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.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Eye Has Not Seen

I wish I had time to tell you all the incredible, glorious things that have happened with my new job in the last several weeks. The truth is, I should not be blogging at all because I'm in the crazy crunch time before the first day of school this Monday. But I just have to share my joy with you. So for once, I'll keep it short. (Really!) 

Remember how crushed I was when I didn't get a job at the high school where I taught last semester? God had given me an assurance that His plan for me was so much better than what I wanted for myself. In my last entry I shared the beautiful story of the job He dropped in my lap. That was only the beginning.

Monday, July 24, 2017

From Tears to Laughter

Two weeks ago yesterday, I fell into some serious doubts about my career change. The prior week, I'd had my third rejection, and I'd taken this last one very hard. It was supposed to be my best shot at getting a teaching contract because I was interviewing for a position at the high school where I taught freshman English last semester. It had been weeks since the interview; both the principal and the assistant principal who'd interviewed me had resigned, and the new administration wanted to be involved in all hiring decisions.

After introducing myself to the new assistant principal, I'd been anxiously awaiting a call. One evening, as I sat hugging my knees in the bathtub, I whispered to God, "You know, if you could give me this job... Well, of course you could... Anyway, you know it's the desire of my heart to work there. I love the kids. I love the teachers. I love the building. I know you delight in giving me the desires of my heart, and I really, really want to work there."

I rested my forehead against my knees and sighed deeply. "Even so, not my will, but yours, Lord. I trust you to put me exactly where you want me."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

You Can Call Me I.T. Girl

I'm so proud this morning that I just have to brag on myself....

For a couple of months, I'd been suspecting that my PC monitor was going out. Every time the monitor went to sleep, you had to turn it on and off literally about 30 times to get it to wake back up. It was the strangest thing. First there'd be a tiny image, no more than a pinpoint of light in the middle of the screen. Each time you powered it up, the image would get a tiny bit larger before fading into blackness again. The last few times you hit the power button, the image would fill the screen for increasingly longer intervals before fading back out. At last, the image would stay, looking perfectly normal.

This drove Allyson and me absolutely batty, though it was a great opportunity for me to cultivate patience several times a day. Despite Allyson's protests, I was determined to keep the monitor until it was completely nonfunctional due to my current budget constraints.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hope That Doesn't Disappoint

I've missed you guys so much! I've had even more stories stacked up in my head than usual, but lacked the time or energy to write them....

I finished my 12-week teaching assignment on May 8. Overall, it was a very positive experience, though I did get discouraged and overwhelmed in the middle of it. Ultimately I learned to relax and accept my students--and myself--for who they were rather than expecting them to adhere to unrealistic standards. I tried to model grace and then to ask for grace when I made my own mistakes. I formed strong bonds with many of my students, and they are my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to the prospect of working at their school in the fall. I did interview for the single open position, but then they got a new principal and then a new assistant principal, so everything is still up in the air.

I spent the last three weeks of school doing one-day sub jobs at various middle schools and high schools across two districts. I had a few adventures that I never had time to tell you about, and mostly enjoyed myself. I was surprised to find that I quite enjoy middle schoolers, and I think I would be just as happy teaching them as I would be teaching high schoolers. I also found that there are many, many schools where I'd feel honored to work and where I would be welcomed warmly by the students and staff.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Don't Miss the Open Doors

I can't believe I only have four weeks left of my 12-week teaching assignment. What a roller coaster it has been. The highs are so high, and the lows... abysmal.

Although my freshmen have a staggering capacity for cooking up all manner of mischief, and some days they nearly drive me to drink, it's typically not their behavior that sometimes tempts me to go back to my old, cushy job. No, it's all the other stuff: the constant grind of prepping for two vastly different audiences (both in age and ability level), never catching up with grading, despairing of ever getting the stacks of graded essays filed in their portfolios, and playing Russian Roulette with printing last-minute copies on the two machines (shared by 120 teachers) that literally break two to three times per week, sometimes at the same time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On the Select Team

I'm five weeks into my long-term subbing assignment, teaching 9th- and 11th-grade English. I've been saving up so many stories for you that I don't even know where to begin. I guess at the beginning....

My feelings about myself as a teacher have followed the same trajectory as they did the first time I started teaching, over 20 years ago. The first couple of weeks were glorious. I loved my kids, and they loved me. I was elated at how easy and fun it was to engage them, and I felt that I was doing what I was made to do, like a horse running or an eagle soaring.

After a couple more weeks slipped by, harsh reality set in as the honeymoon faded. This is a really, really hard job. All day, every day, I had to juggle the responsibilities and interruptions, the planning, the grading, the challenges of classroom management. And I had to do all of this with a smile on my face, preferably with my sense of humor intact. I went home utterly exhausted each night, too keyed up to sleep soundly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yes! So Blessed

Two weeks ago yesterday, I embarked on a journey I'd been anticipating--and often fearing--for over a year. I quit my very good job as a training developer and signed on for a 12-week substitute teaching assignment, teaching 9th- and 11th-grade English.

Words can't describe the nervousness I felt on that first day, but underneath all that I knew that God was with me. I knew that I could never be enough for these 80 children, but I felt a deep assurance that the Holy Spirit would equip me for this purpose that He has called me to.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

One Face of Obamacare

If you're like most of us, you can't wrap your mind or heart around really big problems. Here's an example. Remember the earthquake in Haiti in 2010? It killed about 200,000 people and left 2 million homeless. At the time, I sent money to help deliver clean water to the earthquake victims, but honestly I wasn't terribly moved by the suffering of all of those faceless people. It was too overwhelming to shoulder all of that grief, and even though their lives would never be the same, my own life went on just as it always had.

I see something similar happening in America right now. In the coming months, 20 million Americans may soon be without health coverage, if efforts to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) succeed.

Can you picture that? Twenty million men, women, and children with no health coverage?

Neither can I. How do you put a face on that many people?

Let me help you. Here is one person who will lose her healthcare if this legislation passes. Meet my sister Amy, who suffered a massive stroke in March of 2016. The stroke left her virtually paralyzed on her left side.

Amy four months after her stroke

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Cooking Fail That Wasn't

I had a great, productive day today. I woke up in good spirits and made excellent progress on my current e-Learning project. I was so engrossed in my work that I worked an extra hour without thinking about it.

And then, without warning, I abruptly crashed into a very foul mood. I was hungry and tired and very blue for no good reason. I wanted very much to go to bed, but it was only six and I was hungry.

I drug myself away from my desk and out to the garage to check the deep freeze for something edible. I've been way too busy lately with driving for Lyft (more on that later, but no promises) and studying up on the latest teaching technologies, so I haven't made time to go to the grocery store very often. Thus, I find myself eating whatever I can scrounge up, such as peanut butter and jelly (if I've had time to grind my sprouted wheat and make bread, as well as soak, dehydrate, roast, and grind the peanuts).

So you can imagine my triumph when I spotted a package of salmon I'd bought on sale and then forgotten all about. I literally raised a fist and said, "Yes!"


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