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Teach. Pray. - It's the Climb

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Two weeks ago at 8:24 p.m., I was lying in bed with Matt watching Netflix at an Airbnb in Englewood, Colorado. We had spent a day walking around downtown Denver. Other than recovering from a stomach bug and adjusting to the elevation change, we had no worries. A true vacation where we set everything aside and enjoyed ourselves. Tonight I ask myself, why not set things aside more often? Why not enjoy ourselves on the daily? After all, when you set things aside...they'll still be there when you get back.

To say this school year has been stressful is an understatement. But, that's what happens when you're an educator. Each year is different because I'm not only in the education business. I'm in the human business, and humans are complicated. So, the Friday before fall break had me at my wit's end. I was D-O-N-E! Counting down the minutes and seconds done. I had worked late all week to get tests graded, to get weekly plans done, to get sub plans done, and to get mat…

pray. - High Waist Shorts and Female Parts

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Without failure every year, September to November push my fight-or-flight response to its absolute max. And, this year is no different. This could turn into a public school system venting session, but I'll spare you. Instead, let's talk about wardrobes.

A few weeks ago, my thirty-four-year-old self attended a two-day music festival in Atlanta with my twenty-one-year-old sister. I've been longing for a good music festival and this line-up excited me. Kendrick Lamar was one of the headlining acts, and well, I'm a Kendrick Lamar fan. Not to mention, he made history this year! He was the first artist out of the classical and jazz genres to win the Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN. So, yea, I wasn't going to miss it, and I didn't. I spent hours standing in a dusty field smashed against sweaty, drunk, disgusting bodies to see his performance. It was worth it. I had the honor of seeing a historical Pulitzer Prize winner unite a mass of diverse creatures. Legendary.

But…

teach. pray. - Love is not lost in my classroom

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Mrs. Granger, I'm so thankful I had you as a teacher but I felt like you were a friend. You influenced my life a lot. Bless you.
On July 20, I received the above message on IG from a student I taught last year. He has kept in touch with me all summer via social media. I pray he never forgets how much love I have for all of my students. I pray he'll hear my voice in his middle school head when he's faced with challenging choices. 
Thank you so much for helping my little girl not only see her potential but you helped her reach her potential.
A few days ago, I received the above message in an email from a previous student's parent. What that parent doesn't know is her little girl helped me see and reach my potential as a teacher, and her little girl helped me be a better human. I remember talking with her daughter on the playground the last day of school. This sweet girl asked me if I was ever going to be a mom. I responded, "Maybe, one day. If God wants me to be a …

pray. - Blindsided

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After my dad died, contact with his family slowly diminished. For many years, the only contact I had with my dad's family were funerals and letters. Mom, my dad's mother-my grandmother, and I were pen pals for nearly fifteen years. Then, one day, our letters to each other ceased to come and go. But, over those fifteen years, we shared secrets and truths and bonded. Words on paper carried our love back and forth.

One day in my twenties, my grandmother called me. She called to inform me about my sister, Katie. I had not heard my grandmother's voice in quite some time, but I knew from the first sound she uttered this wasn't a fun, "how has life been" kind of phone call. Mom had called to inform me of Katie's passing. 


Katie and I had not seen each other since my nephew's passing. Yes, Katie had a son around the time my mom birthed my sister, Paige. Katie and I were, well are, the daughters of David. David was my mother's second husband. Mom is David…

pray: God is Internal

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Today, I spent some time reading through an old journal. I didn't realize I had this journal. And, as I was reading, I felt as though I was capturing fragments of my heart - of myself - that had been floating off in space. As I captured each floating fragment, I started making more sense to myself. It was like each fragment was a missing piece to the puzzle of who I am today.

February 8, 1999, yes, nearly 20 years ago, I started a journal entry like this:

Have you ever really sat down and asked yourself if there is really a God? I sit here and ask myself that every day. No matter how hard things get or what happens, I always get the same answer. There has to be a God if there are angels. And, I know there are angels because I have several of them watching after me every day.

I wrote that three months before my 15th birthday. At age 34, I respond to my fourteen-year-old self by saying, "Yes, there is a God, and God dwells within you."

Reading through old journals of mine, I r…

teach. pray. - Wanted: A Chance...

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The first week of summer has been pretty great. Living life at my own pace with no alarm clock or schedule is a pretty good gig. In the weeks leading up to my summer break, I set some goals for myself. They look something like this:

Help my husband build his business and get organized.Help with more projects around the house.Write more-attempt poetry again.Read more.Get to know my community better.Take an online communications course.Attempt at least one Toastmasters class.I've been busy getting a few of those rolling like helping Matt get organized and working in the yard to get things a little tidier and put together. Yesterday, I started a book a student recommended, and I'm awaiting a book I ordered by Sister Joan Chittister (it's about growing older gracefully...getting to my mid-30s has been slightly tough on me). I have plans to start the online course within the next two weeks, and here I am writing. Attempting the Toastmasters class is going to be the most difficul…

teach. - Going Undercover the Week Before Testing

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The week before testing can be daunting. Reviewing for state standardized testing can be BORING...FRUSTRATING...EXHAUSTING. However, my co-worker and I decided to change that.

Last Monday, students walked into a crime scene and became active detectives in Granger's Detective Group (DDG). The room was transformed and a "possible suspects" board brought it all together. As students walked in, they were handed a detective bag. The detective bag was a Ziploc bag containing a small magnifying glass, a pack of sticky notes, and a pair of silly glasses. I even had detective/mission impossible style music playing in the background. The kids were totally stoked!

I began class by welcoming the new detectives (of course I had my silly detective glasses on) and explained someone had snuck into our classroom over the weekend and completely trashed it, and they had to figure out who it was. I also explained that focused and hardworking detectives would earn a clue each day at the end of…