Saturday, October 27, 2012

Silence and Friends

I have laryngitis.  Started coming on Thursday afternoon and by Friday it was gone.  I'm squawking if I talk, so I'm whispering.

I usually lose my voice once a year or so.  I'm not sure why but it seems that if I get a cold it will end up costing me my voice.  I'm hoping this is the one time for this winter season.

Teaching was a little rough yesterday with no voice.  But, I'm happy to report that my kids are in such a good routine that we were able to accomplish a lot even with me whispering.  We did our Literacy Centers and Daily Oral Language after we took our Spelling Test and did our regular morning routine.  They finished up a project in Social Studies that they enjoyed, then we switched and I got my co-teacher's homeroom kids.  We had just enough time to do some Literacy Centers before lunch then had to cut the afternoon short due to our all-school assembly to celebrate Red Ribbon Week.

The assembly was a lot of fun.  We also spent the last two weeks doing our fall fundraiser and the assembly kind of tied it all together.  The kids could earn a 12 inch piece of duct tape for every item they sold in the fundraiser.  They then used their duct tape and got to tape up our 2 male teachers (to a wall).  They were chanting "duct tape! duct tape!" as names were called to come get their pieces and tape up the guys.  It was fun.  Then a teacher band lip synced to some songs while all the kids danced.  It was fun!

Today, I get to visit with two of my best Texas girlfriends.  We're long overdue.  And, since I can't talk much, I get to listen and be filled in on all that's going on in their lives.  Can't wait!

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Raising Money

Our school is doing their annual fall fundraiser, Believe Kids.  It has been an incredibly successful fundraiser for our school the past several years.  We're hoping to raise even more funds this year.

As the Vice President of the PTO this year, I get to help make decisions about how we use the PTO funds to support our students.  Thus far this year, we have paid for premium memberships for every classroom for Spelling City, a great online tool (that I have been using for my students since week 1).  In addition, PTO paid for the all-school Incentive Day to the Pumpkin Patch October 12th.  Over 250 students plus chaperones enjoyed a day of fun and sun for their hard work the first 6 weeks.

The PTO paid for two new ELMOs (video projection system) and projectors so that our core classrooms each have this awesome technology.  (My class was one of them!)  The PTO pays for all Teacher Appreciation Days (once per six weeks), and I am especially thankful for their generosity.  The PTO bought new keyboards for all our netbooks, as well.  (My class uses the computers on Thursday and my kids LOVE it!)

If you're so inclined, please take a moment to browse the Believe Kids catalog.  Every purchase helps our school.  It's a great fundraiser (giving us 50% profit...that's huge!).  My kids would be incredibly grateful!  And, I appreciate your support.

The Catalog Link

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pondering Friendship

I was just sitting here this morning wondering about friendships.

I've been very blessed in my life to have some true friends.  I have been molded and shaped by my friendships, especially those long-lasting friendships that have sustained the distance and time.

I struggled with friendships when I was young.  I never really had a "best friend" growing up.  There were girls here and there that I would refer to as my best friend, but in all honesty, I was pretty lonely throughout my growing up years when it came to girlfriends.  I always felt like the 3rd wheel or the alternate friend.  I never connected solidly with a friend until high school and maybe even college.

I think I struggled with friendships, in part, because I wasn't sure who I really was.  I had one very close girlfriend in junior high but that friendship went by the wayside when I wanted different things out of life than she did.

Once I became a believer in high school, I had a close girlfriend.  But, again, we drifted as our goals in life went in two separate directions.

I remember a very distinct time in college when I was driving home and cried out to God about my loneliness and desire for a girl in whom I could confide.  God stopped me in my whiny tracks with a very firm whisper to my heart "My child, if I were to give you a girl in whom you could confide, you would put her in My place."  The next morning I was reading Oswald Chambers' devotional "My Utmost For His Highest" and came across a reading pointing me to Isaiah 6.  "In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord...".  Chambers asserted that Uzziah and Isaiah were friends.  Yet, Uzziah pointed Isaiah to the Lord to the degree that when he died, Isaiah saw the Lord!  Chambers went on to write about friendship and how the Lord sometimes keeps us from them because they will stand in the way of our relationship with Him.  My heart was touched, knowing I would have done that very thing.

Within a few years the Lord brought me a very sweet friend.  She continues to be one of my closest and dearest friends.  We had the privilege of sharing holidays together when we lived in PA.  Sadly, we now hardly see each other because so many miles separate us.  Yet, when we talk, we just pick right up and dive right into each other's lives once again.  I pray for her, her husband, and her children.  And, I know she does the same for me.

I've had other special women come into my life, as well.  Really, they are too numerous to recount one by one.  Some friends from my younger years even resurfaced in the last several years and have blessed me beyond measure.

I have a few close friends who live right here around me, but the majority of the women I would call my closest friends actually live at least 1,200 miles away from me!  We keep in touch via email, occasional phone calls, and lots of blog/Facebook stalking.  Our emails aren't always replied to right away, but there is a mutual love, respect, adoration, and concern.

Yet, the thoughts I had this morning were about the ending of friendships.  When the miles are too far and the lives are too separate, can a friendship be maintained by just one person?  What makes it a "friendship" if there is not mutual sharing, mutual respect, mutual concern?  There are seasons in friendships.  At times, one person carries the other, even carries the majority of contacting and keeping up with the other.  This was true when I was a new mom and my very close friend had not yet started having babies.  She came to see me more often, she called more often.  But, I hope she always felt like I cared, even if I wasn't the one initiating the call.  And, I made efforts to still let her know I was thinking of driving to see her (which involved packing a bazillion things for the baby now on board).

At some point, I think you have to just let go.  I imagine this is different for every friendship.  Hence, the pondering.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven Weeks Ago...

We started school.  

Rylee is in 3rd grade this year.  So is Mama.  She's teaching at the kids' charter school.

Jenna and Asa are in 1st grade.

Jett is in preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Not pictured:
Daddy is in seminary.
Nana is teaching high school part-time at a private school.

I was told the first six weeks would be absolutely full and busy and all those reports were absolutely accurate.  I love being back in the classroom and can't believe how much I thoroughly enjoy teaching elementary school!  I never (in a million years) would have thought I'd be teaching elementary, but God has a very neat way of giving us heart desires and making things work so well.  There is no place I'd rather be.  I had to spend a lot of time thinking and praying through the transition from being home full-time to working full-time, but knowing I would be with three of our children and more involved in their lives made all the difference.  When our family needed me to work, God made a way and worked it out so much better than I could ever have expected.

I'm teaching Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies.  The reading portion is definitely the most critical.  We have a state assessment in reading for this grade.  So, not only is this a whole new ballgame with a different age group of students than I was used to teaching, but I'm in a completely different subject, as well.  I have a wonderful group of coworkers who have been very helpful.  I've also been involved with the school as a parent, and actually am serving on the PTO Board this year.  I feel like I've just stepped it up a little more.

And, I cannot explain how much I just love the kids I get to teach every day.  We took an all-school field trip today and I had some moments of just watching the kids have fun.  I reflected in those brief moments and was in awe at how much love the Lord has given me for my students.  I'm sure part of it is the fact that these are all Rylee's classmates and have been for the last four years.  But, they are just an incredibly sweet group of kids.  It is an honor to get to teach these precious kiddos and have an influence on their lives.  I pray every day that the Lord would use me and show His love through me.  I'd appreciate your prayers on my behalf to that end, as well.