Tuesday, July 29, 2008

These flowers are growing in the rock of the desert.
Simplicity at its best- but a difficult existence.

This is a hogan in New Mexico. Yes, people choose to live here. You may call them poor- but I have come to learn they are rich beyond compare. Simplicity is the way of the hard life here.

And last - the simplicity of gathering for my mother's birthday. It is not "poor" but it is hard- since gathering so many is always a challenge. Simplicity for us is a time to actually sit and talk. Simplicity at its best- in my opinion.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Year




The year has begun in my mind. My class list is sitting in front of me and my first bulliten board is up. Already,I have three students who are sibblings of some of my most challenging students of the past. The panic , yesterday, was high. Reading MorningRamble helped. My calling is not to serve the masses. Tried that a few years ago and it simply pulled me away from my family. My calling is to find the few, and bring them closer to who God expects them to be.


Public school teachers are not allowed to mention God in our classrooms- not when speaking specifically about our personal religion. Instead, we have the greater challenge of showing God through our actions without giving Him credit. Several of us pray daily, before class begins. My thought is that this year will be an important year of prayer (looking at my list). Then we are off to our classrooms- guiding, leading, following, developing children into informed citizens who feel the sense of worth. They need to feel safe and cared for. When they have this sense, then they will be able to more freely discover God on their own. Hopefully, they will use what they learned from our team as a small example for their road of discovery.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Driving

Lots of time to think while you drive. My drive ended about four hours ago- all 1100 miles of it! Between that and the drive we did over the 4th- I logged 3300 miles in a car this month. Now I remember why I quit my old job.
There is no place like home!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My neighbors

Caden and Flash moved in to our upper pasture about three weeks ago. My fear of those large animals is beginning to fade. These two are older and have a great deal of personality. Driving up in the car to get the mail is now a treat(since they come to the fence immediately to see if I brought them anything). The two did not know each other until they moved in together. Now they seem BFF.
Another dimension of our lives. Giving a place for the neighborhood pre teens to hang out. I wonder if our fake deer will be tipped on their heads again this Halloween- lol.


In His hands


There are lots of things I just trust God in. I am pretty good at it- and really worry very little. Since my father passed away- I am even better at it. Still, Wednesday makes me nervous. My son in law will have a final surgery on his knee. The result of the surgery will probably form the rest of their lives.
No, it is not a dangerous surgery. It is simply to repair a knee that has been torn with football injuries and rucksack falls.
The surgery will determine if he stays in the military or gets out. If he gets out, what will he do? Go to university? They will have two years to decide.
Wondering, not worry, is what I am doing. There are so many good choices. Their possibilities are endless since they are both intelligent and loving people.
Still- there is that nagging feeling.
Tomorrow, leaving on the shuttle to pick up their car in Phoenix, my thoughts will be with the small family. They are the future. They are a large part of what is good in our lives. Turning it all over to His hands...that is what my dad would want me to do.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Do you love where you live?


Every morning I attempt to sit on the front garden wall and breath in what God has provided me. On the other side of the country my sister sits in her desert garden almost every evening. Calm takes over and the sense that today is wonderful settles in. I feel the Kansas wind rustling the oak trees and see the deer chase each other in the field. She describes the warmth of the last sun on her face and watches the small chuckwalla do push ups around her mesquite tree.
Our small family has lived in so many places. Most have been enjoyed with a sense of "enjoy it while you can". Putting together a powerpoint for my new students makes me look even closer at the places we have resided. Wuerzburg, DC, Indianapolis, Fort Riley, Monterey, Honolulu, Puk Fu Lum, Riyadh, Flagstaff. All have given their own sense of place. None have provided a safe haven like where I now live. Loving where you live must be an essential to life.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Culture of an area


My Arizona mindset is so different than Kansas.I do not take for granted the rain or the green- both are blessings. We have so little of either where I grew up. People being more open to other living a different way is something I wish I could have transplanted here. Simplicity of enjoying the day with very little interaction with a car is here. That warmth of the sunset is so missed from there.
Both places have some things the same. If push comes to shove- you can get just about anyone to talk about their family. People like to talk and be listened to... both places have those attributes.
Culture of change is really just the culture of wishing we could become much more simple. It could be a culture for the good- I hope.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friends, Family and Flying- Fouth of July






Can't fall asleep

We leave for home after Church in the morning. I cannot fall asleep.
So, I am brainstorming instead.
In the fall (actually about 5 weeks) we will begin the new school year. Last year ended with way to may referrals to the office. This year I am taking over as grade level chair (for one year). I think the best way to attack the situation is to discuss openly the discipline issues.
First- the principal on our level thinks of herself as a counselor. I understand her position- but too many kids push too far and teachers begin to refer those kids for everything....
Also, she is not good about patting teachers on the back....how do you talk a 35 year veteran teacher into doing something not in their nature?
Second- the teachers, in general, are young. That is a good thing- but they are also highly competitive. That can be a bad thing since state tests are very competitive. I have to figure out a way to help them see that by making all three teams successful- the group will get the recognition that it needs/wants/ desires.
Third- I am an outsider- military mom in background- not home town girl. Sometimes the techniques work- other times they do not with the faculty.
Fourth- we are anticipating two major gangs of kids moving into the school. Both groups have girl leaders and have been known to be violent....
So...
Here is the plan.
First- I am going to ask our level principal, counselor, special ed teachers and hall aides to attend one hour with us on three days. First hour will be a "what bugs us" in the classroom brainstorm
Second hour will be a "What can we do about it?" and "How important is that particular thing while keeping kids in the room learning?"
Third hour will be "how and who?"
I am thinking of doing this in circles of 5 (knowing that odd numbers do not promote the best communication- but one teacher will most likely be a volunteer to write in each round robin). There are twenty people on a grade level- so this may work well. If not- I will punt and go to four in a circle with sharing.
Then- for the first week of school-I am going to ask one person on each team to give a speech the first week of school. It will be the "you are on the best team in the school and this is the best school in the state" speech. We need some pump up. Basically, our kids come in with a variety of skills- but are not solid. Belief in themselves is primary to success.
Still thinking. I need help with how I can help keep the discipline in line. The weakest links are the principal and the teachers who throw kids out of class for being unprepared (like no pencil or paper- which is common in a school like ours.)
Ideas anyone?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pictures later:>)

The Fourth of July saw us doing something we haven't done in 15 years- go to fireworks. With James stationed here we had to go and see the birds that he flies (or has the chance to fly). The fireworks were wonderful.No pictures of those.
What amazed me was the beauty and that I have not one bug bite (it is Alabama afterall).
I got a chance to talk to a classmate of James'. He graduated top of the class from Texas A&M. Smart lad. Homeschooled from 4th grade on....glad to hear his wonderful experience with dad, mom and grandparents all taking their speciality. Of course he used- SAXON all the way through:>)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sons

My son is becoming so independent. OK- he has been independent for a very long time. I packed him off to West Point five years ago. That is so difficult to believe. I just left him there. He did not know anyone! He was alone and had to make his way. He did it-but it wasn't easy. I look at him now and think- how could I have done that to such a young man?
The result is heart warming. He is a strong Catholic man- committe to God and country. He and my dh discuss hanging things on the wall (tvs). And still he discusses with me matters of the heart and mind- where he projects to be and how he desires life long love....
Sons are always dear to a mother's heart. So are daughters. Funny that my daughter and I have the practical conversations and she and dad have the heart and mind ones....
God did put Scott and I together for a purpose. We are slowly seeing it through the adult generation we love so dearly.

Day two

We have been on the road for two days- andI am wide awake at 4:30 am- what does that tell you? We arrived to see our son and he is happ as a lark. Flying is definately his thing!!! I am thrilled- I have not seen him this happy in MANY years. He is totally at ease with eveything in the air. Life is good.
Alabama is much more beautiful than I expected.
Still, it does not compare to our Kansas!