Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I was blessed with a conversation yesterday. The teenager got all chatty and talked about life at me for a good 45 minutes. First time in ages! When you have a introvert teen boy, you don't get your hopes up for lots of meaningful conversation. "How's the day?" "fine" "Anything exciting going on?" "Nope" "What do you want for dinner?" "Anything is fine." That is about the extent of it.

Before  you wonder if I have actually read any parenting books, I KNOW that talking to teen boys requires the interrogation skills of a highly trained agent. I have those skills. I choose not to use them too often for the benefit of all because sometimes a mom doesn't really want to know the details in her teen boy's life. Plus, the husband has an ongoing conversation with him every morning and Wednesday as they travel together. It's a good thing. I trust in our system. It works.

I just can't remember the last time he voluntarily sat down beside me and word vomited his thoughts all over me. I was shocked, impressed, and a little curious about what brought it on. A student in his school attempted suicide the day before. He didn't know her, but he knew about it. Maybe it had him searching for connection.There has been an ongoing church series about relationships. Maybe he was practicing? His dad dared him? No telling.

No matter the reason, I am thankful and feeling blessed to have shared the time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm really a librarian

I've been a middle school librarian for a week now. It has been the weirdest and most relaxed first week of school I've ever had. EVER. I've been in school for 37 years. This one takes the cake.

It was weird because it was peaceful.

It was weird because I didn't have students to manage.

It was weird because I got so much done.

It was weird because I came home tired, but not exhausted. I didn't have a list of students I knew were going to be a challenge. I hadn't received 16 emails from parents wanting a conference before the first week was out. I came home confident in a job done well and not stretched wafer thin.

My days were quiet affairs doing paperwork, organizing, managing projects.

I had one day of awesome busy with meeting 14 classes and over 350 students. The rest went by in a quiet undulation of uninterrupted projects punctuated with a few teachers and students here and there coming by.

Next week my schedule starts. It will look a lot different. And I am excited. I can't wait to meet the other half of the school. I can't wait to make a difference.

The week culminated with Ryan's first Cross Country meet. He had fun. I wish I could have been there to cheer him on.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Librarian for a Week

This year I get the express pleasure of being a school librarian. It is the fulfillment of a dream and the commencement of a new stage of my career in education. I've been at it officially for a week now, and I have noticed a few things.

It is a lonely job. I'm not really a part of a team, though I am officially with the fine arts team. Most don't see reading as a fine art. These other teachers are committed to their programs, and rightfully so. It doesn't seem an especially tight group, if you get my drift. Everyone is very nice and kind and helpful, but there isn't the interdependence that I am used to after 20 years of being on a team. We don't depend on each other for our daily work life. And it feels isolating.

The staff doesn't quite know what to do with me. Because the campus didn't have a consistent librarian last year, they aren't sure what I can do for them. They are happy I am here. They just have their own specific jobs. I remember. As a teacher, I started considering the library about week 2 of school when I needed a 30 min break from the children. As the librarian, I want to help them anyway I can. So I remind them that I can help in the first few days and have already gotten some good resources into the hands of some exuberant individuals. But not many. I know I just need to keep talking the talk and being helpful and available.

My boss forgets I'm there sometimes. I mentioned that there wasn't a consistent librarian last year. It was also the principal's first year there. So having an actual certified, degreed, and capable teacher/librarian just a few steps away hasn't set in yet. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I love what I am doing! When I walk into this new place full of faces I recognize but can't put a name to, I get a rush. It's part fear and part hope. I love that I have the freedom to do things that I never had time for before. I love that my classroom has the most books in the whole school. I love that I will get to help teachers teach better and help students learn more. I love that instead of sweating data numbers and curriculum/time constraints, I spent my work days this week making signage to help students find materials efficiently and planning when teachers could come with classes. It's a breath of fresh air.

I know I'm going to like this new job. I can't wait for it to get started on Monday!

Monday, July 6, 2015

the eve before youth camp

Twas the eve before youth camp and all through the house
everyone was playing including my spouse.
The children were packed, that much is true
but mom wasn't happy cuz she had much left to do.

A trip to the Mart and some laundry, just a trace .
How many towels do we need to fit in that case?
The day started fine, but is wasn't close to heaven.
Will we be ready to leave in the morning by seven?

So I took a moment to breathe and adjust my focus.
We WILL make it on time without any hocus pocus.
After 20 years, we've been down this road before.
Church camp, you don't scare me anymore!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Journal of the Summer Wife, Day 1

I have been Summer wife for a whopping 24 hours. I don't know if this day is an omen for the summer or just the normal way of things, but I'm a bit nervous.

First night - hubs and kids are gone, I get uninterrupted TV time while I decompress from the single hardest work day in memory. Yay! My MIL even took care of me with appetizer dinner and chocolate pie. Hubs came home running fever and mumbling incoherently. Hmmm, fun while it lasted.

First late night - slept in bits and fits while checking for fever, getting meds, and having to pee

First morning - stayed in PJs until unmentionable time and watched Netflix while Hubs slept and kids gorged on computer fun. Not too bad, except for that niggling headache and press of things that need doing

First afternoon - packed son #dos for preteen camp and heading to The Store with said son and a headache that won't go away.

We shall see what trouble will befall us there. Or maybe what unexpected blessing might await at the Mart of Wals.

Here is a picture to make the post more fun.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How tired are you?

It's Sunday night, 6 weeks of school left. And I am tired. The kind of tired when your eyes burn and there is that weird eye lid twitch at random intervals. The kind of tired where you could lay down and be out in 3.56 seconds. The kind of tired when you bring home a bucket of chicken with no excuses or regrets without asking if anyone else wants it. The kind of tired when summer vacation seems like 100 years away.

I hope to accomplish some stuff this week. I want to find out about my possible new job. I want to do some housework. I want to clear some bills. I want to read something for fun. And I want to have a family game night.

I also want to have a great week at work. I want to have some fun with the kids. I want to help out some of the more stressed out teachers. I want to have full days that reek of worthwhile learning.

So here's to my week! May it reek, in the best possible way.

And here's a picture of a Gutenberg Bible. How cool is that??

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I'm emerging

This has been a killer week. STAAR tests are hard core and make students and teachers all feel deflated and weary. But, as I am coming out of the testing funk, I am excited about being able to teach fun stuff again. I got that little tickle in my belly today when I went hunting for enough glue to make the thing we were creating today. I didn't even put a TEK with the lesson. It was just for fun. And, joy of joys, it will shift into tomorrow because we didn't finish today.

Emerging from the testing funk can be accomplished in a couple of ways. My choice is to shower the kids in markers, glue, slightly faded construction paper that has been sitting on the counter since September (the last time we got crafty btw), and a thought to wonder about and see what they come up with. Letting kids be kids instead of data points is what makes the difference for me. For the rest of this week I will not worry about reading levels, grades, TEKS, or lesson plans. My students will read real books that interest them, write about topics that they wonder about, and learn something new that they didn't know was coming when they walked through the door.

Ahhhh, can you hear it? It's the sound of life and learning and teachers coming back to life.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Who is this?

After a little sabbatical, I thought it was finally time to add another post. Mostly, Mom was anxious and missed reading about my life in this odd platform.

I've been up since 5:25 this morning. My alarm was set for 5:30, so I obviously have to wake up 5 minutes before that. I didn't want to wake up then, but Son #1 had an early morning performance with his church ministry team. Hard to complain about rising early when your 14 year old wants to go and share Jesus with people. I mean, I could complain, but that would just show how shallow I can be.

So, since I was up early and couldn't go back to sleep when I got home, I checked my social media outlets, watched some online videos, and went grocery shopping. Did you know people at Walmart are actually really nice at 7:30 in the morning? One customer reminded me to check the expiration on the milk because he had just found some with a date from 3 weeks ago. Another lady was so polite and wished me a happy day when we met at the aisle crossing. The cashier chatted with me and suggested a fruit dip recipe while she rang up my many items. She even let a lady into the lane even though she was running late for her break. This is a great time to go shopping! I also noticed that all of these kind people were a bit older than myself. Let's kindly say they were in their "fall" years. Way to go baby boomers! You represented your generation well today. And you have inspired me to be more interested in people.

And since you bothered to read my post, here is a bonus picture of a recent trip I was on. You are welcome.  Who doesn't love a big whale?