Sunday, April 24, 2011

ABC Countdown!

We are a few days into our annual ABC Countdown.
Twenty-six days of alphabetic fun.

The school year is drawing to a close.

I know this because many things have gotten so much easier.

Lot's of my kiddos now know how to zip, button and some can even tie shoes.

Many of them remember to wipe their noses sometimes
and the boys hardly ever run out of the bathroom with their pants undone OR (yes this is true)
all the way down anymore.

By the way, why do boys do that?????

They all look much older than those First Day of School pictures and I wonder when they did all that growing.

It must have been when I wasn't looking.
Or maybe it was over the Christmas Holidays. 

They know what to do when they need a pencil or a red crayon and sometimes they even remember what to do when they find one of these items on the floor.

They work quietly try very hard to work quietly at quiet times and love notes to the teacher (my favorite things ever) are coming fast and furious.

They can all tell when I have a headache
and I can tell when they stayed up too late the night before
or when their belly hurts but they won't tell me because it's dinosaur day
and nobody wants to miss dinosaur day.

This is such a bittersweet time of year for me.

We are all tired. We all need a break.
It's just the way it is for young learners
(and their teachers).

I know it is time to push my babies out of the nest
but I JUST got them where I want them.

And it's so nice and cozy in our nest.

You see, we have finally figured each other out.

We love each other.
We tell each other several times a day.

We know each other so well.
They don't mind that I lose at least 3 or 4 markers
or worksheets
or books I planned to read
or my glasses
or my keys
or my sunglasses
or my mind several times a day.

We trust each other.
The shy, quiet one
has finally started telling me stories
and answering in much, much more than
one or two word answers.
I know what motivates
and they know just!how!far!
to push before they are forced
to duck the dreaded teacher glare.

I have often thought that I could actually cause a child to levitate with my teacher glare and Mr. Pointer finger.

I haven't tried yet but there is still time. Smile.

Just sayin'.........................

Friday, April 22, 2011

I just can't pretend that today isn't a sad day for me.

My heart's desire was to be somewhere else today.

A place we both loved.

A place where waves roll in time to the beat of
my heart and the sand waits to catch the tears.

A place made of salt, sand, breezes and
the occasional dolphin dancing in the water.

A place where storms are as welcome as the sun.
Maybe even more so.

A place where seashells and smiles live.
Where family became family again.
Where food tasted better and had no calories.

I think it would have been easier there.

The infuriating thing about grief is that I am unable
to schedule it's attacks on my composure.

When I most want to cry...
to release some pent up
sorrow and anger...
stubborn tears refuse to come.

Other times when all I want to do is
get through.....
Survive it all
without a scene
the tears fall effortlessly and uncontrollably.

One short, endless, year ago today,
I held her hand for the last time
as her soul took flight.

It was at once the most painful
moment of my life and the most

Not good-bye.


See you later, Mama.
Dance with Jesus for me.

Just sayin'.............

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Missing Mom

We are all missing her this week.
I guess he is most of all.

I just know my heart hurts.

Just sayin'............

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trying to Focus on the Grateful Side of Life

I miss my mama.

And that's all I have to say about that.

On the grateful side of life.....

I woke this afternoon just in time
to make the medical appointment
scheduled for my daughter.

Trying and failing
for the second consecutive day
to medicate away or sleep off a
migraine I lay there groggily looking
at the tea glass i brought to my room.

It was mysteriously filled to the top
and ice cubes were keeping it cold.


I rarely use ice cubes and I knew I had
chugged half the glass before covering my
sore head with a pillow.

True love is a boy who checks on his mama
home from work at an unusual time, recognizes
the signs of a migraine and sneaks her glass away
to refill it with tea and ice.

It's the little things isn't it?

My kids are great at the little things.
It's one trait they all share and it makes
this mama feel loved.

Just sayin'...................................

P.S.  Leave me some comment love-what has made you feel loved lately?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The sweet little fellow who knew only 2 or 3 letters back in August and in fact re-named several letters including:

*(f)   double j
  (k)  key
  (g)  jew
  (l)   stem
  (i)   linedot 

is now a reader and a writer.

He tells me he wants to be an alligator wrestler
when he grows up and his face really does glow with excitement!

When I inquire about the price of admission he looks insulted.
He says that I can come to the show for free
and that when he is done performing
he is taking all the alligators to Africa.

He gives me a short demonstration of a few moves
he is practicing and he jumps all the way back to his seat.

We wear matching smiles
as we each get back to the mundane task of
Morning Work.

I shake my head thinking,
it seems like it was just last week that I had to say things to him like...

Do NOT lick your name tag.
That's the urinal I was telling you about earlier.
Never, ever sit on it again.
Stop licking your knee and listen to me.
What's so funny about the word, BE-hind? Quit being silly and sit on it.

I'm gonna miss that kid.

Just sayin'........................

*best made up names ever!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picture Day

Picture day is one of my favoritest days of school.

It is so much fun to see all my little kiddos all dressed up.

And the kids?

Well they are just as excited as they were the day before school got out for Christmas vacation.

I know! Go figure?

We see new dresses and new shoes, special curly hairdos and boys with hair slicked back or spiked up.

Sometimes a little fellow will arrive sporting a new three piece suit or a little girl will twirl into the classroom in full princess attire.

Seriously, hair is bedazzled, brand new clothes still have tags hanging and bling is everywhere!  I have had to make a quick phone call to make sure little Sally's mommy knew Sally was wearing Mommy's 'special goin' out on a date necklace' or that little Johnny really was supposed to pose with his sleeve rolled up to show off that new Transformers tattoo.

It goes without saying that we will receive several notes asking us to change the little darlings back into more kid friendly clothes when the pictures have been snapped.

I, for one, am always more than happy to oblige.

I feel sorry for the kids who are afraid of getting food or worse on that special outfit.

It's almost as bad as the kids who arrive at school with the strict admonition not to get their brand new tennis shoes dirty.

When they go out to recess.
On the playground.
Where there is lots of dirt.

Imagine my horror when I caught myself saying the very same thing to my own children.


Picture day this year lived up to all it's anticipated excitement!

Little girls twirled and little boys popped their collars.
I admired new shoes and new clothes.

However, no one topped the little fellow who arrived




It was my fault.

Of course it was!
I sent home a letter letting the parents know that the backdrop this year was a beach scene.

I love my job!

Just sayin'.........................................

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Face A Mother Could Love

Regular readers of this blog have surely noticed the special love I have for Chosen Babies. Those who know me in real life know that I have always wanted to adopt. Adoption wasn't in the cards for me and although as recently as October of this year I informed my co-workers that I wanted to adopt a specific, special baby it doesn't seem that adoption is in my future.

The face you see above belongs to Vanya,
an eight year old little boy living in an Eastern European orphanage.

Vanya is running out of time.

Soon he will be transferred from the orphanage he currently lives in
to a mental institution.

This is what happens to children in his country who are not adopted by a specific age.

Blogger, Adeya, of No Greater Joy Mom, has posted tons of information about little Vanya. She knows first hand, the miracles God performs to bring orphans home. She knows first hand the incredible blessing it is to adopt a child.

Please click here

to visit Adeya's blog and learn more about Vanya.
You will love learning about her family's adoption journey.
You might even be inspired to make a contribution to a fund that has been set up to help with adoption costs for Vanya's new family.

They are out there somewhere.

Just sayin'...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Storms Likely

The sky matches my mood this evening.

Cloudy with patches of blue.

Intermittent showers possible.

In the words of Ms. Fabulous

through violently gritted teeth........

I HATE this!

I miss her, I miss her, I miss her.

I didn't have enough time.

Forty seven years, eleven months

and sixteen days

were not enough.

So afraid for her to suffer,

I prayed for mercy.

For my compassionate God

to welcome her soon.

He did.

And I am grateful.

But I am still

a child without her mother.

And it hurts.

So much.

Just sayin'....................

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More About The Brother

Two of my favorite people took a walk a few days ago.

The man on the left is my brother. He has cheated death
more times than I care to count. I believe God has a few
plans for him.

After weeks-literally weeks- of watching over him as he
struggled to heal and to wake safely from a coma it is
more incredible than you know to see him walking.

Better than watching him walk though, is the sound of his voice!

My brother has a long way to go to reach full recovery.
He is staying with the other man in the photo.

My father.

My dad and sister are juggling tax season along with caring
for my brother. He has physical therepy, occupational therepy,
dental appointments, vision exams, weight to regain and lots
of other things I'm sure I don't know about.

Thanks, Sis!
Thanks, Dad!
Thanks, little brother for coming back to us!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Remember this project?

Several months ago I wrote about this primitive pie safe that I rescued from the basement at my Mom and Dad's house.

Real life, in the form of a house fire that left my brother seriously injured intruded and while I managed to finish the project, I completely forgot about posting pictures. 

I decided to leave the pie safe in it's original shabby  state as much as possible so I simply gave it a good washing and brushed away some of the loose paint. The whole thing was covered in good old red Georgia dirt and I even had to get rid of a few dirt dauber nests.


Don't you just love the tiny bits of screen left around the edges of the openings.

Just look at the fabulous dovetail doors and the old metal latch!

Here it is in my kitchen and filled with some of my favorite things.

 I covered the shelves with some vintage looking fabric I've had for a while.

Inside the cabinet is a mixture of Lu-ray china, some McCoy pieces and some nameless but cool old glasses and bowls.


The apron hanging from the drawer pull belonged to my mother. I found it soon after she died last April. It still has the remnants of the last batch of her famous biscuits she made.

I touch it every day.

I wish I could make those biscuits like she could!

Just sayin'.......................

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What follows is a letter written by an Eight Grade teacher to Kidd Kraddick, the DJ of an early morning radio show. These words aren't mine but they could have been...

Let me note that the office staff at my school works just as hard and gives just as much, (if not more) than anyone else that works at and cares about our school and the kids we serve.  The rest of us wouldn't last an hour doing what they do!

Here is a link to the website that originally posted the letter.

As the school year winds down and teachers across the country are anxiously concerned that their jobs will be eliminated, I got this PERFECT letter from an eighth grade teacher in Oregon:
Hi Kidd,

I'm an eighth grade English teacher in a small Oregon town. I have been teaching since 1998. When people hear what I do for a living, and with whom I do it, they usually get semi-horrified looks on their faces.
But the truth is, I love eighth graders. I look forward to seeing them and I miss them after they move on to ninth grade.

Teaching is who I am. It's my passion and I know that sounds dumb-- I should have some hobby that doesn't involve my job and I shouldn't identify so closely with my "job", but the truth is, it's not just a job to me. Teaching is the most important thing in my life, aside from my family. And when people make comments like, "Oh, teachers are just glorified babysitters with cushy jobs and summers off," that makes me really mad. But people say dumb things like that about us all the time.

My day doesn't end at 3:30 when my contract says it does. I might leave the building, but school doesn't leave me. I think about the kid who cussed me out today in the Activity Center, because I caught him skipping. I think about the boy who eats lunch in my room every single day, along with about 30 kids, because they don't feel safe to be out amongst the other kids. I think about the kids who have zero home life and how those same kids come to school every single day because it's a heck of a lot easier than staying home and watching dad be drunk again.

You know what, Kidd? I need the summers off so that I can become a person again. Because from the minute I step foot in my classroom in the morning, I’m paying attention to my students…individually, as a whole class, and in groups of two and three. Because they need my attention. They need me to love them, and notice them, and accept them for who they are. They need me to notice when they're absent or sad or have something going on at home. They need me to give them a push when they want to give up and give them a break when they try and fail.

I could go on but I have to hurry back to class-- did I mention that I only have about 2 minutes to pee-- because my next class is on its way. I need the summers off because facing this every day makes me hate going into the office.

When we're talking about budget cuts, Kidd, it’s always “cut the teachers”. But we don't talk about the office staff-- who do things, granted, but have an awful lot of free time each and every day-- or the district office staff with a superintendent whose salary tops $110, 000, but who sets foot into our building maybe twice a year if we’re lucky. No, we automatically go straight for the teachers…teachers like me who spent $1000 of their own money last year on professional development classes, and tons and tons of young adult books for my classroom library, personalized pencils that hopefully won't get stolen (yet do) and Kleenex, birthday cakes, hand sanitizer, soda, candy and all the other things we buy to make our classrooms special.

My classroom has a couch, recliner, rocking chair, and two beanbags, pillows, rugs, etc. so the kids can make cozy places to sit and read. I have clipboards so they can write somewhere besides a table, but also I have tables for those kids who prefer to write at them. And I scour books, the internet, magazines, comic books, songs to find stuff that eighth graders can relate to, or react to and be passionate about. I push them every year to start developing opinions of their own. And I try to teach them to be passionate about their writing-- it doesn't matter what they write about, so long as they're passionate about it. I'm far from perfect, but I try so hard. For people to say that what I do is glorified babysitting, it negates everything I try so hard to accomplish.

We teachers have chosen a difficult path. What we do is NOT an easy job and I can feel my morale getting worse as each year goes on. I really wish there was a day set aside where every parent could come spend a whole day with us and see if it changes how they feel about what we do.

Anyway, you asked for information about teaching. I am a loyal listener every day, and I will be very happy to think that you might actually read what I've written. Have a good day, and keep up the good work.

I have heard many negative comments in the news lately concerning teachers, teacher salaries and benefits and perceived teacher motives. It never fails to rub me the wrong way. Teachers work long and hard during the 190 days we are paid for. We have NO paid holidays, NO paid vacations and work many more UNPAID hours than most people realize.

We don't get three months off in the summer. It averages about eight or nine weeks. And guess what? We don't get paid for those eight or nine weeks.

Most of us shrug and get on with the business of teaching. This is the way it has always been.

None of us are there for the money and most certainly, no one is there for the glory. We love what we do and we love your children. We really do.

Most of us....Heck, I would bet my next paycheck (just don't get excited, it is way less than it was just three years ago) that 90% of educators in the trenches are there because we heard a calling.

Most of us are there because we answered that calling.

Most of us stay because we still hear that calling.

Just sayin'............................

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tough Break


The youngest boy that lives here is
out for the season.

Turns out, he really does sacrifice his
body for the team.

I just wish he hadn't sacrificed quite
so much.

He's out for at least eight weeks.

Now if we can just keep him from
his normal activities like jumping
from high places, careening down
hills and anything else he can find
to place himself at great bodily harm!

P.S. Sorry about the pun.
I am helpless to resist them.

Just sayin'.....................