best of intentions

Let me just lay this out straight: This week has been CRAZY! I really meant to get around to "Wordless Wednesday" yesterday [which you will all just have to keep hanging on the cliff for until next week], but it didn't happen. Here is a rundown of my week thus far:

Sunday: Started our first small group. Went great. Got home later than intended. Began the week with not enough sleep.

Monday: Well, for starters, it was a Monday. I had to administer the "Winter Benchmark" reading test to my students. In short this entails a student reading a passage for a minute. I grade for words per minute and fluency. They then read two more and I do the same thing. So essentially it takes roughly 3-4 minutes per student. I have others helping me because I cannot physically do 115 in one day. That being said, my entire day was spent listening to the same three passages being read over and over and over and over...you get the point. It was intensive and a boring way to start a Monday. [However, all but 4 or 5 of my students reading scores went up! Awesome.] I also stayed late this day to get everything ready for my pre-observation meeting with my principal scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Tuesday: Wake up, look outside, notice some flurries. Turn on my phone and we have a one hour delayed start. Awesome right? Wrong. At my school teachers still have to report on time, regardless of any delays [WHAT?! I know...right?!]. So I left my house only 5-10 minutes later than I normally would have, decided to go ahead and stop for gas [I mean, let's be honest I wasn't going to RUSH!]. However, I pull onto the interstate and realize that I will most likely be getting my delay. Over 2 hours later I pulled into school... Oh and did I mention that whilst in traffic I managed to get a bloody nose? Awesome. Once at school I immediately start helping set up for the luncheon that the 8th grade is hosting that day, and make it to my classroom with out 10 minutes to spare before the kids arrive. After my first block passes in a fog, I release my students, only to realize I have written down the WRONG schedule on the board. I gather them back into my classroom for a little while longer and track down the correct schedule. However, even with the second attempt I fail to realize that lunch has also changed. So I take my students to lunch approximately 5 or 6 minutes late [when you only have 21 minutes to eat, this is a big deal]. Needless to say, I felt very "out-of-sorts" all day and it passed in a haze.

Wednesday: Oh, it's just getting better. Wednesday was a pre-scheduled "early release" day. We have one once a month this year, so the students are dismissed at 1:30 and we meet in our departments until the end of the day. During our department meeting I become slightly overwhelmed by the new reading program I am implementing, and end up staying until 5:30ish to work out some issues with it and enter grades. At this point, I was finally feeling caught up for the week, grabbed my coat and bag with a smile on my face, only to realize that my keys are locked in my car [in the ignition no less]. Awesome. [Also, while checking to make sure they are in the car I was locked out of the building and had to go bang on a teacher's window so he could let me back in]. Because I stayed late on an early release day there were only about 4 other teachers in the building. Bob, our band director, tells me he is playing downtown and could take me halfway home if Brent wanted to meet us. I thought, Great. Perfect. I don't want to even have to mess with this right now. So I hopped in the car with him and his fiance, Laura, who is an 8th grade science teacher I work with. I call Brent, he says he'll meet us at the planned McDs. In the next 3 minutes we realize Laura has triple A and that if she is with me they will unlock my car for me. So we call, Triple A can be there at 6:30. Perfect. I call Brent. I call Brent [times 30]. He has jumped quickly in the car and left his phone at home. There is no way to get ahold of him now. So I wait at the car with Laura, Triple A comes, I hop in, glad to be back in my vehicle, and begin driving home. I go to the McDs, assuming Brent will be there...and he is...and he has been for about an hour. I finally get home shortly after 7.

Thursday: FCA in the morning, so I have to get up and leave a half hour earlier than usual. Not a big deal, but still something. I am observed in 3rd block. The kids were out of it and dead from the previous two off-schedule days. Perfect. Oh well. And then in 5th block my Principal, Literacy Coach, Superintendent and Vice Superintendent all came in my room to observe. Instant sweating in the armpits, but they thought my "book talk" was awesome. Bullet officially dodged. Began needing to use the restroom around 2. Stayed until 5:15 creating a quiz, never thinking to walk down the hall and go to the bathroom, rushed home to quickly make supper for Brent who has a game at seven. Sit down and hastily eat with him. Instant "i-just-ate-too-fast-and-feel-as-if-i-may-throw-up-feeling." Decide it would be best if I didn't go to the game. Finally went to the bathroom at about 6:30. Sat down to write this blog.


Good news: Tomorrow is FRIDAY! :)

And THAT, my dear friends, is why I didn't get around to blogging yesterday.


wove, twue wove...

Installment #2 of

Things I have learned/observed/am-still-learning/would-like-to-be-better-at because of my marriage to Brent:

8. Put aside competition...
This is very, very, very.....very, very hard for me. However, when I married Brent I knew that he was incredibly talented at many things; I knew he could dunk, I knew he could solve a rubix cube, I knew he could leap over 6'5" inch guys in a single bound... However, I didn't know this translated in everything he did. So I've learned that God has given me a mate who will kill my pride. When Brent does something-- even something simple, like vacuuming-- he does it slightly better than what I could do. Humble pie.

9. Love [verb]
Love no longer means the outward exhibition of an emotion: kisses, flowers, romantic dinners etc. It means sharing chores, laughter, listening even when I'd rather be watching HGTV. It is watching a painfully boring golf tournament, eating cookie dough until you're sick together. Love is sometimes silent and tearful.

10. Being mad is usually a wasted emotion.
Here is another one of those "I know it in my head but not in my heart" type of lessons. Usually, getting mad at Brent does none of the following: 1) Help the situation. 2) Resolve the issue. 3) Make him want to talk about it. 4) Make me appear attractive in anyway. Here is another one where you take a big gulp, calmly state the issue [because ignoring the situation sure doesn't help either!], take his hand, and wait for him to continue the now adult communication that is occurring.

11. Talk about expectations ahead of time.
This is something that we had to learn during our time apart in college. Because we only saw each other once every month or two, we learned quickly that if we didn't communicate what we expected that time to be like one or both of us would be let down in some way. We also had to learn that our expectations needed to be realistic. This made wedding planning a breeze, a stressful move less stressful, and chaotic trips home productive. I'm sure this will come in handy even more when kids enter the picture [no we're not pregnant.]

12. He is my husband not my gal pal.
This is the only one that Brent helped me with. :-) Last night, like a broken record, I turned to Brent and said, "What should I wear tomorrow?" To which he replied, "You should add to your blog list that you've learned that your husband is not your girlfriend." HA! He usually helps me pick out an outfit if I give him options, or tells me my hair is "bumpy" in the back, or that I have on too much blush etc. but when I ask him such questions it is torturous. It is true: he doesn't care. NOT: It doesn't matter. He simply does not care one way or the other if I wear the heels or the flats, the trouser pant jeans or the bootcut, is I wear my hair up or down for the event.... In his defense, he is very patient with me in this area [not surprisingly], and has even suggested that I make a Rolodex of outfit choices so he can just scroll through and select one. :-)

13. Feed him well.
Now I probably wouldn't be a Sch. family descendant had I not added this to the list. In our marriage I have learned that cooking a nice meal, AND sitting down to eat together is just what the doctor ordered. Now, cooking with large amounts of butter and lard may not be considered healthy, but it sure creates a very happy husband :-)... and helps with the "birthin' hips" that make come in handy for aforementioned future children [no we're not pregnant].

And there you have it. Definitely not an exhaustive list, but a truthful and reflective one. Thanks for your comments on the last post [interestingly enough they were mostly about how incredible Brent is...and how incredible my mom's towel folding abilities are. Well, if you think that is great, you should see how she folds underwear! :)]

And please stay tuned, tomorrow I'm going to introduce a new idea for Wednesdays on my blog: "wordless wednesdays"


mawiage is what bwings us togever ...

[For those of you that don't know, the above title is not my 8th graders crazy talk rubbing off on me, but rather a reference to one of the best movies ever, "The Princess Bride."]

I have been wanting to write my thoughts about marriage SOMEWHERE for awhile, and thought what better place than here, on this little blog of mine? So here I am, almost 2 years into our marriage, trying to figure out how to assemble words correctly to describe the beauty of this thing that Brent and I have got going on.

On February 8th it will be 6 years since we started dating! [And also my wonderful Grandma's birthday :-)]. Oh what a learning curve it has been. I have tried to simply compile a list of things I have learned, and in the process realized that I will have to bring this to you in two installments. This is for a couple reasons: one reason is that my husband is simply so incredible that I could write about being married to him forever; the second reason is that I want you to actually be slightly interested by the time you finish reading. So let's get started.

Things I have learned/observed/am-still-learning/would-like-to-be-better-at because of my marriage to Brent:

1. The Proverbial Mirror
I'm sure that you have all heard of "the mirror" analogy in a marriage, but it is so incredibly true. I have learned more about myself by my daily interactions with Brent than ever before in my life [although I did learn a lot about myself when I learned it wasn't okay to still be playing Barbies in 7th grade...but whatever]. I have learned I am not nearly patient enough, that I am not nearly humble enough, and that I have a long way to go in the area of "forgive and forget." But let's face it, that is part of the beauty of marriage. Every morning when I wake up and kiss that forehead of his, I am awaking to another day of working on a better reflection.

2. Selfish vs. Humble
I should probably just title this one "Kelsey vs. Brent." I have learned just how selfish I can be, and am slapped in the face with it all the time. I am truly striving to be less selfish and more servant hearted, but it's difficult. For example, I know if we are both comfortable on the couch that Brent won't roll his eyes and make that "huffy" noise if I ask him to get me a glass of water, or a kleenex, or rub my feet.... and that is easy to take advantage of. I'm glad I realize it, and now I must work on not exploiting him...oh and not rolling my eyes and making that huffy noise when he asks me to do something for him :).

3. Marry your best friend but have other community/outlets.
You would think this would be fairly self-explanatory... but it took awhile to learn. I adore Brent. I love to spend time with him. On any given day, he is the one I want to be hanging out with. He makes me deliriously happy and giddy. This is a good thing. But excommunicating ourselves from others is not. We had to learn that it is too much weight to put on the other's shoulders. God created us to live in community beyond our spouse.

4. You will do things differently and it's, big gulp, okay.
Brent doesn't fold his towels like me [because he wasn't in the school of Sharon], and he doesn't plug his cell phone in until it is completely dead, and he doesn't understand the oh-so-important rule of leaving the bathroom door closed completely while in the shower [to retain every ounce of heat]...etc. And it's OKAY. It is Okay. It's okay. It really is.

5. Be silly together.
Every day I come home from work I know that Brent will make me laugh. Most likely he will have me almost in tears, laughing uncontrollably at some point. In our toughest and loneliest times, laughter helped us through.

6. In stillness and in quietness shall be your strength.
This is a verse in Isaiah somewhere. My parents have always had a painting of a loon in a quiet lake with this verse on the bottom. The loon is quietly floating across the water, and when I look at that painting it says: "Peace." Brent is a living example of this verse. And he has taught me oh-so-much...we're talking BOOKS of knowledge!... on this subject.

7. Survival skill #285
Brent's body temperature is usually 20 degrees warmer than mine. Said husband's body, therefore, makes a great feet warmer for my ever frigid and icy toes.

...more to come in installment two....


resolution update

Last weekend I took the time to write about my resolutions for this year. My hope is, that I will occasionally update you on my progress, or failure. Since I'm just getting started I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my past week and see how I did.

1. [I want to get to know Jesus again]. This is obviously something that doesn't happen over night, but I am trying to be much more disciplined in this area. Last weekend I purchased a study companion [also helping with resolution number 7], and it is great. It has 4 different applications with every passage, following the Lectio Divina style of study: Read, Think, Pray, Live. It is phenomenal and very helpful. I also purchases a fresh new journal [one of my very favorite things], to reflect, pray, and "hold my thinking" [a teacher term I use with my students].

2. [Do something intentionally everyday to serve Brent]. I have followed through with this one almost everyday. There was a day or two when I made supper and did the dishes, which I don't necessarily consider "intentional." I'm still trying to be creative with this one so it isn't simply something that I would normally do for him. Today I am going grocery shopping, and although I got some flack for not liking pineapples, I will be getting one for him :).

3. [Stop thinking about where I want to be and live where I'm at]. This one was going to be the most challenging for me, because it would be easy to keep floating right on by. So, last Sunday, a day after writing my resolution post, Brent and I decided we were just going to dive in and join a small group. And dive in we did. We will now be co-leading a small group every Sunday night, and we were able to meet everyone last Sunday, and will be beginning tomorrow night. [Sometime I'll have to write about how they put together small groups because it is CRAZY]. We are really excited about this opportunity to get to know some more people here, and know that it is something we should have done a long time ago.

4. [Have written 500 posts when 2011 comes knockin']. I've been trying to be a little more consistent with posting, and have greatly appreciated the comments and responses I've gotten. I also changed my layout/background scheme because in the past sometimes these changes have inspired me to write more, or at least attempt to write more. We shall see.

5. [Go on a service or missions trip]. Nothing is in the works yet on this one.

6. [Complete p90X]. Again, nothing is in the works yet. However, we are planning on beginning in February.

7. [Be less of a budget nazi]. This one will take time, as well. I feel like I have been having a better mindset when it comes to spending, and last weekend I finally bit the bullet and we went and saw a movie in the theater [this was the first one we had paid for since our anniversary last June]. I also gave more than our tithe this month, as we were challenged my our church to give over and above for our Haiti relief fund. Small steps, my friends, small steps. [Sidenote: I was telling mom that, although sometimes I feel mixed emotions about attending such a MASSIVE church, it is incredible what they are able to do in a time of crisis like this. Last Sunday they announced that they had already donated 180,000 dollars to a group in Haiti. What a blessing to be so blessed that when the world needs us to be His hands, without hesitation, they are able to be so generous.]

So there you have it folks, my resolution update!

Also, please let me know what you think about the new layout. I had fun taking some new pictures until I took this one that I thought would work with the color scheme. :)


why they write...

...is why I teach.

If you remember last year I shared the responses my students wrote for "why I write." Here is the second installment. They wrote this in November and I have been wanting to compile a list for awhile, but other things have had to take priority. So, I decided to have my student aides help me. I'm sure there were other great responses that they bypassed, but here is the list they composed from my students' writings. I get shivers and goosebumps when I read these, and I know I will cherish these lists for a very long time. It is fascinating to see how introspective they can be at this age.

So please enjoy. Now,without further adieu...

Why My 8th Graders Write

-I write because I love to live in dreams.

-I write because life is too overrated.

-I write because I can open myself without pain.

-I write because the words on paper release your inner truth and thoughts.

-I write because writing is the gateway to a path of joy and pure imagination.

-I write because I’m angry and don’t want to scream at someone.

-I write because its fun to have that experience of joy when you have written something fantastic.

-I write because the flow of my pencil hides what I can’t say out loud.

-I write because no matter what I say the paper will always hear me and be able to recite everything I’ve ever told it, every idea, feeling, and thought.

-I write because it allows me to be dramatic.

-I write because someone I didn't know died today.

-I write because there’s no certain form or shape it has to take.

-I write because I can let loose, go all out, and be daring.

-I write because my mind can’t contain the story of my life.

-I write because I have something locked up inside of me that is banging on the door trying to get out.

- I write because my mind can’t comprehend life though my pencil can.

-I write because I don’t have enough time to spend my whole life wishing I had.

-I write because I can write down whatever I want and know that I’ve made a mark in the world.

-I write because it helps take the pain away.

-I write because I want to know where the world would be with out me.

-I write because a pen is my only friend.

-I write because I can escape from reality.

-I write because I need a place to store my emotions.

-I write because I can’t voice my fears.

-I write because forgetting comes all too easily.

-I write because I can take a picture with out a camera.

-I write because the paper and pen always listen.

-I write to get things I can’t say out loud off my chest.

-I write because it puts me in a hypnotic trance as if no one is around me.

-I write because I’m a broken heart hidden behind a brave face

-I write because it gives my imagination a chance to take me away

-I write because reality isn’t a barrier with stories

-I write because you can always revise what you wrote, but the things you say are permanent

-I write because I can be as big as I want to and nothing can stop me

-I write to speak the unspoken words

-I write because that’s all I am

-I write because I want to rid my body of unwanted emotions

-I write because writing is the only way to release what I hold inside me

-I write because I can talk without being interrupted

-I write because I have something to say and I want to be heard

-I write because I ran out of room in the conversation but I have a notebook with lines that I can fill

-I write so my thought can come alive

-I write because it takes me away into my own world where I call the shots

-I write because the page is the only place I let my real emotions live

-I write because I love the way the pen feels as you press firmly on the page

-I write because my pencil moves to the rhythm of my brain spitting out ideas with every stroke

-I write to hear soft melodies in my head

-I write to tell myself everything is going to be okay, when I know its not

-I write because my personality sounds better on paper then when spoken

-I write because it’s my vacuum and will suck all the bad out

-I write because CAPS lock doesn’t always get the point across

-I write because the annoying noise that the pencil makes is like a comfort food for writing

-I write because I have so much to say but some people don’t listen

-I write because my voice is most powerful while expressed in writing

-I write because when I write the words jump off the page and I’m taken into a story book

-I write because I can become my everyday dream

-I write because the paper calls out to me and my pencil fits perfectly into my hands like I was meant to do this

-I write because I want to express my feelings to that one person

-I write because I can find a solution

-I write because I am a metaphor

-I write because my lips are not my only voice

-I write because I can let things go without anyone knowing

-I write because crazy things happen

-I write because it is the only friend that can’t betray me



A funny story. Almost.

Today my students were reading a chapter in our new novel. While they were reading they were asked to answer some questions. Once of these questions was as follows:

Activate your background knowledge [one of our current thinking strategies] to figure out the day/date that Hunter is referring to when he says, "I looked up and saw American flags flapping in the wind as they hung from the fire escapes. No one had to tell anyone to hang them up. That day, everyone just did it."

Now here is a conversation I had with one of my "gifted" students:

Him: "So, I don't think I get this questions. Is it 1918?"
Me: "Well, let's think a minute: What is the setting for our novel?"
Him: [After looking this up, because he didn't know, even though we discussed this, and even wrote it on our giant plot line in the classroom yesterday]. "New York....Ohhhhhhh....so the Great Depression?"
Me: [Baffled. Trying to gather my thoughts and think of a way to further question him to help him come up with the answer]. "This happened in your life time."
Him: "Ohhhhh.....World War II."


No Child Left Behind? Seriously?


An open letter to my student loans

Dear Student Loans,

Yeah, you. You know who you are. But my real question is, do you know what you are doing? Do you know the life-blood you are sucking?

Let me tell you something, Student Loans, a few years ago I probably led you on. Sure, we had a good relationship at the start. You kept me from breaking into tears when I had to go see Deb at the little pay window in Zw. Hall to pay my monthly tuition. I was able to write the check because of you, and for that I am grateful. I'm sorry if this led you to believed there was something special between us. I'm sorry if I wasn't quite honest at the time.

You see, Student Loans, I saw this coming a long time ago. I should have said something, but I needed you then. Not all of us were fortunate enough to get the Peale. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned his name in your presence, but it's true. The Peale is much more generous and GIVES the money instead of expecting payback. I guess I'm just saying that I feel you're a bit selfish.

It's been 2 years since I started trying to pay you off, and I just don't think this relationship is working for me anymore. You're nice enough, but lately, I just think you're a little too unapproachable. I would use the 'it's not you, it's me' excuse... but instead I have to break your heart and let you know that I'm seeing other Student Loans. And it's too much pressure trying to make you all feel taken care of at once.

And there is something else: My husband and I really want a new computer. But you are standing in the way. Is this bitterness towards you unfair? Unreasonable? I don't think so.

I know you still have great interest in me...actually I feel that I'm only paying your interest. I just need you to know that there is fresh blood out there. There are new college freshman almost daily, I'm sure. Their bank accounts are just waiting to be owned by you. So please, let me be. Get off my back.

Before I go, I want to tell you a brief story. There once was a Student Loan that was very helpful. He helped me pay for some tuition in college, but he knew when it was time to let go. He said he forgave me, or that he was forgivable, I don't remember which. And forgiveness is biblical. So maybe we could work something out?

Student Loans, we've been doing this dance long enough. Will you throw up the white flag please? I didn't want it to come to this but... I hate you.

Unfortunately in your debt,



"become big and write with the whole world in your arms"

The title of this post is written at the very bottom of my blog. Some of you more astute [word of the day on Monday] followers have noticed it, others have not. It is a quote by Natalie Goldberg. I chose it as the title of this post because it fits one of the "resolutions" I have set for myself this year, and that is what this post is about.

I suppose this doesn't need much of an introduction. We all know what resolutions are, and most of us say we don't make any but secretly we do. We just don't tell others because then if we don't follow through it's okay :). Or maybe that's just me. Regardless, here I am, finally, on the 16th of January writing my resolutions.

I wanted to make them realistic. I also wanted to really think about things that will help me be a better wife, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, and follower of Christ. So without further ado:

1. I want to get to know Jesus again. I mean, I know him, and love him, but I want to get back to the point in our relationship where I always feel his presence. I just feel like I've been missing him recently. [And yes, this is the one resolution that is NOT in random order. This is number 1 for 2010].

2. Do something intentionally everyday that is completely, and unselfishly for Brent. I want to have a more serving heart, and this is where I feel it needs to start. This could be a variety of things: buy pineapple [he loves it, I don't], write him a note to find in the morning,wash and fold his clothes AND put them away without being slightly upset that he didn't help with one of the steps...etc. He is the most selfless and serving person I know and I feel so loved by the ways he serves me daily. He deserves the same. And my heart will be better for it.

3. Stop thinking about where I want to be and live where I'm at. No matter where I'm at. This is something I've written about before, and something that I struggle with a lot. Ever since I began college this has been difficult for me, and after every change I regret the way I lived in the places I was placed. Yesterday I had a brief meltdown about my time here in Louisville...crying out of sheer frustration with myself for not investing more. A friend told me that those are tears of unexpected blessings...I didn't expect to be blessed by living here. I just started reading "Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God" [from the same friend who told me the previous statement], and in the introduction the author says, "[We often] just sit and wait for "normal" life to resume. Don't we sometimes feel we are treading water until our "real" life and ministry begin?" Thus this resolution. I don't want to tread water any more, no matter where life brings me next.

4. This is post number 247 since I began blogging. My fourth resolution is to have written at least 500 by the time 2011 rolls around. I want these resolutions to be realistic, and realistically I will not be able to write everyday. So, 253 posts this year seems more doable. 2 days ago I said that writing is cathartic for me, and it truly is. So I want to do it more. I also think that the more I write the better I will become at writing. Like I always tell my students, "If you write everyday you get better at writing everyday." If I expect this of them, I should do this myself. So I want to "become big and write with the whole world in my arms."

5. This is connected to number 2: wanting to have more of a servant's heart. I want to go on a service project or mission trip this year. Whether that means going downtown to help out at a soup kitchen or going overseas to help build houses or love on orphans, I want to be available.

6. I want to complete p90x. Last summer Brent and I started, if you remember, what I deemed "the devil's workout." But I felt so healthy. It is not a workout to necessarily lose weight, but to build muscle and strength and endurance. Something I have missed since my days of high school basketball. We are wanting to start at the beginning of February, and I want to finish this time. [Last time Brent hurt his shoulder about 45 days into it, and without him to help me stay motivated I stopped.]

7. I want to be less of a budget nazi. See post from a few days ago if you have not been introduced to this alter ego of mine. This doesn't mean that I still don't want to be frugal and wise with our money; I believe that is biblical. I just don't want to feel controlled by it, because that is NOT biblical. I want to find the balance. [Soon I will write about my first step in this process].

As of right this moment, that is the main list. Like I said, I want these to be achievable and realistic. If I add too many more I'm afraid they won't be. So there you have it. Maybe I should make a resolution for all of you though out there in blog land:

Comment on Kelsey's Blog more often. [Yesterday I wrote about being affirmed, and I have a feeling that number 4 will be less likely to happen if you don't make this your resolution] :)



Whether we admit it or not, we all like to be affirmed in what we do. Especially if what we are doing is important to us.

At our faculty meetings we give out "fish." At the beginning of every year there are a certain number of stuffed fished that are given out and throughout the year and the [way to many] faculty meetings that we have they are passed on to another teacher. It is supposed to be a part of the "fish" philosophy...There are 4 different reasons you can pass on the fish to another teacher. It can fall under one of the categories of the "fish philosophy" [I just googled it to make sure I was getting it right]:

Be There is being emotionally present for people; respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.

Play taps into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun.

Make Their Day is finding simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life, not because you want something out of it, but because that’s the person you want to be.

Choose Your Attitude means taking responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you.

The main idea is that through The Fish Philosophy, we build stronger relationships with the team members we work with, and the students we teach.

[At this point I have to throw this out there: As my dad would say, it's a little bit of "Kumbaya," but it is a nice part of our monthly faculty meetings].

Last year I got a fish for bringing laughter to our lunch group and lightening the, often too stressful, mood.

But last week, I got a very thoughtful "fish" from our school's literacy coach. She typed it up and gave me what she shared at the meeting.

The staff member to whom I would like to pass this fish truly makes a difference in the lives of her students. She is energetic, caring, and is there for her students, in addition to providing rigorous, engaging lessons every day for her community of learners. It is evident that she has a passion for teaching and her content. Not only is she there for her students, but for her team as well. I have the privilege of co-sponsoring yearbook with her and I don't know where I'd be without her in that endeavor. Kelsey... thanks for all you do for the students of S. O. You have certainly been a wonderful addition to our staff the last 2 years.
Your friend and colleague, Kathy

It was affirmation I needed during what I call a "dry spell." I know we all have these moments in our careers, or lives, where we still feel our work is valuable, but maybe not valued.

I pray that, even if you don't get a "fish" from someone at a faculty meeting, that you still feel affirmed in what you are doing.


word of the day

In my classroom I always do a "word of the day." Vocabulary is important.

Today's word was "Catharsis."

So I thought I would blog briefly about some things in my life that are cathartic for me:

- Obviously, writing. No matter what kind of a mood I'm in if I pick up a pen things get better.

- Eating. This probably isn't recommended. But give me some buttered noodles or a package of oreos and it's as good as letting out a good cry.

- Teaching. Most days. Granted, there are always days that I just want to be home in bed etc. but when I'm in the middle of a great lesson and a good discussion is brewing or a student shares a wonderful piece they have written... it is cleansing for the soul.

- Cleaning. WHAT?! I know. Weird. But getting down on the floor and scrubbing the snot out of the bathroom floor is definitely cathartic.

- Hugging Brent. Now that you have all checked your gag reflexes... I'm being serious. I can be stressed to the max, and Brent will notice and come over to me and just hold me for a minute and BAM... I'm relaxed. I think he is magical.

- Driving. At first I didn't like my 30 minute commute everyday, but now I have found it provides some much needed decompression.

- Cooking. Sometimes. I say sometimes because there are definitely days when a bowl of cereal is all I want to think about making...but most days I really enjoy the process of making meals.

- Drinking coffee. Enough said.

And there you have it folks: catharsis. Now, would you please use it in a sentence and give me an antonym? :)

** And I have hopes to blog about three things this weekend. [3 day weekend, I think I can do it!]


good morning day 3 of a 4 day weekend

Yep, you read correctly. School was canceled yet again yesterday. We have gotten around 5 inches (maybe 6 outside of the city), so, I will give them credit...it is a decent snowfall for Kentucky.

Before things get rolling today I wanted to post something again. A few reasons why: Because I can prolong taking off my pajamas. If I am still in my pjs I do not feel the pull to be productive near as much as when I am dressed for the day. Also, because I have been blog hopping this morning and reading other blogs always encourages me to write more, even if it seems mindless or pointless...because I usually like reading my friends mindless and pointless blogs.

Brent is currently still sleeping. This is a VERY RARE occurrence. I seriously do not remember the last time that he slept in longer than me. Good for you, Brent! He has today AND tomorrow off; truly a dream come true. It is another rare occurrence as of late that a Saturday and Sunday are both open for him. This is wonderful and was enough encouragement to go out last night. Unfortunately me, the budget nazi, ruined a few plans. Here was our conversation:

B: Let's go out to a movie. You need to get out of the house [to which I smelled my armpits...do I stink, or just have the look of some crazed person under house arrest?], and we haven't been on a date in a bit.
Budget Nazi: Sounds good. I balanced the check book today and we could do it. Let's look at see what movies there are.
[proceed to look up movies]

B: I think "Sherlock Holmes" looks good...maybe "Invictus..."
Budget Nazi: yeah...maybe...I don't know...
[realization of what is happening spreads over B's face. he knows what is next and begins trying a bit harder.]
B: Or that new one, "Leap Year," is coming out today. I know you like that actress and even though the previews and the fact that it's a romantic comedy totally give the plot away we could go see that?!
Budget Nazi: I don't know, I just think that if we're going to spend $20 on a movie that it should be a movie that we really want to see. I won't enjoy it if I spend that much and only kind of want to see it.
[B tries a bit further but knows that the Budget Nazi has firm convictions. He too knows that there isn't truly a movie worth seeing right now. Both sigh, and figure out something else to do].

We ended up renting LOST, the TV series. I have fallen in love with this show while in college, but Brent had never watched it enough to know what was going on. The final season is coming out in February so he thought it would be fun to watch the seasons again together so we could watch the final one together. What a romantic notion. And that fun will keep on going. Unlike going to a 2 hour movie. AND we can watch it from our own couch where the benefits are endless: we can control the volume, the temperature in which we watch, we can wear sweats and look like death, we can pause in order to make strawberry milk or chips and dip or broccoli or WHATEVER and it won't cost us $8, etc. etc. etc. Beautiful thing.

After the trip to our video store (the one that is cheaper that we like is about 10 minutes away. Family Video. There is a Blockbuster 2 blocks away but Budget Nazi rears her ugly head and we travel to Family Video for MUCH cheaper rentals AND, I think, friendlier service.), we headed to Graeters Ice Cream. I don't think that the midwest has Graeters, at least, I never grew up thinking that the midwest has Graeters. It is much like Baskin Robins, but slightly more expensive. Perfect. Fortunate for Brent and the Budget Nazi I had received a couple gift cards over Christmas for being a "Graet" teacher [I thought that was clever...]. We split [because despite the gift cards we couldn't get TOO crazy away from normal...and our winter figures were okay with splitting] a double scoop of Raspberry and chocolate [Oprah's favorite...which almost made me want to switch], in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Delicious. [Blue Bunny you still hold my heart.]

So after warming up with that treat we headed back out into the snow, drove the block home, got comfortable and began the LOST marathon. We watched 6 episodes and realized we aren't in college anymore and neither are our body-clocks and at 12:30 called it a night. When Brent wakes up, we will begin again [at least, I'm hoping].

[I am too verbose. My college profs always told me this, and I know it's true. I mean, look how long it took me to tell you this: We were going to go see a movie but I didn't want to spend the money so we rented LOST, ate ice cream, and watched the show until 12:30. Seriously. I'm sorry.]

In other news: When in our living room I quite often here scratching in the roof. I always thought this was our neighbor's cats...however, she moved out 2 months ago. So, it is either ghost cats, or mice, or rats or birds or other things that I don't want in our ceiling. However, this is the beauty of renting I suppose.

And lastly:
I know I don't do a very good job when I say, "In the future I'm going to write about this," but, at the risk of not seeing it through, here are a few things I hope to write about soon:

- Hopes for 2010/ resolutions, if you will.
- Things that marriage has taught me [as we approach the end of year 2...what?!]
- Things that teaching has taught me [as I approach the end of year 2...what?!]

And just so you know...Brent is still asleep.


snow day

The night before you sit close to the t.v. and watch the school names scrolling across the bottom of the screen. If you're lucky, your school starts with an A or a B, and it comes early in the list. If you're not lucky your go to "Warsaw High School" or something of that sort. It is perfect when you see your school's name on the 6 o'clock news, even the 10 o'clock, and know you can stay up late. Other days though you have to force yourself to bed, taking a look at the forecast one last time.

You have a very fitful night of sleep, tossing and turning, knowing you need to sleep in case you do in fact have school in the morning, but wondering too much to actually stay asleep. You wake up at 2:30 and take a peek outside. Much to your dismay there is nothing to show for the snow that is supposed to be on its way. However, you persevere and wake up early and check the t.v. or the messages. Finally to see your school's name with: Canceled. Instead of staying up to celebrate you crawl back under the warmth of your covers, and now find the most comfortable position that had been eluding you all night. You turn off your alarm clock, wondering how you ever will yourself up at a time like this. You sigh, a peaceful, happy sigh, and as you drift back to sleep you whisper up a prayer, "Thank you for allowing me to be a teacher."


Okay, so it went something like that last night. A few minor changes were as follows:

- I did wake up at 2:30 and see there was no snow.
- I did get the call at 6 a.m. that said "No school today."
- However, I peeked out the window again at 6 a.m. and all I could do was laugh. I was looking at the same scene I had seen at 2:30. Nothing. Not a flake in the air or on the ground. However, snow was still in our forecast and being in Kentucky, we had to take serious precautions.
- I did crawl back in bed and think all of those things.
- I woke up at 10 and looked outside again. We had accumulated about 1/2" to an 1" of snow. Good thing they made the call.


It is currently still snowing. I know most of my "readers" have had A LOT of snow recently, so please don't chastise me when I say that I think it beautiful and it finally feels like winter here. Last year I was still waiting for winter in April! I know it won't last long, and although I don't want to go to school in June, a few days will certainly not hurt. I know I am just coming off of a very nice 2 week Christmas vacation, and it is true that I would prefer snow days in the long month of February that seems to have no end, but I will gladly take it!

I do want to be slightly productive today though, so I am brewing some coffee [the sweet nectar of life] and then will grade, and hopefully clean out my closets. It may be ambitious for a snow day, but with this "WINTER STORM" we're having we may not have snow tomorrow either!