Happy You and Me Day!

Today I’m nostalgic. Five years ago, I walked down the aisle, an old bride at age 29. It was a simple wedding with a great party and Jason and I were some of the last to leave. We were just having too much fun. The years that have passed between us have been, for the most part, great. Our first year was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But each year is getting easier and easier and I’m hoping soon that it will just become effortless….doubtful but still hoping!

Us then……

I get to scratch off #35 on my list (See The List below). The traditional gift for a 5th anniversary is wood so Jason and I met up this afternoon at my favorite place (I need a name for this place I love, so any suggestions send my way). I took a basket of rice krispy treats, his favorite, and a pocketknife. We carved our initials in that old cottonwood tree, branding it with our love forever.

#35 Carve my initials in a tree with my true love!

Dustin

You rolled down the passenger window and waved at me while I was doing door duty at school. You hugged me when you saw me. You did hip thrusts with me and Susan when we were exercising and it made me laugh. We played hide the thimble. You gave me lice!

April 29…. Granny’s little daily calendar sits on my desk. “Dustin’s birthday” is written in her shaky cursive. I was at the hospital visiting Aunt Bert. You called. I said to tell you Happy Birthday. You said I better keep Granny’s calendar forever. I will.

That was the last time we talked and it was through Susan. I can’t remember the last time we really talked. Maybe it was parent/teacher conference day. You’d given Harley 50 bucks for his birthday. I said I’d be sure to come by on my birthday. We laughed together with your arm around me.

One month ago today it all ended. I wish we had more time to make memories.

The List—A work in Progress

  1. own land in the country
  2. have at least one library shelf full of my published books
  3. visit new york with jolea and my nieces at christmas
  4. own chickens, goats, cows, ducks, and barn cats
  5. sit on the side of the road and sell home grown veggies
  6. drive a classic pickup
  7. learn to ride a horse
  8. paint pictures that someone would hang in their house
  9. do missionary work in africa
  10. spend time in anacortes, washington
  11. swim with dolphins
  12. watch ashlynn graduate from college
  13. teach an exercise class
  14. make money off the stock market
  15. learn to cook
  16. bake delicious homemade bread
  17. have a flowerbed that is deserving of a picture in better homes and gardens
  18. be my own boss and make money doing it
  19. go to a mudbog
  20. snorkel
  21. go sailing and wear nautical looking clothes
  22. camp in palo duro canyon
  23. go to australia with jason
  24. play guitar
  25. dance barefoot in a dancehall on a wooden floor
  26. make friends with an elderly person
  27. go skinny dipping
  28. have my picture made western style and look like a floozie
  29. ride horses in montana
  30. learn from the amish
  31. beat stan at dominoes
  32. eat crawfish in louisiana
  33. go to the horseraces
  34. rv in every state in the united states
  35. carve my initials on a tree with my true love
  36. ice skate
  37. play piano for an audience
  38. enjoy drinking beer
  39. weave a basket or rug with a real indian woman
  40. go to luckenbach texas

teaching

I always knew I wanted to teach. I was the kid whose mom and dad let me turn the garage into a classroom. It was complete with every thing a teacher could need. The stuffed animals were all in their rows. I built my own podium, which fell over when I walked past. I made my own U.S. map to pull down from the ceiling that had to be rolled up and tied with a piece of yarn. And…I have never confessed before now, that I stole a chalkboard eraser in second grade from Mrs. Auwen. I was tired of using a sock. I would teach for hours.

In my garage classroom, it was a perfect world. I had a class size of 6. The monkey stayed in his seat, the elephant never forgot her homework, the owl never showed me up with his intelligence, and the sign on the door read “no grumpy parents allowed”. As I look back, what a boring classroom it was!

Where was the child with ADHD? The one with Aspergers? The one who sleeps through lessons? Where’s the one who never turns in assignments? The one constantly blurting out? The one never paying attention? Where’s the one who bullies other kids? The one whose parents are divorcing? The one who is trying her hardest and still failing? That describes a more typical classroom doesn’t it?

I have learned that teaching is a career of compassion. Through the past 9 years, my students have taught me more than I have taught them. It is these children, our “challenges” who have taught me important life lessons: lessons of compassion, lessons of tolerance, lessons of patience, lessons of love. Because every child in my room is someone else’s son or daughter. And they are trusting me, yes to teach them, but more importantly to treat them with goodness and to love them. Even the ones who are hardest to love. A good friend and colleague once told me, “They won’t remember if you taught them their multiplication facts, but they’ll remember how you treated them.”

The “challenges” that have come through the door of my classroom have become some of my greatest blessings, not only because they’ve made me a better teacher. But because they’ve made me a better person.

Happy, happy, joy, joy

Some of the best news arrived in my yahoo inbox today. I have been selected as one of the 12 finalists in a children’s book competition. My head is absolutely spinning. I jumped around my house yahooing for about 12 minutes, praising Jesus. Now my adrenaline rush is over and I’m wrapped up in a whirlwind of craziness. I can not get my head to settle down. Even as I try, doubt and failure begins to creep in. Emotions, emotions. I am continuing with positive self-talk. I visualize the outcome I want. Jeremiah 29:11 folks.

I was doing just fine until…..

Today is the official first day of summer break for me. I awoke early, created my to-do list, and feverishly attacked it. The house hasn’t been cleaned in months and the dirt and grime is stacking up. Not to mention, we had the bathrooms redone, so we’ve been living in a bit of chaos of late. So with apron on (for the pockets) and timer ready (the only way I can stay focused) I got busy. I was doing just fine until my husband calls to announce he has discovered a house for sale, in the country, with a little acreage, not too far, possibly at the right price. At first, I wasn’t interested. My first thought was (no I like my house I don’t want to move) but my mouth said (okay I’ll drive out there). Well as soon as I saw it, my imagination got the best of me, as it always does. Now, I’m scheming all the ways of possibly selling our house and moving. And I think that is just crazy. I haven’t even seen the inside. So with prayers sent up, I will trust God for what is meant to be.

maybe I have a sweet tooth

I think there was a time, way back, when life wasn’t sugar coated. When not everyone made the team and you didn’t get a participation trophy. Winners are winners because the cream rises to the top. Today I’m feeling guilty. Awards assembly day. The day when children who have worked hard deserve to be honored with recognition. Should every child receive an award? If everyone got one, then it doesn’t become special or coveted. It almost becomes a joke, Best Shoe Tie-er; Least likely to Dribble at the Water Fountain…..give me a break. Awarding everyone is like saying “its okay to be mediocre…..average is fine……just get by and try not to excel” I’m sad that kids get their feelings hurt and I’m more sad that parents get theirs hurt worse. But life can not be sticky sweet all the time.

escape

my escape…….a huge cottonwood tree, a pond, a field of flowers, rolling slopes on a section of land that rejuvenates me. I plan on journeying out at least one day a week this summer, just me and my dogs and a laptop. I will sit under this tree and fulfill my writer’s dream. Peace…..complete peace. Oh but watch out for the cow patties!