Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Fence

The wheat,
radiant rays from summer sun,
dazzle our eyes.
 Dodging  scattering grasshoppers,
while laughing at the dog,
 who led our passage
through rows of chin- high winter wheat.
Sentinel dog , who jumped so high to stay the course.

Pumpkin Patch

Today we took 1st grade to the Pumpkin Patch.  I went from having only 2 parent volunteers to getting 5 that have papers filled out and 3 with out.  I did not have to take a group and could just supervise.  It was a very nice field trip and the rain did not start till we left!

Someday I would like to have a date to the pumpkin patch....

Friday, October 26, 2012


I think I'm trying to write Kansas out of my veins. I don't even know if that can be done.  I just think it is funny that the imagery of the prairie is more compelling to me than Oregon's mountains.  Maybe it is because it is from my youth.

I can write of the ocean but I am just not as stirred by mountains like I am of the endless oceans of grass, rolling hills, copper wheat, and the dust bowl sky.

Or maybe it is just that I am writing my stories down from my youth and that is Kansas.  My adulthood is Oregon and I'm not too crazy about my adulthood these past 30 years right now.  Maybe someday....

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I've been thinking about my life stories I want to share with my children.  They all seem to go back to the Bible or have been triggered by something from the Bible.  I loved being so steeped in the Bible that it pours out of me.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I hate

that I can't do my job the way I know it needs to be done.  I know what my students need but I can't give it to them because of class size, politics, and other demands on my time.

I also can't take care of myself the way I need to to because of my job.

Maybe I should consider that mission job in  Papua New Guinea.  I could use my vocation as teacher and really be able to do my job!  I would be doing 2 loves- my love of God and my love of teaching!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What I enjoy

I enjoy being able to spend money on my aging dogs with out my husband bitching at me for wasting money and asking me,

"When are they going to die anyway?"

Then he would dig at it and dig at it trying to wear me down.  I refused to be worn down and give into him and allow the dogs to be put to death so his life would be more convenient.

Now I can take care of them guilt free and ease their pain till it is time.  Sure it is expensive but they are my children and my responsibility and I take that very seriously.

They have aged so much this past month and are both having difficulty getting around.  It freaks me out.

And I know it is ironic that I left my husband and I am not taking care of him which I vowed to do.  It bothers me a great deal.  But I did not know how to stay with him and keep myself and the dogs safe.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Recently we've been reading a book in school about reading- namely reading comprehension.  I always knew about how important it is to read to your children but a new fact was how important it is to tell them stories.  I realized I never told my children my stories about my life growing up.  I don't know why.  Maybe I didn't think they were important enough to tell?  I was wrong to not tell them the stories of my childhood.  How could they know where they have come from without hearing my stories.  Especially now that they don't talk to me.

How will my grandchildren know their heritage without hearing my stories.  My boys won't tell them because they won't know.  I've decided to write the stories I remember as significant to me so they will know someday who I was and why I am today.  I know now they are not interested but maybe some day.  It is important to pass on our past- it makes us who we are.

I see this in the generational poor I serve in my school.  I want my boys to know what kind of stock they come from.  Hard working German stock with ethics and a faith in God through the Missouri Synod Lutheran church.  Faith that saw them through many a rough times.  I want them to know of their ancestors and how they survived life through their faith in Jesus Christ.

So whether it comes out in prose or poetic form I don't know but I constantly flash back to the farm before Daddy became ill with ALS.  Probably the happiest time in my life.  It's kind of a Laura Ingalls Wilder kind of story...

Friday, October 12, 2012

A New Writer I have Discovered

This writer speaks to my heart and soul.  His imagery just smacks me in the face and wraps me in its coils.  Oh to write like this!

Speaking of Tongues
I am a serpent, coiled between your teeth,
A blade forged in hell, pulled free from its sheath,
A friend of the fire, a fanner of flame,

A beast that no man, is able to tame.
Who am I?
I am a healer, the linguist of life,
The organ whose keys, hymn peace amidst strife.
I can mute evil, make angels rejoice.
I've learned to be still, when heaven gives voice.
Who am I?
A treasure of light or Pandora's box?
A life-giving balm or death-dealing pox?
Who am I?
I am what you choose me to be.

Chad Bird

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


"The doctrine of vocation is Luther’s theology of the Christian life. It has to do with how Christians are to live in the world, how they exercise their faith, and how their ordinary lives are charged with meaning.
More specifically, vocation addresses how God works through human beings. He gives us our daily bread through the vocation of farmers, millers, and bakers. He protects us by means of the governing authorities. He grants healing by means of the medical vocations. He creates works of beauty by working through artists and musicians. He creates new life and cares for children by means of mothers and fathers.
God is at work in all of the people who do things for us—the ones who built our houses, made our clothing, prepared our food, picked up our trash, designed the technology that we enjoy, worked in the factories to manufacture what we need, gave us services to make our lives easier—and He is at work through us. Luther goes so far as to say that vocation is a “mask of God,” that behind the server in the restaurant who brings us our food, behind the shopkeeper, behind the business executive, and behind us in the things that we do for others, God Himself is hidden.
Luther writes, “What else is all our work to God— whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in government—but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the fields, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things. . . . He could give children without using men and women. But He does not want to do this. Instead, He joins man and woman so that it appears to be the work of man and woman, and yet He does it under the cover of such masks. . . . God gives all good gifts; but . . . you must work and thus give God good cause and a mask” (Commentary on Psalm 147; Luther’s Works 14:114 AE)."

I am on a mission.  I may not have my vocation as wife anymore or my vocation as mother, but I do have my vocation as a teacher. Behind my mask God is working though me to bring His love and joy of our human brains and our capacity to learn to children who live in poverty.  These children have so many needs and so many things wrong with their lives.  They don't feel safe.  They don't have food.  They don't have homes.  They don't have books.  They don't have real conversations with adults who care about them.

My district sends them to Kindergarten now and gives them all the drill and kill and none of the joy of education and school.  This last year they did not get recess, PE, or library.  I liken it to starvation and a killing of the magic of reading, writing, mathematics, art, music, science and social studies.  Gone are the days of hands on realia.  They get "intercession",  phonics, phonemic awareness, and math(by the numbers).

After thirteen years of KG I moved to 1st grade because I could not handle, physically or mentally, the rigor( and abuse) of 2 and a half hour kindergarten.  (Hey got to be able to pee sometime!)

In my 2nd year of 1st grade I am getting the first group of these deprived kindergartners.  I am putting the "fun" back in school!  We are painting, making applesauce, cutting and pasting, glittering, and reading good literature.

My vocation is not only to teach them to read and do math but to experience the full joy and excitement of using their God given brains to explore the world around them

Learning is fun and teaches perseverance and how to live in this world.  It breaks down generational poverty and opens the world to all students!  It is the hope that God has given us through His son Jesus Christ.  

God created us to use our brains.  He did not make stupid people.  He made us in His image.

My vocation is to teach.

Monday, October 8, 2012


It was a horrible experience.  I was getting side by side coaching and the kids were awful and so was I.  Did I learn?  Yes. Ugly, messy learning.  This is me and the most awesome coach: Jill Board.  Growth through pain.  I can relate.  Like hope dashed against rocks can be good.  Hope squandered. The waves just beat it out of you. Teaching is truly an area you are always growing - that is if you are good and care.  Brutal.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My dogs

My 2 old lady dogs, Queenie(14) and Allie(13) are aging just like me.  They have arthritis in their spine, Allie has had a sarcoma removed, and Queenie's bladder control is about like mine.  Children do that to you!

Queenie was Tim's 12th birthday present and we rescued Allie about a year later.  The boys moved out and left the dogs behind and they became my children.  In the last couple of years of my marriage I had to defend their lives daily.  My husband just wanted them dead.  If he did not verbally wish them dead he would mimic shooting them with a gun.  Everyday I would have to defend their right to live.  All my husband saw were the accidents on the floor and the inconvenience of pets.

He expected me to agree to put them to death even though they were still functioning and lovable dogs.  I refused to put them to death.  I knew if they were not the scape goats for his anger and discontent then I would become the object of his death wishes.

I refused to put my dogs to death even though they peed on the carpet and were a bit inconvenient.  When I moved out I found a place that took dogs and paid extra to have my dogs with me.  They are my children.  I will not put them down till it is absolutely necessary.

So my apartment stinks of dog pee and I just spent 600.00 on senior well visits.  I spend a lot of money on their special food.  I dread the day I have to make the decision.

Yet to my sons I am the bad person who left their father.  As my one son said- he wants nothing to do with me or my family ever again.  I live with this hurt daily.

I would not let him kill the dogs and I would not let him verbally abuse me again.  The price?  The loss of my sons.  I can not tell you how much this hurts as a mother.

So Queenie and Allie and myself are a family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Math Studio again

Math studio is brutal on my psyche. It assaults every part of my self confidence.  Not only am I insecure about my math abilities I fight envy and jealousy over how well other teachers execute their math lessons. My fellow 1st grade teacher is awesome in math.  My class can not even touch where she is at. I fight the urge to just hate her for how good she is at what she does.

So while I observe her and compare what I have done in my classroom I am having to self talk myself out of envy and hatred for her competence at something I struggle with daily.  It over whelms me.  Her class is quiet and controlled while mine flops about on the floor like puppy dogs.

I keep telling myself I cannot compare our teachings and our approaches .  We are both valuable in our approaches.  Like I said I am brutal on myself.

I know that I too am valuable in how I teach- just as all teachers are.  We cannot judge ourselves by our different teaching approaches.  Envy and jealousy are poison to our relationships with each other.

I walk out of math studio beating myself up,  which just needs to STOP!  It is a battle.

Tomorrow I get side by side coaching with  Jill.  I lay myself out there, open to instruction.  How else will I learn?  I humiliate myself for my practise.  It is what I try to do- leave myself open to learning new things.

I think my new principle is awesome.

I adore Jill and what she can teach me.

My fellow co-teacher is amazing at 27.  I am honored to work with her.

Monday, October 1, 2012


So I am reinventing myself.  The best of what I was before marriage with confidence of age.  All those things I buried in my marriage I am free to enjoy again.  I still have baggage but I am trying to shed.  Damn. The years of marriage weigh me down.  I hurt and I am lonely.  It seems like it will never end.  I am such a whiner.