Thursday, December 20, 2012

One of Those Days

I started a post on December 10th.  About the evening of November 28.  Blogging is not at the top of my priorities as you can see. 

However, since the tragedy (though tragedy may not be a strong enough word, nor is devastation, gut wrenching, or piercing) at Sandy Hook this evening is even more meaningful to me.  I hope they had moments that will sustain them a lifetime. 

Last month, the month of November, the month where it was a delight to read what my friends' treasured in their statuses, I had one of those days. 

At the time, I made notes about what made it one of those days.  I jotted down some observations, which I fully intended to write about-to get it out of my system.

You see, friends, on a dreary Wednesday in November, I had one of those days.  And it was glorious.

It started in the kitchen.  While preparing supper, I went to discard my trash.  While dumping it in the trash can, I noticed the trash can had hulls in it.  Hulls of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts. 

And it was at that moment I realized the holiday season was upon us.  And, simultaneously, I realized that very often the most mundane, small acts can help us see how fragile and precious life is.

For as long as I can remember, my father welcomed the holiday season by purchasing mixed nuts-the kind you need a nutcracker for.  And for as long as I can remember, I've seen those shells at the bottom of the trash can. 

For about 30 minutes, it seemed as though time stopped.  I could hear the news in the background from one direction and snoring in the other. 

And for that brief amount of time, I understood just how fully blessed I am-to have a family, a home that is a respite from the literal and metophorical storms.  I saw for that amount of time how silly things, like shattered walnut pieces, helped me grasp that for that one moment, all was right in the world.

After my father's stroke, you never know what will go next.  He no longer drives and when he's a passenger with me, he doesn't critique my vehicular skills.  Just this evening, he informed my mother we needed to set our clocks back an hour.  Little things aren't the same-the way he answers phone calls, the way he stays in the house, the way he no longer jokes.

But for that one amount of time, life was good.  I know it's silly and sappy.  But one day, hopefully years from now, I will look back on this memory and smile.  Or cry.  And I will continue to celebrate the tiny, ordinary moments. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

For Me

As I sit in my cozy home, in my cozy bed, my heart aches.  If only everyone else were in a similar setting.

Tonight I attended the visitation of a long time family friend.  Her son, who was 50 something, was murdered last week.  By his wife of 27 years. 

There's more to the story, but I have problems accepting this death.  He was a good man, who worked hard.  He leaves behind his wife, sitting in a cell and his mother.

His mother buried her other son ten years ago from a heart attack.  Two sons, two untimely deaths, no grandchildren.

I cannot comprehend why.  My heart hurts deeply. 

Lately I have been listening to hymns.  Ones I heard growing up.  While I love Chris Tomlin and Third Day, they've been silent lately and the chords of songs hundreds of years old have filled my ears.

And on nights like tonight, when things just don't make sense, I hear the lyrics from "This is My Father's World":

This is my father's world
And let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong
Seems oft so strong,
He is the ruler yet.

This is my father's world
The battle is not done
'Cause Jesus who died
Will be satisfied
And earth and heaven be one

In the midst of such sad and senseless events, I must believe there is more.  I may not understand fully until my earthly days are over. 

But God is sovereign.  And holy.  And he works in all things.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!

A repost, but it's all I got...

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you....You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today." Deuteronomy 8:10, 17-18

We all know how blessed we are to live in the United States. While the U.S. has its problems, and we are all aware of them, I still cannot help but feel gratitude that I am an American citizen.

And much like the Scripture says, whcn I look at my possessions, at our great nation, sometimes I am tempted to pat myself (or collectively ourselves) on the back and take credit for a job well done.

Then, conviction creeps in. And I realize that all I have has nothing to do with me. It has to do with the sacrifices of others, from the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and their occupations so that we can live, work and play with freedom and security. It's about family members who sacrificed self so they could help form character and help make sure their families had all they needed. It's about the founders of our who valued worship so much they were ready to venture to an unknown.

Above all else, the reason why America is great is because God has put His favor on it. We have done nothing to deserve it, which is why it's called favor. We don't need to delude ourselves into thinking that we earned it, it's simply His grace.

So I humbly ask you this long weekend, as we celebrate America's birthday and contemplate how very fortunate we are to live in this blessed nation, to do exactly as Moses instructed the Israelites a long time ago. Eat, be satisified, be thankful! Just be sure and remember to whom those thanks must be given.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer "School"

As an educator, I strive to continue to be a life long learner. 

I have half of my master's degree completed and am spending the majority of my summer reading reading professional books, participating in a book study online and going to three days of professional development.  (I mean, who does that?  Of their own volition?  It all adds up to NERD-but, hey, I'm owning it.)

I thought the most beneficial lesson I'd learned was how to successfully teach guided reading.  Until today.

Today I learned that if you're meeting your friend Jennifer for lunch there are a couple of do's and don't s.  For example:

  • Do take the time to make sure you put some kind of cosmetics on your face.  Because it will be the day that you get interviewed for KET (Kentucky Educational Television). 
  • Don't leave the house with wet hair.   Because it will be the day that you get interviewed for KET.  And God and the Commonwealth will get to see you looking like that. 
  • Do make sure you have on clothes that are not wrinkled.  Not only will you be interviewed, you will meet your next door neighbor.  This proves that you do have clothes other than your pajamas.
  • Do be prepared to face anything, including questions about how you utilize KET in both your personal viewing and professional viewing. 
  • Don't be insulted when the KET people ask you adapt your answer.  Because your answer was too long.  (This same thing happened to me at the Houston Final Four last year-what are the odds?)
  • Don't sing "The More You Know" jingle.  (Okay, so I really didn't do that, but had to fight myself to keep quiet.)
  • Do enjoy every second of adult conversation, even if it's punctuated by diesel trucks, motor scooters and a weird California Raisin guy with Darius Miller's jersey.  (Seriously there was a man walking around in the Raisin get up, striped pants, and Big D's jersey.  I can't make up this foolishness.)
I know "they" say education is a mix of experiences in the classroom and outside of it.  And sometimes, like today, the outside experiences prove to be way more beneficial.  Life skills were definitely learned today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Say What?

Like most southern girls I know, I've got a problem with my mouth. 

Okay, so a few months ago (like, three) a lady I worked with sent me an invite to Pinterest.
And my life has not been the same.

Aside from the fantabulous ideas and resources there, I began to notice something.

I might pin something, and then Kathie pins it.  After Kathie pins it, Amy repins Kathie's pin (which was originally mine, if you recall).  After that, Stefanie might repin Amy's pin (which if you follow my logic was originally "mine").

This whole thing (besides watching with bemusement as to just how many degrees it will go) has made me think a lot about the words I use-especially if they are not kind or encouraging (i.e. gossip).

Just like when I repin something on Pinterest, when words leave my mouth, I really don't know how far they'll travel.  I don't know where they'll end up, but (unlike Pinterest) you can usually trace the words back to the original speaker.

It makes me think long and hard about Proverbs 10:19, "Where words are many, sin is not absent; but she who holds her tongue is wise."

So this is a challenge to myself to use my words carefully and diligently-to help them build up and not tear down. 

Somewhere on Pinterest is that Proverb.  And I will definitely (and proudly) repin it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

When In Doubt, Look in the Purse

So I switched from my March Madness (yes, I have a pocketbook I carry only to ballgames-but then I got lazy and carried it all of April and May) to my summer purse. 

And found a bajillion things. 

I have now discovered if I'm ever missing ANYTHING, I'm headed to my last purse.  Because you never know what you'll find...

  • 3 free Starbucks cards (how have I not used these? Agh!)
  • 1 free chicken sandwhich from Chic-fil-a (again, why is this unused?)
  • 15 gift cards with assorted amounts (3 Visas, 1 Panera, 1 Target, 3 Kroger, 1 Chili's, 1 Hobby Lobby, and 6, yes 6, Starbucks)
  • 1 prescription a year old
  • 13 Sharpies (I have the regular ones and thin ones in every assorted color except orange)
  • 2 highlighters
  • 2 thank you notes that need to be mailed
  • 4 pony tail holders-one Carolina blue (why do I even own one that color?), two brown, and one Kentucky blue (of course I can't find it when I need to match, but's a start)

Is it too late to start a New Year's Resolution?  Maybe I can do a mid-year use what all's in my purse! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Can Count On Death, Taxes And...

  • unexpected visitors when I begin to prepare food (I love people, but this always happens when my hair hasn't been brushed, I'm in my pjs and have Randy Travis blaring from my laptop)
  • the nanosecond I get comfy in my bed, the house phone rings, necessitating a trip up (and because I'm particular I have to find the phone with the caller ID working so the call can be screened)
  • the briefest moment my attention is diverted from those sweet kids (who I seriously miss), they will come up to me.  The minute after the phone has stopped ringing, attendance has been taken, or the parent has left, they are totally autonomous.  Again.  I call that playing possum.
  • picking the absoulte worst line anywhere-groceries, Wal-Mart, Ticketmaster.  If there's a line, don't get behind me.  No Midas touch here.
  • Pinterest to completely disown me when I'm ready to waste lots of time devote a lot of time to research.  One day it kicked me off there so many times within fifteen minutes I gave it up cold turkey for a weekend.  Serves it right for being so sassy.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why I Love My Job

Like most teachers, the students in my room have classroom jobs. 

One child, who for the sake of this post we'll just call Precious, was my helper this past week.  I adore him.  But he is one of those kids that really likes attention.

So the other day, he finished his work early.  The others are still working, but Precious is going to return graded work to classroom mailboxes. 

Our classroom was absolutely silent-the only thing you could hear were the sounds of pencils across paper.  Everyone was so intent on their task.

And I am basking in the 90 seconds of sheer peace.

And then all good things come to an end.

"MISS!" yells Precious.  "This paper doesn't have a name on it!!!!"  He's looking pretty smug because a) I have preached and preached on the importance of names and b) he's broken the peace and quiet of the room, called attention to himself, and now going to get to see who had forgotten such a crucial academic element. 

It's May.   I've had it with basic things.  If they don't address papers, I don't grade them.  I know where they name is-on the other side.

"Precious," I say calmly and sweetly, "flip the paper over."

"Oh," comes a sheepish response after doing so.  "It's mine."

Don't you love a happy ending?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kentucky Derby Learning Centers, Part 2

(If you haven't read part 1, click here.  Also, for some free Derby puzzles, go right here.)

Hello again. 

We're coming around the final turn. 

If you have lots of classroom help, then start with the four centers I mentioned in Part 1, but add these:

Games:  You will need an adult.  You have two options.  You can play bingo.  (I made my own cards years ago with Derby vocab, and called it HORSE instead.  I'll see if I can find the website where I made those cards and post it.)  Or you can try this game requiring nothing more than a deck of cards.

Computers:  At my school each teacher has their own folder on the school wide server.  I saved a couple of links in a Word document.  They can take a virtual field trip.  Or they can go look at all the hats.  And we've seen a massive interest in Secretariat since the movie.

Derby Read Alouds:

Perfect Timing by Patsi Trollinger-This book is my favorite because a) the story is beautifully written b) the illustrations will give you chills and c) I know the author and her family personally.  Use this book to discuss how the character overcomes adversity, as well as sequence, and compare and contrast horse racing from 1800s and today.

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard-The main character in this book looks up to the main character in Perfect Timing, so you can make a connection between those two books. You can also discuss the important role of African Americans in the Derby. 

Seabiscuit, the Wonder Horse by Meghan McCarthy-Yeah, I know Seabiscuit never raced in the Derby.  And he beat Man'o'War.  But there are great themes in this book about second chances and friendship.  You can also identify the key idea and details.

I also keep juvenile chapter books about the Derby and some photo books about the Derby in my room during the week.

Hope you and your class have a great time! If you do something that's not on here, please let me know...I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Kentucky Derby Learning Centers, Part 1

The week leading up to Derby is my favorite week.  (And that includes the last week of school.  Well, except for tournament time.)  I love the excitement in Kentucky as we prepare to show off our state, welcome the celebs, and embrace the guests from all over.

I make a big deal out of this in my classroom, especially on Oaks Day, since we will not be in school on the day of the actual Derby.

Here are some things I do in my classroom to help make the Kentucky Derby a fun, memorable, and educational experience for all.

In order to have a really successful day, I need help.  I send home a sheet asking parents for an hour of their time a week beforehand.  The responses I get help determine the size of the centers.  I basically have two options:

The Bare Bones: this setup requires five centers-four the children rotate through and one where you pull kids.  You will need an adult for three of them.  I plan on about 15 minutes per center. 

Math: This requires an adult.  There are measurement opportunities galore here!  A thoroughbred's stride is between 20-25 feet.  I have them estimate how far they think this distance is, then measure it. 

Since it usually takes around two minutes for the horses to run the race, I have them choose two of the following exercises: jumps, jumping jacks, toe touches, or writing their name.  First they make an estimate of how many times they think they can do this in two minutes.  Then they have a timer and time themselves for two minutes and record the actual amount.

And last, we discuss how a horse is measured in hands.  They are also only measured from their hooves to the top of their backs.  They can estimate how many hands tall they are, then help each other measure themselves.  A hand is the equivalent of 4", so I have 4" strips already cut and laminated. 

Literacy: Kentucky's state song is, "My Old Kentucky Home".  Our music teacher does a really great job of teaching it during music but I like to make sure we cover it in the room as well.  I have cut the words out and the kids put it together on a pocket chart.  If the last group has a completed song, then they are to go through and find nouns, verbs, and rhyming words.  And we have to sing it as a class.  It would be a travesty if we didn't!

Art:  I've got two jockey silks I use, and here's one if you need it.  There are two methods of thought on this:  you can either challenge them to show symmetry on their silks, or just let them be creative.  I do copy mine on 12x18 construction paper to let them have plenty of space to be creative.  I also check out books from the library on how to draw horses, just for the fun on it.  To help get the kids started, I have printed out some pictures of silk designs.  You can google images but here is one of my favs.  And here is another.  If your class needs a template, this  will give them plenty of ideas.   (If they don't finish them during that center, it's nice to have a few minutes later in the day to do so.)

Food:  Another one that requires an adult.  I buy my Derby pies from Kroger because I'm too lazy to make them.  And they usually have a sale on them the days prior to Derby.  I just serve Derby pies and lemonade.  Many have never tried it before.  You can keep a tally and then turn it into a graph or pictograph to be read, analyzed, and interpreted. 

Hats:  Requires an adult with much patience, preferably two.  I get about three arm's lengths of colored butcher paper from the work room and masking tape.  While all the other centers are going on, you pull kids and plop them into a chair.  Stick their head in the middle of the butcher paper and secure it with masking tape.  Then gently roll up the ends until you have a Scarlett O'Hara style hat for the girls and a bowler for the boys.

Transitions: Because I live in the mindset of "Go Big or Go Home", I have a few horse cutouts hanging up.  And when it's time to switch centers, I've got the call to the post to signal when it's time to switch centers. 

My next post will add some more ideas to this basic setup, plus some books and resources that will be useful to you.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paying My Debts

So I've  been perusing a lot of teacher blogs lately.  (Many thanks, Pinterest.)

And I've been using a lot of things for my classroom.  It's time to repay my debts.  I feel like I need to give a thank you speech worthy of an Oscar, but there's too many people and not enough time.

So instead, I'm offering the following: my homemade, all you need to do is print, cut, and laminate Kentucky Derby puzzles.

You need to understand the Derby is what I LIVE for in my classroom.  It signifies spring, fun, state pride and my favorite, Derby pie. 

Every year my classroom celebrates with a couple of centers-if I get more time, I might do a post on what I'm doing this year.  But for now I'm in a time crunch and still having some effects from bronchitis so this will have to do.

Happy Derby!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In Defense of Anthony Davis

Okay Big Blue Nation, we gotta talk.

So last week, our beloved Wildcats marched their way to the 8th national title.  It didn't matter what obstacles were thrown in their way-ridiculous charging calls by the refs, Louisville's ugly-as-sin uniforms, or even Thomas Robinson's whining about how he should have gotten Player of the Year.

We enjoyed it for all of Monday night, either down on Bourbon Street in NOLA or setting fires and shooting people in Lexington (don't even get me started), but Tuesday awoke with that dreadful feeling.

What now?  Will they or won't they?

I'm not referring to the 9th championship (we know that's just a matter of time), but to that sensation of hand wringing over the super talented freshmen.  What're they gonna do?  Stay or go?  (To be honest, I'm still rubbing my eyes that we had that much talent...on one team...and they played cohesively.  Wall & Co. from '10 were talented, but...I digress.)

Don't they love us?  Didn't we nurture them, cheer them on in the meanest confines- Memorial Gym (thanks a lot, Digger Phelps)- or even the ever exalted (but mind you, it's smaller than Rupp Arena) Madison Square Garden?  Could they really come to leave us after just one year?  Don't they value education?   Don't they care about US?  Could they seriously consider wearing something other than the hallowed "Kentucky" across their chests?

I've come to weigh in on this philosophical conundrum.  And as much as I'm going to choke on the words about to be written: Go!  Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb, Teague,  and Jones.  Go and seek your fortunes else where.

But what about their education? Newsflash, y'all.  As an elementary teacher, I've taught in both wealthy schools and Title I schools.  It doesn't matter which environment you're in.  Whether you're dealing with a five year old or a fifth grader, if you ask them why they come to school you will get the same response, "So I can learn so I can get a good job and make a lot of money."  Even at the tender age of five, these babies are focused on bringing in the dollars.  Um, and let's be honest.  That's why most people go to college-they want to earn a bigger paycheck.  When's the last time you heard, "I just want a so-so job with mediocre pay, benefits, and retirement?" 

They've played by the NBA rules.  After the Kobes and LeBrons the NBA had to atleast look respectable in terms of asking its members to seek higher education.  Enter the "19 and 1 Year 'o'Schooling" rule.  Although the older I get the more I'm trying to figure out how much more mature and ready a 19 year old is, but that's not my business.  If you could do what you loved- getting a  hefty paycheck for it- you know you'd be doing the same.  And you'd start as early as you could.  So these kids have done what was asked of them (including going to class, interacting with fans, winning a championship) and they did it well.  Pick a fight with the NBA-it's not these guys' fault.

What a Camelot year.  I went to Coach Cal's women's clinic in the fall.  Even then we all knew this was THE team.  Despite that heartbreaking loss to Vandy and that, "Did that seriously just happen?" loss to IU, we are all well are aware this was our Camelot year.  We knew two years ago there was too much vanity to win a championship, and last year we knew Knight was practically in graduate school before he set foot on UK's campus (and I can't comment on the Kanter deal-trust me), but this was the year that had both talent and work ethic to do what it would take.  Plus, I don't want Davis and Teague in a sophomore slump. 

All that being said (if you're still reading this far into the post, thanks) I would be thrilled if AD and MKG and the rest of the crew said they were staying.  But I cannot imagine telling an adult (especially ones who have good people advising them-such as their FAMILIES) to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime. 

So when they announce it, let's wish them the best and be sincere.  They're members of our family and though we hate to see them go, we want the best for them.  They have good things ahead.   

Plus, we know what's just around the corner.  Championship divine!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Break Snapshots-Using Words

Here's what I learned over Spring Break 2012 in no particular order:

  • If you get to Bluegrass Airport you automatically qualify for the "unluckiest flyer of the day" award.  The man who got there 15 minutes after me didn't have to pay to park (big GRR!) and I just missed the shuttle that came through the parking lot.  This meant that I got to lug my 28 lb. suitcase all the way up an incline.  Fun.
  • When push comes to shove, the best motto when preparing for a trip comes down to these two adages: "Pack half the clothes and twice the money" and "Buy in haste; repent in leisure."  (To avoid plagiarizing, this came from the late, great Erma Bombeck.)  
  • The above bullet means that you will embark on your trip with a suitcase that weighs half of the maximum amount.  It also means when returning (after shopping for approximately 3.5 days) you are seriously concerned about making weight on the return flight.  So concerned that a) you have your best friend and her family lug all 11 picture books (hardcover, no less) back home in the cargo area of their SUV and b) when you're in the middle of the Louis Armstrong International airport and your carryon is stuffed to the gills you will get scrutinized.  And all you can do is smile at the woman and say, "I did leave a few things for you in New Orleans."  And pray she doesn't count the sample pack of Chips Ahoy as outside food.
  • I could go to the most remote corner of the globe and still run into people I know.  Because it doesn't matter if you're walking down Canal Street, buying souvenirs, or walking home from the championship game, you WILL see someone you know.
  • Don't ever walk down Bourbon Street feeling less than 100%.  The shop owners decide that since you look bad they need to put a smile on your face.  And you don't want to know WHAT they will do to try and make you smile.
  • I will officially do anything for my team.  Even if it means walking six blocks in a severe thunderstorm to watch the title game.  Even if it means sitting WAY up in the Superdome in a severe thunderstorm with tornado warnings going off.
  • Tom Cruise was incredibly nice.  If you're in his way, he will smile patiently and wait.  And he also gets the door for his wife.  (I know he's four plus crazy about somethings, but I thought that was sweet-with him being the big star he is.)
  • Tom Cruise's family are just like any other rednecks.  The older kids will come barreling out of the car, pillows in hand and ready to go.  They also wait for Dad's lead.
  • If you happen to see Tom Cruise, be extremely cautious about with whom you share this information.  You want the members of your party to see him, but you don't want them to yell, "OMG!! It really IS Tom Cruise!", then run up behind them and start taking pictures like paparazzi.  So embarrasing.
  • The UK-UL rivalry begins at birth.  Literally.  When Kentucky beat Louisville Saturday night, and the UK fans started slinging their seat cushions toward the court in jubilation.  The two kid UL fans behind me picked up every available cushion and started throwing them at UK fans.  So kind.
  • The only difference between a charter flight and a regular one is on the charter they give you an entire Sprite and not just what will fit into those 8 oz. glasses minus ice.
  • Upon returning to the Bluegrass State, you will get the flu.  Because you can't enjoy any kind of vacation without getting sick.
  • Go on head and err on the side of caution and have your picture taken with the cheap replica of the tournament trophy in Brackettown.  Once you realize that gaudy looking thing Cal's got in his hands was by your side yesterday, you'll be glad you did. 
  • After standing in the 86 degree heat at 10:00 a.m (and we will not even discuss the humidity) I will never, ever complain about Kentucky being hot again.  Promise.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Reverse Bucket List

A long while back, I saw a blogger who wrote she didn't have a bucket list, but a reverse bucket list.   She kept track of all the things that were really special to her that had already happened.  She celebrated things that were wonderful suprises, things she would have crossed off her Bucket List if she'd thought about them.  Here, in no particular order, is my Reverse Bucket List:

  1. Having my name read over the loud speakers at Rupp Arena.  Every Wildcat fan dreams of this moment.  (Sadly, it was not because I was in the starting line up, but on the upside I was not lost either.  I'd won "Cat's Eye" view seats as as co-ed.)
  2. Second row seats to Dolly Parton (my idol since the age of 2).  We were seated in the orchestra pit and once walking out on stage and seeing us in Cracker Barrel rockers there all she could do was laugh. 
  3. Dolly Parton speaking to me.  TWICE.  The first time was at the aforementioned concert.  She ordered me to get her some corn.  I was so dumbstruck I couldn't reply.  The second time was at her parade in Pigeon Forge.  She was ten feet from me on a float.  Knowing full well I would never be that close again (and it had only been a few months since the concert) I yelled, "We saw your show in Kentucky and loved it!!" She looked back at me, waved, and yelled, "Thank you!"
  4. UK basketball seats that were so good they'd make you slap yo' mama.  When I was in college, I sat at two games behind the UK bench.  The game got close and I couldn't see for this idiot in front of me.  Because I never get good seats, I stood up during the time out to ask him to sit down.  It was then the man turned around and I realized it was THE COACH. 
  5. UK basketball seats four rows off the floor behind the basket.  During warm ups, I use it to psych the opposing team out, even if they are two feet taller than me.  As they walk back to the locker room, I give my meanest evil eye and slowly shake my head no.  At least one player will make eye contact.  Trust me, it scares them.
  6. Having one of my former students run by the house four years after I was her teacher to give me a note for teacher appreciation week.  I keep it in my Bible and it still makes me cry.
  7. Being at a restaurant in Indiana and telling some ridiculous story and realizing that the people at the next table over (you know how at Outback everyone is practically sitting in everyone elses' lap) is listening and want to hear what you're saying.  The fellas listening?  Olympic gold medalist Ian Crocker and Brendan Hansen.
  8. Staying late after the ball games to sing "My Old Kentucky Home" and having a total stranger compliment you on your voice.
  9. Being the first one in my immediate family to graduate from college.
  10. Knowing that I helped lead a child to Christ.
  11. A week long vacation by myself to Sanibel. 
  12. Being in a national commercial.
  13. Being the poster adult for a school district.
  14. Having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist give me basketball pointers.  And when he saw I was about to completely freak out, he was so patient and helpful.  Love him. 
  15. Witnessing Kentucky capture their 8th national basketball title.  In the process of this, I got to be present at the greatest Kentucky-Louisville game of ALL TIME.  Being there and watching the post-game celebration and festivities in New Orleans was just incredible.
  16. Walking back to my hotel at the Final Four and seeing a large black SUV pull up in front of me at the hotel across the street for me.  Watching a shortish, handsome man get out and flashing me a million dollar smile while waiting to get his wife's door.  Realizing the man who is waiting so patiently for me to get by him is Tom Cruise.   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Someone Should've Warned Me...

You know, it's funny (and not in the ha ha way).

I've known many a person to pass away (coming from a large extended family).  And while grief is grief, and mourning is mourning, "they" say reality doesn't set in until the funeral's over and the out of town company's left.

When you're left alone with a new routine.

Which is what my family is dealing with in my father, post-stroke.  Back during that miserable two months (I look at the blog posts and have to laugh, because humor was the only thing that kept me going) and I wish someone would have warned me.

There would be a day when simply  seeing a recipe for chicken and dumplings on Pinterest that would make me cry.  My father always made the best c'n'd, by hand...and why didn't I sit in the kitchen and watch?  Make him write that down?

Why didn't someone tell me about the fact that whenever he is tired and enunciates slowly your body goes on high alert...and you're ready to go to church, but stay home because the two episodes before happened on Sunday mornings and you will not risk a third. 

Why didn't someone warn me that all the silly teasing that once drove me crazy is something I would happily give my right arm for now?  That his silence denotes that the mind is deteriorating, and the once quick wit is now slowing.

One of my favorite authors broached this subject in a book.  She found an essay that sums up everything perfectly: "Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world your return." Mary Jean Irion

(To read the entire essay, go here .)

My family is learning a new routine.  One that is gaining more familiarity...but I still miss the old one.

Yesterday we celebrated my father's 73rd birthday.  He didn't want we went out to eat at a buffet.  I was leaving work, so I met my parents at the restaurant.  As we were walking in, Daddy said to Mama, "Tell 'em you've got two seniors, and one who looks like one."
As I pretended to be insulted, my heart was quietly overjoyed...for a quick moment, we had the old routine.  And it was good.  So very good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What Can Wash Away My Sin?

  • Not pretty words, though I sometimes have plenty
  • Not my good works, try as I might
  • Not my good intentions
  • Not when I try really hard
  • Not positive thinking
  • Not the universe
  • Not the end of the day
  • Not apologizing for my wrongs
  • Not going to church every Sunday
  • Not reading the Bible every day
  • Not chocolate (but oh, how I wish!)
  • Not enough rest
  • Not resolving to do better next time
  • Not trying to do it on my own
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh, precious is the flow...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Scratch That

For your reading pleasure, a bedtime/naptime tale...

Once upon a time, in a mythical kingdom known as Fayette County, lived a young schoolteacher named Miss Robin.  (Okay, so Fayette is not mythical, I'm getting older by the day, but my name is Robin.)

Miss Robin loved her students, those little bundles of joy.  Their cherub faces.  Their sweet smiles.  Their excitement for learning.  They way they were possibly giving her gray hair, but that would mean admitting it was there and some people are still in denial.

Now the only thing that could compete with Miss Robin's love for instilling a love for learning (other than a snow day on a Friday or Monday) was University of Kentucky basketball.  (If you're in Kentucky, UK refers to that overpriced priceless institution for learning.  If you're in the SEC-that's Southeastern Conference, not Securities Exchange-UK is your worst nightmare during basketball season.  During football season, everyone rolls out the red carpet...they know they're guaranteed a win.)

Miss Robin knew she was in a position of influence with her own kind, so she began a tradition with her young students.  Every time UK played on a school day, anyone wearing Kentucky Blue (i.e. royal blue to all y'all commoners) had their picture taken and a copy was given to them. They even had a note on the board to remind them when their next "Wildcat Wear" was, and these children can read a basketball schedule like nobody's business. 

Now in the month of January 2012, a most exciting event occurred-the 100th day of school.  While Miss Robin normally celebrated this day with making 100 glasses, writing 100 hundred words, etc, this day was extremely special.  UK played and it was the 100th day of school-which had never previously happened before (this is People's #1 that God is, indeed, a Wildcat fan).  Only one thing could be done.

A cake must be made. 

Because Miss Robin doesn't have a life is extremely devoted to her job, it was after 5 p.m. when she finally had time to think about a cake.  And decided to run by Kroger's and get one of those gi-normous cookie cakes.  There's always blank ones, so how difficult would it be to get one with "Go Cats!  Happy 100th Day!"

You must be new to this blog if you think anything in Miss Robin's life is simple. 

Running by a very nice Kroger (though declining to put the offenders in print), she found a beautiful blue and white cookie.  It already had "Go Cats!" with the accompanying paw prints, so all that was needed was a simple "Happy 100th Day" scrawled somewhere on the cookie. 

Standing with a pleasant expression, a delightful Kroger employee rushed to our heroine's aide.  "Do you need help?"   Now for Miss Robin, that is a loaded question which is why the standard answer was given, "Every day of my life."  After explaining that all she needed was approximately 13 characters put on this cookie, the very kind Kroger lady said, "Let me get you someone from the bakery."

Which is when Miss Robin met Delightful Kroger Employee #2.  Because Miss Robin has high expectations for all people, she was not the least perplexed (okay, maybe a little) when she expressed verbatim what was needed on the cookie and DKE said, "Happy Day?" 

Thinking she had the ordinal numbers worked out, and that the southern accent was not affecting her order in the least, she stood there while DKE worked her magic.

Miss Robin shoulda known what was in store when DKE handed her the completed cookie and muttered, "I'm sorry it looks bad." 

But it was the next words that nearly sent Miss Robin into a fit of giggles...and shock.  As she handed the cake back, she muttered, "I'm not a professional."  (Which, of course, begs the questions...why did you agree to do it?  Why not get someone who could?  If you get paid to decorate cakes and cookies and do this kind of work, can I get a job as well?)

And because a picture's worth a thousand words, I can think of no better conclusion...