Saturday, October 25, 2014

Celebrate Good Times, Come On! - 10/25


Each Saturday  Ruth Ayres invites us to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week. Looking for celebrations has certainly improved my outlook on my week.  For that, I am certainly grateful to Ruth and to all of you who choose to celebrate with me.

Today I celebrate a list of fall break celebrations!

shopping with my sister and daughter
new fall clothes
sleeping in
staying up late
reading books
blueberry muffins
flannel sheets
electric blankets
clean bathroom
laundry done before Sunday night
sunny days
falling leaves
apple cider
apple donuts

I have enjoyed my three school days off last week.  It was a time of relaxation and celebration.

I also celebrate this day in 1986 - my first date with my husband!  We went to dinner and then watched the World Series 28 years ago!

Have a great week and may you have many celebrations along the way.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grace from the God of Again



Every Thursday Holly Mueller from Reading, Teaching, Learning, creates a place where readers can share their spiritual journeys.  We are a small group, but the learning and sharing always inspires me.

When I decided to participate in this weekly post,  I was very hesitant because I felt I would be exposing a vulnerability, a weakness.  When I think of the word journey, I think of something continuous, and my spiritual journey has been anything but continuous.  My journey has been full of pit stops along the way.  Many stops and yes, I have even been in the pits.

When I read the topic for this week, I was worried once again.  What can I possibly write about grace!  Searching for some type of inspiration, I came across some things written by Beth Moore.  The first post was titled The God of Again.

This post made me think about my journey and all of my stops and starts.  That is when I realized that because God is a God of Again, He not only allows me to keep coming back to Him, but he keeps coming back to me...again and again.  His grace reaches out to me in those pits, pulls me out, and leads me back onto the path where I need to be...back on my journey.

This journey has not been easy for me, and I know I have veered far off the path.  My path may be different and it may have many restarts, but it is mine. Looking back at where I have been is just as important as to where I am going. I know that it is grace from the God of Again that continues to lead me and will keep me company along the way.

Thank you friends for letting me come along with you on Spiritual Journey Thursday.  You have helped me grow in ways you will never know.  Your words touch my heart and encourage my spirit.

I leave you with another post from Beth Moore.  It is a list of many metaphors of grace.





Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Happy Kind of Exhausted


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life. Read more slices or add you own here.

It is Monday night and I am exhausted.  It could be because it was a long day at school, ending with an open house.  It could be because I am trying to function on about five hours of sleep.  And no, I do not have a newborn or sick kids and no, I am not sick myself.

I am exhausted because I stayed up reading a book.  It has been so long since I have done this, and I have missed my midnight rendezvous.  It seems reading and writing has taken a back seat since school started.  So, yes, I am exhausted, but it is a happy kind of exhausted.  The kind I can only get from staying up late reading.  

I explained to my students why I was so tired.

"I stayed up until after midnight reading this new book."

"You did that for fun?!"

"Absolutely!"

I was lost in the book and was in the zone where time just seemed to stand still and the world stopped.  Before I knew it, the clock was turning past 12:00 and my husband was rolling over with a groan. But I kept on reading.

What book captivated my attention and stole my sleep?
  

This is such a gripping story of Hurricane Katrina and the destruction it caused in the lives of its residents.  This story took me down to the Lower Nines of New Orleans to watch those flood waters rush into their lives, taking with it everything Armani owned.  This book has been on several Newbery prediction lists, and I am confident it belongs there.   

I am not finished with the book yet, but it is great to be exhausted again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dreams Do Come True



Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life. Read more slices or add you own here.

Today is a day I have been looking forward to for a long time.  It is the beginning of what I think will be a wonderful experience.  Today we had our first meeting for the Next Chapter Book Club.  Those of you who read my blog regularly know how much this means to me.

The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) was established in 2002 by the Ohio State University Nisonger Center.  NCBC is a community literacy program for adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The program provides them with opportunities to be part of a group activity and to build social connections within bookstores, coffee shops, and caf├ęs.  The book clubs consist of five to eight members with disabilities and two volunteer facilitators.  There are over 100 book clubs in North America and Europe.  Now there is one in Vincennes, Indiana.

I heard about NCBC on Jaana's Writing Blog, and last March I was trained to be a program coordinator.  Our path to launch this book club has contained many bumps, but my dream finally became a reality today.  There are five ladies in our book club, and each one brings her own specialness to the group.  There is Carolyn loves to swim at the YMCA and enjoys reading biographies.  Suzie who loves children, especially babies.  Maria who works five days a week, has a boyfriend and listens to mystery audio books.  Becca who loves to go bowling rounds out the group.

I get to share my love of reading with my students each and every day.  It is the best part of being a teacher of reading.  But sharing my love of reading to people with disabilities has brought a new joy.  The best part of the meeting was when one of them said, "This was fun!  I think I want to do it again."

Literacy should have no boundaries or limits, whether it be age, poverty or ability.  It should be literacy for life - every life. ~ Leigh Anne Eck

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hope


Every Thursday Holly Mueller from Reading, Teaching, Learning, creates a place where readers can share their spiritual journeys.

I am always amazed when Holly chooses the theme, how that word creeps its way into my days.  Maybe I go looking for it, or maybe it finds me.  This week's theme of hope was no exception.

Monday evening I finished a book, The Doll Graveyard by Lois Ruby.  You may be wondering what this has to do with a spiritual journey, but keep reading.  This is a very creepy read, but has a wonderful message - contrary to some critics.

Shelby, the main character moves to an old family house and finds a doll graveyard filled with dolls which belonged to a little girl named Sadie who lived in the house a long time ago.  Sadie was filled with anger because she thought she was not worthy of her mother's love.  Shelby is filled with anger because her parents have divorced.

Shelby finds a doll and wonders why it was never buried with the rest of them.  The doll actually represents what would have been Sadie's adulthood.  Sadie dies at a young age, and before she died, she asked that the doll not be buried, but instead asked someone to hide the doll, "where a worthy person would find her and understand what swelled in Sadie's heart at that moment when her anger turned to hope."  

There are many times when I feel like Sadie, and I don't feel worthy of God's love.  I make mistakes.  I feel anger.  I say things I shouldn't say.  I am not easy to live with.  I am a Sadie.

But we are all worthy of God's love, and it is through hope where I find my worth.  It is that hope which sustains my faith and feeds my hunger and desire to become a better person and become closer to God.

When I started reading this book, I never imagined it would be part of a Spiritual Journey post.  Many critics say there isn't a clear message and the author doesn't wrap everything up in the way many readers would like.  For me, it was a perfect message.  

When I let go of those feelings that weigh me down, hope rises and I am filled with God's love.  It is that feeling of hope that reassures me that I...am...worthy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life. Read more slices or add you own here.

This week as I was searching through my tubs of books looking for a picture book I wanted to use for a lesson, I came across this book.  Just by looking at the book, I could not recall which book it was or from where it came.  It certainly was not familiar.



I pulled it out and looked at the spine and realized it was a Cynthia Rylant book.  Then I remembered how this book came to be mine.   Our school library in my previous school occasionally weeds out books, and teachers are first in line to take them.  When I saw this was a Cynthia Rylant book, I immediately grabbed it because I knew I could use it in a lesson at some point in time.  

Today, I opened the book and two things caught my eye.  The first one was written at the top of the title page.   "Not AR."  You see, some people have this ridiculous idea that if it is not AR, then kids can't read it.  I know, pretty sad.  I am quite confident this is one of the reasons why it was discarded.




Then I looked toward the bottom of the page and much to my delight, I found that it was a signed copy from 1986!  I do not remember noticing this when I first choose the book.  I am sure I only looked at the title and author and knew I wanted it, but did not open the book.  It has taken me several months to discover this wonderful message written inside.  What a treasure for me and for my students!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Celebrate Good Times, Come On! - 10/4


Each Saturday  Ruth Ayres invites us to share and celebrate events, big or small, from our week. Looking for celebrations has certainly improved my outlook on my week.  For that, I am certainly grateful to Ruth and to all of you who choose to celebrate with me.

This week I am celebrating a few small things which have made a big difference in my week.

Early this week I received this email from a student I had last year.  It made my reading heart smile.


Thursday I emailed my principal and asked him if there was an extra book case no one was using.  I was hesitant to ask since I am a new teacher.  I explained how I have been buying and will continue to buy books at a higher level to update my classroom library for this new grade level.  It was delivered by the end of the day! Watch out credit card!

I celebrate administrators who listen compassionately.  Friday I met with our new assistant principal.  I asked to meet with her because of my rising level of frustration. I am having difficulty moving from the amount of instructional time I had in the elementary level to the amount of time at the middle school level.  I feel so much better today while planning for next week.

Our class Twitter was featured in our high school newspaper.  Here is the link and the article is on the back page.  My son's band is featured on the front page too!

I celebrate little things - an email, a bookcase, a listening ear, and a high school newspaper.

Have a great week and may you find many things to celebrate along the way!