Friday, March 16, 2018

Love and Muffins

Disclaimer: I hesitated to write this entry, but the whole experience made me laugh so hard that I just couldn't keep it to myself. Before you read on, you have to promise that you won't get excited over the possibility of a little romance in my life. I promise you, there's virtually zero chance of anything coming out of this.... 

It's been five years since my divorce, and many of the people I love--including Allyson--often ask me if there's any possibility that I will marry again, or at least go on a date. I always say that I don't know. At this point, if God brings a godly man into my life, I'm not opposed. In the meantime, I've had a few crushes, which are always great fun.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Old Job Was Never This Fun

It's been a good week, our second one reading The Hunger Games. The last three days were a little chaotic, but I was proud of myself for trying something new that I had read about in an article. I divided my classes into six groups and put them through rotations of reading, blogging, and small group discussion. A lot of the time, the reading groups take so long to settle down and start their audio that they can't finish an 18-minute chapter in 22 minutes. And the bloggers have been writing mostly one-sentence posts so far, or even sentence fragments. But some of the discussions have helped me remember why I dreamed of being an English teacher--in those magical moments when the "self-directed" groups are actually self directing, and I'm able supervise the discussion groups as per my lesson plan.

It's so fun to hear their thoughts, and to help them connect a really dramatic story to their own lives. It's also fun to ask them about the shocking parts that many of them somehow missed. For example, when I ask them why Katniss isn't embarrassed to be naked in front of the prep team, several pairs of eyes open wide. "What?? When was she naked?" [For the record, it's not an obscene book. I promise.]

"It doesn't pay to get off task," I answer. "You might miss the really good parts."

The best part of my day is when some of my lowest performers step up as discussion leaders, sharing some perceptive views, or when a painfully shy student finds her voice. If I ever get to meet Suzanne Collins, I just might give her a kiss.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Not So Bad After All

Okay, so I ought to be grading papers, or at least doing the dishes. But I just have to tell you about my day yesterday....

It all started when my eyes fluttered open in the early light of morning, instead of the darkness before dawn. With a gasp, I rolled out of bed and squinted at the clock. 7:23. Not too bad. If you're going to oversleep, 23 minutes is the way to go.

I rushed to Allyson's room, where she was lying sound asleep under the glow of the overhead light. Her alarm had gone off, but she'd been seduced back to sleep. "Get up, Allyson!" I shouted. "I overslept. It's 7:23."

She popped out of bed almost as quickly as I had. "I'm going to be late for school," she said.

"Not necessarily. Just pull on your clothes and brush your teeth. We gotta go!"

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Like Pieces of a Puzzle

Ten days ago, in the middle of my workday, I received a text that made my heart sink. My 33-year-old cousin Adam had passed away unexpectedly. My first reaction was sharp pain as I thought of my Aunt Sue and Uncle Jeff. Ever since I've been a mother, hearing about the loss of anyone's child tears at my own heart because I can't help putting myself in their shoes.

My second reaction was regret. I had been out of contact with Adam for a couple of years, and he'd been on my mind that very week. I wondered how he was doing and thought that I should send him a letter to catch him up on all of my teaching adventures. I'd had similar thoughts off and on for a long time, and now I was kicking myself for not taking the time when I had the chance. 

Although Adam was 14 years younger than me and lived 1100 miles away in Indiana, I was probably closer to him than to any of my other 25 first cousins. Our friendship began in 2011 when Aunt Sue asked several family members to write Adam while he was in prison. Through the influence of a chaplain, he had grown closer to Christ in prison and had a strong faith, but he was lonely and sometimes discouraged by the poor conditions he encountered there. 

A recent picture. Don't his eyes draw you in?

Friday, January 5, 2018


Oh, I've missed you all! Are you ready for a few teaching stories? For today, I think I'll just tell two or three.

I'm already halfway through my first year back to teaching. What a ride it has been! It's every bit as hard as I remember it being the first time around, 20 years ago. Maybe even harder. But it's also infinitely sweeter. I have been very intentional about forming relationships, and that makes a powerful difference in how my students and I respond to one another.

At the beginning of the year, my new colleagues and I took a two-day course on classroom management called "Capturing Kids' Hearts." This amazing program gave me practical tools to accomplish the goals I had already set for myself. I was so excited to put them into practice. This year I would truly capture their hearts. I would have the opportunity to speak life to students who desperately needed to hear that they mattered, to know that they were loved.

During the Honeymoon Phase, all of those dreams seemed to be coming true. I was absolutely delighted with my students, and the feeling was mutual. Doing what God made me to do felt exhilarating, and I wondered why I'd waited so long to come back.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


I just finished the 11th week of the first semester. Time goes by so fast that it makes me dizzy. Of course I have stacks of stories to tell you about teaching, but I think I will save most of them for Thanksgiving week--only two weeks away! Tonight I want to tell you what God's been teaching me lately. 

During one of our frequent nighttime prayers a few weeks back, my Chinese roommate, Sophie, asked me to pray that God would give me laughter. (It's a struggle for her to pray in English, so she usually asks me to pray for us both.)

"Oh, yes," I agreed. "Laughter is exactly what I need. I'm always so serious, especially with so many responsibilities as a teacher."

So we prayed for laughter, and I thanked God that I would surely be seeing the funny side of life in the coming weeks.

[Oh goodness, just realized I only thought about telling you about Sophie. Will have to save that story for another night, though.]

There certainly have been funny moments at school, like the time I asked my toughest class if they'd laugh at me for wearing exactly the same outfit two days in a row. It would be Black-Out day the next day, but I'd inadvertently worn all black on this day; a sweet colleague had brought me a black T-shirt with a wolf on it that morning so that we could be twins for Twin Day. My students admitted that they might laugh a little, but they said I should go ahead and wear the same clothes as long as I went home and washed them first.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blessed One

I can't believe I'm halfway through the fourth week of school already. Then again, in some ways it seems like it's been longer than that. Just like last semester, teaching has been a roller coaster. I've been treasuring up so many stories in my heart to share with you, but tonight I (sort of) have time for just an overview and one story.

Here are the pros:

  • I still love my kids. All of them. Even the tough class. Even the ones who get on my last nerve. God has knit my heart together with theirs. 
  • I have the most supportive colleagues imaginable. They help me, check on me, pray with me, laugh with me, and cry with me. 
  • We have two weekly prayer meetings, both on Wednesday (AM and PM). I go to both, with bells on. Today we waged spiritual warfare after work. We spoke prophetically over our students, teachers, and leadership. We claimed our school for the kingdom of light, and we rejoiced that "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." We recognize that the enemy is fighting us on many fronts, but we know the battle is God's and the victory is ours. We expect glorious things at our campus this year. 
  • When I accepted this job, I was prepared to love my 130 students. What I never considered is that many of them would love me back. Already, I have many students who greet me with wide smiles (or shy ones), fist bumps (or elbow bumps when their hands are wet after rushing out of the bathroom), and warm hugs. A few of them visit my classroom multiple times a day, and I always tell them I need a hug. 
  • When I get frustrated, my students remind me that I am blessed, just as I asked them to on our first day. I've also overheard them calling each other blessed.
Had to buy this shirt. My kids love it.
I've even heard them telling other kids about it.


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