Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29, 2009

Dear Diary,
Today I chipped my tooth on a polish dog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There's Something About a Good Man

I just watched the movie 3:10 to Yuma for the first time. There's nothing quite like getting swept up in the misfortunes of a loyal, soft-spoken rancher, who avenges the crimes of a pack of mangy outlaws, to remind you that there's something about a good man.

A good man stirs up something in my spirit.

He is willing to work hard for little pay, and refuses to wallow in his humiliating circumstances.

He chooses integrity over monetary gain, and would rather be remembered for his strength of conviction, than his power and affluence.

A good man's love for his family is selfless, and often leads him to stare death in the face, without blinking.

He models for his boys how to sweat hard, get dirty, and feel good about a day's work.

He makes a pair of wranglers look mighty fine.

He will postpone a long day's work to help a hurting stranger.He has a resolute determination to do what's right, even when his decision leads him down a road wrought with sorrow and hardship.

He embodies justice, but shows his enemies mercy.

When I see a good man, he evokes in me a fierce respect for my strong father and a deep love for my selfless mother. The good man makes me want to seek truth and hold fast to compassion. He makes me want to develop strength of character in my children, be a loyal wife to my husband, and always choose integrity over the easy route. He inspires me to be patient when I'm besieged by responsibilities, and to remain calm when tragedy strikes. He makes me want to be innovative, frugal, and content with little. A good man makes me want to skin and gut my own dinner. He stirs in me a longing to see mercy trump justice, and grace transform wicked hearts. He motivates me to work for my keep, pray for my daily bread, and be generous with what I have.

But in the end, the good man doesn't actually help me to do any of these things. And I guess, in the end, his heroic antics get him shot, his son still has a bad cough, his wife still has to put food on the table, and his kids have to learn to be a man without their father. Perhaps, if he happens to do a favor for a wealthy banker before he dies, his wife won't have to wear shabby dresses anymore, and his sons might learn how to read. Who knows, the bad guy's heart might even soften when he sees the tenacious drive of the good man to be good in the face of death. And maybe, just maybe, the bad guy goes to his grave feeling sorry for the lives and families he's destroyed. But he still dies eventually. Just like everyone else the good man knows.

Because there's something about a good man that just isn't enough.

"For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?" Ecclesiastes 6:12

"You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard." Romans 3:23

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Six Signs You're Not Getting Enough Sleep

  1. You ask the car wash guy for an unscented air freshener.
  2. You eat chocolate at 45 minute intervals throughout the day to keep your energy level stable.
  3. You call your students "dude" because you can't remember their names.
  4. You confidently explain to someone that the word "opaque" means "see through".
  5. You forget you're teaching a science lesson in the middle of the lesson.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With the Energizer Bunny

I'm pretty sure that last Wednesday the Energizer Bunny visited all of my students in their sleep and and gave their wind-up knobs a few extra twists.

Oh, didn't you know? All kids under the age of 14 have a tiny wind-up knob on the back of their necks. The knobs begin to disappear shortly after the kids hit high school, although boys typically keep their wind-up knobs a little longer than girls. Before high school though, the Energizer Bunny visits the kids nightly, winding their knobs so that they wake up with a plentiful energy store. Sometimes it's a pretty sweet deal; energetic kids are typically so much more eager to learn than adults. One of the downsides however, is that about mid-May the Energizer Bunny becomes ancy waiting for summer to arrive. And as we all know, anciness usually makes Energizer bunnies get a little wind-happy.

Enter: last Thursday.

All day Thursday my kids would have been plastered to the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and walking on their hands if I didn't have control over a little thing we call recess. I spent the bulk of Thursday morning wracking my brain for any trick I could use to keep my 18 little friends well-behaved. It turns out singing, juggling, miming, tap dancing, and a balance beam act are NOT effective energy-reducers.

I'm thinking of treating the Energizer Bunny to a lengthy, all-expense paid vacation to Bora Bora.

Finally, after cutting short a rather chaotic trip to the library, I had my students write sentences. While they were writing sentences I had to dash off to a meeting, leaving an aide to watch the kids. When I returned from my meeting after school, I found this:

And my favorite:

Hmmm, maybe that Energizer Bunny isn't so exasperating after all...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life's Simple Pleasures

This morning I saw one of my students gesturing excitedly to her friend. “I just can’t wait for Friday, Erica!” I heard her exclaim. Smiling, I thought about all of the exciting things that are going to happen on Friday. Students from all grades get to skip the first part of class to go to a school-sponsored Mother’s Day breakfast with their moms, Friday afternoon is devoted to playing lots of games, and Saturday is just around the corner!

“Why are you so excited, Vicky?” I interjected, looking forward to hearing her enthuse about the day’s events. “Because, Miss Jackson. You promised us you’d wear your new Nike high tops on Friday!”

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Few Reasons I Love My Life

I wake up to exciting, explosive adventures...

...My family still decorates Easter eggs...

...This guy is moving down here in a few months...

...Little brother #2 just ran a sub-40 second 300 meter hurdles in sub 60 degree weather...

...and I get to benefit from the health-enhancing properties of the kumquats my roommate gathers at twilight.