Thursday, December 4, 2008
Those were his words, not mine. He was really asking the kids to stop talking and listen to me. I don't always know why Mr. Music says things preciscely the way that he does, but that is fodder for another blog....
so the little girl sitting right in front of me who was already paying attention very well wrinkled her nose and looked at Mr. Music and said the very words out loud that I was thinking in my head. She said, "Guiding spirit?" (aka what??)
In response Mr. Music pointed to me. When comprehension dawned and the little girl translated Mr. Music-ese into plain english, she turned to me and said, "Alright guiding spirit, can you get me a doughnut?!"
I thought it was funny
Monday, October 13, 2008
I've worked very hard in my life to arrange things so that I never have to drive farther than about four miles to get anywhere. I live only three miles from my school and about five miles from my church. If I have to drive the seventeen miles west in traffic to visit my parents or grandma I sometimes feel a little punished.
So it's July in Houston and last week was absolutely miserably hot. Last week I spent the week commuting from my apartment (Northwest Houston) all the way to University of Houston on the far (Southside) of Houston.
I was taking a class with the Richards Institute called Education Through Music. Basically, it is a method of teaching that uses music as the vehicle to foster the growth of play among children. The Richards Institute believes that the ability of a child to truly "play" signifies growth in intelligence and the general ability to learn. People who go to this class are lots of fun and not a little bit fanatical.
As Houston was hosting the weeklong course, we were given the task of arranging all of the details involved in housing, feeding, entertaining, and transporting 150 people about 40 of whom are children and the other 85 are adults who flew in from all over the US, Canada, and Japan and none of whom decided to rent a car. Everyone from Houston had to make multiple trips to the airport and then drive full loads of people everywhere that we went. Another Houston participant even arranged and paid for bus pick-ups and the bus had to make two trips for each event. Just to add to the Houston experience there was no air conditioning on the bus.
All of this to say that I'm glad for the rain yesterday and today. It has felt almost Canadian in the coolness of July, and if it's ever going to be bearable in Houston in July, you just better pray for rain. It's been very nice the last couple of days and I hope that my friends will come back around next July when it's raining.
So here I sit at about 10:00 p.m. trying very hard to relax enough to go to sleep before 3:00 a.m. and all I can think about is the fact that I really want to go shopping and get a hair cut. This is the tragedy of summer. Every summer I get switched around in my schedule to the point that nothing meaningful happens in my day before noon and even then I don't really get going until around 6:00 p.m.
Take today for example. I woke up around 8:00 a.m. long enough to get my laundry started. There was a possibility that my best friend and I would go to the gym this morning ,but as she was headed out of town, I wasn't too worried that it would actually happen. 11:30- I woke up, switched the laundry and fixed myself some lunch. After lunch I began reading "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller. I read some Luke 2: 41-52. I read my daily dose of meaningless dribble and then I checked my email. Around that time, my friend who was on her way home called and I visited with her. Around 4:00 p.m. I went to the gym and did a "double work-out". I came home, got pretty and then went to dinner with friends. Now it's 10:00 p.m. and I'm ready to get things done.
What did I do today? Well I don't really know, but it was nice.
Current mood: distressed
For 25 stinking years I have had minimal hair issues. I'm not saying that I've had all great hair all the time. (I mean one time in high school I did get a roll brush caught in my hair and the pastor’s wife called MHMR to help me out......that's another story) I've had my share of bad haircuts and bad perms and all of that. But for the past few years my hair has settled into a nice pattern of predictability that I found rather comforting. I have found for instance that my hair looks nicer long than it does short. I've found that my hair looks better with highlights than without. My hair looks nicer when I blow-dry it instead of letting it air dry. So OK - the past few months my hair has looked particularly nice because it had gotten rather long - it was layered but not radically so - I was having some good hair months. About a month ago I went in for a trim and walked out of the salon looking weedwhacked. So already my hair ego has been a little bruised
Today I was running late. I had to blow dry my hair because after I got out of my meeting this morning I was scheduled to sing at a funeral this afternoon. So I was taking the time to dry my hair although I really didn't have the time. There is something very soothing about blind routine. I was going through the motions and when I pulled my brush away from my head I noticed that there was a HUGE chunk of smoldering hair in my brush and all of a sudden I smelled BURNING HAIR. Let me just say that burning hair STINKS really bad. So I'm certain that I have a bald spot - or at least a portion of hair that is significantly shorter than the hairdresser intended. The problem is that since I got my hair weedwhacked - I can't find the place. AND every time I turn my head I now smell burning hair.
If ever there was an opportunity for the Lord to convict me of my pride!!! Oh - my goodness I had not realized how much pride was wrapped up in my hair until it was scorched. (Pride does come before the fall). Please Lord, help me not to care so much about my hair. Please Lord let the bald spot not show......
Current mood: hopeful
You know those Sundays where at the end of the day you are actually peacefully ready for Monday to start??? Everything is finished, you've worshiped, you've rested, you've fellowshipped, you've served, and now it's time for your week to begin again. Well that is the kind of evening that I am having. I'm really sleepy - but not the exhausted, crazy, sleepy that I become when I'm stressed. No - this sleepy is at good old 10:30 simply drop off and wake up refreshed ready for a new week with no mistakes in it sleepy. When I'm this sort of sleepy, I'm hyper-optimistic about what I will be able to accomplish in the days to come and completely satisfied with the weekend that I've just had.
People in my family who read this blog (they are the only ones that do) may find this sort of funny but truly, despite all of the drama and trauma of the weekend of family coming in - I really had a great weekend. I got to sleep late, eat with friends, sing, go to church, get seriously convicted by the Holy Spirit about how I should be living, serve my family when they needed me, help celebrate my brother's birthday, and do laundry. All of that in 3 short days
I'm sure that later this week I write some blog about how this or that did not go exactly the way that I had hoped, but right now I'm happy just living in the anticipation of the coming week.
Current mood: relieved
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
Oh my goodness! - because this week contained crying in front of my boss (something I vowed I would never do) and having to run out and move my car before it got plowed by the huge truck in the parking lot - I'm REALLY glad that it is Friday.
Summer is for everyone. I really believe that if it weren't for summer there would be a lot fewer students in school. Without summer - some of my students would not live to see their next birthday. Between bickering with other students, growing pains, and too much time together, and over tired teachers with short fuses, summer is the only reason why boys and girls learn anything.
Today one of my 5th graders whom I happen to really like decided to punch another student in the stomach while he passed by, just for fun. As it happened the boy he chose to pick on was small, speaks little English and is a really great kid. ALL of the victim's classmates jumped up to come to his defense and I was about 1/2 a second from WWIII in my classroom. I finally ended the stand off by dismissing the offensive student from class (of course this was accomplished by simply yelling "OUT" over and over until he obeyed. He sulked to the door and had to stand outside in front of my window where I could see him. - But things were never the same, the entire lesson was ruined. Plus I didn't have much voice to spare this morning anyway and I HATE yelling at my kids and I hardly ever have to because I've got the best kids in the world.
All of that to say- I'm glad today is Friday so that I can think about something else for a little while. I'm also thankful that this Friday brings us one day closer to summer.
Current mood: cheerful
The young lady who was chosen to play Sojourner Truth in our musical last week absolutely stole the show. She had several speaking parts including the an excerpt from a famous speech made by Sojourner Truth in the mid 1850s at a Woman's suffrage rally. First of all, I don't think anyone who attended the play had any idea that the fight for woman's suffrage began at least 70 years before a woman's right to vote was actually guaranteed by an amendment to the Constitution in 1918. Secondly, the speech given by Sojourner Truth spoke not only to the rights of women but that of African American's as well. The best part was the this young lady REALLY got it! I mean, she sold it. We believed that she was Sojourner Truth declaring "That man over there says that women are weak....... Look at my arm....I've ploughed ditches... and ain’t I a woman?" . It was so cool and so surprising to get that level of performance from an 11 year old girl. She sings like an angel, and is talented in so many ways. But despite all of this, the best thing about this young lady is that she has a relationship with Jesus that is evident in both word and deed. On Monday she stopped me in the hall to say, "I know that you have been working very hard so that we can have a nice play.....I want you to know that I appreciate all that you do and I'm praying for you.". It was such a wonderful thing to see her faith in action and I really cannot tell you how blessed I was. I work in a public school and as a result, I don't always get to share with my students what the Lord has done for me. Once in a while, they will make a comment or ask a question about their own faith in Jesus, or they sometimes simply ask me what I think. In those cases I am always able to answer honestly without hesitation or worry. However, it was truly a breath of fresh air to be on the receiving end of the obedience to the Holy Spirit of one of my students. That conversation with her, not only made my day last week, but it has served as a reminder to me to pray for her and her family. The Lord uses each of us, those of us going through difficult times, those with much to overcome, those who can only manage to do some things right and of course those us who are eleven or 99. Have a great day!!
Current mood: happy
Last night was the final of 3 (Thank the Lord) performance of my 5th grade musical. My students were WONDERFUL! The audience cried and that made them all very happy. Even my student who fell off the back of the risers last night, hopped back on and kept singing. Overall it was a night to remember.
My room is remembering.... All of those sweaty children wearing all of my nice costumes including some made out of upholstery fabric in a cafeteria that had conveniently forgotten to air condition itself this week.
Yes- I opened the door to my classroom this morning and knew immediately that the music room will never forget about THIS program. But then, my kids will never forget this program either and that really is the whole point. Most of them will never get on a stage to perform or put on a costume ever again in their lifetime so for them this little memory of elementary school will have to last. A few of them may perform some other time on some other stage, maybe even one with proper lighting, that would be nice. When that day comes, some other place will remember, the stench will just be stronger.
The most exciting part of my day was the fact that I successfully altered a coat. I literally took it apart and put it back together again .... only bigger. That is all I have to say about that!
My mom came up and helped me sew today! She sewed all day and she got so much done that I got home by 8:40 instead of 10:45. All because she helped me. When I got home I did laundry, I cooked dinner for tomorrow, and I cleaned my bathroom. I got all of this done, just because my mom showed up to help me with costumes. I hope that the next time you have something BIG to do, you have someone who can help you as much as my mom helped me today.
Current mood: weird
It's Monday night and I am trying to write myself to sleep. I'm VERY overwhelmed by the fact that the world seemingly does not revolve around me. I finally figured this out at work today.....
I just hate getting to work Monday morning to find out that all the things that you were planning to do are practically impossible because people who don't care at all have scheduled a whole bunch of stuff on top of your already busy schedule. That has happened today and I believe that the only option for me is to go to work every day on a dessert island where there are no people to mess up my nice and tidy little plans. That would work!!
Of course, I only work as hard as I do so that people will tell me that I'm doing a good job. So I either need a loud speaker with a Parrott recording of sayings like, "You're Great!" "Wow that's awesome!" on my island OR some REALLY bored people. Then I could schedule things when I want to do them and I can pay people to like me. I like that idea!!! Oh wait- I don't have any money!!!!
Which brings me back to work. I guess I'll just have to go to work tomorrow and the next day so that they will keep paying me, so that I can pay people to inhabit my island where I REALLY want to work.
Well - I've actually snored over the keyboard AND made myself laugh when I really didn't feel like laughing- so I think now is a good time to go to bed.
Current mood: pleased
Every kid in the 5th grade now has something to wear!!!!! I may still have to sew a couple of aprons and several collars, but all my kiddies will have a costume to put on that was especially made for them. I'm THRILLED to be done. The best part about preparing all of these costumes for these children is that it allows me a time to really focus on an individual student. I have soooooo many kids and even among my 5th graders there are students that I get their name wrong too often. But as I have cut out or sewn a costume for each kid, I have been able to really see them and more importantly I've been burdened to pray for them. Please pray for my Christy. She is hurting and she doesn't have anyone to talk to. She used to smile and now she never does.
I can honestly say that if I never sew another costume it will be too soon, but, I've found myself already longing for and hoping that the Lord will show me a way to set aside time to pray for my other students even if I have to sew a costume for every student I have. I very selfishly want the joy that it has brought me to pray for them in such a way.
I'm so easily distracted by anything and everything. This experience was quite literally like walking through mud. I simply had to trudge through it. I couldn't get around or over the mountain of work that I had built for myself. However, in the midst of such mind freeing (some would say numbing) work I found a sweet place in which I want to stay for a while. Maybe I can make intercession more of a habit if I just sew everybody a costume. If you get a mysteriously random costume in the mail, you'll know it was because I had to pray for you.
Current mood: sleepy Category: Life
Kindergarten children are the funniest people at school. Right now I'm teaching all of my student patriotic songs mostly because I have time right now and it is something I'm supposed to teach. There is a book called "America the beautiful" that contains all of the verses of the song, but with the added benefit of full illustrations. It is a beautiful book and is useful with children since most of them don't know what "amber waves of grain" mean anyway.
So there I was with 35 5-6 year old children gathered around me looking at the picture for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains. Obviously in the background there were beautiful snow capped, purple mountains. However, in the foreground there is a wide variety of living things intended to make one understand that the plain is a fertile place capable of sustaining life. There are a few small trees, lots of grass, lots of buffalo and off in the distance there is a collection of teepees with smoke curling out of the tops. I asked the children about what living things that they could see in the picture. One child said, "rocks" another said "mooses", another said, "Indians". Oscar (name changed) , who had been dozing in the back perked up at the idea of Indians and wanted to know how I knew they were there if they weren’t in the picture. We decided that it was obvious that Indians lived on the plain because we could see their houses. I pointed out that the mooses were actually called buffalo and that the Indians hunted the buffalo. I then explained that the Indian houses in the picture were called teepees and were made to be lightweight like a tent so that they could be collapsed and carried to a new spot. I then looked at Santana (fake name) and said, " wouldn't be fun to live in a house that you could fold up?". He said, "yes, but my mom won't let me because we just live in an apartment - maybe I can when we get a big house."
Current mood: productive Category: Life
It is late on Sunday night and I am counting down the very last minutes of my wonderful spring break. I have literally been a hermit this week all for the cause of finishing my silly costumes for my 5th graders. I will be Soooooooo glad to talk about something else, and do something else when I'm finished. Did I mention that my costumes look VERY cool? So, basically despite the fact that I have worked myself into the ground trying to get them done, (and there is still some work to do), they look GREAT! Well- maybe not my union and confederate soldier costumes, they look kind of fake in a slightly underoo/pajama-esk but they exist, and that was the goal above all other goals, simply to make the blasted things.
It is extremely satisfying to try something challenging and to get it done. I think that is one of my favorite parts of life is the simple fact that we have the opportunity to grow and to change and to meet challenges. Obviously, I wish that ALL my challenges in life were those of my own choosing like my costume project, but still, it is nice to know that at the end of the day, God has not left us to be the same person we were when we woke up, but he gives us the opportunity to rely on him to meet the challenges of the day. I don't know about you, but I often have some mighty large challenges in my day and it is good to know and rely on my all-sufficient Savior to get me through.
Current mood: contemplative
I think I've actually brought a new level of artistry to my ability to procrastinate. I have 20 something costumes staring me in the face and I have not touched them in 4 days. I'm REALLY enjoying my spring break, but there is a price to pay and I'm already beginning to pay it. My grandmother is in the hospital and she REALLY needs someone to sit with her, and I am the only one not at work this week, but I can't help my grandma as much as I would like because I haven't done my work when I had the time. This simply falls under the category of things I wish I had done differently but can't because I can't undo the past 4 days of nothing but fun. Oh well.... All I've got is today.... I guess this is where I realize that I need to live today and not bank on time that I hope to have tomorrow. Time is a lot like credit cards, you should just spend what you have in your wallet. So I'm off to the hospital
I went to the eye doctor today and the day has finally come that I've been waiting for at least since 7th grade. I finally got reading glasses to use WITH my contacts!!!! My doctor said that for now they are specifically for when I sew, but that in the future I would find that I need them to read. Basically, because I'm far-sighted my eyes will get worse at a faster pace than the rest of the near-sighted world. The good news is that my eyes are very healthy, I mean, they are definitely not about to fall out of my head or anything. It's at times like these when I'm both frustrated with the limitations of my earthly body, but also EXTREMELY grateful that I live in the 21st century where there is such a thing as glasses and contacts, and eye surgery. I'm in no hurry to go "under the laser". I'm waiting until the technology is becomes common place enough that it is practically over the counter. (You know, added to the list of spa treatments at the local beauty salon). When that day comes, then you'll see me in line, but until then, I'll just live with my current solution. Have a great day!!!
This is the first Sunday of my spring break and I have absolutely enjoyed every minute of not doing anything!!!!! I've got another 20 costumes to sew this week, but I think I can squeeze it in between my eye appointments and lunch dates. Oh, the woes of being a schoolteacher..... the job is very difficult but someone has got to do it. If only I got paid well enough to actually go somewhere when I'm off. Oh well. I bought the video of RENT and I spent my afternoon watching the whole thing. I think the music is FANTASTIC, but mostly it just makes me very sad, because it is sooooooooo real. People need Jesus!!!! If you are reading this and you know him, tell someone you love about him. If you are reading this and you don't know what I'm talking about, let me know and I would be happy to share more with you about how you can know Jesus as the one person who will love you more than any other.
In Houston we are just recovering from the one and only cold snap of the year. Today was not cold, and not hot it was just plain yucky. However, for the 3 days last week that were 40 degrees or less it was so wonderful to get out my fleece blanket and flannel pajamas and snuggle down with a book. It has been so nice for the past couple of days to slow down a little. My life is very busy (whose isn't?) However, my heart needed to be still. I had forgotten what it was like to simply accept the peace the Lord so graciously gives each day. I've been having a great time the past several days just snuggling down into the warmth of that holy peace. I'm still busy, but sustained. This is definitely the life!!!!
Often at my job, I am given tasks that are above and beyond my official job description that fall under the category of "duties as assigned". I like my job and I work hard mostly because I want people to think well of me. ( I'm being honest). However, since I also LOVE to procrastinate I rarely volunteer for things that I don't want to do.
So of course - since I'm not busy enough - I decided to have my 5th grade students perform a HUGE musical revue of American History from pre-colonial times through the Civil War. I made this decision all on my own. I convinced my co-teacher, my principal, and the 5th grade team that this would be a great idea. About 3 days after I began work on the costumes in January it occurred to me that 105 historical costumes were not going to make themselves or stand to be harvested off of a costume tree.
So now I sew. I sew all the time..... I've been sewing since January and I won't stop until April. I have help.... I have great help!! But when you insane enough to take on a HUGE project, there is not enough help to make the job anything less than daunting.
Did I mention that I don't know how to sew????? I made my first outfit about 4 weeks ago and now I have finished 26. I figured out that at this moment I have 34 totally finished, and if I count the costumes that I have passed out for other people to sew I have 63 that should be finished by March 6th . So I have to come up with another 40 by the end of spring break. Maybe I can do it without completely turning gray.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Not everything that teachers are asked to do is entirely related to the education of their students. I know - you seem very shocked!! Those of you who are about to die of "not surprise" are probably thinking about all the things that you are required to do at your job that have NOTHING to do with the job description you were given upon being hired.
As many of you know, I have LOTS of hobbies!! On the occasions when I allow myself to cave into their temptation, I pursue them with the same single minded obsession as a dog with a bone. It's all I do - sleeping and eating, and sometimes grooming become optional as I tackle a particular pursuit with hyper-focused intensity. About 5 years ago, my hobby of choice was scrap booking. In a VERY short amount of time I cranked out 4 REALLY huge scrapbooks. Now - I just look at a piece of scrap booking paper or a photograph and I sort of go into dry heaves. For several years I have barely been able to force myself to take pictures of any kind for fear that I'll create a need for another scrapbook. There have been a few very small exceptions, one of which was my best friends 30th birthday party in which I THREW together a scrapbook that due to circumstances beyond my control ended up being a collection of pictures of just her. Other than that sad sad little book I haven't touched that particular hobby with a ten foot pole in about 3 years.
We have finally arrived at my first school story.....
As part of our beginning of the year "celebration" the teachers and staff at my school were given the task of making "About Me" posters. We had to think ahead and bring pictures from home that represented our lives and interests. I had to go to Walgreens the night before at about 11:00 p.m. to get mine developed. The photo shop guy was really happy with me too! As I was waiting to get my warm and curly pictures off of the machine, I realized that the whole idea of making an "About Me" poster reeked suspiciously of scrap booking.
Except......... we had to scrapbook on half a piece of poster board in a gigantimo room with everybody else on staff. On the floor in one section of the room were all of the "mommas" who scrapbook for a living because they have babies. (I think there is now a chapter on professional grade scrap booking in the latest Dr. Spock parenting book). There was also a section of conscientious objectors who were overwhelmed by their need for perfection and decided to take it home for homework where they could get out the ruler and protractor and do it right. My section of the room was the "Hurry Up and get'erdone" section. You never saw scissors and paper and glue fly so fast. Lots of people in my section had no clue what to do, but we had fun!!
We had to share our posters with our neighbors and tell about ourselves. (Only in an elementary school) Soon they will all be hung in the library so the kids can see them. OK- it is kind of a cool project. After all of my hesitation I ended up liking mine. So, I decided that I would use it during my lessons this week.
These "About Me" posters have been kind of a nice way to explain to the kids that Mr. Music and I don't live at school, we aren't married, we certainly don't live together, AND we don't have children hiding under our desks. Any combination of the preceding statements are generally accepted as truth by the student population at my school. Because of these spiffy "About Me" posters, we get to show our students what we DO have. We both have WONDERFUL families! They've really enjoyed it and although I didn't want to make no stinking poster, it has been useful. It's good to know that some silly things are wothwhile.
Today in First grade, after playing an energetic round of "Will You Follow Me in a Line" we settled down to talk about my poster. They loved the pictures of my parents, grandparents and then told me about theirs. They giggled over the pictures of me and my cousins and brother and then shared stories about theirs. Then they puzzled and thought and frowned and fretted about the pictures my friends including but not limited to Mr. Music and all the "girls" that I run around with. Suddenly, Brittney (name changed) scrunched up her face and asked, "Ms. Bonnie, Ain't you got a man?".
At which time Christian (name changed) restated the quesiton in case the meaning had missed me, "You mean, you don't have a husband?"
My answer was, "No, but I do have a family, and my family is pretty big because my friends are family too"
Then Brittney, after a little more thoght asked "Ms. Bonnie, how do you find a man?"
I wanted to tell her to ask someone who had one, and then come back and fill me in.
Instead, I said, "I guess you've just got to keep your eyes open until you find the nicest one"
You know - I believe it!