Monday, April 30, 2012

Awesome Giveaway

Yes, I said GIVEAWAY!  This package is so beautiful that I want all my friends to enter.  And if you win, well, um, you could always give one of your awesome friends a tote (wink, wink). 

Michelle at 3AM teacher is very talented and creative.  I like all her stuff and have pinned her a few too many times.  :)

Look at what you could win:

What would you do with the totes?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Exciting News

I have been in an online pen pal program for 3 years now.  The program offers 5 free books to each of my students.  They are linked up with adult pen pals from across the country (they have background checks).  The adults and students read the same books and write letters back and forth to each other over the course of the year.  Obviously, it enhances their writing skills, but honestly, it does so much more.  The kids begin to see that there is a whole country out there, off their reservation.  There are a myriad of professions and careers.  My pen pals have been the best this year.  Yes, they have sent gifts and cards, but more than that, they have sent extra letters of encouragement.  The kids feel connected to their adult pen pal and usually can't wait to write them a letter.

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, for one, I encourage you to consider signing up your class for next year.  The program is free to classrooms.  Again, they learn invaluable lessons.  If you are not in a classroom, I encourage you to sign up as an adult pen pal.  I have a few personal friends who signed up and I think they would attest to the connection they feel.

APPLESEEDS Magazine for Kids ages 6-9
I am so honored to announce that In2Books has asked me to pilot an online magazine component.  My students will receive a digital copy of Appleseeds Magazine.
"APPLESEEDS magazine is an award-winning kid's magazine of adventure and exploration for curious children ages 7 to 10. Nine times a year, APPLESEEDS magazine provides kids with themed issues that explore a different single topic with insightful articles, cool photographs, and a unique you-are-there perspective on culture and history. APPLESEEDS magazine deals with everything from daily life in ancient Egypt to Beijing the Forbidden City. Kids will read about Jane Goodall, what it was like growing up on the Oregon Trail, even about trekking in the River basin. A mountain climber? What was it like to be a kid during the Industrial Revolution? How does democracy work? Give your children APPLESEEDS magazine and they’ll find out.
In addition to fascinating stories and interviews, kids get activities, maps, puzzles, recipes, and games that are related to the theme. Each 36-page issue helps kids do further research on a topic by giving them recommended books to read and Web sites to visit. A perfect gift for all kids looking for an adventure magazine that explores all the great things about our world!  Appleseeds, along with all of our kid's magazines, is advertising free."

I am so honored and excited.  I still have a few pen pal spots open for next year if you are interested in being linked up with my class.  Just drop me an email or leave a comment.  Onward and upward!

Shoes From Heaven

Have you ever heard the phrase "coming apart at the seams"?  Yep, I have now witnessed that.
Notice that you can actually see INSIDE the shoe!  And the other shoe is being held together by a RUBBER BAND!  Now, before you call CPS on me and declare me a horrible mother, I bought those shoes 5 weeks ago.  Five weeks, people.  Usually, his shoes last 2 months.  Even then, two months?!  I knew kids were expensive, but come on!

School will be out in 4 weeks and we usually spend our summers barefoot, or in flip flops.  I was hoping to make it to summer before I had to throw these shoes away.  But one more glance at those shoes and you can clearly see that the poor boy needs new shoes.

Sooooooooooooo, we got in the car and drove to JCPenney (only department store on the mountain).  They didn't have any shoes in Jack's size.  None.  We came home deflated, thinking that we would have to hunt around in the closet for some other shoes (maybe even church shoes) to last a little longer.  But, when we walked up to the front door, this is what we saw:
One pair fit Joshua.  Two fit Jack right now, and two are the next size up.  Shoes from heaven.  Now, if I can only get them to last longer than a month...........:)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rounding Third, Heading Home

I am so excited to link up to an amazing (and timely) End-Of-The-Year Linky Party!  To see the links, visit her super-cool website.  Thanks for visiting!

  • What is your favorite end of the year activity?  Kickball Tournament

  • Do you have a hard time keeping your kids focused the last few weeks of school? Do you have a hard time keeping your kids AT school the last few weeks? I don't anymore....thanks all to kickball.

    Did you play baseball, softball, or kickball growing up? I played softball.  Loved it.  Still do.  But, that doesn't mean I was very good at it.  The only way I could get on base was to get walked, get lucky, or get hit by a pitch (it happens, ok!).  Here's the good part; if I could get on base, I was pretty sure I could score. For some reason, all the good batters came up to bat right after me.  Hmmmm.  When they would hit the ball, I would run like the wind!  I used to love rounding third base and heading for home.  I was usually tired by the time I got to third.  Yet, I knew I was so close to home.  So close.  I could put in that last burst of speed.  That last push of effort.  Teachers, now that we have finished state testing in our classrooms, we are rounding third and heading for home.

    Kickball.  The awesome sport where all you need is a playground ball for about 50 kids.  Seriously.  That's all you really need.  No need for gloves, bats, helmets, or catcher's gear.  Just one ball and 50 kids.  

    A few years ago, we had a problem with kids ditching school or just not coming back to school once the state tests were over.  I started a kickball tournament that would take 3 weeks to complete.  I set it up for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.  Guess what.  It was a hit!  Or, um, should I say, it was a kick!

    The games are always at the end of the day.  The students need to have good behavior all day to play in the game. I put a big bracket on butcher paper in the central hallway, so they can show their families how they are doing.  I have heard students tell their friends that their parents wanted them to stay home or to go shopping but they wanted to come to school because their game was that afternoon.  Yeah baby.  

    This year, we are trying something new.  We are setting up a double elimination tournament.  That way, if a team (classroom) loses a game, they are not out of it.  They will still have incentive to keep coming to school.  Since there will be more games, the tournament has been stretched to 4 weeks.  The final four weeks of school.  We are rounding third and heading for home!

    What do you do to keep your kids in school the final weeks of the year?

    What is it about summer vacation that you are most looking forward to?
    A kidney transplant for my husband.  He was suddenly diagnosed in October last year, and it has been a very challenging year.  Through it all, we have been learning to rely on God for all our needs.  We have been referred to the Mayo Clinic and are awaiting a donor.  If all goes well, he should have his transplant this summer.  On a teachery (is that a word?  Guess not because it has red squiggly lines, but you know what I mean) note: we will have to stay at the hospital for 4-6 weeks after the transplant.  I am looking forward to reading a stack of books and doing little projects to get my classroom ready.  I have pinned a ton of your blogs and posts to my pinterest and can't wait to have "free time" to put it all together.

    Share your tips for wrapping up the school year:
    Does your school ever change curriculum?  Add new professional development?  Give you new technology?  My advice is to not wait until next year, but to start implementing those elements at the end of this year.  It takes awhile for us to figure things out and work out the kinks.  I, for one, have to practice how I'm going to phrase things or what I am going to call certain areas.  If I practice a little with this year's kids, I can make those mistakes.  I can also see the potential challenges.  For instance, I saw on a blog recently (I LOVE this blog and have read everything she has) that the teacher posts the learning target and a little red and white target.  At the end of the lesson/day, if the kids feel that they have mastered that learning objective, they may draw back an imaginary bow and shoot an arrow at the target. Brilliant.  If I had waited until next year to try it out, I would have overlooked the fact that boys will pull out their imaginary bazooka and machine guns to shoot the target.  I'm being serious.  I'll wait for you to stop laughing.  Since trying it out, I now know to preface my explanation next year with which weapons are acceptable.  I love using this technique and always feel so much more comfortable with the new professional development, curriculum, or technology when the new year starts.    

    P.S. This is my first linky and I am new to blogging.  If any of you experienced bloggers have any tips/hints for me, I am open to comments.  Thanks!

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Ten Field Trips for FREE

    Does your school have loads of money to send your students on fascinating field trips monthly?  No?  Mine neither.  If it weren't for free field trips, we wouldn't have ever been out of the classroom.

    Although I like to incorporate field trips throughout the year, the end of the year is the perfect time to step up my free field trips.  The students know the state testing is over.  They know I have already done the end-of-year assessments.  To keep the calm and keep the learning going, I go on free field trips.

    Free?  How's that?  Visit local businesses and offices.  Let me explain.

    1. Public Library.  Your school probably has a library, but does your town/city?  Our little town does.  I take my kiddos every year.  If you go towards the end of the school year, the librarian will probably talk to them about their upcoming summer reading program.
    2. Grocery Store.  I know a lot of schools do this field trip to see the back doors of the grocery store.  I have done this too, but I was never sure what the kids actually learned.  Now, I use a real-world scenario to make it engaging and reinforcing of Math concepts.
    3. Gym/Fitness Center.  Although the kids were not allowed to use the equipment (insurance requirements), the manager put on a power point presentation talking to them about the importance of exercise.  He then taught them a few exercises they could do at home with household items.
    4. Police Department.  Yes, you read that right.  I LOVE doing this field trip right before summer break.  they get to see the 911 call center and see how serious a 911 call is.  I actually show them the jail cell.  It's not pretty.  It's my last little reminder to make good choices over summer break.  
    5. Post Office.  We went in the back and saw the inner workings.  To make this field trip more pertinent to them, I wrote each child a letter and addressed it: Student Name, General Delivery, Name of Town, State, Zip Code.  At the end of the field trip, they stood in line and picked up their own mail!
    6. Fire Department.  Again, nothing new here.  Lots of schools do this.  We made thank you cards to our local fire department before we went there and were able to hand deliver them.
    7. Letterboxing.  One of my FAVE's!  I was able to incorporate research into this one.  If you haven't tried this yet (even just for personal fun), you have got to try it.  
    8. Hike.  We have a mountain behind our school.  We have used the hike for team building, science (weathering and erosion), and community service (replanting).  
    9. Parade.  Huh?  Parade?  Yes.  Your kids can make a banner for the theme.  Or, a co-worker got the last spot in the parade.  His students walked with trash bags and collected trash along the route and from the spectators.  
    10. T-Shirt Shop.  We have a small screenprinting shop nearby.  The kids got to see the whole process from design to printing.  

    Thanks to a good friend, Ty Gomez, I have added a few more free field trips.  Thanks Ty for the good suggestions.  
    ***#11.  Geocaching.  This is similar to Letterboxing (#7), but instead of a compass, you use a GPS.  I think any activity like this has so many benefits and can be cross-curricular.  Make it even more engaging by having the students make their own geocache.  
    ***#12.  Music.  Our local community (albeit small) has an orchestra.  They have formal concerts for a price, but they also offer a free concert once/year for local students.  They have done a wonderful job in the last few years of providing the teachers with lesson plans, websites, and a CD of the music that will be played for them.  It never fails, I always worry about my students being well-behaved in a formal setting.  Yet, they are always, ALWAYS, the best behaved in the auditorium.  They make me so proud every year.  In fact, last year, one of my students answered a question correctly, that he won the prize.  What was the prize?  His teacher, moi, got to go on stage and be the conductor for "The Stars and Stripes Forever".  I even got to keep the baton.  :)  Your local band/orchestra might be willing to do the same to keep the love of music alive in young children.

    Where do you go for field trips?

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Coaching or Time Bookmarks

    Does your school use "The Daily 5" or "Cafe" by the sisters?  I am a newbie and have just started using Daily 5 in my classroom.  I heart the technique of "Do you want coaching or time?".  In the past, if one student got stuck on a word, other students would just shout out the correct word.  It didn't help the struggling student learn any word attack skills, and the student shouting out was really sort of showing off.  But with this new technique, the struggling student gets coaching from the other student, or not.  They can choose to get more time to use their skills to figure out the word.

    Up until now, we had the strategies on an anchor chart on the wall.  Yet, I know that they need to internalize the strategies if they are to remember them for years to come.  Bookmarks would do the trick!

    Each student got an index card and was able to decorate the front with their name and be as creative and colorful as they wanted.  Then, on the back, we brainstormed the strategies to use when a friend needs coaching.  Sure enough, they had forgotten a few strategies.  I listed them on the board and they wrote them on their card.  When all was said and done, I laminated them to help them last a little longer.  Now, when they do Read with Someone, they will have a handy reference tool for "Do you want coaching or time?".

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Go DBacks!

    I love baseball.  There's just something about the smells.  Fresh-cut grass.  An old mitt.  Hot dogs.  And the sounds.  The crack of the bat.  The roar of the crowd.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

    But, since we've had the boys, it's been hard to get to a game or to even follow the team on TV.  Now, we have an added incentive to keep up with Arizona Diamondbacks: FREE DINNER!  Yes, you read that right.  FREE.  As in I-don't-have-to-cook-or-do-dishes FREE dinner.  Awesome possum!

    Taco Bell offers 3 free tacos (when you purchase a large drink) when the DBacks score 6 or more runs.

    Circle K offers special coupon codes depending on how many strikes (get it? K?) the DBacks get.

    Papa John's offers 50% off when the DBacks win at home.

    Gooooooooooooooooo DBacks!

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Absolutely Normal Chaos

    Ahhh Fourth Grade. Never boring, usually loud, mostly funny, sometimes messy and always engaging.

    Instead of our normal Daily 5 rotations, we celebrated Earth Day in style.  We had 5 centers:

    1.  Making our own paper (recycling):  

    2.  Painting the planet Earth.  This was supposed to be marble painting, but the kids got creative and discovered that if you scrape the paint, it makes a "champ" design.

    3.  Writing in response to "The Lorax".  

    4.  Reading magazines and finding "fun facts for the Lorax".  (We reduced paper by using both sides)

    5.  Reading Earth Day themed books and taking AR tests.  

    Although they worked the entire time they had, we still did not finish all the centers.  We still have our seeds to plant and art to make.  We will finish on Monday (with more pics, of course!).  All worksheets can be found here.  

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Unless Someone Like You

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better.  It's not." Dr. Seuss

    This year, to celebrate Earth Day, we are doing a Lorax unit.  I got most of my ideas from the free download at  Here is what we are doing (I'll post pics tomorrow):

    Today, I read the Lorax (complete with voices).  They used this graphic organizer to write how he protected the

    1. Truffula Trees
    2. Bar-ba-loots
    3. Humming-fish
    4. Swanee-Swans

    After we read the book and did the graphic organizer, we then ripped up paper that would have normally been thrown away.  We put the scraps in a tub and added water to soak overnight.  Tomorrow, we will make our own paper.  I hope to impress upon them that wasting paper is like the Once-ler chopping down all the trees.

    Tomorrow, the kids will also make their own Earths (marble painting).  I told them about the moustache and that I will take their pics.  One girl offered to bring in an orange jacket, so they can look like the Lorax.  I love it when they get involved.

    I will use these writing prompts and the cute templates for display in the hallway:

    I love how the book ends with the Once-ler giving the boy the last seed and tell him to take care of it. I am going to have the kids save their milk cartons from lunch (remember, we're REUSING!) and cut off the tops.  I am bringing soil and will give each child a seed.  We will put them in our classroom window and begin to graph it's growth (for our upcoming Science Fair).  I have never been this excited about Earth Day!

    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not."

    How are you celebrating Earth Day?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Fun Testing Song

    Is your classroom enduring taking a big state test this week?  We are.  I try to keep the spirits up with stretching activities and little snacks on their desks in the morning.  But I think I just found the icing on the cake.

    Turn up the volume and listen to the lyrics.  Not responsible for getting the song stuck in your head all day.

    Gonna take my test, test, test, test........(see, told you).

    Reading Buddies

    Last week, we wrote Letters of Encouragement to our 2nd Grade Reading Buddies.  Today, we received our letters from them in return.  Second graders crack me up.  Read their advice to my students:

    I love our Reading Buddies, or Reading Bubbies, or Reading Butties, depending which letter you read. :)

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Good Gifts

    Have you ever wanted to give your child a gift, but were waiting for them to ask for it first?  I remember once, I wanted to treat the boys to lunch.  I asked them what they wanted, hoping they would say that they wanted to go out.  Jack humbly said, "a sandwich".  When I questioned him further, he changed it to "soup".  I guided and prompted some more, wanting him to ask to eat out, so I could bless him.  When he finally felt safe enough, he asked for McDonald's.  And I was so happy to give it to him.  

    But it made me think: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:11.  My heavenly Father is ultimately better than I am.  His gifts are ultimately better than my gifts to my children.  But the key (I think) to that verse is "to those who ask Him".  I was waiting for Jack to ask. God is waiting for us to ask.

    I'll be honest, that wasn't the first time God had to teach me this lesson.  God blessed us immensely two years ago when the hospital bills came due.   He also showed me His goodness last summer, when we got the boat tags, only after praying for them.  Once again, our heavenly Father has given us good gifts.  

    As you may know already, we are in a season of waiting.  I really am okay with the waiting.  The bank is not.  

    We were blessed with Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace" books.  We were able to pay off our debt last October.  Funny thing, that's the same month we found out that Joe was in Stage 5, End Stage Renal Failure.  He fought valiantly, but finally had to start dialysis in January.  Dialysis is so hard on him that he cannot work and we have started to fall behind in our bills.  Again, I am okay with this.  I know that our negative bank balance is not due to frivolous spending behavior.  We just need things like, oh I don't know, electricity, water, food.  I know that this too shall end.  Joe is due to start getting disability checks in July.  Three more months of running on a deficit of $500/month.  

    But like I said, the bank is not so "okay" with all this.  I started to get ugly emails and phone calls.  Yet, I knew that I just could not work another job.  My family needs me at home right now.  We don't have anything left to sell.  We need both vehicles to get me to work and Joe to dialysis (opposite ends of the mountain).  Finally, I prayed.  I told you that God has had to teach me this lesson once or twice before.  I prayed that God would bless us somehow.  And He did.

    Last night, I prayed.  Today, Joe got a phone call.  A phone call to come down to the dialysis unit and pick up a check from the Kidney Foundation.  A check for $1600.  Remember our deficit of $500/month for 3 months?  Answered prayer.  But, I had to ask for it first.  It makes me wonder, how long was that check waiting there?  It was too early in the morning to have arrived in the mail today.  Saturday?  Friday?  Longer than that?  God, infinitely better than me, was waiting for His child to ask for the blessing.  

    Test Morning Stretches

    I love to do this stretch before the BIG. STATE. TEST.

    I have the kids slowly (some slower than others, aka, me) bend over and touch their toes without bending their knees.  As they stay in that position, I am slowly telling them that this represents Kindergarten and all they learned that year.

    Then, we slowly move up to our knees.  This represents First Grade and all they learned there.

    Next, we stop at our hips to represent Second Grade.  At each stop, I have them stay in that position for about 30 seconds, all the while encouraging them to breathe slowly.

    This continues with our shoulders (Third Grade) and the air (Fourth Grade).

    One might think at that point, we are done.  But then, I have them stand on their tippy-toes and reach for the stars!  This represents how much more they know.  They are practically Fifth Graders (this is a big deal for them).  Reach higher.  Picture yourself graduating from high school.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Free Breakfast

    McDonald's is offering free breakfast to students taking the AIMS (big state test) on Monday and Tuesday, April 16th and 17th.

    "Whether students eat at home, at their schools or at McDonald's, it's important to have a well-balanced breakfast every day, especially before taking an exam like the AIMS," said Shane Thompson, who owns several McDonald's restaurants in Mesa

    Read more:

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Final Preps for the Big State Test

    Can you believe we made it!?  It seems like just yesterday that 25 strangers walked timidly into my classroom.  Now, 8 months later, those same 25 children come bounding in at 9:00 every morning, filled with stories of what happened at home, over the weekend, or on the way to school.  They came in with basic multiplication facts and now can multiply any multi-digit number by another multi-digit number.  They came in able to read most words, but now have the tools to figure out ANY word they may encounter.  They have worked hard and are so ready to "Show What They Know"!

    I am not a fan of cramming before the test.  One reason is, I feel that if they don't know it by now with awesome, hands-on lessons, they aren't going to learn it by doing mindless worksheets.  Another reason is, I feel that if I feel stressed and pressure them, they will think I don't believe in them and then they won't believe in themselves either.  Here are three things I am doing in my class this week to relieve stress and prepare our minds for AIMS next week:

    1.  We are writing encouraging letters to our Reading Buddies.  Our buddies are in 2nd grade and will take the Stanford 10.  This is their first year taking a high-stakes test, whereas my students have taken tests for 2 years now.  In return, the buddies are writing letters of encouragement to us.  I can't wait to read them.

    2.  I am teaching stretching positions to my students.  I do this every year and I like the way it calms the room down and brings a sense of community to the kids as they learn this new skill together.  I teach the poses this week, so next week we do them in the AM and I don't need to take the time to teach the positioning.  We also get all the giggles and insecurity out this week.  I use this website for pics of the positions.

    3.  At the third quarter parent-teacher conferences, the parents made encouraging posters for their students (I stole borrowed the idea from my good friend Tanya Bidtah).  I have hung them in my room to encourage the kids during the test.  If they ever get stressed out, they can look up and see Grandma's note to them or Dad's encouraging word.  Hint: the glitter REALLY pops on the neon posters!

    What cool ideas do you do in your class/home to prepare your kids for the high-stakes test?

    I have found (and love) this site and am doing this tomorrow for the test.
    Instead, I put 2/3 cups of Lucky Charms in ziploc baggies.  That will keep it less messy (I hope).

    All together, this only cost $8.  Cute idea from a cute blog.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    There is Healing in the Waiting

    Experts say that children grow while they sleep.  Exercise enthusiasts claim their muscles heal on the off-days.  There is growth in the waiting.  There is healing in the waiting.  

    We are waiting.

    Waiting for a kidney.

    Waiting for a new chance.

    Waiting to come alive!

    While we are waiting, we are growing.  Growing closer together.  Growing closer to God.  Who could ask to be spared from that?  

    Paul wrote in his second letter to the church in Corinth, " 8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."  

    Joe's body is dying.  In fact, if it weren't for modern medicine (dialysis), he would have died in early January.  Yet, the life of Jesus is more alive in him now than ever before.  He wants to go into the dialysis unit and be "the light of Jesus" to the other patients.  May God be glorified in our waiting.  

    There is growth in the waiting.  There is healing in the waiting.

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    A New Chance

    "They grow up so fast."  "Before you know it, they will be in school."  "Enjoy every minute."  At some point, we have all heard or said these words when referring to little ones.  It is true; they do grow up fast.  Now imagine missing out on half of that short time.

    That's what life on dialysis is like.  Half of your days are spent in the dialysis unit.  Your dialysis day begins at 4:30 a.m.  You need to eat a full meal before you leave the house, even if you are not hungry.  When you get to your dialysis unit, you will be weighed, then hooked up to a machine.  They have two choices on how to hook you up.  It can be painless, through a catheter into your heart.  Yet, this is dangerous, as it has a higher chance of infection.  Oh, and if you have the catheter, you cannot take a shower.  Ever.  Don't even think of swimming in a pool with your little ones.  AND, you have to be careful when you play with them to make sure they don't bump it or pull it out.  Your other choice of being hooked up is by a needle.  I'm not talking your everyday, little, wimpy needle.  I'm talking about a needle so big that you can see inside the shaft!  Two needles to be exact!  One to draw the blood out and one to put it back in.  Painful doesn't even begin to describe this method.  Don't forget the scars.  As your body begins to develop scabs and scars, they will work their way up your arm.  The artificially created super vein in your arm is pretty big also, so you will probably wear long sleeves to hide all this; even in summer.  Dr. Kamash said it best when he told us, "dialysis keeps you alive; not normal."

    When you are done with four hours of torture dialysis, you are weighed again.  You now weigh 2 pounds less than when you came in.  Where did it all go?  They sucked it out of you.  Literally.  You feel drained, have a splitting headache, and cramp up.  All you really want to do is die.  But then your little ones come home and you know you must fight on for them.

    Yet, it doesn't have to be like this.  There is an alternative.  Kidney Transplant.

    We are born with two kidneys, yet we only need one to live.  How amazing that God gave each of us an extra kidney.  In a kidney transplant, they take one kidney from a healthy donor and put it in the recipient.  The donor needs to hang around the hospital for about 2 weeks for follow-up appointments, to make sure everything is going well.  After that, it's pretty much life as normal for the donor.  For the recipient, it's a whole new chance to live.  A new chance to be there for their little ones.  A new chance to see them grow up.  A new chance to be "daddy".

    The average age of a dialysis patient is 60 years old.  At 60, you have worked, are nearing retirement and social security, have raised your children.  At 44, you still WANT to work, are nowhere near a retirement paycheck, and have little ones at home.  Joe is 44.  He desperately wants to work.  Yet, with 3 days per week on dialysis, cannot work.  If he can't work, he can't bring home a paycheck.  If you didn't know already, teachers don't get paid much, but at least we can make our rent payment.  We rely on friends and family for our groceries.  But more than any of that, at 44, we still have little ones at home.  Little ones who love their daddy.  Little ones who love to be thrown into the air.  To wrestle.  To hear bedtime stories.  To snuggle into daddy's chest when they are scared.  On dialysis days, we don't have "daddy".

    We have already come so far.  We almost lost him in December.  Dialysis is keeping him alive.  Our insurance is paying for everything.  Praise the Lord!  We were referred to the best, THE BEST, number one ranked transplant hospital in the country.  They tested him extensively and deemed him a "kidney transplant candidate".  Now, we need a healthy donor.  For a list of the requirements to be a donor, click here.  If you do not meet the requirements or if you don't feel this is right for you, please pass this along to others.  More than that, please pray for a donor to be matched with Joe.  Pray for a New Chance.

    **************ADDITIONAL INFORMATION****
    Some people have been asking about Joe's condition.  It is called Membranous nephropathy.  It is genetic.  We never knew he had it until three years ago.  It is a rare form of kidney disease, affecting only 2 in 10,000.  What is more rare is that only 20% of patients with MN progress to end-stage kidney failure.  Joe should get a medal for making it there in record time.  We feel blessed in the midst of all the uncertainty.  Yet, dialysis is not agreeing with Joe.  His catheter in his heart is starting to get clogged up.  His super vein doesn't run quite right.  His arm swells up to three times it's natural size and then turns black and blue.  Please pray for a transplant soon.

    where Glory meets my suffering