Monday, December 17, 2012

Fear

In light of recent events, many Americans are fearful.  "Should I homeschool?"  "What can be done about gun-control?"  "We need to practice lock-down procedures monthly."  Let us not forget that God told us in 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

Depending on the version of Bible you read, the Word of God says "fear not" or "do not fear" approximately 100 times.  Have you ever told your child, "If I told you once, I've told you 100 times...."?  Well, God DID tell us 100 times! 

Fear not.  God told us that He is with us, even unto the end of the world.  What was the commandment right before that?  "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" Matthew 28:19. 

We are not to sit in fear.  Yes, hug your children.  Tell your child's teacher thank you for ALLLLL the myriad of things they do.  Let us not lose sight of our purpose.  Go ye therefore.  Fear not. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Proud Owner

I am so giddy.  I feel so official now.  I am the proud owner of a blog button.  What?!  A blog button!  See it, there on the right?  Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen?  Custom made, just for me.

Michelle at the3amteacher custom made it.  Check her out.  But she doesn't just do blog buttons.  She's BIG into clip art and decorative backgrounds.  Click on her blog store.  Those soft and swirly snowflakes are callin' my name!  Holla!

She's everywhere.  She has her own Etsy shop, TeachersPayTeachers, and TeachersNotebook.  But I think her biggest claim to fame is mother of Frosty.  You remember Frosty.  He's that cute little stuffed animal that visited our classroom and changed lives.

If you have a blog, grab my button!  Leave me a comment and let me know and I'll grab yours!  :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First (Early) Snow

Dear Thanksgiving,
Since the first snow usually falls ON your holiday or the day after, I am content to allow every Autumn day leading up to your holiday be filled with thoughts of you. 

However, in light of recent events, I am skipping your holiday and pulling out the Canadian Brass and Trans-Siberian Orchestra CD's today. Thanks (pun intended).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Results.....This Just In......

Through a grueling (or was that drooling?) campaign,

where both sides seemed evenly matched....
 
 
 
 
In a landslide election....
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Armed with a Rock and a Promise

"He's just a boy."  David  "He's just a shepherd. "  

There was David, in the middle of negative comments.  

"You didn't take the year-long class to prepare you for this?!"  "You didn't take the summer institute to give you a head start?!"  me  "You have no one else from your school or even district to be in your cohort?!"  "You don't have any financial assistance?!"

There I was, in the middle of negative comments.  "Criticism couldn't stop David.  While the rest of the army stood around, he knew the importance of taking action.  With God to fight for him, there was no reason to wait.  People may try to discourage you with negative comments or mockery, but continue to do what you know is right.  By doing what is right, you will be pleasing God, whose opinion matters most." (Life Application Study Bible)

Saul dressed David in armor he thought would be helpful.  Very nice candidates gave me tons of advice.  "Get this book."  "Organize your files like this."  "Do this when video-taping."  "Meet every Saturday at Barnes and Noble with a co-candidate."  I know they meant well.  But I couldn't help feeling like David being weighted down with armor that wasn't meant for him.  He took them off, and so did I.  

God put this on my heart 12 years ago.  He clearly said that after ten years of teaching, it would be mine.  He told me then, before I was even married, to wait until my children were in school.  Would you believe me if I told you this is my tenth year teaching and the first year that both children are in school?  Talk about timing.  

Twelve years is a long time to wait.  It's akin to a child waiting for Christmas Day.  They eagerly anticipate it, but if they solely focus on that, they will miss out on the joys of Easter, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving.  They almost have to subconsciously forget about Christmas in order to endure the wait.  

I have had to do the same.  There were times when I thought that maybe I could speed things up a bit.  But, the timing was never right.  

David faced a physical giant.  I face a giant of sorts also.  It is true that most candidates take a college course to prepare them for this process.  I didn't know about it until March.  Most candidates take a week-long "institute" to give them a head start.  I was at the Transplant House with Joe this summer.  And yes, most candidates come from a school with a legacy of Nationally Board Certified teachers, from whom they can glean advice.  Those same teachers have cohorts that meet monthly to offer advice and support.  Even if I were to join their cohorts, I live 3 1/2 hours away.  Every candidate there had 100% financial support from their district, including the 3 retreats ($250 each).  I have none of that.  

What I do have is a promise from my God.  "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13.  

I will admit that the negative comments were starting to get to me.  Those and my own negative self-thoughts.  Then, God gave me a breath prayer.  If you aren't familiar with a breath prayer, it is a short prayer that can be whispered with a single breath.  "Lord, bless the work of my hands."  I repeated this several times in my head.  I felt the need to write it down and claim it.  I put it on the cover of my humble 3-ring binder.  It looked like a little note.  

Lord,
Bless the work of my hands.
......................

It felt unfinished, like it needed a closing.

I signed it "Your servant".

Not until I went back into the Word, did I remember that David said "your servant will go and fight him".


When I opened my account on Saturday, I found an unexpected scholarship in my name in the amount of $1250.  I did not apply for any scholarships.  I may not be a "rock star" yet, but God is already working out the details.
*************************UPDATED******************
Since I wrote this, I have returned to it many times.  It's usually when I'm feeling overwhelmed or I doubt.  I know, right?  How can I doubt when God has done so much?  But, I'm human.  Today, something amazing happened and I just had to update this post:
I might just cry. It's been difficult. Extremely challenging, but in an awesome, open-your-eyes, become-a-better-teacher way. I know I will never be the same. However, it's been arduous to say the least, to keep up with my teaching responsibilities, to be a wife, to be a mom, to be a friend. In fact, I took today off work to just work on NB, still disappointed about NOT being allowed to go to the two NB retreats where they would have burned my DVDs. But, when we woke up, Joshie had a huge puss bubble on his face. His teacher told me they had impetigo in the classroom. I was less than thrilled at the prospect of yet another trip to the doctor's office. Seriously people, we are on a first name basis. We spend a LOT of time there. I surrendered and knew that I have to do what is right. Priorities. I'm a wife first, then a mom, then a teacher, then a National Board candidate. In that order. I was feeling a little sad thinking that I probably won't pass all 6 entries this year for NB because I refuse to put my loved ones in a lesser position. I consoled myself by thinking that if I can at least pass 1 entry this year, that's one less entry I need to re-do next year. I saw the due date looming ahead. I took Josh to the doctors, swam upstream in the first-of-the-month Walmart crowd, only to have them tell me they are out of stock, drove across the street to Walgreens, and then came home......to find an email from NB. Effective for the first time ever, candidates can upload their documents, as in "immediate" and not have to mail them and fret about lost packages. Candidates can also upload their videos, as in "you don't have to burn DVDs" that I missed out on anyway. And..........since the process is more streamlined, candidates now have an extra TWO MONTHS to submit their entries. Excuse me, I need to go wipe my tears. http://rodriguezrockstars.blogspot.com/2012/10/rock-star.html

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Click- part two

****************************************
I say "cop", but honestly without my glasses to really see, it could have been police, sheriff, security, or armored transport.  Seriously.  My vision is 20/600 (I see at twenty feet, what normal people see at 600 feet).  It's basically just shapes and colors.  But, at 3 a.m., there isn't much color.
****************************************
I quickly realize how this must appear to them.  A car alarm was just going off.  I am now walking around.  Alone.  The only human awake.  
****************************************

Focus, Susan.  What did that cop just say?  "Fire alarm?"
"Did you hear a CAR alarm?" 
"Um, yeah.  It came from that direction," I say pointing in some direction away from me.

The three cop cars peel out in that nondescript direction.

  I step into the bathroom, which is about one degree above freezing.  The seat, one degree below.

Against my best efforts, I am starting to wake up.  The wheels are clicking into place.

Three cop cars showed up at three a.m.  Cortez is a small town, not unlike our own.  I don't think we have ONE deputy on duty at 3 a.m., let alone THREE.  Wow, they take security seriously here.

I put my hands under the flow of super cold water.  How are these not ice cubes right now?  The cold water wakes me up a little more.  The car alarm hadn't been off for more than 90 seconds when the squad cars came peeling up the drive.  How did they get here so fast?

Who would have called 911 anyway, over a car alarm?  I'm pretty sure I know how it went down.  Someone got cold and went out to their vehicle to get a blanket or jacket.  They didn't realize their wife had set the car alarm.  HONK!...HONK!  They try in vain to find the car keys, buried under backpacks and yesterday's clothes.  

I step out of the restroom.  I think the temperature has dropped 5 degrees while I was in there.  I stumble back to the camper, determined not to wake up.  I notice three sets of headlights are circling all the loops.  

Seriously, guys. It was a car alarm.  In a campground.  It's not a bank alarm on Wall Street.  Boy, they take security seriously here.

So, how did they get here so fast anyway?ZOOOOOOM!  One of the squad cars just almost hit me as I stumble back to the camper.  Wake up, Susan!

Great, now I'm awake.  I have nothing else to do but lie in bed, freeze, and contemplate how and why in the heck these three cops showed up for a car alarm.  
This is what my half-frozen, half-asleep brain came up with:
They had to have been close by and heard it themselves.  But where?  The nature trail that we took last night had a little parking lot near the lake.  I think the three of them were hanging out there, bored to death, wanting adventure, when they heard the sound of the alarm carry across the lake.  

Conclusion: Either they really take security seriously or they are bored to death and wanted some excitement.  They must have "adventure" stamped across their forehead too.


Click- part one

HONK!...HONK!...HONK!
Ug, someone's HONK! car alarm is HONK! going off.  HONK!
I look at the phone.  HONK!  Three a.m.  Well, HONK! 
I have to go to HONK! the bathroom anyway.

Joe asks if that is our van.  HONK!  I say, "No, our's goes HONK, HONK...HONK, HONK".

I pull on my red hoodie and stumble with half-frozen legs out of the camper.  
I decide not to put my glasses on, because I have a theory: if my eyes focus, I will fully wake up.  
If they don't focus, I won't fully wake up and thus can go right back to sleep.

This little red riding hood, with blonde waves peaking out from under her hood, makes her way to the restroom.  

I hear a vehicle coming up the drive.  Hm, someone is arriving late.
My brain is slowly starting to turn the wheels into gear.

A few more groggy steps and I realize it's actually three vehicles.  Click.

Hm, a caravan of three vehicles is arriving late.

A few more frozen steps when I realize the vehicles are driving WAAAY faster than the prescribed 5 mph.  Click. 

I am now in the middle of the drive, when I see that the vehicles have split up.  One is coming around the restroom from the left, and the other two from the right.  Strange.  Click.

I can't see much, but I drowsily look back at the vehicles, as if my facial expression could convey "what the heck?  Slow down buddy!"  And that's when I can make out the outline of a lightbar on top of the highly reflective vehicle.  Click.

I turn back around forward, and the first vehicle is blocking me, the other two have now come to a stop behind me.  Click!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

It Was Bound to Happen

Squeak, squeak, squeak goes the wheel.  The rhythmic sound is almost soothing.

But the hamster starts to go faster.  "It just takes one more minute."  "This is important."  "It's what good _____ (fill in the blank) do."

Except all these "one more minutes" have a culminating effect.  When everyone else tells you what is important, you forget what really IS important.

And you know what's going to happen.  The poor little hamster is going to run so fast, she's going to tumble butt over head.  It was bound to happen.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Only Possible Word

Joe is doing just great.  It's hard to believe it has only been 2 1/2 short months since his transplant.



We knew from the very beginning that God had His hand over the whole situation.  What I didn't know is how perfect His plan would continue to be.

Right away, Joe started feeling better.  Within DAYS his creatine (toxins) levels were back to normal.  Everything went as well as, if not better than, expected.  We got accustomed to doctors telling us how amazed they were with his progress. And we're not talking about some third-rate operation. This is Mayo Clinic; the BEST in the WORLD for transplants.  Every milestone seemed to be reached earlier than expected.  He was even allowed to come home last month.

When he left, they told him that he would still need to come back periodically for check-ups.  He went back two weeks after being home and then again three weeks after that, which was Thursday.  Once again, all the tests came back with great news.  The new kidney is doing her share of work, and then some.  She has filtered his toxins down to a level equivalent to that of a normal person.  His blood pressure is under control and his water retention is obsolete.  But that's pretty average for any transplant patient.  What continues to astound the doctors is Joe's body's complete acceptance of this foreign kidney.

Our bodies are amazing in that they know automatically when there is a foreign substance.  Our immune system automatically fights this new invader.  In the case of a transplant, we don't want the body to fight the new kidney.  Therein lies the perfect balance of immuno-suppressant medication.  Too much, and Joe will catch every cold, flu, or worse that wisps by on a breeze.  Too little, and his body will reject the kidney.

Immediately following the surgery, the doctors put Joe on three anti-rejection medications.  Through blood tests, they realized quickly that it was overload.  When he was released from the hospital, they took him off one of the medications.  He was taking 14 pills per day for the other two.

As I mentioned, he went down Thursday for a routine check-up.  He has been doing so well, they have now reduced his anti-rejection medication to FOUR pills per day!  From 14 to 4.  In only 2 1/2 months.  In fact, his white blood cell count shows that they are not even fighting the kidney.  All of this is astounding to the doctors.  The only possible word is: miracle. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ode to Autumn: The Sounds of Autumn

There is a certain sound to Autumn.  

It's a mixture of quietling calm, 
as all the summer visitors have left the mountain.  

Autumn usually brings the first snowfall, 
and with it a smothering quietness as all living things hunker down and hole up.  


Yet, Autumn also tends to bring one last flurry of activity as everyone prepares for six months of winter.  

 I hear Joe chopping wood 
and building our wood pile.  

I hear my timer beeping all day long with all the baking; 
the bounty of harvest: zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, apple pies.

I love Autumn.

***Now remember to comment and add your favorite Sounds of Autumn***

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ode to Autumn: The Feel of Autumn

Autumn has a specific feel.  Sometimes you get a whisper of it, and know instantly that Autumn is on the air.

I love crispy mornings.  

I love pleasant afternoons.  

I love cozy blankets.  

I love flannel sheets.  

I love Autumn.

***Now remember to comment and add your favorite Feels of Autumn***

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ode to Autumn: The Sights of Autumn

Is there anything more beautiful to look at than an autumn landscape?  There is something magical in the colors of the season that is so pleasing to the eye.  Here are some of the favorite things I love looking at:

I love golden aspens.  

I love red ferns.  

I love browning oaks.  

I love watching smoke curl up from sleepy chimneys.


I love Autumn.

***Now remember to comment and add your favorite Sights of Autumn***

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ode to Autumn: The Smells of Autumn

There are so many great fragrances of Autumn.  I think that's why all the candle companies make so many candles scented like this season.  

I love the aroma of fresh-baked cookies.  

I love the fragrance of fresh-baked pies.  

I love the smell of dusty leaves.  

I love smelling fresh-cut wood.  

I love Autumn.

***Now remember to comment and add your favorite Smells of Autumn***

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ode to Autumn: The Tastes of Autumn

There is just so much yummy stuff to eat during Autumn.  I mean when you think about it, we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and we get really close to Christmas.  No wonder animals put on their winter coat.  Ahem, I still have my coat from last winter.  

I love pumpkin spice lattes.  

I love pumpkin spice cookies.  

I love pumpkin ..., well, pumpkin anything.  

I love a bowl of chili with fresh cornbread on the side.  

I love ALL the fixin's of Thanksgiving.  

I love Autumn.


***Now remember to comment and add your favorite Tastes of Autumn***

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ode to Autumn

I love Autumn.  I love all the sights, sounds, tastes about it.  I'm pretty sure you do too.

Starting tomorrow and counting down to the first day of Autumn, I am beginning a series called "Ode to Autumn".  I will share some of my faves but the real fun is if you comment and add your faves of the season.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Random Adventure Day in Greer

You can probably tell from recent posts that we just love spending time together as a family.  We have always enjoyed traveling but couldn't while Joe was sick.  Now that he is feeling so much better, we have been wanting to hike and camp and travel and...........the list just goes on.

We knew we wanted to go on an adventure, but weren't sure where to go.  Actually, those always turn out to be the best trips.  As we were driving past the Greer turn-off, I suggested we try Greer.  Such a good time.

We never even knew this trail was there.
This area was devastated by fire last year.
Some trail markers survived the fire.
Fire licked this sign.
Jack found this skeleton.
New life.
The metal signs survived the fire. Jack wanted to read each one.
A fresh spring in the middle of the hike.
I tried to get a pic of Josh playing in the dirt, but he stood up right before I took the pic.

Jumping across the stream.
Made it!
I was so happy to see all the lush growth after the fire.

Joe playing around with the boys' hat.

Took another hike at Big Lake.  Had to cut that one short due to lightning.

Monday, September 10, 2012

All Aboard!!!!!!!!!!

My boys love trains.  I honestly thought they would have outgrown trains years ago.  But, if you see their face light up when they see a train, you know it's still very special for them.

I recently heard of a railroad park in the Phoenix area.  Seriously?  A railroad park?  I was expecting some old trains, mired in cement.  Um, no.  You HAVE to check out this place.

Standing in the observation tower.
Playing with Thomas in the store.
If you zoom in, I think this cartoon says it all.
The little ice cream shop had a train running around the ceiling.
All aboard!
It was pretty neat to see the engine when we rounded the curve.
Having fun at the playground.
Bank robbers.
I love their paintings.  Made it feel very realistic.
Shotgun!
Very clever painting.
I can almost reach it.
Hiding out.
Have to admit, it was pretty cool down there.
Interesting sculpture in the model train building.
Huge model train museum.
The kids can see right down into the action.
They excitedly told me that they had been there!
How appropriate.
He's still  a little boy.  A very happy, little boy.

where Glory meets my suffering