pray. - Inadequate

Inadequate courage Defeats my dreams of success Here I stand deflated
I feel so much more burning deep inside and begging to be known. This is not all I am. This is not my potential. I was born to be more - to make a bigger change - to be a catalyst for revolution.
But, the darkness slowly creeps and steals my light. For weeks, maybe even months, I've allowed the night to take control of my glow.
Constantly comparing myself to others.
"I'm not fit enough." "I'm not pretty enough." "I'm so plain and simple." "I'm not smart enough." "I don't work hard enough." "I don't sacrifice enough." "I'm not feminine enough." "I'm not motherly enough." "I'm not enough."
For a while now, I've continuously fed myself the line, "I'm not enough." And, maybe this comes with fear of new territory.
I'm working on my BCBA which is new to me. I've forced myself into a s… - Unlikely Acts of Love

Oh boy. It has been quite some time since I've had an opportunity to just sit and write. A busy schedule and daily stress are not conducive to the creative flow, and though, stress typically induces a lot of serious thoughts usually of rage, I have been too exhausted from it all to even rage. Lucky for you, all my time has been occupied by other things. But, today, right now, I'm slam in the middle of spring break and just really wanted to sit and get back into the groove of sharing my thoughts; I have a lot of thoughts, but tonight, I choose to stick with loving thoughts. Time off from stress tends to do that.

Let me start with a story about my husband.

Early last week, we were busy, had no groceries, and had no time to go grocery shopping. So, we ordered from one of our favorite spots, Mekong, which is a Vietnamese restaurant, and we love their pho. I also love their tofu summer rolls with peanut sauce, so I ordered those too. Matt called in our order and went to pick it up wh…

teach. pray. - Fractured Bridges: Part 1

Dear South Carolina Representatives,
We’d like to start by expressing our gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to read our thoughts and to consider our concerns as South Carolina educators, professionals, and residents. We would also like to start by admitting our shortcomings. We are classroom teachers not politicians, therefore, our understanding of the inner workings of legislation is limited. That being said, we can assume your understanding of the inner workings of an elementary and middle school classroom are also limited. The bridge connecting education legislation to the actual classroom is a fractured one and fractured bridges are less than effective. We write in hope that our concerns and daily experiences as educators will be the first step in repairing the fractured bridge.
What do you remember about a typical school day as a student? What is your vision, as a parent, of a typical school day for your child? Is your vision as a parent similar to that of your memories as a…

teach. pray. - We All Want a Wrinkle Free Heart

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day in an elementary school is FAR more hype than the day before Christmas break. As I entered Valentine’s Day, I knew I couldn’t compete, so I planned a special lesson about love and kindness.
Our reading lesson started with a read aloud (recommended by our awesome school librarian) of Be Kind by Pat Zietlow and Jen Hill. It’s a beautiful story about the impact actions and words can have-both positive and negative. The students really enjoyed this read aloud. They were able to make connections and felt emotionally invested in the story.
After the read aloud, I had students complete an activity my co-worker shared with me. Each student got a pretty pink or purple heart. They got crayons and markers and wrote their name all fancy in the center of the heart. Then, we did a positive comment scoot where students scooted from heart to heart writing a positive comment about each person. When they got back to their own heart, I gave them one silent mi…

teach. pray. - Humans First. Students Second.

It is no secret that I despise state standardized testing. I'm all for accountability, but I also believe there has to be a better way. Then, again, maybe I should just change my attitude. I don't know. Either way, let me tell you a story.

I teach two 90 minute blocks of fifth grade ELA (English Language Arts - in case you're wondering). Both of my classes are full of amazing kids. In my second block, there's a boy named Charles (that's an alias to protect the identity of the student). Charles started the year with less than great work ethic and effort. However, over the course of the past couple of months, I've noticed a drastic change. He's eager to learn, works harder than most of my students, and takes pride in his work. 

Charles performs well below grade level. In August when I assessed him, he was reading on a mid-first grade reading level. A week ago, I reassessed him. He is currently reading at a mid-third grade level. You do the math there. Incredibl…

pray. - Go Rake Some Leaves

Last Wednesday, I woke up and met a friend out at Paris Mountain State Park for a nice little hike slash downhill trail run. It was a beautiful morning and the view of the sun rising to the heavens over the waterfalls and mountain was breathtaking. For me, moments like that are more spiritual than a church sermon on a Sunday morning. I want to create more of those moments for myself in 2019.

Fast forward to a couple of hours after that glorious hike. Since I was already smelly and had the energy, I thought I'd try being a decent neighbor for once and rake some leaves in the front yard. I took off to the garage and grabbed the electric leaf blower and an old fashion rake. Once I plugged in the leaf blower, off I went on this journey. The driveway and walkway were cleared within minutes. So, I started blowing the front lawn, but it was such a gorgeous day I decided to get the rake and put in some manual labor.

Just as I was getting started, a black Ford Explorer pulled up and a lady r…

pray. teach. - Broken Grit

Life. What does one say about it? How does one describe it? Life. It's funny. It's heartbreaking. It's merry. It's maddening. It's challenging. When I think of life, I think of a ball of yarn. One afternoon, I left a ball of yarn on the arm of the sofa; it was in a neat bundle sitting peacefully in its place. When I returned home that afternoon, it had been tossed about, strewn all over the living room, knotted & tangled. I couldn't find the end from the beginning. I couldn't maneuver the maze of loops to unknot it. That describes my life...a majority of the time.

Here lately, uh since I don't know August, life has been one hell of a ride. I mean tangles that can't be untangled. Knots so tight that life will just have to move on with them there. Work. Graduate school. The world. Inner turmoil. Disappointment. Stress makes me a crazy person. My mind doesn't function properly under stress. My emotions don't regulate properly under stress. I…