoken in my Southern drawl).

First, we turned to our home church’s message, and y’all, I took notes (even as I knitted on a long-suffering shawl).

I think a common theme of sermons of late is fear.

We watched online church with the in-laws last weekend when we were visiting, and fear was the topic that day.

Today, our pastor, Craig (such a fabulous speaker, by the way) used the context of Numbers 13, when Moses tasked twelve spies with scouting out the Promised Land and the report they carried back, for this morning’s message.

When the spies went out, they saw lots of good things – a land “flowing with milk and honey,” but they also saw challenges in their way: “The people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large.”

Isn’t this what we’re seeing during this pandemic? Sure, we can all identify the silver linings – unexpected free time, job flexibility, the opportunity to learn new things – but we are also facing giant hurdles: the possibility of sickness, financial strain, and social isolation.

Just as ten of the spies focused on the negatives, we too have that tendency. And you know what? That tendency is based on FEAR.

Hello God. I hear you talking to me for the second week in a row.

My pastor advised us to replace feelings (based on fear) with facts.

Y’all, this can be a hard pill for me to swallow. I am a girl who operates under an umbrella of emotions. Sure, reason follows – eventually – but feelings . . . well, they kind of rule my life.

Here’s a bullet list I made of some of the main points that followed (the stuff in parentheses reflects my personal thoughts – not the pastor’s words):

  • Fear distorts reality.
  • Fear is contagious (hello hoarders).
  • Fear always leads to poor choices (hello immature Spring Break boy who declared that he only cared about living his best life).
  • Fear tempts us to focus on ourselves and our own inadequacies.
  • Fear tends to paralyze us (hello anxiety).
  • Fear causes us to question God and His motives.
  • Fear causes us to abandon our faith and give up on God.

Anyone hearing this song in their heads?

As my pastor began wrapping up, he said something to the effect that our fears aren’t conquered by looking at what’s ahead but by looking back at what God has done for us in the past.

Y’all, in 2018, we were hit by Hurricane Michael. In case you don’t follow all things hurricane-related, it was a Cat 5 storm. It destroyed the landscape around us, our homes, businesses, and most of our churches.

Eighteen months later, we are not back to normal. We are better than we were though, thanks to God’s grace and provision.

We can look back and see where we were October 10, 2018, and where we are now.

God is raising us from the ashes, and He will do it again.

I love what my pastor ended with.

Faith.

Looks.

Ahead.

Ok, so maybe he didn’t punctuate it that way, but as the author of this blog, I can take such liberties.

God gives us seasons of grace for so many reasons. I believe one of them is to sustain us through the tough times when His presence seems somewhat sketchy.

He is with us during the easy times, and He is with us now.

I keep hearing Donald Trump mention the “invisible enemy” during his press conferences.

Well y’all, we have a (somewhat) invisible hero – God.

I say somewhat because we can see Him reflected in nature and in other ways, but you know what I mean.

We need to focus on Him, not the one who wants to steal our souls because you know that this is exactly what he’s going to do. He will try to use this to turn people’s hearts away from Jesus.

I pray that during the toughest of days, we keep looking ahead to the One who will light our way out of this present darkness to, ultimately, the Promised Land.

Lemonade from Lemons

Well hello there! Did you miss me?

I came to my blog this morning thinking that I’d last posted during Christmas.

Shock of all shocks – it’s been since August 17th!

What the heck?

All I can say is that this school year was nuts BEFORE the virus hit.

I kept wanting to write – had a need to write – but life, y’all.

Just so much life.

Meanwhile, my friends, Rebecca and Jo, kept on keeeping on – one a bit more regularly than the other – but both were still writing.

My inspirations.

So today is happening.

In case you don’t know me, I am a high school English and Reading teacher in Florida. We are currently on Spring Break. Shortly after we left school on Friday, we got the news that school would be out the week after the break. A few days later, we learned that we will be out until April 15th. Who knows. The virus – this world – so crazy.

You might remember that my sweet little town was hit by Hurricane Michael in 2018. The damage that Cat 5 hurricane did to us had us living in a very surreal world for months and months. We woke up every single day asking ourselves if the whole thing was a dream.

Well, folks, here we go again.

Since I haven’t woken from that dream yet, I am starting to settle into a routine.

I decided to make a list of some things I wanted to do while social distancing. Top of the list was blogging.

So here we are!

I am trying to make lemonade from lemons.

This is going to involve more walking and blogging (not at the same time), a lot of knitting, a little bit of gardening, some reading, cooking, and Netflixing (because we’ve made that a word).

I’m also working on my lesson plans. We had to write a week’s worth of virtual lesson plans in case the unthinkable happened.

Well, it did, so we will teach those lessons. In my case, I’m tweaking what I’d planned for my English 4 classes. I’m also learning how to use Zoom, have set up my Google Classroom, and am working on adding some videos to my YouTube channel. Kids can’t object too much if they’re getting to watch YouTube, right?

I can’t help but be struck with the irony of this entire situation. We always say that we want more time to do things. Well, folks, be careful what you wish for. We have that in abundance now. The caveat is that we have to do them without many people, which, truth be told, isn’t all that bad to my introverted self. However, not being able to go to the store without the concern of contracting the virus is very disconcerting, to say the least.

I think that, besides social distancing, our attitudes are going to determine how we come out on the other side.

We can either chew on the lemons we’ve been given, pursing our lips in the process, or juice the heck out of those suckers, add some sugar, and savor the sweet taste.

Yes, life certainly hasn’t served up the most palatable of dishes; however, it’s our choice how we take in what we’ve been given.

So, let’s chat! What are some things you haven’t had time for in recent days, weeks, or months that you’re going to work on now? How are you making lemonade from lemons?

Begin With the End in Mind

Today is Saturday, and my goal for the day is to do as little as possible.

Why?

Well, because I just finished my first week of the new school year, and this teacher is dog tired.

But wait! I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s back up to last Thursday.

When I got home from my pre-planning day, I called my friend, Megan, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for seven years. As we were chatting, I mentioned something about going to school the next day, and she asked me why?

You see, we didn’t have to work! The school district was still on the four-day work week schedule it follows during the summer. Someone I work with had told me that we did have to work. Good gravy!

It was a good thing that I’m an overachiever! I’d left my classroom near-ready when I’d left on Thursday.

Thank heavens!

I spent the weekend working hard around the house. I also prepped food for the week.

That’s Soul-Warming Stew and Dumplings from A Virtual Vegan’s new cookbook. It is absolutely divine!!!

The recipe makes a TON of food and, hence, lots of leftovers.

I also made a batch of Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars.

Oh, and this Vegan Chocolate Tart begged to be made.

It has an Oreo cookie crust which, surprisingly, is vegan.

I sliced the tart up into sixteen pieces because it was so rich.

I also texted two of my teacher friends who love my vegan cooking and offered to take slices of chocolate heaven to them for the first day of school. I didn’t exactly have to twist their arms to say yes. Ha!

Sunday night, I watched Big Brother and set my weights out for the next morning.

Then, I set all five of my alarms – thirty minutes apart – and headed off to Dreamland.

And then this happened . . .

If you’ve ever been a teacher or are one currently, you’ve experienced the fear of oversleeping on the first day.

I gave up the fight around 3:45am, got up, and worked out.

Because I’d gotten up so early, I was ready to go by 7:10. My goal had been 7:00, so I was doing okay.

Here’s my back-to-school picture.

That’s a dress I’d bought in Atlanta, and I’d been saving it ever since our trip because I knew I wanted to wear it for the first day. It was light, airy, professional, and so comfortable!

Poor Gambit. He wasn’t thrilled to see me head out. I felt a little badly because this would be his first go-round of long days without his brother by his side. 😦

I grabbed my cup of London Fog (Tea Latte) and said see you later to my fur baby.

Can I just tell you that it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been teaching. You still get nervous.

When I walked into my classroom, I saw my letter board at the front of my room, and my nerves settled down.

Y’all, that’s how I run my life. It’s especially true of my teaching.

We had homeroom, and then the gauntlet began.

My schedule this year begins with a senior reading class. It’s a small class since most of my juniors passed their reading test last year. This class is comprised of mostly students I taught last year. It was so comforting to me and to them, quite honestly.

Class flew by.

My next two classes were junior reading classes. I knew none of them, so there was a flurry of new faces and names.

Fortunately, I’d created an alphabetical seating chart and had posted instructions on my Smartboard. The kids were surprised to learn that they had to turn their phones off and put them in corresponding pouches in my cell phone holder.

Amazon for the win!

That’s not the one I have, but I am going to order it because it’s more durable than the one I currently have.

This was a system that served me well last year, so I’m continuing it again this year. Everyone complied, though, so I didn’t have any issues.

Y’all, the first day of school is tremendously crazy. There’s attendance to take for faces and names you don’t know. There are new kiddos constantly coming in because they got lost trying to find your room or had impromptu schedule changes.

It was nuts.

There are questions about what the class is about, why the heck am I in here (not me but them), and can I go to the bathroom (maybe this is me as well as them).

Nutso.

But wonderful because this teacher had a plan.

I have first lunch, which was ridiculously early and a first for me.

Then, fourth period came in – my English 4 class. These are seniors – about 3/4 of whom I taught last year.

Another comfort, let me tell you.

Then came my 5th period class – comprised of mostly boys.

Very active and loud boys.

I knew, instantly, that this would be my “spirited” group.

Oh y’all. Most kids are very well behaved the first couple of days of school.

Not this crew.

So, I had to put on my non-smiling face and cut to the chase.

Yep. It’s sad to say, but I immediately knew that if I didn’t set the standard immediately, they’d be running my class.

After five days with them, I can honestly say that though they will take a lot of my energy because of the constant attention they’ll require, I’m pretty certain that they are going to be among my favorite kiddos.

Their personalities are big, and they are so funny (although I can’t let them think that quite yet).

Sixth period, I had planning.

This was a reminder that God certainly is in the details. He knew that I’d need a break after my 5th period class.

I had earned my chocolate tart snack.

Now, let’s talk about seventh period. That’s another English 4 class. Most of the seniors were kids I’d taught last year. There’s a sprinkling of some who’d had another teacher, so I didn’t know them.

I’d been a bit concerned when I’d previewed the roster. They were a loud group last year.

Let me tell you that this combination of kids, slightly different from my sixth period last year, is going to mesh together so well.

There’s a young lady in there who loves me. I didn’t realize just how strong of a bond we’d developed last year until I’d seen her in Guidance during my planning, and she was yelling at the people in there – demanding that she be placed in my class. She’s sassy but she’s had a hard life and clings tight to those she trusts.

My heart, y’all. THIS is why I teach.

Seriously though.

The day ended, and I was actually smiling.

The rest of the week went by pretty smoothly.

I slowly introduced classroom procedures and began conveying my expectations.

I even took up my first pair of slides for the year. The kiddo had a pair of sneakers in his bag, so he knew what he was doing. Sheesh.

I discovered my new favorite pens because y’all, writing utensils are important things for teachers.

Office Depot for the win!

We did a book speed dating activity on Tuesday, and my kids were reading self-selected novels by Wednesday.

Don’t those pictures put a smile on your face?

My kids were so happy when I told them that I’d be giving them twenty minutes a day for reading. One even said that NOBODY does that.

Well, kiddo, I do because I know how important it is and that you’ll have no time to do it outside of class.

I also modeled reading by opening up this brand new book and reading along with my kids.

Late in the week, I showed my reading classes their test scores from the spring. They hadn’t seen them since the scores hadn’t come back until the summer (the state of Florida is ridiculously slow in EVERYTHING they do).

Several years ago, I created this form, which I hand out to students so they can record their scores and write some reflections about them.

I tell the kids that knowledge is power, and they have to know what they’re facing if they’re going to improve. I liken it to a game against an opponent, which is certainly true with this thing we call testing. They were immensely grateful for the real talk we had and the time I allowed for this activity.

I have to tell you that this was the first year that I can remember starting school on a Monday. We usually don’t get started until a Wednesday.

I was soooo happy when Friday rolled around. Although we were encouraged to wear red for school spirit, I wanted to wear a new t-shirt I’d bought a week ago.

By the time my last class rolled around on Friday, we were exhausted.

One of my girls – the one I wrote about earlier in this post – broke down in tears as she was reading the book she’d selected.

Something she read had hit her hard, and we stepped into the hallway to talk about it. Poor girl. I saw such a different side of her in that moment. It solidified our bond. The power of books, y’all. Just wow!

When I left for home on Friday, I was pleased but tired.

After letting Gambit out to potty, we settled in for a short nap. He was so happy to have me home.

This had been the best first week of school that I can remember having in a long time. I don’t exactly know why.

Maybe it was because I’m teaching a lot of the same kids I taught last year.

Maybe it’s because I like my preps.

Maybe it’s because I saw the hope on the faces of the juniors who suddenly realized how important my course is and why they need to be on their game.

Maybe it’s because I have my eyes on the prize – the end that we are aiming for – and I can’t wait to see my kiddos reach their goals.

Year 10 had started off quite well, and this teacher just couldn’t ask for more (except maybe winning the lottery, which would be perfectly acceptable). 🙂

Worn Out Wednesday

It is Wednesday, and I am tired.

I am sitting at four days until the first day of the school year, and I am completely worn out already.

There have been days upon days of meetings.

There have been hours upon hours of lesson planning.

There have been pages upon pages of course descriptions, data tracking sheets, and lesson plan materials copied.

The only time I am a list person is the week before school.

Truth be told, I could probably teach tomorrow if I had to.

No, things wouldn’t be up to my standards, but I could do it.

But I’m not because my schedule may be changing, last-minute, so there may be many tweaks that need to be done . . . lesson plans to be adjusted, class folder buckets to be relabeled, binders to reorganize, and rosters to reprint . . . to name a few.

There isn’t an Easy Button when it comes to teaching.

Heaven help this over-planning, overachieving girl.

That was last night’s photo. I’m currently up to 59 pages in my Smartboard file.

Please say a prayer for all of us education folks.

The excitement of a new school year is there, for sure, but it comes with a price – lost sleep, sore muscles from moving rearranging furniture fifty times, and headaches from looking at our computers too long each day.

Four days, y’all.

I’ve got this!

Heartstring Triggers

Disclaimer: This article isn’t all sad, so don’t skip it because there’s some cute stuff midway through.

I read an article recently, and a line from it stuck with me:

Interestingly, Hawaiian researchers have even found that the pain after the death of a pet is usually much longer lasting than the pain we feel with the loss of a loved one.

https://www.healthyfoodhouse.com/losing-a-pet-hurts-more-than-people-think/

Y’all, I know that many of us can attest to this.

Last night, I dreamed of two of my lost fur babies – Aubie and Molly.

As I spent time petting both of them, I remember thinking, “This has to be a dream, but it’s so realistic.”

The dream seemed to go on for a long time, and I kept telling myself that I must be dreaming even though it very much felt like real life.

I also remember thinking that Pele must not have been ready to make the leap yet.

I know where this idea came from – the book Good Dog, by Dan Gemeinhart.

I had read it last summer, around the one year anniversary of Molly’s passing.

I had sobbed my way through the book, which chronicled the story of Brodie, a beloved dog who had passed away but was stuck in an in-between world.

The book had gone a long way toward healing my still-raw and very broken heart.

Waking up confirmed that yes, I had been dreaming.

Sigh.

Then, as I was tootling around the house, I went to put up something that had fallen in the laundry room, and I saw this . . .

What had fallen was one of the dog’s halters we bought to make walks a little easier. As I reached up to put it away, I saw the second one.

Sigh.

Then, I picked up an empty bag from Walmart. It had been sitting on one of those shelves you see above, and here’s what was inside . . .

I’m thinking that the collection of baggies was from the week the Mr. and I spent in California last summer. I tend to be anal about organizing things for my dog sitters.

I am not going to lie, y’all. This grieving thing isn’t easy, even if it’s for an “animal.”

Of course we all know that I consider my fur babies like my human ones.

I am so thankful for the memories we have of the ones we’ve lost. I can’t tell you how many times the Mr. and I sit outside on our porch and reminisce about them . . . how smart Aubie was, how brazen Molly was, how deceptively intelligent Pele was.

The other night, the Mr. and I recounted the season when Molly climbed up and over our fence. I’ve shared the videos here before, but just in case you missed them, here they are.

Here’s the view from the other side . . .

Oh goodness, but look at this gem I just found on YouTube . . .

And this one, which is one of my favorites . . .

Oh wait, look at this! Excuse my horrible back yard, which was a casualty of a four-dog household.

Look how sweet the babies were to each other.

Here’s when Molly, who loved her ball, had to face a choice . . .

And then there were the post-bath play sessions . . .

The next video was from 2015. It’s hard to believe; it seems like yesterday.

And then the last video of the babies that I uploaded to YouTube.

Sorry for the video dump. This post sort of evolved into a digital walk down memory lane – a good thing when you’re sad because random things triggered your heartstrings.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us as we continue adapting to the hole in our home and our hearts.

You Say

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have to tell you a little something.

You really got me in my feelings this morning.

Oh, I know that You know this, but it’s still something that I need to acknowledge.

Despite my stubborn heart, which has been extremely resistant to the training I’m being required to sit through these past few days, You have been speaking to my heart in the tenderest of ways.

Yesterday, when in-service began, it quickly became apparent that I had sat through this training before, several years ago, only branded with a different name.

I reacted the same way many of my students do when I require them to get out of their chairs and talk to each other.

I balked.

I complained.

No, I was not the model teacher yesterday.

My introverted, stubborn self took over despite the fact that I was among friends.

The training involved various activities to help engage our students.

I was having none of it, let me tell you.

Then came the structure that began the shift in my heart.

It happened when we were tasked with finding a partner, responding to three questions, and then reversing roles.

I can’t remember what the first question was, but I sure do remember the second one:

“What do you like about me or our community?”

We had to do this activity THREE times.

Ugh.

My first partner was a new-to-us teacher. He couldn’t really answer what he liked about me. I wasn’t offended.

The second teacher’s response started melting my heart.

She told me that she liked that during meetings, I contributed helpful things I’d done in my classroom.

Although she’s a young teacher, I’d call her a veteran. Her mama has been in the education system for many years as well.

She knows her stuff.

I may have cracked a real smile.

But then . . . my third partner . . oh my heart.

When he answered the question about me, my jaw dropped to the floor. He said,

“What I like about you is that your students like you.”

I looked at him in confusion and even asked if he was sure he was talking about the correct teacher.

He assured me that he was and that his students had, indeed, repeated that statement.

This was a bit of a shock to me because I am a strict teacher. I value structure in my classroom and hold my students to very high expectations. I have a reputation among students, and it’s not always in the affirmative.

I’m not what I would consider one of the “popular” teachers. My introverted nature means I’m often more serious, and I’m cautious of people after being burned in the past. I tend to stay in my own lane. Sure, I am silly in my room, but I’m also tough on my kids. I hold their feet to the fire, and that is not always received well.

You see, God, while I’d like to believe that I don’t really care what people think of me, the truth is that I want to be liked.

More than that, my heart longs to be accepted.

Those words lifted my spirits, improved my mood, and helped me go home in a better mood than when I’d arrived.

And then, Lord, as if I hadn’t heard Your message enough, You spoke to me during my devotion this morning when You inspired the writer to explain that the Hebrew meaning of the word “breath” is literally “breath of God.” The devotion went on to explain that we should use our words to breathe life into others.

Powerful.

And then, as if yesterday’s training and this morning’s devotion weren’t enough, You spoke to me through the music I played as I got ready for work.

“You Say” reminded me that I’m enough.

“Speak Life” instructed me to go out and breathe life into others, whether it is the adults I work with or the students who will soon enter my classroom.

Just as I gained confidence and was inspired and motivated by the words that were spoken to me yesterday, through an activity that I didn’t want to participate in, so I must turn around and do the same for others.

I hear you, Lord, and I thank you for Your grace, forgiveness, and attention to my heart’s longings.

I thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to be me – that I don’t have to be like the “popular” teachers to positively impact lives.

Truly, You are a good God.

Another Day, Another Training

Welcome to Day 2 in the calendar year of a teacher’s life.

I started off my morning with a workout. Since it was my active recovery day from Beachbody’s LIIFT4 program (I’m on Week 4), I had carefully weighed my options.

I had found a sample workout from the Meltdown 100 program, but when I previewed it last night, I saw that it involved weights. Knowing that I would have a shoulder workout tomorrow, I decided to forgo it. Instead, I surprised Gambit with a pre-dawn walk.

Gambit had the absolute BEST time and managed to pull me at a fairly brisk pace for the first mile and a half. He started losing steam around the midway point but seemed content when we finished.

Just look at the gorgeous sunrise we were treated to when we finished.

Notice our lack of trees and the ones that are slanted – evidence that a Cat 5 hurricane came through last October

Gambit was worn slap out when we got home but his smile – oh my heart!

After living in running shoes and workout clothes all summer, I had trouble deciding between two different shoes – hello Megan for fashion advice.

For the record, I went with the sandals.

Onward to training!

The training was Kagan – rebranded – which I had many days of several years ago.

Sigh.

I did enjoy the company of my fellow teachers, so there was that.

The good thing was that we got out at 2:30 – thirty minutes earlier than expected.

Gambit was thrilled when I walked into the house. He gave me the major sniff-over to find out where I’d been before promptly going outside and sunning himself.

Oh y’all, all I want is to be in my classroom prepping for the actual classes I’m teaching.

Sigh.

Wishes and reality are two very different things, though, so I’ll be heading into Day 3 tomorrow.

Say a prayer for all of us teachers as we sit through another day of meetings.

Back to the Grind

Summers are like weekends – time accelerates, and before you know it, they are over, and you’re bemoaning the fact that work is calling you back to the office.

Well, folks, the office has called, and it wants its teachers back. That is why I, along with several hundred of my fellow education professionals, found ourselves scattered across the district sitting through the first of several days of in-service.

Although seeing my friends is always fun, and teaching truly is my calling, my heart longs for home.

Home is my safe place – my place where I create all of the fun dishes, where I maintain all of the green stuff (hello yard, I’m talking about you), and where I knit all the things.

Spicy Chili With Cornbread Topping
Brownie Batter Ice Cream (vegan)

It’s also where I can pee whenever I want instead of when the bells allow.

Yeah, I’d say that letting go of summer is difficult for me each year.

But my calling – to teach high school kids who struggle with their reading – well, it’s something I can’t ignore and not just because my bills remind me but because God led me on this path several years ago.

As I craft this post, schedules are being ironed out for children who are either already enrolled or are in the process of moving and will be enrolled soon.

I’m not quite sure what my personal schedule will look like, but I believe that I will be teaching juniors and seniors again. That makes me happy because these kiddos are one step away from their first big milestone – graduation.

And so it is that I got up to a 4am alarm, had my workout finished by 5:30, fed the dog by 6:30, and was out the door by 7:15.

Back to the grind, y’all.

I am on a mission – to bring home the vegan bacon and change young lives in the process.

%d bloggers like this: