Friday, April 30, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

I made it. I blogged every day in April. Good-bye April. Hello May!

It was good to be disciplined to write everyday.
It will be good to write when I have something beautiful and/or useful to say.

There is something motivating about being focused on finding something to blog about.
I look forward to getting an idea and letting it develop fully before I post it.

A daily deadline.
No pressure.

Less writing,
More reading.

Good-bye April.
Hello May!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Trip To The Zoo

We finally accomplished our trip to the zoo, "we" being my pre-teaching class who sponsored the trip for Kindergarten and 1st grade.

It was a beautiful day in Oklahoma. The temperatures were in the high 80's but with the wind chill factor it felt like low 80's. We had 17 well behaved little ones, four teenagers who were a big help and got some real experience working with young children, three teachers, the counselor, a mom and two college kids. We pretty much stayed together the whole day and it worked out well.

It was a 2 hour drive to the zoo so we spent four hours on the bus today. The kids are still little enough that they thought it was fun. We ate a picnic lunch at the zoo and then spent 2 1/2 hours wandering around the zoo, enjoying the Children's Zoo and riding the train.
I gave a camera to each of my students and we all took pictures. We are going to make a digital story about the zoo. I'll post the link here when we get it uploaded. Something to look forward to.

We started to get ready to leave at 2:00 p.m. Half way home we stopped at Braum's for ice cream. It was a nice break in the trip. Our counselor got donations to pay for the ice cream for the elementary kids and she also got them "goodie bags" from the zoo. This should be a trip they'll remember.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fairytales Can Come True...

It might not exactly be a fairytale, but things did go well at the RIF hearing tonight.

I made my opening statement and the board told me I was noble to agree to take the part time position. They expressed their gratitude for the job I've done and said they would work hard to get the library back to a full time position. I was stunned. I didn't know anyone appreciated the library. A teacher said, "Who wouldn't appreciate the library? It is enormously important to the school." I had no idea.

A board member asked that the language be changed from half-time to 20 hours. That was an important and insightful change because I need 20 hours per week, not half of 35 hours, to keep my insurance. I felt like the board had my back. They also asked that if funding was not as bad as anticipated, that my position would be reinstated to full time. The answer was yes. So who knows, I may be full time next year anyway.

After the meeting I was told that had I not offered to accept part-time, the vote would have been different, meaning they would have maintained my full time position. I am excited about going part-time. Maybe it won't happen, maybe it will be just for a year. Who knows. I'm starting to relax already just thinking about the extra time in my future.

I left the meeting feeling appreciated. One board member asked me not to look for employment elsewhere because they would do what it takes to keep me. Another said to let them know when retirement was near so they could get me back full time to make the most of retirement.

So tonight was just another thing that happened, in a long line of things that happen.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Statement to the Board

You have a very difficult job here. I hope I can make it a bit easier by telling you that I am totally fine with going part-time, as long as I can have 20 hours a week. Phyllis told me that I need to work 20 hours per week to keep the school insurance. And that is very important to me.

The legislators have made me feel under appreciated and even unnecessary. But here at home I feel supported by our staff, the school board and the administration. I thank God for that. And it is my pleasure to work at Indiahoma Public School.

God be with you as you make your decisions.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On a Teeter Totter

Up and down, up and down.

Carrie told me today that I should prepare a statement to read to the board on Wednesday. What should I say? I don’t even know what I want.

I’d like to stay full time to keep my same income, to continue to contribute to my retirement fund and to have another year of fulltime salary to go towards retirement. Oh my gosh, it’s all about money.

There are other more altruistic reasons to stay fulltime. I am a good influence on the kids. They are, after all, my mission field. We’ve done some outstanding service learning projects: the Beanie Babies to Iraq, Health Kits to Haiti, and backpacks for kids in crisis. What are the possible future projects?

What is in the future indeed? Does God have something new and different for me? I kind of feel like He does. But how can I go down a new path if I stay where I am? Security vs. adventure.

I saw on the news tonight that Fletcher Public School made a bunch of cutbacks this evening. Their special ed teacher was cut to halftime, the elementary PE teacher and high school baseball coach lost his job, a support person was let go and the superintendent took a $20,000 cut in pay. Should I mention that in my statement?

I am trained to teach pre-teaching and jr. high leadership classes. It wouldn’t be right to RIF me and have someone else teach them. We get $500 for each class. Not a bucket of money, but something.

And what about other people? I’m the only teacher being cut back. How is that right when we have people who've been here one year and I have been at this school since 1988? How long is that? 22 years. Maybe that’s long enough. Maybe it is time to do something different.

These long days of activity from early morning to late at night (6:30 a.m.-11:15 p.m. today) are wearing me out. I could enjoy more free time. Time to create, to learn, to rest, to be with friends…

It’s late, I’m tired. If you’re reading this, do you have any advice for me? I think I’ll sleep on it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find a way off the teeter totter.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Sun Up to Sun Down Day

OK, I'm not an early riser but I did roll out of bed at
7:30 a.m. at the insistence of my five-year-old grandson, Owen. We ate breakfast and got ready for church.

I spent 9:30 a.m.-12:00 noon at church and Sunday School.

After church I got a baby shower gift wrapped and then went to my mother-in-law's to help get lunch ready. We had a wonderful meal of pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy (I don't eat that), corn on the cob (I treated myself...does anyone remember the references to corn on the cob in Lake Wobegon?), green beans, salad, and cottage cheese with pineapples (tastes like dessert to me).

After lunch we had time to get most of the dishes done before it was time to go to the baby shower.

The shower was a lot of fun. I got to see a friend whom I haven't seen in years, plus other friends whom I don't get to see as often as I'd like. Wonderful gifts were lavished on the mom to be. We talked and laughed and, after two hours, said good-bye.

I headed straight to school to get the school newsletter written and published. Drat! I forgot to send it out in email and I didn't send it to be published on the school website. There's always tomorrow. I did get the hard copies printed and delivered and was home by 6:30.

I ate some supper and talked with Beth. She was doing her lesson plans and I started working on mine. Beth went home at 8:00, I continued working on lesson plans until 9:30 and decided it was time to do my daily blog post.

I posted a picture of our dog early this morning (12:04 a.m.) but I just didn't think that was good enough for my daily post.

It's 10:50, I usually go to bed at 11:00. Don't think I'll make it tonight. It's been another long, full day. Lots of good stuff. It makes me think about God's directive to take a day of rest. I'll have to try that sometime.

Man's Best Friend

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Fair Lady

I just got home from a Saturday evening performance of My Fair Lady at Cameron University. I only have 56 minutes to get my blog done to be able to call it a post for April 24.

The performance was a good one of a wonderful show with great songs like "I Could Have Danced All Night" and "On the Street Where you Live." The student actors did a fine job.

But my real fair lady is Beth. She came over today at about 1:00 with a Rug Doctor and cleaned my carpet. We moved furniture, vacuumed and Beth ran the Rug Doctor. It is absolutely amazing the difference it made. I started to get ready for the play at 6:00, Beth was still cleaning in the bedroom when I left at 6:30 p.m.

This morning Owen and I did yard work. I cut back a big overgrown bush and Owen cut grass with scissors. We put new potting soil around the plants in the whiskey barrels and then gave them a drink. I pulled weeds out from around the roses while Owen dug a hole.

I think I will probably have achy muscles tomorrow but it's worth it. It was a full day, getting things accomplished and having fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Carrying On A Tradition

Just about a year ago I wrote about my mom's Homemade Cards. She made funny cards using words and pictures from newspapers and magazines along with stickers or whatever found items seemed to fit. She thought we would enjoy spending the money a card would cost on something else so she'd enclose the money she saved by making a card instead of buying one. I did that for my friends last year and got wonderful responses. This year, my friend Cheryl sent me $5 in a homemade card to keep the tradition going. I wanted to be as creative as she had been and finally decided I would buy brown socks with the money. I have every color but brown and lots of brown clothes. I didn't set out to find brown socks, I knew at some point they would find me and today they did. I hit the mother load.

Beth and I went to Altus so I could enroll at WOSC for an online Journalism class in fall. That took all of 5 minutes so we had lunch and then went to a couple of stores. At a shoe store, I found these socks on sale for $1 a pair. I had $5 so I picked out 4 pairs of brown socks saving $1 for tax. One of the employees told me that everything in the store was buy one, get the second one half off, even clearance sale socks. So I got 2 more pairs of socks. My grand total was $4.89. Thank you Cheryl for six pairs of socks and 11 cents to put in Owen's train bank. Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Here's how I'm helping out:

I go paperless as much as possible. In computer class I leave instructions on our social network and the kids post their work on the website. My two preteaching classes have a Wiki site that we use to do our communicating and planning. LeapBlog is the blog for Leadership, Education and Academic Program. The students do all of their writing there without using any paper.

I am queen of reusable craft materials. I have a bag in the bathroom that collects toilet paper rolls. They were donated yesterday to the second grade class who turned them into cowboys and cowgirls. I also save paper towel rolls and the styrofoam plates (?) that my nuts come in. I make plarn purses out of plastic bags. I get most of my bags from friends, especially colorful ones. I try to use reusable bags myself and have a collection of them that I keep in the trunk of my car.

Not all recyclable items are good for crafts, but I save those too. I save boxes. I have a bag of packing peanuts. I reuse padded envelopes and tissue paper. Some people don't see this as a good thing.

I inherited my zeal for reusing from my dad. His was less about being kind to the earth and more about saving money. But that's good too.

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth's environment. (wikipedia) I hope you have been so inspired and will appreciate and enjoy this great planet that we call home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teaching Technology

My absolute favorite class this year has been my computer class. I had no boundaries on what I could teach so we've done every fun thing I could think of. We created our own classroom social network. Check us out at There you can see our avatars and assorted other fun stuff.

Recently we completed digital stories. I say "we" but only 4 of the 8 kids finished their projects. The students wrote their own stories then recorded and edited them. We used Windows Movie Maker to put pictures with the narration. You can view their stories at The stories are: Star Spangled Banner, Comanche Powwows, Oklahoma State Capital, and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.

Just yesterday we started working with Photoshop Elements 7. It amazes me how kids can open a new program and just intuitively figure out how to use it. I've taken several workshops and I'm still not very good at it. Today Kyle used layers and opacity to take the head off one of his friends and put it on the body of another friend. It was perfect. He made the skin tones match so the face and the arms were the same color. He came back to the library three times today to work more on his projects. At one point he got up and jumped in the air and said, "I love this program!" I love the enthusiasm and I love my computer warriors.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Blessing in Disguise

At the end of our teachers meeting this morning, the coaches announced that District Tournaments start on Thursday, softball and baseball in different towns. I added to that, "And we're going to the zoo."

"Who's going to the zoo?"

"My preteaching class, Kindergarten and 1st Grade."

"How are you getting there?"

"Matt is driving the bus."

"There isn't a bus available."

And this is when our zoo trip fell apart. We'd been planning it for months. We put it on the school calendar 3 weeks ago. There was no mention of softball or baseball on that day. I reserved our tickets, the cafeteria was ready to make our sack lunches, I had a sub coming, high school students got the day off from their jobs, name tags were made... And now we've got to start over? That's the way it goes when sports is at the top of the pecking order.

I realize that they can't rearrange their district tournament and we can rearrange the zoo trip. We just need better communication.

I called the zoo to reschedule our trip and the man on the phone told me that we'd probably have a better time on a different day anyway. Our scheduled day was April 22, Earth Day and the zoo was planning a science extravaganza. They have 15,000 people registered for the Earth Day celebration. Long lines, crowds and no buses unloading at the gate. Not good for the young children. Not good for me. After I got off the phone, I wanted to thank the coaches for saving us from the zoo on Earth Day.

A student told me that today is the celebration of marijuana. When I said, "What?" he went on to explain, "Yeah, you know 4-20." I was like a broken record, "What?" "He cleared the whole thing up by saying, "You know, April 20, 4-20." I did remember that 4-20 has something to do with marijuana so we turned it into a mini research project. If the Internet can be believed, 4-20 is the police code for marijuana. "I need back up, we've got a 4-20 in progress." I do so enjoy my students.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19

Today is the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. What makes a person so angry, so crazy that he kills people, children, to get back at the government?


Today was the funeral of a good man who died mowing his lawn. A young man got drunk early in the day, got behind the wheel of his car and headed out to change the lives of many people, including his own, forever. It wasn't an act of terror, just a terrible act of stupidity. He fell asleep or passed out, crashed through the fence and killed a father/a husband/a brother/a friend.


There's a lot of sadness and ugliness in our world. How can we turn it around?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here I am, Lord

Hymn # 593 in the Methodist Hymnal
Refrain: Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

It's been a busy weekend. Go, go, go all the time

At church this morning I rushed back to get a bulletin for my Mother-in-law. As I was hurrying back to my seat, I felt a hand on my arm. I turned and said hello to Bill. After a quick hug, he told me, "You need to slow down." I smiled and told him, "You are probably right."

If God has a new adventure for me, I do need to slow down so I can hear him calling. Will it be something "normal" or something totally unexpected?

If the part-time job comes to pass I will have time to slow down. I've made a list of things I could do with more time:
Learn to use Photoshop better
Organize my photos
Take more pictures
Take college classes (journalism, writing, technology, PhD)
Read Writer's Digest
Visit Linda
Drive to Baton Rouge for the weekend
Go on mini-trips (Dallas museum district)
Spend time with people: Coretta, Susanna, Janie, Ann
House repairs (?)

I wonder what is on God's list. Exciting times.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I hear it's your birthday.
Happy birthday to ya.

We are sisters.
I was 6 when she was born.
She started school when I was in Jr. High.
When she went to high school, I was away at college.
But the years didn't separate us.
We finally got old enough that 6 years didn't make a difference.
I think what we do most together is laugh.
She's another year older but still 6 years younger than I.
She'll never catch up.

There's three of us.
Sheryl is the youngest. I am the oldest.
And Susan is the pretty one in the middle.
We share memories together that no one else knows.
That is because we are sisters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's a Lovely Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a lovely day in the neighborhood.

But it didn’t start out that way. We had an interesting teacher training/in service/continuing education today. But the topic was ugly, about gangs and drugs.

For 2 hours we heard stories about:

  1. elementary school kids bringing prescription drugs to school to share with friends,
  2. drugs mixed up in candy to entice children (strawberry whip),
  3. teenagers selling their parent’s painkillers for $5-$20 per pill,
  4. a deadly new drug from the UK made out of fertilizer,
  5. web sites that tell kids exactly what kind of high a drug will give them,
  6. fight club gangs,
  7. MS13 is a brutal gang from South America,
  8. pseudophedrine is the only thing in Methamphetamine that is made for human consumption,
  9. crank gets its name from the early 70’s when bikers hid it in the crank cases of their bikes,
  10. zinc and diet soda mixed in certain quantities creates amphetamine in your stomach,
  11. buildings blowing up,
  12. chemicals burning off body parts,
  13. fumes causing health problems for children & law enforcement.

We saw horrifying pictures of open Meth sores,
external tumors on babies,
young people who look dead....

Things are getting worse all the time.

What can we do? It is overwhelming.
It’s sad and scary.
It’s so dark and ugly out there. Hell on earth.
God needs to bust into this.
I like to live in a rose colored world.

It rained all day, a nice soft rain with cool breezes.

It feels good to be home again cuddly in my chenille robe. I need to go find my fuzzy slippers, my toes are cold. I’m going to put water on for hot chocolate. Safe, comfortable and happy, I wish everyone could feel this way.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

You're not too BIG to do Small Things

I stopped at Subway to get a sandwich. A woman even older and heavier than I got out of her car and hobbled to the door using a cane. A teenage boy saw her and ran from his car to open the door for her. It made me feel as good as if he'd opened the door for me.

Then when I got to the door I saw a different teenage boy get up from his table and come open the door for me. What is the world coming to?

Imagine what the world could come to if everyone looked for opportunities to be kind and courteous to other people. I'll start with me. I will make a conscious effort to be helpful and friendly. Maybe it'll catch on.

I'm making a BIG deal about small actions because a plethora of small acts makes a BIG deal. Join me in changing the world one door at a time.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Welcome to the Lawton Public Library

I thought you might like to spend the evening with me. I work here at the Lawton Public Library four hours every WED night, 5:00-9:00 p.m. It’s the epitome of a part-time job.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a librarian? Stay with me and find out.

People are often surprised to know that librarians have Masters Degrees. I’ve had more than one patron say, “You have to go to college to be a librarian?”

Roxanne and Afzal were at the reference desk when I showed up for work. They told me about the new procedures for dealing with problem patrons. You never know when some scary, angry and/or crazy person might show up. So far I have been able to handle most situations. It’s kind of scary to have a code phrase that means, “Call 911, I’m in trouble!”

A student from school just stopped in to say hi. He was in the neighborhood and wanted to see me at work at my other job. His comment about the library was, “This place is too big.” This is actually a pretty small public library.

Before Josh left, a regular patron (meaning he comes to the library a lot) came to join our conversation and to complain about another regular patron who wasn’t even there.

Gary got on a computer and Josh left while I was copying tax extension forms. The parking lot was full when I got here. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. Duh! April 14, the last day of tax help. And I expect there to be lots of people requesting extension forms. (I actually only made and gave 4 copies.)

I had several people ask me tax questions. Those are questions we are not allowed to answer. I’m not a tax expert and have no business interpreting the tax law for them.

I just got back from showing a lady where information about Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians is. Her actual question was, “Where do you keep your Indian books?”

I spend a chunk of my time performing menial computer tasks: deleting people off the waiting list, telling other people what number they are on the waiting list, helping a man find his computer, teaching people how to sign in at the reservation station and how to get their print jobs, filter one computer and unfilter another, and shut down computers when we close.

Some computer problems are more difficult to resolve. Tonight’s problems included settling a dispute between patrons at the reservation computer, fixing a girl’s frozen computer, printing a tax form on the reference computer for a patron whose computer wouldn’t print, and getting things straightened out when one patron printed another’s print job.

It isn’t all trouble shooting. A lot of questions are easy, like, “What time do you close?” or “Do you have WiFi?” Two soldiers came in tonight with their laptops and were so happy to know we have WiFi for them. They thanked me for the WiFi, they thanked me for the electric plug ins and they thanked me again when they left. I get thanked a lot. It never gets old and it always makes me feel good.

It also isn’t busy all the time. Beth & Owen come every Wednesday to visit me as they did tonight and I have time to visit with them. Owen played on the kids’ computer and checked out a DVD. Beth caught me up on what’s been happening with her. Owen usually gets a gum ball in the lobby before they leave. Tonight they were going out for taco night at Taco Mayo.

I read my e-mail in between questions and problems. There are city e-mails about road closings and people retiring, things of interest from library employees, lots of offers to sell me drugs or be my friend or make me rich. I can usually get the good stuff read and the junk deleted during my four hours at the library.

The phone rang. “Do you have the complete book of spells?” “The naughty and nice book of spells?” “The new and complete book of tarot?” No, No and No. The caller was not interested in getting them through Inter-Library Loan.

A high school senior came to the library with her dad to get books on Shakespeare’s Richard III for her senior paper. I told her we have huge sets of commentaries in reference. She said she didn’t want commentaries, she wanted books with information about the book. I told her that’s what commentary means. Oh. We found lots of information but she also didn’t know that reference books don’t check out. She wanted to do the work at home with books she could check out. So we went to the Shakespeare non-fiction section and she found lots of stuff that she liked there. Mission accomplished.

Another thing I do when no one needs me is get books for our kindergarten teacher. She uses the Letter People curriculum that has lists of books to go with each letter. I usually find 5-10 books for each letter. Tonight I got books for letter K.

I worked on the newsletter and hung up teen on-line book club poster. The on-line book clubs and the Library Newsletter are my two main projects.

And now we enter the rush of closing. Finishing up, closing down, straightening up, making sure the lingering people know it’s time to go, then the PA System announces, “The Lawton Public Library is now closed” and Donna locks the doors.

We gather up our stuff, I set the alarm, and we all head for home. Another night at the library concluded. It’s a great job.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April is National Poetry Month

A not so former student, he just graduated in 2009, won a poetry contest at Cameron University. I reprint it here with permission from the author, Seth Copeland.


"Did you see Rosalia? Bella."
-Palermo cab driver-

Have you seen her?
She lies just down the hall;
the nymph with the
darkened face,
like a bronze cast
of innocent slumber.

For a time & time,
she's been there,
sleeping nonchalant
among her grim forbears.
With hollow, abrupt smiles
they guard their spawn.
Their jagged, hanging faces
do not disturb her rest.
She sleeps on.

There's a tinge of sorrow
in that face.
The sad truth of her sleep
may well be the cause.
She has left us
a precious shell,
a statue of eerie closeness.

Wake up! Live!
Poor dear angelica!
You fell asleep a child.
You awoke a symbol.

Somewhere, she
plays and laughs again.

My understanding of the poem: Rosalia, an Italian girl, has died. She's laying in a funeral home for visitation. Her family stands by her as people come to visit. "Their jagged hanging faces," is her family in the mob? Rosalia is saddened by the sorrow her death has caused. But her death brings meaning to her family. She has no reason to be sad. She is alive again, laughing and playing.

Post Script: Seth told me that Rosalia Lombardo was the inspiration for this poem. Look her up and get more insights into the meaning of his poem.

Monday, April 12, 2010

School Board Meeting

Tonight was our school board meeting. My superintendent told me that she was recommending to the board that my job be made part-time. They would discuss it and vote to go along with her or not. Then I would know.

Item number 14 on the agenda reads as follows:

14. Proposed executive session to discuss employment of current contracted certified teachers listed on Appendix A and Appendix B for 2010-2011 [25 OS § 307 (B)(1)].

Appendix A and B lists all the certified personnel with the exception of two other teachers and me. I thought they would rehire the bulk of the teachers and do the three of us separately. But when they got to number 14, the president tabled numbers 14-19. They moved right on to number 20. What just happened? I was still confused when they got to number 26.

26. Schedule time, date, and place for a public hearing for potential reductions in force.

This is odd to me. What is this public hearing for potential reductions in force? Is it a special board meeting to decide whose job to reduce or eliminate? When are they going to rehire everyone else? At the next regular board meeting in May?

So here I sit, not knowing, wondering what the future holds, hearing God say, "Fear not." I had to look it up: "Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

There's nothing confusing about that. God's got my back. My future, although unknown, is secure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Using God's Gifts

There’s a recurring theme weaving in and out of my life, "Using God’s Gifts": CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE (the book that I’m reading), the sermon this morning and then Sunday school, a conversation with my niece-in-law (is there such a thing?). There must be something here to blog about.

Do you know what your gifts are? What things have you always done? What do you like to do? Have you felt successful about doing something? Put that all together and you have a gift.

I have the gift of writing. I love to write. So many people don’t. I understand grammar and actually love it. I am intrigued by words. I have always kept a journal. Most professional writers say you have to be a reader to be a writer. I’ve been a reader since I first learned to read. My mom got me subscriptions to comic books and weekly reader over the summer. We always went to the public library. I’m a letter writer and now an email writer.

So how do I use this gift from God? I write newsletters and blog. I write a weekly church newsletter and contribute most of the information to our church blog. I write a weekly school newsletter that is less direct in evangelism. I promote the news of our churches and give accolades to students and teachers sharing their news and accomplishments. I also do a monthly newsletter for the Public Library. I write to a young man in prison who acts like I have done something wonderful by writing to him. That reminds me of Mother Teresa’s saying, “We can do no great things, just small things with great love.” Let me add, with God’s love.

Last but not least is my personal blog. It has a limited readership but I hope God’s voice is recognized from time to time. This is the place where I can be me, write from my heart, be goofy, and hopefully be a vessel through which God’s light can shine.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Vote Now!

There’s a BIG music festival in Illinois this summer and I need your help. Four local boys make up the band Crosswire and they want to play at Cornerstone Festival. It takes web votes to get a slot at the festival. These boys deserve to get one of those slots.

Crosswire has stayed in the top 25 bands week after week, but in May only the top 10 bands will be invited to play.

You can help Crosswire make the trip to Illinois by voting for them at :
  • Go to the website

  • register (create an account)

  • get your password from your email

  • log in to Cornerstone with your new user name and password

  • click on New Band Showcase 2010 - Vote Now

  • scroll down and click on Crosswire

  • cast your vote

  • Verify you vote

There are several steps the first time you vote. You can vote daily. If you bookmark or put the "cast your vote" page in favorites, you can go directly to that page once a day to vote.

You can listen to the band on, hear Noah, lead guitar, play the Star Spangled Banner at Celebrate Oklahoma Voices:, check out the band on facebook or, read about them in the Lawton Constitution.

Help me get these kids out of Indiahoma. Thanks!

Friday, April 9, 2010


My daughters both told me that I should blog about our mouse problem. I thought it was too gross. But as I sit here at the computer, three mice scurried out from different corners of the room and each chose a different exit. The only thing I can to do is write about it.

Last summer we had snakes under the house and absolutely no mice. I never thought I would say this, but I'm praying the snakes will return. The snakes were scarier than the mice but they did not leave poop all over the house and I only came in direct contact with two of them the whole summer.

We first started noticing evidence of a mouse in the house two or three weeks ago. My husband set a trap and caught a mouse. Where there's one, there's probably another so he set the trap again and caught another mouse. We started seeing mice, multiple mice, in the bathroom, the living room, the computer room, the laundry room, the kitchen. Daryl started setting five traps at a time and catching mice in all of them. He's even caught two in one trap.

Then one evening he told me to go outside and look in the plastic tub. There were 13 mice covered in gasoline. He'd found them living in the dog food bag. Gross doesn't even describe it. He has continued to set the five traps and they are sometimes full, sometimes only one or two mice, one morning they were empty. I thought we were getting to the end of it, but then Daryl left for two days of continuing education meetings in Oklahoma City.

Before he left I asked him if he was going to set the traps. He said no and I said thank you. What am I going to do with dead mice in the traps? I'm not a hunter or a killer but I don't mind my husband killing things for me. As a matter-of-fact, I appreciate it.

So here I sit, watching a baby mouse. It looks like he's washing his hands. I can hardly wait for Daryl to get home and set more traps.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cure for the Common Life

I don’t have any time to do anything worth writing about, I’m too busy blogging!

Here’s what I do have time to do, listen to audio books while driving to Curves (exercise), about 20-30 minutes each way. Today I started listening to CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE by Max Lucado. My daughter, Beth, gave it to me as a Christmas present. I needed a break from my police/FBI/Secret Service thriller mysteries and this is just the ticket. I’ve read several Lucado books and plan to read them all. He has quite a way with words. Preachers would say, “Live in God’s will.” Max says, “Find the sweet spot that God has created for you.” God made each of us in a unique way to do a specific job. He equipped us for this job with the right personality, the right energy, the right talents to get the job done. How does a person know what that job is? It’s as easy as discovering what you are good at and what you like to do. Max says you can look back at what was fun for you as a child and what you were successful at as an adolescent.

I’ll go out on a limb here and tell you what I like to do and what I think I’m good at. I love technology and I love writing. Blogging is the perfect mix for me. I also like to be with people, help people and teach people. My jobs as a school librarian and a public librarian combine all of those things. Besides teaching students and helping patrons, I write a newsletter for the school and the public library and my church too. I think I may be in the right place. But, like I said before, if God has a new adventure, I’m ready to go.

Even though I love my jobs, I am still a BIG fan of these three-day weekends. I enjoy time for personal writing and reading and TV watching, relaxing and having unstructured time. God told us to take a day of rest. I’m thinking if one day is good, then three is better! Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happiness is Just Around the Corner

In the midst of any negative situation, I wish I could remember that happiness is just around the corner. Things always get good again.

My morning routine is: shut off the alarm, turn on the TV to see what the weather will be like, get up, start the coffee, get dressed and ready then have coffee and a breakfast bar while checking my email.

This morning I noticed one of my “beauty products” was running low and remembered an email I received from Origins offering free shipping. When I got to the computer, I opened that email. The offer of free shipping included a cute tote bag. Groove on! After visiting several pages and reading about different products, I ordered my beauty enhancing face cream. At check out I saw free shipping for X dollars, which was less than my total, so I didn’t even go back to get the offer code from my email. I forgot all about the tote bag until I signed out of AOL, the Origins email was open with the cute tote bag staring me in the face. Dang! No time to rectify it then, I had to leave for school.

I was disappointed with myself for being such a doofenschmertz. In between my two jobs I called Origins to see if they could fix my order. The girl checked for me and said it was already in process and couldn't be changed but she could cancel it and I could reorder. I told her about the offer code and forgotten tote bag to see if that could just be added to the order. Her first response was, "Oh that offer expired on April 4th." I told her that the email I got said the offer was extended until April 5th. Then I laughed and said, "But today is the 7th, isn't it." She agreed and then offered to ask her supervisor if they could add the tote bag, just this once. When she came back on the phone she told me the tote bag would be included. I laughed again. That was a pleasant surprise and made me very happy.

At my first job I asked our insurance liaison if there would be a problem with my insurance if I go part-time. She said I would have to work 20 hours a week to keep it and I'd have to pay for it myself. The school pays for full-time employees. I was feeling uneasy about the situation and thought of a former superintendent who now works at another school in our area. I also have a friend who works for him. I wrote Amy an email telling her about my job situation and wondering if her librarian was going to retire. To my surprise she wrote back and said, yes, their librarian was retiring and I should contact Ernest to let him know I'm interested in working for him again. New possibilities changed my mood from nervous to excited.

During the last half hour of my second job, an unreasonable woman called and was cranky and almost hateful. I stayed peasant with her but when the call concluded I had a grumpy "How could she be so rude?" conversation with myself. The phone rang again. "What now?" I thought. It was Jeff who used to work with me at the library. He actually called to ask a school related question but it was so good to talk to him. Happy again.

One last closing remark: The negative feelings that are born out of negative situations can be a good thing when they motivate proactive action and become a catalyst for positive change. Happiness really is lurking around the corner, we just need to get around that corner to find it.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Big News

I got some big news a few weeks ago from my professional organization. They let me know that a house bill had passed through the house and was now in the senate. This house bill relaxes requirements so schools can save money in these difficult financial times. I am affected by the part of the bill that says for the next two years schools won't need to have a school librarian. That's who I am. Yikes!

I didn't get too upset by the news. I wondered if God would have me continue in my ministry at school (I consider myself an undercover missionary) or head out on some new adventure. I have ideas and I know God has great ideas. It doesn't hurt that our house is paid off, it doesn't cost a lot to live here and I have some savings. I asked my friends to pray for me about this and I was annointed at church during a special annointing service.

Wondering, waiting, when will I know something? Then today, my superintendent came in the library and gave me some BIG news to blog about. She told me she was going to suggest to the board that I work half time next year. I was relieved that she didn't want to eliminate my job altogether. The board meeting is on Monday when they will decide and make it final.

There are good things and there are bad things about this change. I'll try to focus on what is good.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A sense of Humor

I write to a young man in prison. He was a student at my school several years ago and is now just months away from an early parole. He admits the bad things that he did, he knows he deserved the punishment, and he is ready to return to the outside as a new person. Confess, repent, be forgiven.

On the back of the envelope containing his most recent letter to me, he quoted Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.” Then he thanked me for my merry heart. Well, that made me smile and reflect on the importance of a sense of humor. My modern translation, THE MESSAGE, translates the verse this way: “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.”

Be on the look out for things that will cheer your heart, make you smile or even laugh out loud. Here are a few things that have made my heart merry recently:

  • The 6 and under soccer team all chasing the ball together. They are on the field to run with their friends, kick the ball if they can, sit down when they’re tired, and jump up and down when it’s time for snacks.
  • Discovering there’s a new Dexter book coming out in December, DEXTER IS DELICIOUS. Dexter and Odd Thomas are my favorite fictional characters. They always make me smile.
  • At our Good Friday service, the pastor explained the note card and envelope in the bulletin was for us to write our sins or whatever was separating us from God. The woman in front of me said, “I have a legal pad if anyone needs it.”
  • The pastor burned the envelopes and when he brought the ashes to church on Easter, the wind blew across the bowl that held the ashes and blew everyone’s sins in his face.

    I can always turn to Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry when I’m in need of a smile or a laugh. What makes your heart merry?


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter is BIG

Our church is small but our celebration is big. I can’t say we average 40 in church on Sundays, but I do make 40 newsletter/bulletin inserts and sometimes that isn’t enough. Today, Easter Sunday, the church was full, the choir was full, there were 9 kids up front for the children’s sermon (that’s three more than we have on any other good Sunday). We had 350 eggs for those nine kids to hunt after church. I thank God for visitors and people who will come to church on this important Sunday. Everyone is on their own journey and it’s a joy when our paths cross.

Our family is small but it seems big when we get together. We put all the leaves in the table at Gran’s house to make room for the holiday food and extra chairs. There’s usually only five of us. On Easter we were eight. More laughter, more stories, talking about the ones who weren’t there and wishing that they were.

Easter is just one day, but it's an important day, a BIG deal day, our high holy day. Easter is the end of lent and the end of Holy Week with its ups and downs. Easteris also the beginning of "the rest of the story". On Friday, Jesus paid in blood, the only currency accepted to purchase our freedom. On Sunday he proved to the world that he is God, he came back from the dead. And through him, so will we. It doesn't get much bigger than that!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thoughts on Good Friday

If you don’t know the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion, watch Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ.” It’s horrifying and real and tells the Biblical story in a modern day medium.

Have your friends ever let you down? Have you had a friend betray you? Have you been falsely accused of something you did not do? Most of know how it feels to be treated in these ways. Have you been beaten or had someone spit in your face and call you names? Have you been arrested and imprisoned? Have you had your clothes stolen off your body? Have you been publicly humiliated? Have you been tortured while in captivity? Most of us have not had these personal experiences, but we can imagine the cruelty. Have you ever been crucified, literally nailed on a cross to die? Of course not, but Jesus was. It is not pleasant to focus on that day in Jesus’ life. It’s too painful, too gruesome, too disgusting. I'd rather skip over it and go straight to the celebration of Easter.

With the story summarized, here’s my first thought. Jesus went through this agonizing ordeal for us. We remember the event through Jesus’ eyes. It was not until I became a parent that I took a step backwards to view the bigger picture, the picture that includes God the Father. I had a pretty good idea of what that day was like for Jesus but hadn’t really considered what it was like for the Father. He had to watch his son be mistreated and murdered. He too made the supreme sacrifice.

Why did this have to happen? Jesus died to forgive our sins, to redeem us, to save us. How does that make sense? From the very beginning, the Hebrew priests sacrificed animals on the alter for the forgiveness of sins. Why blood? I don’t know, but that is what God requires. Jesus was offered up by the High Priest to be sacrificed on the cross. This was the ultimate, the final sacrifice. We are once and for all forgiven, redeemed and saved.

Hebrew sacrifices were made in the Temple. The Temple was destroyed “shortly” after Jesus died. There is a lot of talk about the Temple being rebuilt before Jesus returns. I don’t think it will be rebuilt. The Temple does not need to be rebuilt. Jesus is the Temple. It isn’t a temple made with stone but with the Spirit of God.

I am not a Bible scholar, these are just my thoughts. I’m always up for new opinions and insights. Leave me a comment.

Our Good Friday service was held at our sister church in Snyder. We were supposed to enter the church somber and quietly. Not easy for me to do. The pastor gave us a paper and envelope with instructions to write down anything that was separating us from God. At the end of the service we put our envelopes at the foot of the cross. I don’t have one big thing that separates me from God. No person, no event, no major addiction. My relationship with God isn’t perfect because I’m not perfect. I wrote, in my mind, for God to reveal to me what I need to work on and we’ll hone those imperfections one at a time.

Think again of Mel Gibson. The amazing film he made that brought honor and glory and people to God. Then Mel goes and acts like a bumbling idiot again. In my heart, I know God is still working on Mel and loves him very much, just like he loves you and me.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yesterday was a BIG Day

April 1st was Thursday, the new Friday. My school takes Fridays off instead of spring break. We like it so much that we are looking into making next year an entire 4 day week year. The day will have to be extended to make the hours come out right but it will be worth it. Thursdays are my new favorite workday.

April Fool’s Day began for me with the Google and Topeka name switch. I thought it was clever and amusing. The rest of the day was filled with student style April Fools jokes, none worth mentioning.

My library aides and I hid Easter eggs for the 1st and 3rd graders at the town park. It was a beautiful day, warm but windy. We hid the eggs, they found the eggs, then we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drank Gatorade together. We went back to school leaving them to play on the park playground.

Right after school, I had a hair appointment. I spent three hours with Pam. She washed my hair, cut my hair, styled my hair, and made me blond again. Oh how I wish the pictures I take of myself looked good. Is it the camera, me, or my inability to deal with reality? I will post one because you’ve got to see my cute hair.

My new hair and I barely made it to church in time for the Maundy Thursday service. In a nut shell, Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. We had a good service. Janie played the piano, Russ is back from his sabbatical, Patrick had a good message, two precious kids from other churches brought in and took out the light of Christ (they were acolytes), we sang and took communion. To read the church blog post about our service, click

Ahhh, then home. Eating leftovers in my recliner watching The Mentalist, a little crochet during CSI. And I have Bones DVR’d for later. Thursday is also my favorite TV night.

I finished off the day on the computer checking my favorite social networks, reading email which sends me in many different directions as the sender inspires me, web voting in support of my favorite teenage Christian rock band, and writing an outline for this post.* I stayed up late. That’s okay because I didn’t have to get up early today. I love the three day weekends.

And now to get started on Friday.

*I listened to a college lecture called “The Sentence.” The professor was a BIG fan of the long sentence. Ever since I listened to it, I find myself trying to construct long but understandable sentences.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool’s Day!

This April fool is going to try to blog every day in April. In real life I’ve come to believe that it’s better to blog when you have something to say than to blog everyday just to flex your blogging muscles. But in my Bizarro-Land life I want to give the everyday marathon blogging a try. It’s daunting, it’s challenging, it’s exciting, and, oh yeah, it’s BIG.