Tag Archives: choices

World Turned Upside Down

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One year ago at this time I was setting up camp with my family in the ICU waiting room of the Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills filled with two conflicting emotions-fear and joy.  The morning of January 9, 2013 my cousin and his wife gave birth to their first born…a baby girl named Ruth.  So happy for them and thrilled for my family to have a new little bundle to love and spoil.  I never imagined a few short hours later by lunchtime my world would be turned upside down and has yet to be righted.

While teaching I received a text that my aunt was at the hospital with pneumonia.  I told my mom, who at the time worked with me, so we could rearrange our schedules and she could go up after school.  Just 15 minutes later, I received another text that stated that they were putting my aunt on life support. I was in told shock.  My mind filled with so many thoughts…tell my mom, make sure she gets to Zephyrhills safely, get my daughter taken care of so I could go up after school, get a hold of my aunt who was in a meeting, and this CAN’T be happening…I NEED my aunt.

Days passed as she was in a coma with her lungs bleeding and filling with fluids.  I would work and go up and sit in her room holding her, talking to her and trying to be so strong. A few times we got some positive news but it quickly would vanish as more despairing news would come.

Then came the time I had to let my little  6-year-old girl know her Nana was “really sick” and may be going to live with God.  This was not a new concept to her as she dealt with the death of her Papa Richard, the man who took care of her since she was a year old, when she was in kindergarten.  She of course wanted to see her Nana.  I was unsure…do I take her to see Nana filled with tubes and wires…do I not so she can remember Nana camping, playing, swimming, loving her, etc.

Finally progress was made and the ventilator was able to be removed, she was moved to rehab, and even made it home.  She even was well enough to attend the baby dedication of Ruth.

Cile and Ruth

Although so thrilled that she was able to be there, a sense of peace never came to me that her illness was resolved and she would continue to improve until she was back to where she was previously.  I have never really been a glass half full girl.

My greatest fears came true this past summer when we received the news that there was no cure for what had happened for her lungs and her only chance for a bilateral lung transplant.

My heart broke. Yes her title maybe aunt, but to me she is another mother.  I was so blessed that while growing up she and her family lived only 15 minutes from us.  Our families did EVERYTHING together.  God had blessed her with a son but not a daughter so I got to fill that spot.  In fact back then and even now if we are together other often think we are mother and daughter because even though she came into my family by marriage we look sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much alike.

And then it broke again as I talked with my little girl letting her know that Nana needed a new pair of lungs but I know I had to…I believe in being honest.

As of now we are still waiting for a set a lungs, we have had one close chance…but that is for another post.

As a family we have been there to support each other and we all have are ups and downs as we travel this path…but one thing we all know for sure it is in God’s hand and we can rest in whatever he does as his perfect will.

I love you my precious aunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Perspective

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WormI took this picture a few weekends ago and although it seems strange it made me think of perspective. Some may look at the picture and think, WOW! Look at those tiny ants all working together.  While another may think, How horrible that while one is injured others take advantage. How vastly different those perspectives are.

This week while helping my daughter memorize her verse for Sunday School, Romans 12:18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

I promise, I think I can get all these thoughts to tie together, bare with me.

I have had a job since I was 15 years old. In all my years working, I have NEVER had a work year as horrible as last year.

There were lots of things that contributed to it be so bad.  And although I shared some of those things with those who I considered to be friends at work, I told no one everything that was taking place due to not being able to wrap my head around some of the things that were happening. Yes, I am mature enough to realize that no matter what was going on I am still responsible for my actions. Unfortunately I did allow it to alter some of my behaviors and I made some wrong choices with my friends. With the beginning of summer and putting some distance I saw the mistakes I made and apologized to what I considered to be 4 very, dear friends. I apologized for the things I knew I had done wrong and for anything that I was unaware that I had done.  I asked for their forgiveness and said if they wanted to talk they knew where to find me.  I thanked them for the friendship they had give and wished them and their families all the best.  From 3 of the 4 I get absolute silence and these are people that I was friends with for 11 years, 6 years and 5 years. From the 4 I get the occasional message usually after I have contacted them and attempt to be friendly but in a much different manner than we ever had. I am smart enough to know that their perspective of the situation maybe different (see I told you the crazy thoughts would all tie in).

The bottom line for me I guess is this question, “Do I continue to try and work on the friendships by sending text like: Hope things are going well.  Thinking of you.  Happy Holidays, etc.? Or do I let go, be thankful for the time we had and move on? And if I move on and am later contacted do I rekindle the friendship or just be cordial and continue about living. What are your thoughts/advice?

The Missing Student

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Buses

So I know often I see and think things differently. So while I was walking this morning I saw this and the empty slot made me think of the missing student.

That missing student comes in various forms and with a variety of reasons.

The most obvious missing student is the one who is absent. The reasons they are missing span an area wider than the Sahara Desert. Maybe they are home sick, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. It maybe that they lack the confidence to face the assignment in class. Or maybe this student lacks the skills to face the bully. Sometimes the student hides in fear at home unable to attend class until the bruises can be hidden and the tears can be dried up. Often one is absent because at a young age they have had to take on an adult world-due to an absent parent who has abandon the family and is busy working to make ends meet. And there is even the possibility that they are missing just because the value of education is not recognized by them or the ones who care for them.

But what about the student whose physical body is in the classroom but they are missing. Once again the reasons why are wide. It maybe that they are the quiet one overshadowed by the squeaky wheel who needs some oil. Or maybe the child who has already mastered the concept who must wait in silence for their classmates to understand. Frequently it is the child who is lost to what is being taught because although they are at a different learning level they are required to struggle through often to the point of frustration at their instructional grade level.  Sadly even sometimes maybe it is the student the teacher just can’t take anymore and no longer sees due to the frustration and stress the educational field has.

My prayer as a teacher is that the missing students in my classroom never go unseen and that I can meet them where they are with their needs.

Teaching a Teacher’s Child

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Being a teacher, I know that teachers invest a lot of time, energy, emotion, sweat, etc. into their students and that often it goes unnoticed and unappreciated.  So I attempt to be the parent to my daughter’s teachers that I think I would like to have in my classroom.  The problem is that like every thing in my life I tend to do it to the extreme.

 

Because of that, I think my daughter’s teachers tend to fear that I don’t think they are doing a job that I am happy with.  When in all honesty nothing could be further from the truth.  So in the new way of healthy living that I am trying to maintain in my life, with the start of this new school year, I am trying to take about a 1,000 steps back and be that typical classroom parent.

 

We are 21 days into the school year and I have only been to the classroom once and send 2 emails- one to let her know that I was changing how my daughter was going home and the second to find out if I could place a book order online.

No elliptical or jog tonight due to open house.

 

 

 

Remembering…

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Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN but I’m not sure I can tell
You the difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?
Were you teaching a class full of innocent children
Or driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you loved her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open your eyes, hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Or go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on “I Love Lucy” reruns?

Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Did you stand in line and give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

 

By Alan Jackson

September 11, 2001 8:46 am  I was student teaching at Rodgers Middle School.  I had just delivered my homeroom to the basketball court for intramurals and walked back to the classroom where the teacher had turned on the TV and told me that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  I was shocked and remember asking, “Is the weather bad?” and hearing “No.” I was so confused.  Then as I saw a second plane crash into the second tower fear begin to mix with the confusion.  My niece attended Rodgers at the time my instinct was to find her, sing her and take her home and keep her safe.  But I had a bigger responsibility at that time, I needed to turn of the TV, pull myself  together and make the day as normal as possible.

 

As soon as 4:05pm came, I was in my car headed home.  I curled up on the couch with my eyes fixated on the television soaking in the horror of what had happened as tears poured down my face.  For days, every free moment I spent scouring the newspaper, searching the internet, and watching the television trying to soak in all the information I could about this horrible tragedy.  After about a week,  the time came that I could cry no more and I could no longer watch or read more about it.  I began to pull out movies instead to watch on TV.

 

As a teacher one of the new mandates that has been passed down to us is that we teach about Patriot Day in remembrance of September 11, 2001.  As a teacher and a parent I realize this is a sensitive topic, so I try to share the basic facts of what happened that day and how emotional it was.  I feel it is important to let the student know what happened that day as well as how so many people worked together and the importance of working together.

 

Daily Progress 1.5 miles at 3.8 mph.
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When Plan A, B, or C don’t work…

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So what do you do when plan a, b or c don’t work out? Create a new plan a!

One of the thing that has kept me very busy and from blogging consistently this past month is I have been actively pursuing a position as an assistant principal in the district. I have been certified for the position for over 7 years but just recently started to apply for positions. Deciding to wait until my daughter had completed her kindergarten year.

This first school I applied for was just 5 minutes from my house. I had worked at the school for summer reading camp. I interviewed with the principal and felt things went okay. I didn’t get that position and I was okay with that.

Then a positioned open this summer that was ideal. It was at a school where the principal was good friends with the principal who mentored me during my Educational Leadership master’s program. It was close to my house. The minute I met with the principal it seemed we instantly connected. I left the interview feeling very good and that the chance of being called for a school committee interview were good. I was wrong and didn’t get that position either.

I began to question whether I was doing the right thing and maybe I should just stay in the classroom At the encouragement of a good friend, when the next round of assistant principal openings came I applied to those not only those close to me but 4 schools throughout the county.

I heard back from one school for an interview with the principal. Just a few days before returning to work I interviewed at a school 20 minutes from my house. I was the first interview that this new principal had done. We worked through it together well and enjoyed ourself while we did. I was a bit upset when I found out that the position wouldn’t start until September 11th. That was one of the biggest things I didn’t want when I took an assistant principal position…to leave a group of students that I had established a relationship with. I figured with my luck this would be the job I landed. On the day before the student’s returned I received a phone call asking me to come in that Thursday for a 2nd interview with the school committee. The staff was welcoming and it seemed like a place where I would enjoy working. I did hear back from the principal and was thrilled to know I was one of her top 2 picks for the position. Unfortunately neither of her top 2 picks were picked by the school committee.

Although extremely disappointed, I completely understood and would not have wanted the position without having the backing of the staff.

The next morning back at work it was if a light bulb appear above my head. I haven’t obtained an assistant principal position yet because I haven’t found the right school yet. I need a school where the students need me. The school where I teach is hard but I have stayed for 11 years because it is where I belong. It is where the students need me. It is where my heart is.

One day soon an elementary school assistant principal position will open at a school where the students are similar to the ones I have now and they will need me and that is where my heart will go. Until then my plan is teaching at the same school where I have been and loving it and loving every one of the 859 little kiddos that cross my path.

Today’s journey – 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Question of the Day

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I too have fallen prey to Pininterest.  While pinning ideas today, I found a list of questions for each day.  I have decided that I would share these questions one at a time and post my answers and look forward to maybe some of you sharing your answers.

Day 1 Question – What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

When I first read this question, a million thoughts went swimming through my head.  I wish I was great at being a mother, a friend, a daughter, and teacher.  I wish I was great at dancing and singing.

But I think the one thing that I wish I was great at is living life to the fullest by living in the moment.  I am one who rigidly schedules things.  Down to the fact that I Sunday, I plan the entire meals for the entire week and when I receive a last-minute call to go out for dinner will usually turn it down because I have already defrosted or prepped dinner.  The thought of getting in a car and driving to a vacation with no hotel booked freaks me out.

Do I think I should throw all planning and preparation to the wind?  No! But do I think that sometimes I miss out on GREAT opportunities because I lacked spontaneity.

So the next time I am running around town and the princess says, “Can we stop and pick some flowers?” or a friend calls asking for company, I am throwing my schedule to the wind and living life in that moment.

We never are promised the next moment.

Continued on my half marathon journey by walking 3 miles today!

Parent’s Day

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Today is Parent’s Day according to my Chick Fil A calendar.  When I saw that, I began to wonder what is Parent’s Day.  So to trusty google I went (How did we live before the Internet?) to find out what Parent’s Day is all about.  Here is what I found:

Many Americans are unaware that our nation has a new day of commemoration called Parents’ Day. This is good news for America’s parents and families.

In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law the resolution unanimously adopted by the U. S. Congress establishing the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents’ Day, a perennial day of commemoration similar to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. According to the Congressional Resolution, Parents’ Day is established for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”

The establishment of Parents’ Day was the result of a bipartisan, multiracial and interfaith coalition of religious, civic and elected leaders who recognized the need to promote responsible parenting in our society and to uplift ideal parental role models, especially for our nation’s children.

Since the creation of this annual day of commemoration, local faith communities, elected officials and activists throughout the nation have creatively launched many activities around the theme of Parents’ Day designed to celebrate and strengthen the traditional, two-parent family.

The National Parents’ Day Council does not envision Parents’ Day to be yet “another” day to honor parents, but rather a day when parents honor their children and the God-centered family ideal by rededicating themselves to manifest the highest standard of unconditional true love.

Courtesy of:   http://www.parentsday.com/#about

 I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting on my parenting.  There are many things I do well according to those who have seen me interact with my child.  But there are also things that I need to improve.  The first priority for me to work on in my life to be better in my child’s life is the ability to relax and have fun.  I have always struggle with this and desired to be the best of everyone.  Not focusing on my own personal best but the best of everyone in the world.  I have begun to see this in my child’s life and realize that not only am I modeling it for but I am demanding it from her without meaning to do it.  So my first thing to work on is to is about focusing on your personal best and having fun not competing about everything.  Let’s see how this goes.
As far as my journey to a half marathon….today I walked 3 miles.

Pushing to the Limits

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Today I started new intervals: 1 minute jog and 1 minute walk.  I know that when I walk I don’t push myself but today I was given the motivation to do it.  I did 1.5 miles in 17:39.  But I felt my butt had been kicked.  The challenge has been given to complete a mile in 11 minutes by the end of next week.  I am  not one to give up but just don’t know if I have the drive in me to push it to the limit.  We shall see.

Bump in the Road

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This little heart monitor has been my sidekick for the past three weeks.  We were scheduled to hang out together for another week but plans changed with one little phone call on Monday: “The doctor has reviewed your test strips that have been submitted so far and would like you to come in this week instead of waiting until the 2nd week in July.”

Today was my appointment and the news I received was that the testing strips showed both episodes of early beats and supraventricular tachycardia.  Now this isn’t totally new news to me.  About 8 years ago, I received the initial diagnosis,  I chose at first  treat with medication.  5 years ago I decided to suck it up and have the surgery to what I thought would permanently end the problem.  Guess I thought wrong.

So now I must decide…medicine or surgery.  I have about a month to decide.  During that month, I will be taking the medicines and monitoring their effects.

At this point my thoughts are that I will do the medicine.  i just can’t justify the risk of surgery if not absolutely necessary knowing now that it may not be a permanent solution and I may have to be back on the operating table yet again.

One of the many emotions I felt this time when I received the diagnosis that I didn’t have the first time was the mommy guilt and worry.  Is this a condition that my precious princess will inherit too?

No this isn’t the end of the journey…just a bump that I am working on picking my self up from and brushing myself off so I can continue on.