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Showing posts from August, 2014

Projecting forward...

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One of my most recent mantras is to practice kindness and gratitude. The idea that each day should be approached with these two gives an entirely different meaning to every moment. Being grateful and acknowledging it brings a smile to not only others but also makes my heart sing.

As students begin to attend, I want to continue this practice while also acknowledging and encouraging each of them to do the same.

Assuming the best in others and treating them accordingly often causes people to rise to expectations. I have started on a personal healing journey this summer, trying to heal some of the wounds from the past few years. Healing is a process that has had me re-examine who I bring on a personal level, professional level, and emotional level. I want to find myself...I have been lost. The person I have been showing recently can be likened to an injured animal in the corner unable to function, unable to put a person forward that I could be proud of.

I am committed to re-discovering th…

Planting Trees...

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Education is similar to being gardener, you plant the seed, then wait to see the results. I have been teaching at the middle school for the last seven years, planting seeds, then walking away. You may get glimmers of success, maybe even glimpses of failure, but you often don't get to see the final product per se.

Today was our first day back to work...I met my girlfriend for coffee and we caught up, but the strangest part, for me, was when we were getting ready to leave, it really struck me that we weren't going to the same place. I have officially moved.

I am moving to teach high school, a place where I will get to see some of my kids again...a bit like revisiting the garden that was planted years ago. I am not going to lie, it will be a bit gratifying, getting to see some of what I built long ago, but I also realize that I am still just a place to pass along their journey. I may, or may not, get to see them get to their destination, but I know that I have been a stop along t…

Fanning the Flames...

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I have already begun having back to school dreams. This is a little scary considering my room is nowhere ready for student occupants. It is a giant disaster, filled with boxes which are filled with stuff.

This is a room that I want to be a place of inspiration, a place where students find their way.

I am taking this year especially seriously...I have left behind my friends and students I love to help create something positive. I am excited and terrified.

The last few years I have done these things with my partner in crime. Working with her strengthened me and my teaching. It is a strange thing to have one person impact my teaching practices and attitude at the level it has. It will be strange not to see her in the halls, after school, with the kids. She is the one who has helped me open my mind...re-discover my love. She is the one who was there during the depth...throwing a rope with the promise of being at the other end. I am taking the fire baton that she has passed and creating so…

Give an inch...build a mile...

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Today I went to see the Portland Thorns play their final game of the season. It was a must win in order to go to the playoffs. As you may know by now, I am a big time soccer fan. The World Cup at my house is a time of reverence...getting up early or staying late, whichever needs to be done, but soccer isn't really what this blog is about...it's about wanting something so bad you can almost taste it and fighting for it.

I am working on a new class for incoming Freshman with a group of other teachers. It is an interesting experience beginning to form a team with people I have never met. This class may become one of the most integral classes that freshman at our high school take...an opportunity to learn skills that they are lacking, study skills, coping skills, problem solving skills.

I want this class to be a foundation of something that they see in their future and work hard to achieve. Similar to the Thorns today...a goal in mind, hard work, and then success. These are skills…

Looking inside...starting anew...

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Once you have opened up and let people into the rabbit hole, it is hard to know what to say. I am here...I am moving forward, I am building something new and fresh...

I am ready to begin this new stage in my life...

Down the Rabbit Hole...

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The loss of the comedic icon Robin Williams this week has brought about much conversation around the subject of depression and other types of mental illness. Today it was released that he may have been suffering from early Parkinson's Disease.

Sometimes it takes someone who seems to have it all, the riches, the life, the connections, to bring forth the ideas of mental illness. Some people don't like to use the phrase "mental illness" when talking about depression or similar issues, but the reality is that they are mental illnesses, they are wired in the brain and professional help is often needed to find some level of relief or resolve.

I, myself, have struggled in this arena. When my daughter was young, I was in a pit of despair. I took medication that gave some relief, but realistically it did not pull me from the dark place. Those years were rough...I feel bad for my daughter, looking back, I was not able to give her more of myself. My memory is a bit like swiss ch…

Reaching out to the Gum Lady...

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I write to help me process. I write as a way to think. I started this blog over a year ago for both reasons and, in return, it has given me so much more...It honors me that people choose to read my words...it also gives me comfort.

Last night I went to the hospital to see my Grama. She was admitted yesterday due to edema in her legs, fluid in her lungs. She has a combination of pneumonia, edema and congestive heart failure. I am not delusional...my Grama is 95 years old.

My Grama is one of the strongest women I know. When I was a child, she and my Grampa would come and pick me up almost every Wednesday and Sunday for church or youth group. We would spend the day (or afternoon) together, eat, play games. I waited each week for these days...they were special and unique. I was the center of the universe these days...the most important person around.

After church services on Sundays, my Grama, lovingly known as "The Gum Lady," would let children choose from her magical bag...gu…

One step forward...

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I have finally gotten all of my things out of my classroom at my old school and it has been moved to my new building. To quote my custodian, "Your crap is here!"

I am having mixed feelings...this is the closure of one chapter of my life and the turn of the page into a new chapter. It is both scary and exhilarating.  I found out that I have a room with a window (awesome) and I don't have to share (cool). I am teaching a variety of classes, from freshman to juniors...it is all off to a good start.

It is still strange...the people that have been "my people" will be at my old school...I will need to find new people. In a staff three times the size as my old school, I will be looking for those I can trust, those who share the same goals.

The summer is rapidly coming to a close...my head is swirling with things to do, people to see. I have templates to make, things to send, organization to be had. There is a whirlwind of things to be done...all of this while trying t…

Returning to normal...

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I sat at home while the funeral was happening. My daughter would send me an occasional message, I would return one of support. My heart was heavy, thinking of my friends and their heartbreak, their daughter who is angry with the world for taking her brother away. There is nothing I can do for them, which breaks my heart...I wish I had the power to take the pain away...not only for them, but for all the families that have had to bury their sweet angels. It never gets easier...each one as painful as the one before it. My hope is that the time before we find a cure is less...it happens sooner rather than later.

Tonight I got a call that my Grama, who had a stroke recently, may have had another episode. My parents came to pick me up and we went to visit. She has pneumonia, is feeling crappy, and is in isolation because she is contagious. My Grama is my "person," you know...the one that grounds you. I want her to get better. I know that she is no spring chicken (she's 95), bu…

Tiny caskets...broken hearts...

Tomorrow is the funeral. I wish I could be there to hold my friend's  hand, to be a shoulder. Tomorrow they have to say goodbye to his earthly body, look at the tiny casket...one far too small. There is never the right size casket when it comes to burying your child. They are always too small, too constraining, too wrong.

The family saying goodbye for the last time...hearts breaking, cries out for understanding...understanding that will never come. There is no rhyme or reason to this disease...one never knows how it might affect one or another. This is why it is especially scary...one never knows if your own family may be in the cross hairs.

Over the last ten years there have been too many of these days...too many tiny caskets. With so few affected, the sheer number lost is overwhelming. Over one hundred children lost...each one shattering the community, each an irreplaceable piece of our collective heart. Each day we get closer to a cure and yet each day comes on borrowed time...…

Reflections from a MTM Mother...a year later, more of the same...

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This week has been a rough one on so many levels...personally, professionally, emotionally. I write to process, to speak to my own soul. Yesterday my writing spoke to many...I am overwhelmed...I am grateful that I have touched the hearts of many, yet I only want to truly touch the heart of one...One mother that is grieving the loss of her son, a loss totally unexpected, a loss that has shattered her heart to the core.

"What do I do?" was her question to me "How do I do this?"

I wish I had the answer, but then knowing how to survive the loss of a child would mean I would have to lose mine. As I said before...I am selfish. I never want it to be my turn. My son is turning 13 this year. He has made it past many milestones, farther than many, including some in my own family, ever suspected he would make. I don't blame anyone for being a realist...I have never been...not when it comes to my son. A year ago I wrote Reflections of a MTM Mother. It is a journey...for on…

Another angel gains his wings....

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Tears are falling down my face...I can't control them. My eyes just keep leaking.

The news that another MTM boy gained his angel wings last night breaks my heart...the news that it is my dear friend, Lindsey's son Louie, crushes it. At the conference last summer I met this sweet family. They struggled, like we all do, to come to terms with this diagnosis and what it means. Their daughter, Emily, is a doting and special girl, a big sister filled with love. She is comforting her parents now...dealing with this unspeakable loss in the only way many children know how...love those around them.

We joked last summer that Louie was Stesha's boyfriend. They had an immediate and special bond. He would smile and flirt with her. She would hold his hand and talk with him...even though she was years older, these little angels burrow themselves into our hearts.

I hate this disease...I hate that it takes our children like a thief in the night. The last few deaths have been swift and unfo…

From One Nerd to Another...

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I have spent the last few days at the Oregon Math Leaders Conference...now, I know that you are so excited and wish it was you.

I admit that I am a nerd, geek, whatever...I love to learn...Each day presents itself a new and exciting opportunity. This year I am looking forward to being reinvigorated. 
I have been under a cloud for some time...Even my closest friends have not been able to help me clear my head.
It will happen...step by step, but I am looking forward to clarity and rebuilding...rebuilding relationships, rebuilding my joy for teaching, rebuilding the things that I love.
I look forward to finding my path...