Monday, August 27, 2012

Teacher, Teacher

I should be doing homework.  I should be walking.  Instead, I entered the word "teacher" in the Pinterest search box and was a little weirded out by what I saw.

First thing that caught my eye was this outfit.  I like it.  But then I noticed someone had it pinned to her "Halloween Costume Ideas" board.  Okay, really, no one would look at this ensemble and proclaim, "I know, you're a supposed to be a teacher! Great costume!"  Not to mention that it's really difficult for me to consider wearing such a fetching outfit to work when I think of the kneeling, crouching, climbing, recess monitoring, copier unjamming, and rug sitting that fills my day...
The next thing that grabbed me (and not in a good way), was this necklace.  Um, no.  Enough said.
There was a link to a story about a teacher stabbing a teacher, but for the sake of my profession, I'll leave you to search that one out.

There are lots and lots and lots of crafty ideas for people to make gifts for their kids' teachers, and seriously, though the thought always does count, my room cannot hold any more knick-knacks.  Even cute ones like this:
A couple of years ago, on my old blog, I wrote a post about teacher gifts, and I'm going to link it here just in case someone comes a wandering.  It was pretty well received, and I stand by it still.   Oh, and then I wrote another one...  I think I have those in reverse posting order, but you get the idea.

Know this:  I remember every student I have taught and something specific about each one.  It's not the gifts they've given me, it's their gifts that they've shared and the growing they do in the school year they're with me that is always memorable.  Each and every child holds a place.

Now a gift I got this year on the first day of school did make me giggle, in a good way.  Instead of an apple for the teacher,
a pineapple.

It's going to be a good year!

A disclaimer, I have found some wonderful and useful classroom ideas via Pinterest.  I just don't think I ever did such a broad/vague search before tonight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Shoebox

Late last summer, right at back-to-school time,  I was stunned to learn of the sudden death of my blog friend's son.  Jack Donaldson went out to play one afternoon when there was a break in days and days of rain, slipped into what was usually a tiny creek but now was a swiftly flowing body of water and died.

I was debilitated by grief for my friend whom I only know via the internet.  I had read all sorts of stories about Jack and his sister Margaret on their mom's blog, and I had only just viewed the back-to-school photos she posted.

Beyond prayer, I felt like I had no comfort to offer her.  I needed to do something, but what?

In time, Anna asked for Jack to be remembered in gifts to Samaritan's Purse and especially to Jack's favorite charity, Operation Christmas Child.  My class had put together a few boxes the previous year, and then last year with Jack in our hearts we packed up more. I did my own box, a box for an older boy.  Anna guided me, when I asked, with ideas of things Jack would have liked himself or things he would have put in a box for a boy his age.  In the box I included a note about Jack along with a picture of him.

Also late last summer, at the same time, my friend Jenn began in earnest her fundraising to adopt a child from Haiti.  To say she has a heart for Haiti is an understatement.  She very much would like to be a mom, and I helped her a bit in some of her efforts.

Stay with me now, please stay with me.

Last night, my friend Dori sent me a link to a Samaritan's Purse website,  Opened this morning, it was a collection of pictures of children in Haiti receiving Operation Christmas Child boxes.  She told me to scroll down to the photo of a child holding a Snoopy wrapped box.  You see, at my Christmas in July party, I had covered our craft table with some blue Snoopy paper, and she thought she recognized it...

 The photo from Samaritan's Purse

She was correct.  It was the same paper from the party, leftover from the paper I used to wrap the box I thought of as from Jack to "my" boy.  It was the same size box (my son's sized shoes).  Could it be? 

I wept, I laughed, I shouted to call Brad into the office, I contacted Anna, I sent Jenn the link, I praised God!  I went to school and smiled all day at the thought of it all.

Jack + OCC + Haiti = God at work.  There is no other explanation.  

There are links throughout this post, but this one is from Anna's blog--it's her eulogy for Jack, her beloved son who firmly believed in Luke 1:37.
With God, all things are possible.

Blogger's note:  
     This post was recently linked to a post on Anna's blog promoting OCC.  I was touched by that, and I welcome all visitors.  However, one commenter pointed out that this box could not be Jack's box because of the age marked on the label.  I enlarged the photo to determine she was most likely correct.  Then I wrestled with what to do about this post.
     I have decided to keep it up.  I've decided that when I pack boxes this time around, I will think of Jack AND the boy/young man in this photo.  Both their smiles continue to warm my heart and are great examples of God's love.  We must continue to reach out to others, and I reach offering a shoebox in memory of Jack.
October 25, 2012

Words for Wednesday

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bag It

Cloth diapers 26 years ago were not what they are now. In hopes of being more Earth friendly, I tried some biodegradable diapers but they started degrading while still being born.  So disposables it was.

There. I've confessed. Two and a half decades later finds me still feeling the need to air that dirty not-laundry. Lucky you, eh?  Out of my new mommy guilt, in so many other ways I was a green earth mom (breastfeeding being the biggie), I decided to see if I could offset the horrific affront I was making to the environment, and I looked into some "green" things.

The result, this then young mama started recycling.

Like a fiend.

The effort in the town I lived it at the time was grassroots, and I jumped on that bandwagon, or truly, recycling wagon. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, after twenty-six years of green--if it can be made into something new, even if I'm far from home, I'm hard-pressed to throw whatever it is into the trash.  When my friends met Brad, they asked him, "You do recycle don't you?" His response, "I guess I do now!" And he does (it's catching!)

Call him Mr. Fiend.

An effort I've been wrangling with for three years now is using reusable shopping bags. I used to use paper bags which would then go out in each week's green bins, but now hardly any stores offer that option. (Remember "paper or plastic?") I was diligently recycling the plastic ones by returning them to the store, but then I learned they are often shipped halfway around the world to be processed. I wondered, does the fossil fuel for said shipping counteract the fossil fuel saved by reworking the bags?

Answer:  Nope.

Outcome:  I switched to reusable bags.

But, do I need matching bags for each store? At Jewel they don't care if they throw things in Dominick's bags, but at Dominick's they once gave Brad more Dominick's bags so they didn't have to use Jewel bags. (Hm, they're both union run stores with workers making a living wage, I mean it's not like he offered them a Wal-Mart bag...but I digress.)  We recently switched to Meijer (how well they pay, I have no idea), and so we bought a bunch of theirs (the best of the reusables it turns out).

We keep them in Brad's truck, and we're pretty good about bringing them into the store.  As typical, Brad is on this bandwagon with me.  But that does make it hard on the rare occasions I'm shopping alone.  Reflecting on this causes me to remember what happened the first time I shopped with reusables without my husband.

Yes, I remembered to put them in the my car before driving to the store. Yes, I remembered to bring them from the car to the store. Then as I was walking into the store a car honked at me. The driver pulled along side me, rolled down her window and called out, "You dropped a bag!" Said bag quickly started to blow away, so I ran after it and stomped on it to trap it.

Got that one.

Then I saw another dropped bag (how did I do that?) skitter under a huge van. I ran to the van's other side to catch it. I mean, I couldn't litter with a bag meant to save the environment, right? It didn't come out the other side.

I got down on my hands and knees to look for it.

The bag was seemingly stuck under the van, twisted somehow to the front tire. I couldn't just leave it there. One it would be littering, and two, what if the lovely anonymous driver unknowingly drove off with a canvas bag wrapped around his wheel and got into a horrible accident?

I had to decide, should I try to crawl under the van and grab it or wait for the van's owner to come out? Whilst mulling this over, another swift breeze picked up, and I caught the bag, not literally but out of the corner of my eye, dislodged by the wind and billowing away from the van and toward Payless. I ran after it, dodging traffic and all the while holding onto (I hoped) my other half dozen bags. Finally, past Payless and in front of Hallmark, the wind halted, and I was able to stomp my foot a few times, finally capturing the bag's handles with my heel. I would have captured it with my first stomp had I not been so winded from laughing at myself.

Ellie breathlessly saves the planet!

Sort of.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Flutter Bys

School starts tomorrow, teacher work days have already started with today's being our last, so Brad and I devoted this weekend to each other.  It just feels like we haven't spent enough time together lately, and the past two days helped with that.

On Saturday, we ran errands and went to Home Depot where we compromised on bushes for our new side planting bed.  Our tastes are so different! We opted to get four Butterfly Bushes and some low rose bushes, and when we got home, Brad got right down to planting.

As soon as he got this first Butterfly Bush in the ground, there appeared a butterfly!  They've been fluttering around all weekend.  I wonder from where they came?

Too sweet.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bear With Me...

I'm reinventing my blogging.  It's going to take a while, not long, but a while.  And all will be welcome to read it.  I hope it to be a kinder place where I'll write what I choose, but never regret what I've written.

Thanks for hanging in there and here with me.