Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 27

What a beautiful day!  Today has been a day of renewal.  After my frustrating day yesterday, I approached today with a new positive lens!  It is amazing the difference my approach to the day makes on the outcome!  Why can't I remember that more often?  I think I am like the Israelites with short term memory problems! 

I was able to check several things off my list today and I get to spend some time with my beautiful daughter tomorrow.  That always makes the outlook on the day bright!  

Enjoy your day and your weekend and remember, our approach to the day and issues is a great indicator of how things will turn out.  Today is a great day!

Day 26

WOW!  What a day!  When you have been working all year on a very big, intensive, and important project with a due date quickly approaching, you are more than frustrated when someone tells you that you may consider some changes.  That is how my day went!  While I agree with the recommendations suggested.... they are better than what we had before, the implications for making the change are HUGE!!!  It does not affect just one document, but all documents!!! :(  My team has been so committed and focused this year as we have worked on this project.  I am so proud of their effort and what has been produced.  However, because our team was focused on meeting the deadline, we are much further along with our project than my colleagues.  What this means for them is they don't have to change all their documents, they can simply use the new suggestions as they create the documents.  I know, I sound bitter, and maybe I am.  I hate doing work for nothing! I promise my post on Friday will be positive!

Day 25

When I was initially asked to come and be a guest at one of our schools to teach a writing lesson, I thought I would be teaching a classroom of children.  "Of course," was my response!  Then I discovered that I really would be teaching all the students.  I will have to say that I was shaking in my boots.  I don’t remember ever teaching 80+ kids at one time, and this had me completely scared.  I lost sleep, had intense nerves, and even felt sick as I walked into the school.  Well, I quickly discovered that all of this worry was certainly unjustified.  I got to work with the most awesome group of kids ever.  The students entered the cafeteria with smiles on their faces that looked eager to learn and engage.  I immediately realized I was going to be okay.  The students really amazed me with their ability to identify a meaningful problem, collaborate, and compose.   These students made an impact on me, and I only hope that I impacted them a little.  What an amazing day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 24

Today is always one of my favorite days.  It was a curriculum writing day, which may not sound like much fun to most.  However, I got to be with some of the smartest, gifted, and committed educators in DISD.  These people are passionate about children, making the curriculum accessible to teachers, and learning how to write curriculum better.  My head is always spinning after a day of writing curriculum, but in a good way.  I feel so blessed to be among all the talent in the room, listening to the buzz of conversation and outward thinking.  It has been a great day!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 23

What a beautiful day!  I was well rested and ready to start the week.  Dale suggested I take his car this morning so that he could take mine and get it cleaned up.  He knows how much I hate driving a dirty car, and even knows more how much I love having a clean car with the top off on days like today.  I received a text from him around lunch time that he just traded cars with me and that mine was ready to go.  I really do have the best husband ever.  He is not only my companion, but he is my best friend!

A great start to a great day, and I know this will be a great week at work!  

Day 22

Today is the last day of spring break.  The day has come to hook up the trailer and head back into town.  However, not before one last breakfast, hot coffee, and a fire!

It rained so hard last night for hours and hours, it is amazing that we were able to even get a glimpse of a fire burning this morning, but my husband is persistent.  Maybe he is persistent because I am so pushy, but nonetheless, we had a fire!  Now it is time to load the kayaks, hook up the trailer, and take things home so they can begin the drying out process!  It has been one amazing week for which I am most thankful!

Day 21

Saturday!  Dale is here with me and the "stir-crazy" has set in.  We decided to drive the country side today and see if there were any houses we could not live without.  We have had the desire to move out of the city for sometime, and it seems like that time is getting nearer and nearer.  We know it is an excellent time to sell our house, but not a great time to buy.  He thinks we can live in the trailer while we find or build the right place.... I just don't know if I could do it day in and day out.  While this has been my happy place this week, I am looking forward to the spaciousness of my house.  It just seems to have more freedom!  

After driving through Tioga, Lake Kiowa, and then through Gainesville again, (I know, twice in one week!), we decided to have lunch at one of my favorite eating places in the area.  Dieter's BBQ.  When I was growing up, it was Metzlers, but then the name changed as the Metlzer's brought their BBQ to Denton.  The food is the same, the turquoise booths are the same, and even many of the employees are the same.  I always stick to their sliced brisket plate, and Dale is just as predictable with his chicken fried steak and french fries order.  Oh well, since we do not do this all the time, we can both afford the splurge! 

Day 20

Today is the last day that I will be alone at the camp.  I am excited, but also sad.  Don't get me wrong, Dale has been coming in every evening after work, so I have not been out here completely on my own.  But, this will be the last day that I have to myself!  My week has been full of sleepy mornings, lots of coffee, long walks, music, books, and nature.  I really could not have asked for a better week off.  It is just the kind of stillness and nothingness that I needed.  Since it is Friday, the park is beginning to get full again with campers coming in for the weekend.  It is fun to guess the "story" of the campers as they pull into their sites especially when the unhooking process gets frustrating! :)
It is going to be a great day! 

Day 19

Wow!  Talk about rain and the cleansing of the earth!  Well, it came a gully washer last night and our campsite is a mess.  I am going to go to Gainesville today to explore the roots of my home town!  It has been months, maybe even a year since I have driven the streets of my childhood, but a rainy day is the perfect day for a road trip!  Listening to vintage country music on Sirius Radio while reminiscing as I drive past favorite hang-outs, friends houses, and my old house can sure stir the emotions.  Miranda's song kept playing in my mind.... I just want to touch and feel this house again.  I am surprised that the owners did not come out and ask me if they could help me with anything because I could not make my truck move past the house for what seemed like hours. As the rain-drops fell from the sky, tear drops fell from my eyes.  I know they say you can't go back home again...

Day 18

Sitting outside this morning, drinking coffee, and enjoying listening to Mr. Woody Woodpecker.  He was so far up in the tree, that I could not get a picture of him.  Nonetheless, I have a picture in my mind!  They are amazing birds.  Well, speaking of birds.... a roadrunner literally just visited my campsite!  I think my stillness took him by surprise, because when I reached to capture his picture, he was gone as fast as lightening!  I love nature and the creatures we don't get to observe in our busy, crazy, everyday lives!  (Not my pictures, but images of the birds I observed this morning!)

Day 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  Can you believe that I have nothing green in the trailer to wear today?  If you saw how many clothes I have in the trailer at all times, it is hard to imagine that I would not have one item of clothes with green somewhere on it.  Oh well, I do not think that anyone will care out here!  

Ok.  It is absolutely beautiful outside and I got up the nerve.  I took the kayak out... ALL-BY-MYSELF!!  I did it!!!  It is silly that something so trivial made me feel so accomplished, but I will take what I can get! 

There were turtles on this rock, until I made to much distracting noise with my paddle... Oh well, just imagine it! :)

Day 16

The beautiful, warm sun is out today and this makes my heart happy and full.  What should I do?  Try to get the kayak out by myself - load it, get it to the water, launch it, paddle, and load it again....?  I am hesitant that I can do it.  Honestly- this day was filled with me sitting in the sun, listening to music, and watching the campers come and go!  A great day - just not productive!  Maybe tomorrow I will gather the courage to take the kayak out.  (I just don't want to be someone's entertainment!)

Day 15


Breakfast with friends and communion to honor our Lord, got this day started!  Dale read from 1 John 1 and the word of God really spoke to me of the sacrifice he gave in sending his son to die for my sins.   One last game of Mexican Train with Matt and Mary before they packed up was lots of fun!  Dale and I were on a roll - we had the right dominoes every hand! It was our lucky day!  To finish the day of bliss, we grilled mouth watering steaks and watched the sun set.  Dale has to go into work tomorrow.  I have mixed emotions about being all alone out here.  Will it be peaceful, refreshing, and relaxing, or will it be lonely and miserable?

Day 14

We slept in until almost 10 o'clock.  We have not done this in years!!  Usually the dog gets us up long before this hour, but I guess he was needed a day of rest as much as we were.  Cooking a leisure breakfast outside, enjoying a good cup of coffee, and visiting with friends has made this day start just the way I had hoped.  It is going to be a great day!

Day 13

Spring break has arrived. The state park is FULL!!!  Full of campers, dogs, and kids!!  I love the sound of children playing, but I an also hopeful for some peaceful, serene moments.  I have my favorite camping chair, lots of wood for fires throughout the week, and books to read!  Maybe things will be quieter tomorrow.

Oh the funny things kids will do when they are outside!  I observed a group of boys, no more than 10 years old, chasing a rabbit through the vacant campsite across the road with a home-made slingshot.  They just knew they were going to find their dinner.  It was lucky for the rabbit, their slingshot building needed some improvement.  Perhaps, their ability to use this tool also needed some skill improvement.  Anyway, no harm was done!  It made me giggle and thankful that my children have grown out of this stage... Well, I am not so sure about Dale! :)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 12

The Slice of Life Challenge has made a tremendous impact on my life.  When things pop into my head or concern me, my first thought and desire is to write them down.  I want to capture my thoughts and ideas in ways that I have never desired before.  I cannot explain this shift in my need to write, but I think it is something that will change me forever.  With spring break approaching, I am looking forward to capturing my days in writing and in picture.  I will be in nature mostly, so I will be writing the old fashion way (with a pen and writing notebook instead of my tablet).  I will post when I have an internet connection.  I hope everyone has a restful weekend and spring break!  Happy writing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 11

My heart is heavy! It is early in the morning and I cannot sleep! All I wanted to do was write!! (Ok! That is something new as a result of this challenge!!) Tuesday was a very rough day for me! I felt extremely unsuccessful in my leadership abilities and I have failed in the personal skills arena! The work I was engaged in with colleagues challenged my OCD for organization. Simultaneously I was receiving multiple requests for me to take on new challenges.  I have to borrow from my friend Yesi's post a few days ago, will I ever be enough???? I yearn to be everything to everyone! I am not enough and I cannot contain the tears! My heart is heavy and the cloud surrounds me! 

Day 10

My dear friend Mandy sent this to me after reading one of my earlier posts.  

No Fear

If you are a doctor, you obviously have big time knowledge although sometimes that knowledge may be hard to share even though it is the right thing to do. If your patient has a sickness, for example, it has to be hard to share that news. As a doctor. you also have information on what to do next. You could take the easy way and not share due to the fear of the patient's reaction, fear of being attacked. But, that would be wrong. A good doctor does not fear.

Jesus had the most all-encompassing knowledge  this world has ever seen. His convictions were so strong, so unswerving that He was not afraid to share with anyone. He was secure in His knowledge and what the next step should be. He would not be contaminated or swayed.

Fear makes us unwilling to speak up for our beliefs of what the Bible says - fear of rejection, fear that our knowledge and faith might be attacked or shaken. But if that is the case, perhaps we need to examine just how deep our beliefs really are.

Jesus had no such fear, no need to fence Himself off from others for His own protection. He knew the difference between graciousness and compromise, and we should follow His example.

Jesus alone is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Never lose your confidence in the truth and the Bible! But - like Jesus - may you always be "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

Philippians 2:5 In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.

Acts 18:9-10 the Lord said to Paul, “Don’t be afraid, and don’t stop talking to people. I am with you, and no one will be able to hurt you."

Psalm 118:6 The Lord is with me, so I will not be afraid. No one on earth can do anything to harm me.

The fear of rejection is real.  I am thankful for the support of friends who stand beside me even when I am undesirable!  

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9 Day 9


“You learn to write by writing. It’s a truism, but what makes it a truism is that it’s true. The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis.” –William Zinsser in On Writing Well.

This quote is so true.  While I do not feel like I am getting better at writing from participating in this blog, it is making me more aware of the struggles writers face when writing.  It also makes me aware of word choice, mechanics, etc.

I am so thankful for my friends and colleagues as they support me through this journey! I want to be a better writer! I had a teacher say to me today,  "Not everyone can be a gifted writer..." I know this is not true! It may take some of us longer to get there than other! That is all!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day 8

"What if he doesn't like me?" While watching Failure to Launch for the umpteenth time, these words have resonated with me! Tripp's mother is scared to be in the empty nest for fear of rejection. All I can say is this fear and feeling is real!!! Not only at home, but in all aspects of my, friends, and grown kids! While I deal with these fears and feelings, it makes me question our students and our teachers. How many of them raise this question everyday of their life? What can I do or say to them that let's them know they are enough? That is my quest this week!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Day 7

It is not everyday that you get to stay in a room with a view like this! Blessed!!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Day 6

In reflecting on my day at work, I had the opportunity to work with the elementary principals during their PLC.  We were working on the aspect of effective feedback.  In our work, we examined strong and week examples of effective feedback.  As a culminating activity, the principals reviewed a writing sample from a student and practiced giving success and next step feedback to this student based on their writing.  WOW!!!  What great collaboration!  Today was a successful day of learning for all of us!  I am looking forward to the weekend!  I hope I am able to keep posting! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Day 5

I received an email today suggesting I turn my blog into a poem.  So, here goes my attempt at poetry.  Please be kind! :)

Beautiful Snow Days

Defensive Driving Complete

Soul Warming Sunshine

Need Adult Interaction
Almost relaxed

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Day 4

In reflecting on my day today, it was almost completely focused on writing.  I am so thankful that I have stepped out of my comfort zone to take on this blog challenge, because I know can put my self in the shoes of the students in our district.  I had a wonderful day of collaboration with some very thoughtful, focused, and determined teachers.  It was an honor to be at the schools today working with teachers.  I am looking forward to seeing the growth of their students as their teachers take on some new instructional strategies. All in all, it has been a great day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Day 3

Recently I had the opportunity to hear Gretchen Bernabei speak on a Saturday morning.  As I was sitting with a fabulous group of educators, we developed a kernel essay.  We started with stating a problem and writing our solution. Gretchen then asked us a series of questions and we wrote our response.  The questions were:
1.  What do you together as a table believe about your topic.
2.  What is the problem?
3.  How do you know there is a problem?
4.  What unsuccessful solutions have been tried?
5.  What is our solution in one sentence?

Here was our response:

We want the people we love to be accessible to us.  Texas is huge and traffic delays the time apart even more.  Not being with our loved ones causes hardships on relationships.  Those most special to us are no longer as accessible as they once were and there is a real hole in our hearts.  We have tried flying, not leaving for the visit during rush traffic times, meeting half way, connecting through technology, but these solutions have not worked.  We want the state of Texas to build affordable bullet trains across the major cities in Texas to help bring our loved ones close.

Could this structure be used to help our most struggling writers?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 2

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to spend time with kindergarten teachers in our district looking at the triangulation of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  We studied an article written by Nancy Anderson and Connie Briggs on the reciprocity between reading and writing and I was convicted of something I have known for year, but may not be practicing.  We cannot put more emphasis in one of these areas over another as our students need a balanced literacy diet.  We discussed the fact that struggling readers who do not have the opportunity to write may struggle even more with literacy.  We must be explicit in our teaching so that students understand the reciprocal nature of reading and writing.  We need to name how reading is like writing and how writing is like reading.  I would love feedback from teachers on how they are explicitly teaching this concept to their students.  As the article concludes, "When you teach reading and writing together, it is a two-for-one deal - a deal we simply cannot pass up."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Day 1

I have been challenged to get out of my comfort zone and blog each day this month. Here goes! I am keeping it simple today and hopefully my confidence will grow and I will post something meaningful!