Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Story

My husband reads this to our family every Christmas morning, before we do anything else.  As did his father before him.  It's why we celebrate the day.  Blessings to you all, and remember, Jesus came and dwelt among us, and stood in our place as the sins of the world were placed on his shoulders.  He did come to redeem us all.

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD. 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the LORD hath made known unto us. 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His Name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Helper's High"

I wrote an article for our school newspaper recently that talked about the physical benefits altruism, or the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.  It seems that acting altruistically releases endorphins and aids the person helping by dulling their sense of pain, relieving stress and tension, and giving them a euphoric feeling, much like a runner's high.  It's what makes people want to give to others.  Can you imagine if we didn't get a good feeling from giving?  Or if it were painful?  God knew exactly what he was doing when he linked our mind, body, soul and spirit in such a manner.  His wisdom constantly amazes me!

We put altruism into practice today by doing something to uplift the fearless leader at our school.  The principal of our school is completely selfless, self sacrificing, and will fight tooth and nail for students and teachers alike.  I know I've received responses to emails time stamped 4 a.m. from her, and her door is always open.  I also have never had a supervisor write a hand-written thank you note thanking me for allowing her to visit my class.  Who does that?  She does.

So today was time for our staff to return the favor.  We practiced a couple of times in my class, they practiced on their off time, and during Christmas assembly today we performed a little "flashmob" dance for her to the tune of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You."  The entire staff of 75 people participated, and she stood in the back and cried, which is not unusual for her.  We had a blast, and the feeling of that moment lasted until the moment we packed up our cars and left for our Christmas break.  It was a great start to this holiday.

It was important for us all to let her know how much we appreciated her sacrifice.  She is a fearless leader, and we love her dearly, as she does us.  I think this high will sustain me for a bit longer than today.  I need to be careful, though.  I think it's addicting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 Reflection

I took some time yesterday to look back on my blog entries for the year.  It's one of the reasons I like to blog because it's a good reminder of the year and the events that took place, my thoughts on matters, etc.  This year, I think, has been the most amazing for me personally since we've been able to build roots as a family.  Having a good solid group of friends who challenge me yet hold me accountable yet laugh and joke and get nutty is such a blessing.  I also am enjoying building my professional reputation.  Pushing myself out of my comfort zone to train fellow teachers is very exciting for me.  I've had some personal victories as well.

I've set some pretty strong boundaries recently in a relationship with which I've struggled for quite some time, and I've also released them from the past as well.  Forgiveness does that.  I know that God knows all of our hearts and motives, and that gives me much more comfort than even forgiveness does.  But releasing someone from the wrongs they've committed is very freeing.  The neat thing, though, is that as soon as that happened, a completely similar situation at work presented itself and I was able to pass on what I learned.  It was just a little reminder that it's not just about me.

My kids have continued to impress me.  I continually tell them I have no idea how they turned out so good.  They are good kids, not just in front of T and me, but away from us as well.  Others inform us on a regular basis about how they act around them and their kids, and they are consistent.  It's something I've prayed specifically for in their growth:  that they would be genuine and not grow up living one way in front of adults and another in front of their peers.  It looks like God is answering that prayer.  I also love that they choose good friends.

I am happy about being close to family and being able to see my side of the family more often, but it is at the expense of seeing the Florida side.  We got some visitors this year:  my nephew and my father-in-law.  It was so fun having them here, showing them around town, hanging out, working like a!  I thoroughly enjoyed having them visit, and I hope more come later.  I miss Florida and my friends there, but it's fun sharing this part of our lives with them as well.

This year has represented a lot of stretching and growing.  Even though I've gone through a lot this year, I also find myself in a comfortable and content place.  It makes giving to others that much easier.  I'm thankful for my friends, for the way God has provided for our family, for the way He has worked in my life and has guided me this year and I'm anxious to see what next year has to bring.  I know I'll be blogging about it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Dream Job

Ok, I know I've said it a few times, but I just need to say it again.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to work with the people I do.  I have never had an experience like this.  Ever.

The people I work with are strong, independent leaders in the educational community.  They speak and instruct at state conferences, they push forward and move ahead.  But here's the thing:  they all have the same goal, and that is to do "whatever it takes" to see a child succeed.  The problem solving and outside of the box thinking that goes on in our Intervention Leadership Team meetings is in the very least inspirational.  At it's best it is effective.  And I still to this day can't believe I get to be a part of it.

These people change lives.  They are in the business of meeting children at their weakest point and lifting them up.  And it's a team effort.  Everyone is on board, so problem solving is energizing and enjoyable.  Even at 6:30 in the evening, when everyone else has gone home and the heating system has been off for an hour and a half. 

I can't promise this will be the last time I brag on my co-workers, but I'll try to keep it down a bit.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

SOOO Thankful

You know, every now and then you get a reminder of how blessed you are.  Today was a day like that for me.  From the birthday hugs from friends and kids in the hallway, to birthday serenades from colleagues, the day was just a good, warm and fuzzy feeling day.  I am thankful every day for the friends and family I have.  Top that off with some warm gloves and a scarf for those early morning duty times, and I'm good to go for quite a few birthdays to come!

Thank you friends and family for making today a wonderful day.  My heart is full.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

21 years ago tonight....

I went into labor.  It was the one night I was not expecting it, because the next day was my due date.  I didn't know of anyone who actually had their first child on their due date.  But there we were, heading to the hospital.  It took awhile, but finally at 1:24 in the afternoon, my one and only daughter was born.  She was the first granddaughter to be born on both sides of the family.  We didn't know then if she was going to be a boy or a girl until she was born.  I kind of miss the excitement of that moment, of finding out if we were having a boy or girl.  Anyway, I cried, Big Dad cried, and there we were, the three of us, our own little family together for the first time.

Well meaning people warned us about having a girl.  They talked about the drama and how difficult girls can be.  I can honestly say that drama has not been a part of Em's existence.  She is one of the most even keeled people I know.  She's a hard worker (her name does mean industrious) and she's a loyal friend.  She's got an understated sense of humor that catches people off guard, and she's one of the nicest people I know.

We laugh when I tell her about the first time I realized how much I loved her.  I had put her down for a nap (she was only a few days old) and I went to take a shower.  When I turned the shower off, I could hear her crying desperately.  I could not get dressed fast enough, and when I finally got to her, picked her up and held her, she stopped crying immediately.  I remember thinking, "I love her so MUUUCH!"  But you know what?   That's nothing compared to now.  That love is combined with a friendship and a sense of pride because God only knows how proud I am of her and all that she's accomplished and overcome. 

Love you, Em....  Happy 21.  I still can't believe it.  A full fledged adult. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And So It Begins

I love this time of year, mainly because we're focused on other people in our lives.  We spend our time thinking about that one special gift that will be special, that will speak to the person receiving the gift.  We look forward in anticipation of a fun-filled day, full of presents, food, fun conversations and memories.

One thing we don't forget, though, is what this holiday season is all about.  This is a holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ.  No matter what society has done to minimize what this holiday represents, for our family, the day begins with the reading of the birth of Christ so long ago. The first Christmas gift that was given to everyone:  God incarnate, coming to live among men, remaining sinless, and offering himself a living sacrifice for those who receive his gift.  So while we are shopping and thinking of others, it is always in the forefront of our minds that this is not really about us and what we want, it's about celebrating and honoring that original gift given to us.  We do that by giving to others.

I pray you enjoy this holiday season, and remember to celebrate Christ as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A couple of months ago, I started listing things I'm thankful for.  It's something I've done privately, and I've noticed at few things.  At first, I really found it hard to list many things I'm thankful for.  I would get stuck.  However, I noticed that since I was making myself make a list, I started looking for things to be thankful for.  Now, it's pretty easy.  As it should be.  I live a very blessed life, and there's no reason I shouldn't be thanking God for what He has given me and provided for me.  So here's my list for Thanksgiving:

My husband.  His humor, perseverance, hard work and steadfastness keeps this family going.  We all adore him.
My kids.  They keep me humble and proud at the same time.  They are each growing and showing their individual gifts, and I'm always amazed at how well they are turning out, in spite of me and my parenting.
My parents.  One of my favorite quotes is "Many a promising future is ruined by a happy childhood."  I find it funny, but it doesn't hold true in my case.  I have a promising future, and I had a wonderful childhood.  Not without hardships, but also not without a lot of love and support.
My inlaws.  They have truly influenced and enriched my life, and shaped it in ways I never realized it could be shaped.
Relatives in general.  These family connections just add depth to our character and our relationships.
A nice home.  We've been in ours for about a year and a half now.  There was a time when I thought we wouldn't have a home, so I'm especially thankful for the memories we've begun here.
A job I thoroughly enjoy.  I am blessed beyond measure in this area.  Supportive administration, a drama free work environment (I've heard horror stories from other schools!) and an environment that supports risk taking and growth.
Cars that work
A fireplace
Good neighbors
Friends and the friendship they provide.  They meet my needs in ways family can't.  I'm always amazed at how God brings people together to work in each other's lives.  Lord knows my friends have worked on mine in unexpected ways.
Art museums.  I love being so close, and they're free.
Trader's Village.  My new love.  Introduced to me by a friend. :)
God and all that He puts up with in regard to me! 

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.  Just take a moment to count your blessings.  I'm sure you'll find you have more than you know!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holidays are Coming

It's no secret, even if you look at the background of my blog, that Fall is completely my favorite time of year.  I love the cool, crisp changes in the air, I love the buildup of excitement that surrounds the holidays, and I love how the holidays bring family together.

Thanksgiving is a special one for me.  I have many fond memories of this holiday from both sides of my family.  When we lived in California, all of my dad's family would get together for a big feast, and we would watch football, Thanksgiving Day parades, and end up playing a game of volleyball.  In Texas we would all go to my mom's parents' house.  That place is one of my favorite places.  Mamaw's house was small, but we would all converge there, and end up sleeping on pallets on the floor, on pullout couches, anywhere there was an empty space.  Then there was the comfort food at both places.  It was good, there was plenty of it, and it was all homemade. :)  Plus, all of us cousins would get together for a game of touch football out in the field.  It was always fun.

I'm looking forward to this year's feast.  I'm sad that Tim won't be there with us this time, but he's letting us head out without him.  He'll be working, and they will be feasting at work, but it won't be the same without his dry sense of humor getting the rest of the group going.  The rest of us will be playing horsehoes, sitting on the back porch talking, the kids will be playing hide and seek in the woods and we'll definitely have our after-Thanksgiving trek around the neighborhood.  I can't say I'm looking forward to the 4 am beginning to black Friday, but it seems that's become an annual tradition as well.

It will be a good holiday.  How are you spending yours?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old, Dear Friends

I logged onto Facebook today and was browsing away (I was looking at the new pictures posted from my coworkers of our turkey bowl today.  That deserves a post unto itself.) when the little red flag popped up that indicated a friend request.  I usually don't get too excited from those because so many students try to add me as a friend.  (Sadly but wisely I let them know we cannot be friends on least not until they're adults, and I am no longer their teacher!)  I clicked on the red flag, and to my shock and pleasant surprise it was my oldest and dearest childhood friend.

Now, this friend went to church with me, and oh how we used to get into trouble.  I remember once we sat behind the people from the deaf ministry, because we figured with all of motion from signing, we probably wouldn't be noticed.  We must have been in our own world, because we were doing something when we both froze at the sound of my dad's voice, the pastor in the pulpit, saying, "I know two girls who are going to be in big trouble if they don't settle down!"  I had to be careful.  It would mean front row, piano side for two weeks if I got grounded.

You know how everything is funny when you have to be quiet in church?  Yeah, we had pew-shaking laughter just about every Sunday.  Once she brought in a handful of pop rocks.  We made it through the song service, and were to the quiet part of the service, when the sweat of her hand met with the popping element of the pop rocks.  We tried hard to keep them quiet, but eventually laughter won out and the lady in front of us eventually ushered us outside.

There was also church camp.  One particularly brutal year, there was quite a bit of dunking in the pool.  At the end of camp, we all had to step up to the pulpit in church and give our testimony of what God did for us at camp.  My friend stepped up to the pulpit, paused for dramatic effect, and said, "I just thank God I didn't drown in the pool," and stepped down.  It remains a classic to this day.

I can't wait to catch up with her.  She's one of those "Pick up where we left off" friends.  This should be fun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Conference Time

OK, so I just got back from a conference last week, and I feel SO lucky the district sent me.  Have you ever gone to a learning environment like that, either spiritual, educational, or whatever, and have come away knowing you've just listened to some real leaders and innovative thinkers?  THAT's what this conference was like.  My head is still swimming.  The first day I spent with the keynote speaker, Dr. Robyn Jackson.  At the end, I remember thinking, "OK, I should probably just go home now, because I'm not going to hear anything better than that." 

I was wrong.

The next day we heard the keynote address, which was totally inspiring, and then visited workshops from everyday teachers all over the state, all doing extraordinary things.  If that doesn't inspire the educator within, nothing will.  Again, that day was better than the day before.

The last day, my colleagues and I were fried.  Our brains were on maximum overload.  But no.  We thought we'd attend one last workshop before going home.  Again....there it was.  We were nodding our heads, taking copious amounts of notes.  And we ended on a high note.  Which was good.

Because now we need to come back and teach it to teachers.  It's a little nerve wrecking, but in the end, the topics were so good and so exciting, I do believe they will teach themselves, and educators will be doing the same things we did:  nodding.....yeah.  You know. :)

Gotta go.  Gotta wrap my head around some more stuff.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Did I Mention My Amazing Colleagues?

There are times, at least once a week lately, that I have to stay late at school.  Tonight I got out at 6 pm.  But I would stay that late as many times as necessary if it meant doing what we did today.  Our venture today was the Intervention Leadership Team, which works to find ways to help struggling students.  The thing I love about being on this team is the problem solving part of it.  It's a no holds barred, get your hands dirty problem solving team that works to make kids successful, even if it means personal sacrifice.  I love that.  I love how each and every person on the team is willing to do whatever it takes to help children, no matter what their issue is.

We also get to see classroom teachers at their best.  The things they do to help children is nothing short of miraculous.  I know there's a backlash against public education right now, and against bad teachers.  But those in doubt just need to come visit my school.  I wish what they do could be shown on tv.  It would be a much different conversation about teachers.  Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I cannot tell you how literally starved I've been for good friends.  I didn't realize how much, though, until I've once again developed a good, strong circle of girlfriends.  I had some friends like that in Taiwan, and I miss those friends terribly, but since coming back to the States, I've been so busy that it's been hard to really develop friendships beyond working relationships.  Stacy was the first friend, and we have so much in common it's actually scary.  She's an uplifter and such a good and kind person.  I love her dearly. 

There's something about being around strong, intelligent and passionate women that makes you just want to be and do better.  My colleagues are like that.  They all love what they do, they share their passion with others and make it a joy to work with them.  And there's competition, but it's a healthy competition.  The kind that keeps us improving.  We're truly happy, however, when the other is successful.  We've developed a strong circle, this group.  We challenge each other, we laugh, we're accepting, and we instinctively know when each other needs prayer, support or encouragement.  I am truly blessed to work with such a wonderfully caring group of women. 

Janene, I'm so proud!  You truly killed it today!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Curse of Knowledge

The curse of knowledge is not remembering what things were like before we learned.

Just a little tidbit I heard today.  Still thinking it through.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Peach

I was just talking to another teacher of gifted and talented (GT) last week about how important it is for us, as teachers, to have a good relationship with our students.  The GT teacher/student relationship is a bit different than that of the average student because of the nature of the GT kid.  While they have close to an adult intellect, they are still kids with kid feelings and vulnerabilities, and they need someone who can reach both of those levels within the classroom.  They need the challenging subject matter, they need to have fun, and they also need to be able to act their age.

Then today, I get an email from a former student who is now an adult, working in the field of sports medicine.  Seems she was going through her mom's garage, cleaning out her things, and found a box of assignments from our class.   What I hear consistently from those kids from that class is how fun our Greek unit was.  They learned so much about Greek city-states, the Peloponnesian war, mythology, etc.  But they had fun doing it. More than a few told me their World History courses in college were a breeze because of that class. But I can't take credit.  I just presented the material.  It was them and what they did with the material that made the difference.  However, I will take credit for allowing them to be smart, but be 7th graders.  It's what mattered more.

See, there was more to that class than just that Greek unit.  We built a safe environment in that class, one that allowed them to be who they were.  I'll give an example:  let's call it the "Peach."  We were doing a study of poetry, and one of my students hated the subject.  After much prodding, and showing her how simple poetry was by reading Carl Sanburg's "the Fog", this reluctant poet got up in front of the class and quoted her own poem, "The Peach."  I don't remember the poem really, but I do remember it was a major catchphrase in our class from that point forward.  She reminded me today that I wrote on her report card that she was "a peach" in class.

That's the stuff they remember, and that's the stuff that helps them remember what they learned.  It's also the stuff that keeps me going back, year after year.  These are people in whom we're investing, with dreams and hopes, with fears and anxieties, and sometimes problems we'll never know.  But for those moments in our class, they are with someone who cares about them and accepts them for who they are and where they are at the moment, and that makes a difference.

All of this from a report card "peach" comment.  It's that simple.  I think I'm going to buy a poster of a peach and keep it in my class.  Just to remind me to keep it challenging.  And fun.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

It's a Perfectly Imperfect Day

Took some time to breathe today.  Planted some flowers, enjoyed the absolutely perfect weather, and listened.  Sometimes we just need to be still, breathe, and listen. And I did. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010


5 am.  Did you know that the stars are really bright at 5 am?  I do.   I know this because that's what time I get up to take Christopher to swim practice.  Every morning.  Ev-er-y morn-ing.

He's great about it.  He comes in and wakes me up and says, "Mom, it's time to go."  I drag myself out of bed, walk downstairs, look for keys, glasses, purse, shoes, jacket.  Oh, and I mumble something about "Do you have everything you need?"  At least I think that's what I say.  I think it. 

I walk outside, and I'm hit with the silence.  It's kind of nice though.  And then, inevitably, my eyes are drawn upward because the stars are that bright.  I never realized how much I missed that until I came back to the states and walked outside.  Taiwan had a lot of light polution, and you couldn't see much.  But there aren't a lot of street lights here.  I really like that.

Yesterday morning the Milky Way stood out quite a bit.  It looked like a misty band of stars draped across the sky.  Christopher and I just stopped and took it all in.  We do that every morning.  We both like looking at the night sky. Or morning sky, depending on  which side of midnight we're on.

We don't say much on the way to swim practice.  But I get to just be with my third born, and that's nice.  I drop him off, and he says "I love you mom."  Every time.  And then he flashes the I love you sign.

Getting up that early is drudgery, but drudgery isn't all that bad.  It's actually kind of nice.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Project

So the project is moving along.  Slowly.  My main idea is still the same, but there have been some changes as well.

In the meantime, I'm still loving the job.  It's a great way to keep my creative skills fine tuned, and as always, the kids just keep me motivated.  They're such a good group.  Chatty, but good.

I love having a job that I can't wait to get to each morning.  God is good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keep Waitin' For That Change...

...But it's still the same.  *sigh* I always hold out a little hope, but I'm really beginning to think some things will never change....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stacy Squared

Kindred spirit and I had a day out.

Held puppies.

Ate sundae cookies.

Talked girl talk...with no testosterone interference.

Twas a good day.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Post High School Years

There are times when I really work to put myself back into situations when I was younger, to try and remember what things might be like for my kids.  Of course I know that things are very different today, but a lot of things are the same as well.  Difficulties with school, hard times with friends, fear of the unknown...

...I remember when my mom dropped me off at college.  I went to school two weeks into the semester.  My roommates already had their room situated.  Classes had already started.  And I was scared to death!  I had never been away from home like that before, completely on my own, knowing no one.  Mom drove away in the parking lot, and I was like a lost puppy.  I was sick within a week, made it through that, and just put my feet to the ground and started working.

Well, Em's doing that now, but she's doing it much better than I did. So much more poised. If she's scared she doesn't show it.  And she just keeps putting herself out there, completely out of her comfort zone, but just taking it all on.  I'm so proud of her.  It's nice when you see your kids doing things better than you did!  It gives you so much more confidence in them.

Yeah.  I'm proud. ;)

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Importance of Questions

I was in the teacher's lounge years ago (not one of my favorite places), and the teachers there were discussing the events of the day which happened to be the Branch Davidian situation in Waco.  The Davidians were still in a stand off, and more and more information was coming forward about David Koresh and his followers, and what they believed and practiced.  A fellow teacher looked at me and said, "So, what do you think is going to happen to your guy David in Waco?"  Shocked, I asked him what he meant by that statement.  "Well," he said, "You're a christian, he's a must know what he's teaching."

In that moment I realized that it was important for me not to be offended, but instead discuss the differences.  I explained that Mr. Koresh demanded to be followed without question, but as christians we are supposed to question our leaders.  We are to study ourselves and we are to hold our pastors accountable for what they teach.  He was quite surprised, but his question led to a great discussion. And it led to a realization:

Truth is not afraid of questions.  Truth welcomes questions.  It welcomes testing, because testing = proof.

Beware of those who do not allow questions.  They fear truth.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about my life...

...I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

Just love a good movie.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

What a Day!

Just finished facilitating a MARATHON 18 hour GT training in two days.  Wow.

But it was fun!

You know, there are lots of teachers out there with really good ideas.  Lots.

And they never cease to amaze me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remembering the Days

I was looking at some pictures of my kids hanging on the wall.  Adorable pictures I changed to black and white.  They were at the park, and I managed to get them all together, looking at the camera.  I wanted to remember their faces just as they were.

And I did.  And still do.

And I miss them!  Those little child faces that look up at you.  The chubby cheeks, little hands that explore and experience new things.

I love them now, and I'm truly impressed with the people they're becoming,

but there was Bubs who used to put earphones on and sing at the top of his lungs, and climb on anything and everything.  Or Timo with his quiet observation and stubborn strong-willed grunts and that haunting wail when he realized that Charlotte died in the Charlotte's Web movie.  San and his crazy faces and mixed languages, getting so frustrated when others couldn't understand him.  Then there's Em and her firstbornness...all the mistakes that we made with her, but enjoyed all the firsts as well...those little eyes peeking up out of the cradle Papa made, hearing it rock on the wood floor, letting us know she was awake.

Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't go back again: to the doctor's appointments and shots, bottles, carrying tons of stuff everywhere I went.

But I miss those little people.

I'm glad I took the pictures.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Timo!

The oldest boy is 17 today.

What can I say about him.  Except for a year of sleepless nights and projectile vomiting, he's been little to no trouble at all. 

There's a few things about him that impress me just a bit: 
He is a hard worker.  Always has been.  I have pictures of him covered in grease, helping daddy fix his mower.  His favorite toy was his tool belt and tools.
He's a loyal friend.  He is caring and self-sacrificing for his friends, but not to a fault.  He has distinct boundaries, and he won't let someone take advantage of him.
He's a risk taker.  He knows how to weigh risks and is willing to take calculated ones. 
He follows his passion and is willing to work hard to follow his dream.

And he's kind.

On this day, Timo, I'm just so proud of the young man you've become.  Strong yet humble is hard to find in this day and age. 

Love you, Bud!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So Proud of my First Born Son

He went to work today, despite not feeling 100%.  I really like the fact that he's learned at such a young age that when you work, others depend on you to be there.  It's no longer just about you.  It's now about you and others.  Reliability, trustworthiness, self's what it takes to work and be a good example in the world we live in.  And he knows that.  At 17.  *sigh*

Burleson Takes care of our Youngsters!

Just click on the following link:

We are number 8 of the top 100 communities that are positive influences on their youth.  American Promise Alliance recognizes 100 communities across the nation, and Burleson was 8th on the list.  How cool is that?

I knew I liked this place.

Working on a Project...

...and it'll be fun if it really works out.

In the meantime,

You know how I love watching people who are good at what they do?  I had a moment like that today.
Very unexpected.  Em and I were sitting at a stoplight, and a guy standing on the corner caught our eye.  He was standing in the pouring rain, and was holding an advertisement sign.

You know those policemen that direct traffic, and do all kinds of stunts while they are doing it?  That's what this guy was doing, and he was having a blast!  He had a huge smile on his face, earphones in his ears, and he was spinning that sign this way and that, communicating with each and every driver that went by.  It was a particularly long light for Em and me, but we were disappointed when the light turned green. 

All I know is that car dealership made a wonderful investment in giving this guy the simple task of holding a sign for them.  Not only did he hold the sign, but he connected with everyone that drove by.  I'm sure they didn't pay him enough.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010



Friday, September 17, 2010

A Kindred Spirit.

We've lived overseas. 

We're both named Stacy.

We have boys who love baseball.

We both love horses and owned them when we were younger.

We have husbands who are perfectionists.

We have some of the same struggles.

And she knows when I need a little something extra.

Thanks for the basket, for the goodies, and for the wonderful gift of your friendship, Stacy.  God just may have used you to restore my faith in people.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love Ya, Em!!! ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remembering Where I Was

There are defining moments in people's lives in which a tragedy takes place and forever burns in our memories the time and place we heard the news.  Elvis dying, Reagan getting shot, the Challenger...I remember where I was and what I was doing with each event.  But nothing compares to the morning of 9/11.  My husband, my kids and I were in Malaysia, preparing to fly back to Thailand the next morning.  It was the evening there.  My husband called me, alarmed, telling me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  Immediately we were all watching the television, trying to grasp what had just happened.  Of course you know the rest...that tragic day, which was amazingly brilliant and blue, played out as the nation literally stood still.  Flights were stopped, televisions all over the nation were playing and people were glued.  We knew it was bad, but being the Americans we are, we stood by and watched hoping for that one miracle rescue, or the view of loved ones being reunited.  Those stories came, and we clung to the hope they provided.

For us, we had to stay in Malaysia for three more days.  Seems the twin towers in Kuala Lampur were also threatened.  No flying for us. 

The only thing that compares in any way to this event is the 2006 tsunami in Thailand.  Three entire families, good friends, were there.  We watched video footage of Phi Phi island, which was totally wiped out, hoping to get a glimpse.  Miraculously, all three families were safe.  But in the meantime we were stricken with grief as we watched the human suffering mount.

9/11 is different, though, in that it was caused with human hands.  I don't understand how any religion can try to justify the destruction of innocent human lives the way Islam has.  I'm grateful for the prevention of any future attacks.  I wonder if our country knows how blessed we are?

Thoughts on the New School Year

I hate morning duty.  It's a little much to ask of someone to be that cheerful that early.

I hate morning duty in the rain.  That was two days ago.  I was wet all day.

I love having glorious, uninterrupted time to work in my room.

I love goofy teachers.

I love seeing good people being good at what they do.

I must keep a change of clothes at school.  For those rainy morning duty days.

I need a bigger umbrella.  Three kids getting out of a car at once cannot be covered by my little umbrella.

I love that our school has grandparent's day.

I love that tons of grandparents come to grandparent's day.

There are, in some cases, complete and justifiable reasons for the use of ritalin.

I love finding what kids are good at.  That "I just did that" look is priceless.

Some meetings really are useless and a waste of time.

Sometimes we get to see courage in the rawest sense of the word, and it is inspiring.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Major Frustration for Teachers at my School?

That we can only get into our classes after six in the morning and can't getting in after six at night.  We would work more than a twelve hour day if we could.


Because that's what it takes to do the job and do it well.  And we're happy to do it if it means by doing so, we don't have to bring our work home on the weekends.

But so far, it's a no-go.

Friday, September 03, 2010

RSA Animate - The Secret Powers of Time

You know, there are so many things that make us unique.  I've always focused on the micro:  birth order, personality type, learning style, education and personal choices are all things that factor in to making us each unique from every other person on the planet.  But this video focuses on the macro:  perception of time.  I find it fascinating that we can be so different from others in the way we think of time, and that Protestants are forward thinking.  It all worked together to make sense to me.  I plan on reading "The Geography of Time" by Robert Levine.  I'm developing a theory right now that maybe this is at the core of why so many object so passionately against President Obama.  He is making decisions that are not forward thinking, and it is going against the very core of Protestant perceptions of time.  We'll see how it goes after I read the book.

"Sorry's dont mean anything...

...when they aren't followed by actions.  Words don't bring healing.  Actions do." 

Paul Teutul, jr.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fall's Almost Here!!!

We had a big thunderstorm last night and into today.  It succeeded in whetting my appetite for Fall. I am SO ready for Fall weather.  I want to open up the house, hear kids playing outside, feel breezes and watch the trees change.  I want to sit in bleachers and watch awesome baseball, particularly numbers 27 and 7.  I want to play turkey bowl and celebrate family.

OK, Fall (tap, tap, tap)...  I'm ready.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Wonderfully Exhausted

Early out of bed for swim team practice, trying to keep my eyes open.  Morning came too soon.

Coffee, a shower, off and running to start the day.

Small children breaking their line to give hugs, crying little ones not wanting to leave mom, only to find them laughing and enjoying themselves later in the day.  The smell of new paint, fresh school supplies, everything shiny and new.

Late meetings, worrying about little ones, being part of a team that makes a difference, problem solving together, doing whatever it takes.

Then home to my first charges, listening about their day, instant messaging just to stay in touch, being so proud of who they are.

It's been a good day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Perfectly Imperfect Week

     This week has been anything but perfect.  It seems that every time I started to make headway, something came up and interrupted.  Meetings, phone calls, late deliveries all worked to keep me from moving forward with moving into and setting up my class.  But you know what?  Now that I'm sitting and reflecting on this week, I wouldn't have it any other way.
     See, all of those interruptions, late deliveries and phone calls were the little things that make me better at my job, both as a teacher and a mother.  The phone calls were just about connecting with the kids, making sure they had everything they needed, and just talking and goofing around with them.  The meetings were about procedures and events that need to take place in the next few days to ensure we are effective at school.  The deliveries both at home and school were the little things that make those spaces unique and personal.
     I didn't feel this good about these things during the week.  It wasn't until our last "meeting" that it all hit me how perfectly imperfect his week was.  We, the teachers and administrators on our campus, spent two hours team building.  We started off thinking, "I really could be spending this time in my classroom!" and ended up working together and laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt at the end of the day.
    It's easy to get bogged down in the details of things.  But that team building time just brought our minds back to the task at hand and reminded us that all of these things we may stress about are not what we're about.  It's all about the relationships with these families, and having a part in guiding them from where they are to where they need to be.
    So begins a perfectly imperfect beginning to hopefully a perfectly imperfect new year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Completely Gone

There've always been lingering questions:  Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe I misread.  Maybe, what if, question mark.

But recent realizations and events solidified my original decision.  There are no questions left.  They meant for evil, but all is good.  Surprisingly good.   I know I am not required to give any of it another thought.  My conscience is clear, and I'll lose no sleep.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Friday 13th, Dad! ;)

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He turned 74 and still has a lot of get up and go. :)  I love this picture of dad with the three of us:  Steve, me and Chris.  It brings back a lot of warm memories.

Dad was a hands on dad, and not a do as I say, not as I do dad.  He patiently taught us, played with us, and listened to us.  We had great talks.

It was around the time this picture was taken that I realized I was going to die someday.  The idea of mortality hit me.  I got up crying, wondering how I would go, when, if it would hurt.  He told me God gives us grace when that time comes.  That was enough for me, and I slept well that night.

He built us a treehouse.  Two stories.  I remember the first time I made it to the second floor by myself!  You had to get there by rope.  My floor had my play stove and sink, and mom would give me water and flour in one of my play pans so I could "cook."  It was a great playhouse.

I remember Dad sitting us down at a card table and using my doll dishes to teach Steve and me about table manners.  I've wondered for years what prompted that lesson!

I know there's a lot in the news lately about the importance of dads in a kids' life.  I can testify that my dad gave me such a good foundation with relationships, trusting, and loving.  It's easy to learn it when you've been given that love unconditionally!

Love you, Dad!  I've always wondered how I ever managed to get the best Dad in the world!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why So Serious?

Sometimes play is good.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

22 years ago tomorrow

I was setting up the reception area. Picking up cake. Getting my hair did, and joining girlfriends at the church.

I was a tad nervous. Not about the event, but about standing up in front of people, all eyes on T and me.

It was a good day with loved ones all around. Thinking back, it's sad because there are quite a few that were there, but are no longer with us now: Chris, Mamaw, Papa, Aunt Leila, Uncle Johnnye, George. My dad officiated. Papa read from I Corinthians 13. That I remember.

I remember looking at T and thinking "Here we go!" I got to start my life with my best friend. I know that sounds like such a cliche, but for us it's real. That friendship has sustained us through some pretty rough times, and has made this union what it is: something that is real and genuine, full of respect and affection.

I'm so glad that we met. I'm so glad I got past not liking him for giving me a hard time for asking for extra ketchup. I'm glad we worked through the long distance relationship, and I'm glad we took that step. We owe Darby a huge debt for setting us up on that first date!

I love you, Big Dad! You're my hero.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuff I Want

I want one of those cool cell phones with all the bells and whistles.

I want a chef to fix me fantastic, fresh foods with no fish whatsoever.

I want a car with a full, lifetime warrantee.

I want a thai lady to live with us to give us foot massages whenever we want.

I want a lifetime, all you can buy card for Office Depot, because office supplies rock.

But then again....

If I had the phone, I would end up spending time talking to other people than to the one I'm with.

If I had a chef to fix me food, then I wouldn't want to grow my own garden and find out how to nurture the plants and cook with them.

If I had the car with the full time warrantee, then I wouldn't learn how to fix cars and would be at the full mercy of mechanics everywhere!

I can't find a reason why a thai lady shouldn't live with us to give us foot massages.

If I had a lifetime supply card for Office Depot, then I would rob random people from giving supplies to help kids that don't have.

I guess I don't want that stuff after all. Except the thai lady. Still can't find a reason not to have her.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My nephew flew in for the week, and we're having such a good time having him around. He is the son of my husband's sister, and we all used to live close to each other, until we moved overseas when the boys were four and five years old. They've only spent a week or two together at a time every few years since then. But we've always gone to their house. This time Trey came here.

All I can say is, he assimilated. Kind of a seamless transition from his house to ours. It's been fun, hearing all of the kids upstairs laughing, feet pounding on the floor, having to tell them it's late and they need to go to bed. Then there are the times when we tell family stories, and laughter spreads all around.

A week isn't long. But it's just enough time to let the kids hang out, touch base, and reconnect. Now if I can just get him to stop saying "yes ma'am."

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Want To Go To There...

It's just a matter of a couple of weeks now, and we'll be moving into our new school. I'm so excited. It's a beautiful campus, with a two story building that will house 660 students and 75 teachers and administrators. My room will be on the far right, bottom floor.

I can't wait to get started! I feel so blessed to have a job that I can't wait to go to.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

C.S. Lewis

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C. S. Lewis

I would have loved an afternoon to sit and talk to this man.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Yep. I'm already addicted. Getting tons of ideas for my humble abode.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some Paint and Some Memories

We're painting. Again. This time it's our room. Our room is going to be full of blues and various shades of brown and cream. T is the one who cuts in, because he's got enough OCD in him to make it really nice. I've been working on my W's, because "You don't want to see your lines!" But as T was cutting in, I was kind of in limbo to work on my w's, so I took on another task while I was waiting.

I organized pictures. UGH! See, I'm terrible at organizing those types of things. I usually organize by person or event, but then I start looking at the people in the picture and start thinking this is a good picture of this person, maybe it should go over here, or over there... It's just so confusing.

But today I decided to organize by place. And I'm being very disciplined in the process: wherever the picture was taken is where it goes. Period. And it's been so fun.

Springfield. Florida. Georgetown. Thailand. China. Taiwan. Weatherford. And that's how I'm keeping it. I've really enjoyed looking at pictures of when we were younger, skinnier, smaller... Seeing the kids interacting with cousins, looking at the places we took in. Those places and events aren't just on paper. They are three dimensional motion pictures in my head, and I can hear the sounds, smell the smells, taste the foods. It's wonderfully indulgent.

*Sigh* Back to my w's.

Friday, July 16, 2010

So Thankful.

God is good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Daughter off to college
Son #1 working
Son #2 socializing
Son #3 starting middle school

New campus
New Job responsibilities

Things are looking good.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Another Half a Century in this Family!

Last December, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and I'm happy to say that tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of my husband's parents.

I've taken time to pause and think about all of the things they've seen since they were married. It was a different world back then. I'm sure things traveled at a much slower pace until the 60's went into full swing. I imagine it was difficult to be newly married during such tumultuous times, but Mom and Dad Hughes started their little family and went full force.

Both did what they needed to do to raise a good, strong family. Dad worked as a fireman, and also took side jobs on his off days. Mom worked in the school system. They were busy, but they stayed on top of things in their family, and they have been better for it. My husband likes to tell my kids of the time he disobeyed his mom, and with just one phone call, the fire truck pulled up outside. That was mom and dad working as a team. :)

Mom and Dad Hughes make comments to me occasionally about our kids and how behaved they are, how polite and well mannered. I have to say, though, that those beginnings didn't start with us. They began the generation before us, and worked their way down. I do believe when scriptures talk about blessings being passed to the 3rd and 4th generations, this is what it is talking about. There are real blessings that come with the principles that have been passed to us.

So on this day, Mom and Dad Hughes, I want to thank you for the time, patience and efforts you have put forth for your family and your marriage. It has not returned to you void, and there are a few generations that owe the blessings we are reaping to what you have sown these past 50 years.

We are forever proud of you and grateful to you.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

July 4th

One of the things our kids wanted to do more than anything when we returned to the States was to go to a July 4th celebration. We were planning on staying here for a little less than a year, so we timed things so that we would be able to get in the 4th of July before heading back overseas. Turns out we stayed, and that made the 4th even more enjoyable.

I'm proud of my country, warts and all. I know there are issues out there, serious ones. But we have procedures in place to correct those issues if we all choose to participate. It's a wonderful, wonderful system, but it is fragile just the same. Our freedom is to be tempered with responsibility and participation, and if any of those carry more weight than the others, it ceases to become a democracy.

I have problems with high profile people, such as actors,actresses and singers, who feel the need to disparage our country TO other countries. I will not buy a Dixie Chicks album, and I will not watch a Sean Penn movie because of this. I don't mind them using their position in our country, because heck, it will either get people involved for their cause or against it. But to go to another country and disparage this nation...well, I can't stomach it, and I think it's the height of ingratitude to do so.

This day takes on a whole new meaning when you celebrate it in another country. I was able to celebrate this day with my family at an American consulate in Thailand one year. It was such a good day, and we spent it with total strangers who had little in common but the country of our birth and celebrating it.

Look. America has it's problems. We can be prideful. We can be ignorant of others in the world. But we are giving. And we do like to help others. We LIKE to be the ones to send aid and support to those in need. In that way, we are a shining example of true charity, and I'm...yes, be a part of it.

Happy 4th of July all.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Share a Square

A good blogging friend, Shelly Tucker, whom I've never actually met incidentally, has decided to take on the momentous task of organizing Share-A-Square for another year. The woman eventually has to dedicate an entire room of her house to this venture, as people send their crocheted squares to her house from all over the world.

Shelly has a heart for those in need, and this year the need is a group of kids at a camp in South Texas. The camp is for children with cancer, and Shelly's goal is to provide each one of these campers with a little bit of comfort by giving them a crocheted afghan made of 80 6"x 6" squares, each square representing a different person who is thinking of them and praying for them.

This is a year long project, and Shelly has put the call out for the campers for next year. Last time, Shelly paired up with a group of ladies called "the Happy Hookers" who lovingly pieced together each square into the final afghan that was given each child.

You can get the information you need to participate at Shelly's blog, Shelly is inspirational in this task, and her telling of events is always entertaining. Please look her up and participate! Be sure to look at the afghans from the previous Share-A-Square venture.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Link Love

So someone posted in my comment section yesterday telling me they were going to link to a post I wrote about this time three years ago entitled Dignity vs. Pride. I decided to go and see her blog for myself, and all I can say is "wow."

Her name is Laurie Pace, and she's an artist. She could not be more different than me in that aspect. I am not a creative person by nature, and have to work really hard and steal ideas from others to make any attempt at creativity. So, I'm really envious of creative people, and her art is particularly beautiful.

The more I read, though, the more I saw what we had in common: both from Texas, both teachers, and we both have gone through some similar circumstances with difficult people in our lives. In one post she spoke of how much she puts herself into her art, and as God as my witness I had a conversation about this very thing with a friend last week! How people who are artists really put themselves out there, and how much they put themselves into their art.

So it seems that at least for now, with all we have in common, we were meant to meet. She even has a daughter named Stacey. How crazy is that?

You must go see her art and read her posts. Even though she linked to my post, she is much more articulate than I am. Go see Laurie Pace's blog at You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Palo Duro Canyon

I went to Palo Duro Canyon for three days this week. I never really thought much about the desert, but after driving through it, learning about it, and hiking in it, I see it is really a beautiful place! This trip was the final field trip after a year long study with my gifted students on the the topic of change. It was a great way to end the year. Although, I must say, it has caused me to see my GT colleagues in a new light! Those women are crazy.

One of the highlights of the trip, and I don't have a picture of it here for whatever reason, was the outdoor ampitheater in the canyon and watching the musical, Texas. It's been a long time since I've had Texas history, and it was a great way to refresh my memory. The ampitheater sat inside the canyon, with one of the canyon walls as the backdrop, and the show was spectacular, even adding a fireworks show at the end. It was good for the kids to see a live musical performance, and I'm sure they won't forget it!

I'm exhausted, but this was a fun and truly memorable trip!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


You know, anytime there is a big change or big move in our lives, we always seek God in those decisions. Repeatedly He has tested MY faith by opening doors, many times waiting until the last minute. But when those doors open, they open wide and we just stand in awe of His provision. It happened over and over again during our move to Asia, and things are no different since we moved back to the States.

He provided jobs for T and me, which was no small task. Not only were the jobs provided good jobs, they were dream jobs. And not only did He provide them for us, but He did so at a time when there was a job freeze. Again, we stand in awe, I'm ashamed to say.

But yesterday He affirmed us again, but this time through one of our kids. Any time we had to move, our children and their well being was at the top of our list of concerns. Moves are extremely difficult on kids, and we did not want to raise children who are emotionally detached, which is something that can happen when children move too often, even under the best circumstances. In our case, there was also physical concerns. Two of our children had some pretty big physical obstacles, and we needed to find the right doctors to meet their needs.

So yesterday, C went to see his endocrinologist. Not only did he have a good report, the but doctor told us that the timing in which we came to see him was crucial. C definitely could have had major life changing problems had he not come to see this particular doctor when he did. His medication at the time was all wrong, and he was at risk for developing more problems as the antibodies in his system could have turned on other organs in his body. The doctor emphasized the timing of our first visit to him on several occasions during the visit. Presently, C's antibodies are extremely low, leading the doctor to say that in some cases his particular disease can reverse itself. It is something that might happen. If it doesn't, he'll be OK, but it's out there.

Once again, we just looked at each other realizing that once again, our decision to move halfway across the world was affirmed. We pretty much knew it at this point, but there was just that additional word that adds to the contentment already there, and made us say, "Yes, Lord. Thank you!"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lone Star

OK. This is kind of exciting. The son-in-law of my good friend and teaching partner wrote this show and executive produced it. It's coming out this Fall on Fox, on Monday nights immediately after House. It's called Lone Star and it looks like a good ol' Texas soap opera to me. My friend even had a little bit of a say in the choosing of the lead character. ;) Click on the link and watch the trailer! It looks intriguing....

Friday, June 04, 2010

Perfect Imperfection in our Beloved Sport

* Picture courtesy

It's amazing how quickly a sport can fall from grace. One minute, the crowd is up singing "Take me out to the ball game..." and the next minute they're throwing beer bottles and cursing the very turf on which their beloved players play.

But this week was a little different. The crowd was witnessing history: the pitcher for the Detroit Tigers was on the verge of pitching the elusive Perfect Game. He had not allowed one player on base, and now, in the last inning, he could almost taste this once in a lifetime achievement that most players only dream about. Only one more out to go.

You should know the rest. It's been all over the news: There was a clear out at first, yet the ump called the runner safe. Perfect Game gone. Coaches came over to give the ump their favorite choice of words, other players fell over in disbelief. But there was one person who was curiously not a part of the hubbub. The pitcher. I'm sure, he was disappointed, but he just walked back to the mound and waited. When everything settled, he pitched to the final batter and didn't allow him on base.

Here's where it gets good. It's where the imperfect almost becomes perfect. The ump asked to look at the play immediately after the game. After viewing the play, he knew he was wrong, and he said it! He was so remorseful, that he admitted he would understand if Galarraga never spoke to him again. He said, "It was my fault. I robbed this guy of a perfect game. I blew it. This was not just any call, this was the call of a lifetime, and I blew it." Enter Galarraga. With so much grace and humility, he noted that calls like that are part of baseball, and the unpredictability is what makes the game great.

There's a lot of speculation right now about technology and baseball. Some want to bring it into the sport for plays such as these in order to over rule the ump, like in, say, tennis. However, wondering if the ump is going to get the call right is part of the imperfection of the sport that adds to the excitement. If we brought in technology, as tennis has, then there would be no need for an ump to stand behind the catcher and very dramatically yell "STUURRIIIIKE THREEEEEE", and forget about the coach running toward the ump, bumping chests, kicking dirt, letting words fly, being the ultimate advocate for his players. Can you imagine that being gone from the game? It's part of the whole tradition of the sport we love.

The next game, there is a picture of the ump, Jim Joyce, and the pitcher, Armondo Galarraga shaking hands at the beginning of the next night's game. Jim is crying. His immediate acknowledgment of his actions may have even created a new friendship. This event, and the way it was handled, was a defining moment for them in their careers. It may take fans a little longer to come around. But hopefully the sheer honestly of Jim Joyce, the courage he displayed by speaking the truth, and the sheer grace that Galarraga showed at a time when he had every right to be upset, will allow these two men to stand out in their careers for very different reasons.

I'm impressed with them both.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Busy Years

That's what my mom calls the years we're living right now, and I completely agree. There are days when I long to just stay home all day and not go anywhere, but for now that is just an elusive wish.

That said, I wouldn't trade these years for anything. Em just finished her second year of college and will be transferring to UNT in the Fall. We're so excited because we found out yesterday that between grants and scholarships, her Junior year is completely paid for: books, tuition, housing, meal plans...everything. Our goal of getting through college with no student loans is getting closer. She's been busy, though, and she can totally take credit for all of that with her high GPA and all.

Timothy is driving now, but that wasn't the case all year. He turned 16 last September, but wasn't chomping at the bit to get his license, thank goodness! But he was patient, and we were able to get him a truck (completely paid for!) that he can use to get around town. It's a nice truck, and he put a lot of work in it himself to get it that way. He's doing great in baseball, and that alone has kept us busy. People love to watch him play, especially stealing bases, and he occasionally gets reamed by the coach for stealing before they have a chance to give him a signal. He started his first job last night, and is thrilled. Rosco's Smokehouse will never be the same!

Christopher is coming into his own. He's the comedian of the family and continues to hone his skills. He's also good with languages, and even though he had the Spanish teacher from *the bad place*, he's catching on anyway. He'll be driving soon as well (and our insurance is completely taking a hit!) but he and Timo will be sharing the truck. It will be good for them for the next two years. Christopher's health issues are now under control, which means growth spurt, which will also translate to better baseball. He'll be going out for the team next year. Still, he keeps us hopping and laughing, and that's always fun.

Nathaniel is finishing his last year of elementary this year. It's an end of an era. We will no longer have elementary school students in our house. I'm kind of sad, but only for a little bit, because he's so ready for middle school. He'll be going where Christopher went, and he's happy about that. He's got a good group of friends here, which is what I like about his elementary school. They stay friends all through school and are a tight bunch. Academy kids stay Academy kids, even when they leave. I'm happy about that for him.

T and I are two ships that pass in the night! Literally. Well, we pass in the morning. He works midnights, I see him for about 30 minutes, then I'm off to work and he's off to bed. But he's got such a fun job. It's kind of fun knowing the inner workings of a city. My job is crazy busy, and is different every day. I love that. I even have to keep a little post-it note on the back of my name tag to remind me where I'm supposed to be each day. But it never gets boring, and I love what I do. It also doesn't hurt to work with wild and crazy people. Really. They are nuts. I think it's a pre-requisite, though.

The busy years fly by, and they're exhausting as well. But it's a good kind of tired. The kind that makes you sigh before you go to sleep. It's far from perfect, and that just makes me love our life even more. I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where Ever You Are

I pray for you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Everybody's Got a Story

This used to be my favorite news show. A reporter, Steve Hartman, would throw a dart at a map then go to that town, open a phone book at a local phone booth, randomly open a page, then close his eyes and pick a number. His story would be about the person who answered the phone. He wasn't looking for the extraordinary, but he found it. Good or bad, it was always there.

There are some amazing stories from ordinary people in our neighborhoods. Little nuggets of treasure that, if we just stop and talk to people, we could find it. That includes our relatives. My grandmother remembers walking on foot by a wagon when she was four years old. That would have been 1921 or 1922. Her family was moving and ended up close to an indian reservation in Oklahoma. Her job as a four year old was to pick up little pieces of wood for kindling and throw it into a little canopy hanging down under the wagon. Looking at her at the end of her life, one would have never known or even thought to ask about life when she was young.

My new favorite show is now "Who Do You Think You Are?" If you watch it, sit with a box of kleenex, because the stories are truly touching and remarkable. As I said in my previous post, we stand on the shoulders of the generations that came before us, and we live much more comfortably because of the sacrifices they made. It was only two or three generations ago that relatives scrimped and saved for necessities like food, and splurged on things like ice cream or steak. They had hard lives with extremely humble circumstances, yet carried on with dignity and perseverance. Because they stuck it out and worked without seeing much benefit in their generation, they knew enough to know that this generation had a fighting chance.

I'm so grateful for that.

Get to know others' stories. People are fascinating if we just take the time to look.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Almost a Century

Today is T's grandma's birthday and she's 90 years young. I've thought a bit about her life and what she's seen as I've thought of her off and on today. She was born on this day in 1920. It's the day that Joan of Arc was canonized. It was the beginnings of the Roaring Twenties. It was a time of prosperity following the ravages of World War I. She was born into plentiful times, much like many of us. But like many of her contemporaries, she did not benefit from those wealthy times. Her family still had to work hard for what they needed. That was good, though, because it prepared her for the Great Depression. Like many in that Great Generation, she learned to do without, to make do with what she had, and to work hard for what she wanted. In many ways, the Great Generation are the epitome of Perfect Imperfection.

I think God honored and continues to honor that generation. We can sit and take credit for many of our blessings, but it is arrogant to think that it is because of anything we have done or deserve. In my opinion, most of our blessings are the mere residue of the blessings God bestowed on Gramma A's generation.

Gramma A is the first to tell you that she is undeserving of praise, and is quick to say she's done things wrong in her life. However. I don't think God is looking to bless perfection. On the contrary, I think he's looking for the imperfect through which to show Himself and make Himself known to the rest of the world. Gramma A's right choices and faithful steps, though small as they may seem, had ramifications even into the third and fourth generations. She did right when doing right counted. And as a result, we stand more firmly today than we would have. God will not be mocked, and He honors those who are deserving. He's honored Gramma A.

So, today, her family all over the world has stopped and called, prayed for, and thought fondly of this perfectly imperfect matriarch of the Adermatt family. And we smiled.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

15 Years Ago

Went in to have labor induced because of being eleven days past the due date. Started on pitocin. Day 1-nothing. Off pitocin for the night. Day 2-pitocin. Nothing. Stayed on pitocin for the night. Day 3-now we're gettin' somewhere. Went through all of the nurses shifts. Beginning nurse comes in and says, "You're still here?" Go to delivery. Dr's assistants see the baby's head. All start betting he weighs 13 pounds. Then the cry. Three days of labor. Sheer exhaustion. Sheer joy.

Name: Christopher William Hughes. And there's none like him.

He's 15 today, and the epitome of perfectly imperfect. I love everything about the boy. He's funny. He sets things straight. He's got opinions. He's kind. He sticks up for the underdog. Did I mention funny?

Happy Birthday, Bubs! You're loved beyond measure. Have a wonderful, wonderful day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Mind's Eye of a Perfectly Imperfect Savant

I've been studying, for about six years now, about gifted visual-spatial learners. I've become fascinated with how the brain works, and over the years I've come to realize that we just might be holding back our ability to learn in a more efficient way. Visual spatial learners are able to learn more efficiently, but surprisingly do not do well in a classroom setting. Classroom learning actually hampers their abilities and as a result the classroom becomes a restrictive environment.

Careful. I've got a soap box on this one.

Visual-spatial learners think in pictures, not words. They are able to learn new concepts in great leaps, and can't stand drill and practice. They have a picture in their brain, sometimes it is a movie, sometimes not, and this picture is their understanding of how the world works. When they learn something new, it changes their entire picture of the world, and links things together in most unusual ways. Speaking to these children is pretty interesting, because they seem as though they are jumping from one topic to another randomly, but they can instantly follow the link in their heads from each subject so that it's not random at all.

Enter Daniel Tammet. He could possibly be the posterboy for perfectly imperfect, because it is through his imperfections that he shines. He was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was young, and it is believed that one of his seizures brought about the amazing things his brain can do. He also has Asperger's Syndrome. There are a few reasons why he is so amazing.

First and foremost, he is unique among savants because of his ability to articulate how his mind works. As a result, he has been studied by Scientists in an effort to understand the brain's capabilities.
Second, he is a visual-spatial learner on steroids. He talks about seeing numbers, and the numbers he sees are moving things, with texture and color. He sees numbers as though they were landscapes. Amazing. I'd love to get a glimpse of how his brain pictures things.
Lastly, he now holds the record for being able to recite the digits of Pi to 22,514 places, or digits. It took him five hours and he was able to learn it in a week. He does the same with languages.

What would have happened if this visual-spatial savant had never had epilepsy? Or never had Asperger's, which may be the reason he is able to concentrate so well? Or what if he just kept his abilities to himself? What Scientist are finding is that while Daniel is able to do these extraordinary things so quickly, it is not out of bounds for non-savants to do these things as well, albeit at a lesser extent. Scientists have also found that because he thinks in pictures, he doesn't have to THINK about how to do these math problems. They are just in his picture and he finds them. Wow.

Here is Daniel Tammet on Letterman.

A longer, more interesting story about him is on the Science Channel.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Little Bragging

Just a little. Because mom's are allowed.

Number one son (NOS) went to get his license this month. We have an insider at the DMV, the mom of one of my son's friends, which is always nice. She lets us know the good times to come and such. We followed her advice and she was right, as we only had to wait a few minutes instead of hours.

Anyway, when NOS went to get his driver's permit, he took the written test and failed it. The woman who helped him fill out his paperwork was named Esther, a grandmotherly type, and a really nice lady. Not someone you'd expect at the DMV. When NOS failed, she told him not to worry and to come back tomorrow. The next day, we went again, and again we got Esther. This time NOS got a 100, and she took the time to really talk to him (as an adult should really talk to a young man about the responsibilities of driving.) Timothy took it to heart. And he liked Esther and the fact that she took the time to discuss that with him. Every now and then, he'd see his friend's mom and say, "Tell Esther hello for me!"

Fast forward 9 months (he was in no hurry to get his license, believe it or not!) and we are standing at the DMV. Who do we get, but Esther. Out of 8 people working, we got her. She immediately recognized Timothy and told him she was so glad to see him. She processed his paperwork, then said, "Hold on, I have a verse I want to give you before you leave." She wrote down on a piece of paper Prov. 29:17, and she told him that whenever she thinks of him, she thinks of that verse, because she has heard that he is a person of strong character and doesn't get swayed by friends into bad situations.

In the end she shook our hands and told us she's happy to have met us. I walked in being a bit proud of my son getting his license, but walked out proud of him for much different reasons. And all of that at the DMV. Really. What a wonderful day at the DMV!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Beginnings

Wow. What a difference a week makes! One day its cold, windy and rainy with bare trees and brown ground cover, and the next day the its warm, the trees are covered with buds and blooms, and there's a nice little tinge of green coming out in the yards. Well, except my yard. I have nice little yellow flowers covering my yard. It would be nice, if they weren't weeds.

Taking a break from blogger has been good for me. I'm not sure how much I'll be writing in the near future, but it has given me time to ponder, take things in, and enjoy life going on around me again. There's something to be said about contentment, and being happy where we are in life. We are so blessed to have been able to find a house, and find jobs in an economy such as ours. We both found jobs. And we found good jobs. In my case, there was an actual hiring freeze, but I was hired anyway. God is SO good to take care of us that way.

To be honest, I've been in a really down place this past year. Not mad at can I be when He's been so good to us in so many ways? Really, just mad at other Christians. More specifically, Christians who put on a public face of Christianity yet behave in such unChristian behaviors. I've been surrounded by Christians almost exclusively for the past 10 years, and I have to say that the side of Christians I've seen has not been good. Competitive, dog-eat-dog, ambitious mentalities that fostered behaviors that wouldn't fly in a business community let alone a Christian one was something that was a regularity. I could see it working on the Apprentice, but not many other places. There were a few bright spots and genuine people, and I worked hard to foster those friendships, but overall it was not good for me personally to work with people like that, I think because it was so unexpected. I've said it before and I'll say it again, sometimes the world teaches Christians a few lessons in how to behave. It should be the other way around, but there it is. I know we're all human and have our faults, but this was a different level of ministry and those expectations were and are appropriate. I know some of you who read this blog think I'm speaking of particular people. I'm not. Though they fall into the category I speak of, they were just part of a larger group of people who functioned in this way, and saw it as normal.

That said, that is behind me now. God is restoring me and the perspectives I have on others. I used to enjoy encouraging others. I'm beginning to get that back again.

I miss our actual work, and the relationships that were made while overseas. It was a life-changing experience on so many levels. Our kids are better for it. Tim and I are better for it. And now we're taking it to the communities and jobs where we live and work. We are working on being the right example to those around us. We still have good, genuine Christians around us, and I think God prepared them for us, knowing we would have this year of frustration. We are still in ministry, just not in a foreign land. We minister to those around us, and we encourage our fellow laborers and help them with their burdens, just as we are meant to. In the end, that's where the rubber meets the road, isn't it? Here's to our new road, and new beginnings.