Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

What are my resolutions for the new year?
I don't really make resolutions.
Because I know they will be broken in no time at all.

Instead, I'll work on my goals for this year.
Goals infer moving toward somethiing ~
    but also give you space to make a mistake . . .
       to reconsider . . . .
           to reshape it into a reality.

So, goals it shall be.  (You do notice that I am NOT saying "Wishes"!)
   Goals I work at.  Wishes I dream about.

1.  To grow closer to the One who loves me best.
           To see as He sees . . .  love as He loves . . . . 

2.  One goal ~ as every other year's first goal was:  lose weight/get healthy.  (sigh)
             Maybe not to weigh 150 like I used to ~ but to be less than I am now!

3.   ~ chicken coop.  Make it a reality this year, even if I only have them for a year or two!

4.   ~  paint ~ at least 2 new paintings each month.

5.   ~ finish the letters I began for each of the children when I found out that
                 I have an aneurysm on the root of my aorta.  Fill them with love and dream . . .

6.   ~  bees?

7.   ~ write, write, write. 

               and #8. ~  Perhaps the most important ~ To become

   the leading lady in my own life ~
      not an observer.
          To MAKE things happen . . . not just to allow and work with what DOES happen.
              To learn to love me.
                  who I am now . . .
                       and who I will be tomorrow
                             and through this next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Memorial for Sandy Hook's Children and Teachers

I am so thankful for this reminder that the little ones and the teachers from Sandy Hook are not hurting and are not frightened any more.

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Last night I could write nothing.  It was hard to see through the tears. 
This morning is still hard.

There are moments in life when we cannot express our love, our concern, our prayers for what happens around us.  Sometimes, all we can do is allow our heart to breathe the words, "Oh, God . . ."  Because He alone is the one who can comfort.

What has happened to these children and their warm, loving homes and community is just unbelievable.  To have their lives taken away is unthinkable.  But my heart is also with all the other children who survived ~ having lived through the terror.  Father God, please heal their hearts and minds.  Help them to believe again that there is safety in their world ~ and that this world can be a beautiful place.  Father, help us all to remember and believe that You are good, You are loving, and that You treasure each of us.  I ask that you hold each of these who are hurting very very close in Your arms today.

In all this, I want to share another teacher's thoughts and encouragement for all of us. For the questions that I know we will see and hear on Monday when all of our little ones come back to school . . . . .
She is Jolie , a Passionate Teacher, as she calls herself.  Here are her words:


As the world watches in horror and tries to process the days events, every parent in the country awaits for their child to come home just so they can hug them a little bit tighter or tell them a little bit louder how much they matter and love them.
Families and communities will come together in hopes of finding a way thru this tragedy, and we will see the best of humanity emerge as we work to support and comfort all those who experienced this senselessness first hand.
And come Monday morning, these students will arrive in your classroom with the following questions going through their minds:
  • Am I safe?
  • Could this happen here?
  • Could this happen to me?
  • What if someone came to our school?
  • What if you can not protect me?
  • Why do things like this happen?
  • Am I going to be okay?
  • Are we going to be okay?
There is no lesson plan for that. There is no magic strategy or super app that can look children in the face and assure them that the world will be well again.
Thank God for teachers. Thank God you know what to do. Thank God you do what you do.
You have just been reminded of why we are indispensible, and why no one can simply walk in off the street and do our work. You are in this position of priviledge to do one thing like no other person on earth can do: TEACH
You touch hearts every day.
You will look into their eyes, and they will see in yours that you love them.
You will be the voice of reason and hope. The words you share and the silence your endure will be the catalyst for the healing ahead.
You will assure them with your poise and presence that the world is a beautiful place.
You will remind them as you speak about this horrific and unspeakable event that there is a giving and loving community ready to ban together in force to ensure this never happens again.
You will calm their fears by showing them a great school filled with wonderful teachers, leaders, parents and students who are willing to protect and preserve its every member.
You will be human with them. Allowing yourself to mourn along side of them demonstrating how strong and secure one can be in the midst of our hearts breaking.
You will TEACH. You will not need a lesson plan, a reminder of that standard it covers, or any special technology.
You will do what you are born to do. You will do what you are called to do. You will do what students need you to do.
You touch hearts every day.
You change lives every day.
Monday is no different.
The people who will have the biggest influence on how our country will heal and whole will bear the biggest  responsibly for making it whole again are sitting right in front of you.
They need you.
You are their teacher.
You know exactly what to do.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teaching Kindergarten

Teaching with our morning calendar.

Proof that there really is nap time!

I LOVE teaching kindergarten . . . .  but my dreams of pouring knowledge into their willing little heads have been replaced by hopes that after repeated drills, etc. they will learn the things they need to know . . .  

Kindergarten nowadays is different than it used to be.  In past days, kindergarten students played much of the day (I think!), learned their alphabet, counted things, sang songs, learned to be kind to each other, played some more, had recess twice, and had nap time.  Most of the day was taken up with their relationships with their friends (sharing is good, hitting is not) and teachers (no means no, and if the teacher needs you to work ~ well, you work!)  Lots of love and fun, caring and sharing.

Today, along with all of the above, kindergarten has many standards and objectives ~ such as counting by 10's to 100, recognizing and drawing geometric shapes such as cones, cubes, hexagons, and circles, finding the main idea and details in non-fiction text, comparing and contrasting settings, main characters, etc. in stories, writing opinion pieces, knowing the difference between poetry, fables, fairy tales . . .  and a host of other things.  In kindergarten, these little ones have a job to do, and the teacher needs to guide them ever gently into that knowledge. (By the way, we still have nap time!! I am very thankful! ~ Our babies word HARD!)

Here is a glimpse into MY day as a kindergarten teacher ~ while other teachers are teaching the standards, here is a sample of my class and teaching the common core way.  (Yes, you are allowed to laugh.) This happened last week.

Everyone was sitting on the big rug together while listening to me reading one of the gingerbread books . . . .

I DO have to go ahead and tell you that this 5-year-old will one day be in the gifted program at school ~ his observation skills are very finely tuned, and he has a comment for everything.  As I turned a page, he leaned closer and raised his hand ~ quite urgently.  (Okay, he was waving it around in my face whispering, "Ms. B!  Ms. B!)
"Ms. B, what's on your legs?"
21 pairs of eyes lean forward to look ~ I lean over, too.
"Nothing." I said.
"Yes, huh! What are those black things?" He points to my ankles.
"Socks." We are all still looking at my ankles.
"Nuh-uh. I can see your legs through them."
"They are knee-highs. They are like socks and pantyhose."
"Why are they black?" (We really need to get back to class, I think.)
"Because I wanted them to go with my dark pants." I told him.
And I told the other 20 pairs of eyes.
"Your pants are NOT black." He just can't let go of this.
"No, they aren't. But I can't wear brown socks with my black sneakers," I pointed out, helping to teach them something about colors. Fashion sense is not my forte'. :)

So, we finally got back to our book. During that 7 minutes I taught 
            listening to others ~ SL.K.1, (Speaking & Listening)
           using observation skills ~ Science.4a and 4e
           taking turns talking ~ SL.K.1a, 
           asking questions to understand ~ SL.K.3
           AND that there is a difference between socks and knee-highs. 
 I also learned to be very careful what I do with my feet and ankles ~ because obviously when I am reading to them, they are NOT LOOKING AT THE PICTURES IN THE BOOK!

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's Almost Gotcha Day!

Bryant, Sharon, and Heather are in China and will be meeting Holly soon!  Here's the blog to follow ~

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pete the Cat Comes Home!

So, Pete the Cat decided to come home with me over Fall Break.  He's going to be going home with my kindergarteners every weekend, so he decided to come with the teacher as a trial run. 

It was so chilly this weekend that I decided to make a pumpkin pie.  I mean, come on!  Cool weather, leaves beginning to change, a fire in the wood stove . . . who doesn't want pumpkin pie?

Well, Pete did NOT.  But did Pete cry?  Goodness, no!  He decided he wanted to make molasses cookies . . . . those yummy gingersnaps that you take out of the oven before they get crispy.  In fact, Pete decided he wanted to make enough for all the boys and girls in our room.  YUM!

Pete knows I need my coffee before I start making cookies.

Pete had to try a little first.  He likes the whipped cream but was not happy about the coffee.

Pete watched the cookie mixture go round and round.  He was very careful not to fall in.

Pete's guarding the little mini pies. He won't let me eat one!

Did Pete cry when I told him to give the cookie back?  Goodness no!

Afterward, we spent some time at the computer while he showed me previews of some good books.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Taking My Breath Away!

 I have to share this, but I have no photos to prove it!

This afternoon I refilled (again!) the hummingbird feeder on the carport. As I hung it up (at about eye level), the little hummingbirds were hovering, just waiting to get to it. I put my hands behind my back and stayed right where I was ~ about 6 - 10 inches from the feeder.

After a minute, the hummingbirds began swooping all around me. Finally, one little female stopped for a drink. 
Then dozens of little birds were flying all around my face ~ 
in between me and the feeder, 
around my head ~ 
so close that their tiny wings were fanning my face. 
To be right in the middle of all these tiny flying miracles was . . . . well ~ It was one of the most amazing 15 minutes I've ever had! 
 Lolol ~ I plan to do it again tomorrow!
Here are some photos from yesterday . . . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

Genetics Are Crazy Things!

So, a girl meets a boy.
She meets him while in college.
She's healthy.  He's healthy.

Our oldest son has been in and out of the hospital way too many times for one person.  He has had to deal with way too many things in his life.  From the time he was 10 months old, he was in and out of Johns Hopkins Hospital due to deep body thromboses in his spleen and liver.  Then after he got older, he was in Baptist East Cardiac Unit for cardiomyopathy (in congestive heart failure) and had to have his mitral valve replaced.  He was finally found to have a rare blood disorder that has 4 names:  Lupus Anticoagulant Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, Hughes Syndrome, and Sticky Blood Syndrome. These do not seem to be related to rest of our problems, but who knows, lolol.  However, he does tend to form keloid scars ~ would that be a protein/collagen problem?

My youngest daughter was told a few years ago that she has a bicuspid aortic valve.  She also gets very dizzy if she stands for too long a time.  May be connected.

And that doesn't even count my older daughter's scoliosis ~ that may be connected as well.

Now this past Thursday, I found after several tests a month or so ago, that I have an aortic root aneurysm.  And, joy oh joy!  Alyssa's and mine are related.  It's my understanding that it's a genetic malfunction ~ a protein and collagen problem.  One that comes from our British Isles ancestry.

Now, come on!  Our family has been over here in America since the 1600 and 1700's.

And, while I'm fussing, you would think that having skin cancer three time ~ because of my British Isles ancestry ~ would be enough.  Evidently not.

So now all of my kids need to let their doctors know that they may be part of this chain, and they will have to be careful with their blood pressure ~ and watch carefully with the grandchildren.  Thankfully, many times it only targets one or two per generation.

Anyway . . . . those were my moments to fuss and to whine.  Now, it's time to get up and be brave.  To do everything I can to help my health.

Just so you know:  Make sure that you don't let your blood pressure get above 120 ~ that is the pre-hypertension line now.  If it's 120 ~ it needs to be a little lower!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mrs. Gore's Post

My son, Will, tagged me on Facebook so I could read this blog post by Mrs. Gore.  She was comparing real men to the Magic Mike movie characters.  She started out by posting this photo:

John Wayne, 1930

 Thinking of actors, I think Mrs. Gore could also have added James Garner.  In an interview long ago, he reported honestly that he had never had an affair ~ that his wife was the woman for him.

James Garner
 Then Mrs. Gore went on to add men in her own life that were manly men who did NOT have to resort to vulgarity and stripteases to impress their ladies.

I'd like to add my OWN manly men.  Men who strong, courageous, compassionate men who love the Lord and love their families.  I'm thankful for them.  Thankful for all the joys they bring into my life!

My son, Will

Son Tom and his son, Asher

My son, Stephen, and his family
Son-in-law Derek and his family

My youngest son, Robert ~ a couple of years ago

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Niece, Heather!

My brother and his family came to visit this past week ~
   One of the highlights of those few days was getting to play with
     my niece, Heather. 
        We really enjoyed Backgammon!
        Okay, so maybe our rules were NOT exactly what they should be, but . . . .

Isn't she a sweetheart!  Gotta love this girl!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sweet Proposals

I found this Youtube video this morning, after seeing a preview on the news.  I had to watch it because I knew it would be a lot of fun.  And it is!  They involved so many people in the proposal. 
What I didn't count on was the sweetness of the video ~ as the parents took part in their son's proposal.  I cried like a baby.
In fact, I've had to watch it four (okay five) times ~ all I do now is tear up a little bit.
So watch it ~ enjoy being part of someone's life celebration ~
and have those kleenexes close!

                                                                Lip sync proposal

Friday, April 13, 2012

April Sunshine

Our families keep changing, don't they?
Little ones are born and learn amazing things each day.
Here are a few pictures from my family this spring.
(Don't worry ~ I'm collecting more!)

3 weeks old!

Steve and family

Wow!  Riding her bike on two wheels!

Monday, April 9, 2012

So Very Long

I cannot believe it's been so long since I've posted.  I've had 4 days off from school, but between doing some yard work (not nearly enough!),
some house work (ditto)
some school work (ahem!)
and some cleaning out and throwing away . . . .
Well, I just haven't been on.
I mean, I haven't been ON.

I have not even checked other people's blogs.
Well, I'm back. 
I still need to rake leaves,
finish killing fire ants,
finish digging the garden,
plant my flowers and vegetables,
finish going through Mom and Dad's things,
finish storing things for my brother in N.Y.,
and teach 23 firsties every day . . . .
But I should be able to check in
    and leave a note or two to remember my days.

Wishes for Happy Days!

Friday, March 23, 2012


I get to go see Ryleigh and Asher today!
Did I say that I get to go see Ryleigh and Asher today?


Here's another picture, just to hold me over!