It’s been quite a while since my last post, but I have a yearning to write – to share my story. We all have a story. Who we are is made up of what we believe and what we’ve experienced. Unearthing both invites others to know your story. So, this summer that’s one of the things I hope to accomplish – to share more of my story through this blog.
The next question is where to start. When I started this blog two years ago, I told you a little about my family. In those two years my daughter has married and had a little boy, Cayden, who is 15 months old, and my son also had a little boy, Stiles, who is only three weeks younger than Cayden. That makes me Memaw to three little ones. My Chloe girl will be five in July and will start kindergarten in the summer. She is smart and has a big imagination and personality.
My job is a big question mark in my life right now. I was a teacher for seventeen years and then I went back to school and got my Masters in Educational Administration in order to be an Assistant Principal. That was my dream. I was passionate. The year after I got my masters, I went to work as a Campus Testing Coordinator and Instructional Specialist. I’ve had that job for the past six years and have loved it. I try every year to get an AP job and have had many interviews and many call back interviews. For some reason, I can’t quite seem to “land” the job, but I was content where I was, so I didn’t worry about it. In April I was told that due to low enrollment numbers my job was going away. I’m being forced transferred back to the classroom to teach 7th and 8th grade English. The good news is I have a job. The scary news is that I haven’t taught for six years, but I am trusting that God has a plan and that I will be wherever he wants me to be.
God’s plan for my life is really what is driving me to blog. I’ve been reading Jennie Allen’s Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul. It’s a hard thing to say that you will give God anything, but I am trying to pray that. I say try because it is so hard to give up control. I see glimpses of God’s handiwork in my life and I know this is what He wants from me – to give Him my all and sit back and see what He has in store. That is really what I plan to write more about. Tomorrow, I plan to share about my experience with IF. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what that is if you don’t already know :-).
I’ll leave you with this today from 1 Peter 1:13
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
Sunday will be 15 years since 9/11. This morning at the public middle school where I work, we were blessed to witness and cheer for one of our parents running with a US flag. He was a New Jersey firefighter in 2001, and began running 13 miles with a huge US flag every year thereafter to honor all those killed in the tragedy and to honor all first responders. It was a moving sight to see all the students waving small flags and cheering “USA, USA!” as he ran through our parking lot. I found myself in tears as I remembered that terrible day, and thankful that people like this gentleman are still honoring those affected by the tragedy. It occurred to me as I stood there with tears misting my eyes that the students were laughing and cheering and having a big time. It has been fifteen years, most of these kids weren’t even born yet when 9/11 happened. It is our job as adults to make sure and teach the young to honor those affected and remember; just as our parents and teachers taught us about tragedies of the past…like Pearl Harbor and D-day. I want the children and youth of today to remember not only the tragedies that occurred that day, but also how America came together immediately following. Let’s not forget how Congress came together, both Republicans and Democrats and sang God Bless America on Capitol Hill. Let’s not forget how churches were full not only the night of 9/11/2001 but also for quite some time after. Let’s not forget how America came together to help those affected. Let us not forget!
Yesterday was Father’s Day and I began thinking about my Daddy and the influence he’s had on my life. Kenneth English was born in Carthage, Texas on October 11, 1934 which makes him 80 years old. He was one of ten children born to poor farmers who worked land they didn’t own. With only a third grade education, he joined the Army when he was 15 years old and later served a term in the Marines, too. At some point, he got his GED. When my mom met him, he was a fireman and I was not even two years old. (My biological father had been a police officer killed in the line of duty when I was only six months old, but that is story for another day.)
They married March 1, 1963. I was two years old. He officially adopted me and gave me his last name, English. My sister came along when I was seven. When I was around 8, he began taking college courses while working full time as a police officer. When he received his Bachelor’s degree, he began teaching Police Science at a community college. Always a hard worker, in the summers he would take on a second job. One summer he worked at Chief Auto Parts and for several summers he mowed the lawn at the State School.
He instilled in us a love for education, the value of hard work, and the importance of honesty and integrity. He was a hard man to live with. The things he’d seen as a police officer made him worry about everything. As a teenager if I wanted to go out with a group after church, he would ask a million questions and question my motives. Often we would get into arguments as I would get mad at his questions, feeling he didn’t trust me – not understanding the things he’d witnessed that made him fear for my safety. It wasn’t until I was much older with kids of my own that I began to understand a little of why he is the way he is.
His students at the college loved him. They said he was witty, funny and caring. Looking back it’s sad that at home we really didn’t see that side of him too much. I really believe he felt he was protecting us. We did and still do know that he loves us and wants the best for us.
As a young adult I made some wrong choices and found myself at age 33 divorced with two young children and no degree. I believe it is due to my Daddy’s influence that helped me make my decision to return to school and get my teaching degree. He also kept pushing me to go back to school and get my Master’s degree in Education Administration which I now have.
We have the best relationship that we’ve ever had now. And my sister and I both give credit to him for our higher education. He pulled himself up from a poor family with only a third grade education and retired as a respected college instructor. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you!
I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. Chapter five deals with how powerful Story can be for learners.Pink talks about how “Stories are easier to remember – because in many ways, stories are how we remember (Pink 223).” I started thinking about how true that really is and not just for students. Just think of all the commercials that use Story to heighten an emotional response. Here are a just a few that I really liked: Chipotle “Back to the Start”, Jeep Renegade, and Zillow. The Zillow one almost made me cry. The advertising market has definitely embraced the idea of the power of the story.
I remember in college studying Joseph Campbell’s work on “the hero’s journey” and archetypes. His book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, written in 1949 fits well with this discussion. His work addresses how all stories from all people have similar threads in them and ties humankind together. Hmmm….back in 1949…and today’s advertisers think they’ve discovered something…In actuality, the power of the story began way before even 1949.
Jesus Christ used parables to connect to the people he was addressing. Those stories still resonate with us today. Time after time Jesus used powerful parables and metaphors to share his story of love and grace.
As educators, I believe the power of the story has great significance for us. As we design engaging lessons for students, we should keep in mind the power of the story. Would love to see some comments on ways to do this! Here are a few I have thought of:
Tell the background story of how something was made or came about.
Tell a personal story of how whatever you are teaching has affected you.
Have students write stories to explain whatever you are teaching.
In English classes have students write their own stories.
As an educator, I look forward to summer! For a few months I’ll be able to play the role of “stay-at-home-Memaw” to my almost three year old granddaughter, Chloe. We have a unique situation…we keep her every week-end and all holidays. I’ll have her for most of the summer. She has a big personality…which can be both good and bad. This first week with her has been fun. Now, if I can just convince her to poop in the potty, it will be perfect. She is completely potty-trained for #1, but she refuses to go #2 in the potty…I plan on doing some research…I’m open to suggestions…please :-)!
She really likes routine…and goes bonkers when her routine is not followed. For example, at bedtime, she takes a bath (as long as possible), then we go upstairs to her room. Every night she says, “I have to play for a little bit, Memaw”. Then, she sits at her little toy vanity and plays with the same things every night. She ends with her toy wand turning me into all kinds of animals of which I am obliged to mimic their sound. Next on the routine is to read a book. She will choose one book and ask me to read it night after night until I can convince her to move to a new book. Next, I sing Jesus loves me to her and then I pray for her. At this point every night she has to turn off the light and I lay her down and say one last “God Bless…” prayer. This is where we list everyone we know to “God Bless”. Finally, as I tiptoe out, she always says, “See you in a little bit, Memaw”. I’m not sure where she got that, but it sure is cute.
About a month ago, I wasn’t feeling well and was trying to take a nap while she watched cartoons. She began going through the routine starting with singing Jesus Loves Me and then praying. She ended with telling me she would see me in a little bit.
So the same to all of you – See you in a little bit!
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
This is my first attempt at a blog. My plan is to give you a little glimpse into my world. Topics may include: my family, my faith, education, books, recipes, etc.
Since this is the first one, let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 50+ (ugh that hurts to type) wife to a wonderful husband. Between the two of us, we have four children and one grandchild, my sweet Chloe. Chloe will definitely be the topic of many blogs. We have her quite a bit especially since it’s summer now. She’ll be staying with us most of the time as my son and his wife have a pool business and I have the next few months off. I am an Instructional Specialist at a middle school in Texas. Which leads me to another planned topic – education. I am a voracious reader and try to stay on top of the latest research in education. I am currently reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink and joining a Monday night Twitter Chat about the book. I’m learning “why right-brainers will rule the future.” Interesting stuff…I’ll share another time.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I sing in my church choir and teach middle school Sunday School. I am far from perfect, but I hope that my love for Christ and others shows in my life and my blog.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
All for now – until next time – keep loving each other!