Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trudging

My marathon training is keeping me running in circles. In about a month, we'll embark on a journey to trek 26.2 miles along a coastal highway.

And every year, I swear I won't sign up for another race the following year, only to find my heart betraying me by secretly planning the next grand footrace. Yet, it needs to be clarified that I'm not racing anyone at all! For me, the adventure of simply covering a large amount of miles is the point entirely. At one point, I had time goals, but now I realise that running a race is in and of itself the point. Just. . . running.

There have been plenty of times in life that I've wanted to step off of the course that has been set before me, but I have to keep plodding along. I might not be the fastest, the best, or the most graceful, but I'll move forward nonetheless. There's pain, plenty of setbacks, and inevitable disappointments.

Cliche? Of course. Overused? Yes. Still applicable? Well. . . for me? Yes. So I run, and I trudge, but I do move forward (or at least in circles).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stepping out in Greek Underwear

It's dangerous to teach with an antihistamine hangover.

Ever since I began teaching, I've dreaded the day that I forget "who" or "where" I am and say something REALLY inappropriate. I've felt the danger escalate this year as I've become more and more comfortable in my role. Sometimes I notice myself letting down my guard. This is dangerous, indeed!

And really, when discussing Greek mythology, the mind really goes into uncharted territory. So when I started talking about "Greek Underwear" (instead of the Greek underworld) in class the other day, I shouldn't have been surprised.

Thankfully, the debacle provided me with a humorous anecdote to begin a speech that I was giving that evening. What wasn't so humorous, however, is that my microphone didn't work, so I was reduced to yelling and comparing my distinguished audience to a "group of ninth graders that I have to yell at anyway."

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I cried a little bit that night.

Moral: "Don't speak publicly with an antihistamine hangover." Otherwise, you might feel like you stepped outside in your "Greek Underwear."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crazy Ladies and Pears

How would Monica blog?

"Stiney stole pears from the neighbors. He's doing well with his Rhetoric and Classical Languages, but I'm worried about him. All I can do is hit my knees, and earnestly cry out to my Father God for his repentance."

I've never been a big fan of Christian "parenting books." Sure, I have my personal favorites, but somehow Christian "How-To" books really tend to irritate me. Sometimes I think that women of the past had the better idea. They weren't looking ANYWHERE BUT UP for their information. This crazy little thing called the Internet doesn't help matters. We're constantly trying to diagnose, figure it all out, and get a "plan."

Well, I have a plan, alright. As we enter the teen years with a crazy vengeance at the Fisherstines, beware. If you see me walking around Wal-Mart mumbling to myself, well, I'm actually holding a never-ending dialogue with the ONLY one who has the PERFECT answers.

And, again, please think better of me than my daughter does. Oftentimes, she hears me cry, "OH, GOD!!!" I'm immediately chastised for swearing, all the while explaining to her that unlike the flippant schoolgirls of the Disney Channel, I'm actually . . . PRAYING!!! IMAGINE THAT!

So, I'm going to pray like Monica, even if it makes me appear like the "Crazy Lady Down the Street, or a Disney Debutant"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kleenex in My Back Pocket

The first full week of school ended the same day that my eldest daughter celebrated her very own "tween" birthday. Of all the presents she received, I think her favorite was a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino. She drank it in "chug, chug, chug!" fashion, at which point it started squirting out of her nose. Very enjoyable to watch, but simultaneously painful for everyone present.

I've been thinking a lot about the next five or six years (I've also been thinking a lot about how alot is not a word, but a lot of people think it is...but I digress). Right now, I have two Jr. High children, and I would be telling a lie if I didn't admit that DRAMA is an overwhelming constant at our house these days.

But like any great stage, it's the DRAMA that keeps it interesting. Sure, we have our "Jerry Springer Moments," but there is also a lot of "Jerry Lewis Laughter," and there is certainly no lack of love. I know that the "teen" years are precarious, but I also know one thing for certain.

I know that my coffee-snorting ballerina is just the kind of screwball actress that makes me smile. And the best part? I've got the best seat in the house, and a box of kleenex in my back pocket. Bring on the show.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"It Must Be Hard Being Married to a Nerd"

I overheard a student make this remark after I told the following story (I have super-sonic hearing; it's my superpower.)--

My husband and I are training for a fall California marathon. It's going to be lovely. Beautiful beaches, cool morning air, and a bit of time away as a couple. With a race, there is of course training, and many hours of running and talking.

During a particularly difficult run, we were silent and steadfast. We stopped to walk for a minute or two, and I asked my gentle, sweet husband, "What do you think about when you run?"

With a glare in his eye and a fist violently shaking in my direction, he vented, "I was thinking about that teenager that is racing throughout the neighborhood. He's going to hit someone!!! If he comes by here again, I'm going to stop the vehicle and explain to him what's going to happen if he keeps driving like that!"

After an awkward silence, I replied, "That's funny, because I was thinking about introductory participial phrases."

It must be hard being married to a nerd.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Very Own Jackson Pollack

Yesterday. When my eldest son graduates from high-school, I will look back upon yesterday. I was wondering what it would be like to be his teacher.

Well, now I know.

We're together for two classes: Literature (from the fall of Rome to the Reformation), and Logic. He's a reader. He likes abstract ideas. He enjoys a good discussion. And... well... apparently... he has no organizational skills, he wiggles, he doesn't listen, and he disconnects from the "general flow" of the class. I've never been so befuddled by a student in my life. Confusion reigneth.

Yesterday. Facebook privileges were banned. The cell phone was removed. The television was off. His bedtime came at the same hour as his baby brother. There were fingers in his face, lectures in his ear, and pleading glances cast his direction. Color me crazy.

Today. Today was different. The Logic teacher (me) asked the students to give the Latin word for the term "girl." The teenage boy had the answer, "puella" (obviously). I asked the students to give an alternative meaning to the term "belief." They all knew that "belief" means "accepting something as true," but could't quite take the next step. He raised his hand. "Well, belief originally meant 'to put faith or trust in.' " Ummm....yes. That is true (but how did he know that?). I'm quite confident that we can thank our resident PhD Bible teacher for that.

Tonight. Tonight I sleep better knowing that he's going to be fine. He may be a wiggly, crazy mess, but he's my personal Jackson Pollack. (And I love abstract art.)

Oh, and by the way, here's the history of the word "Belief"from the online etymology dictionary:

...[B]elief used to mean "trust in God," while faith meant "loyalty to a person based on promise or duty" (a sense preserved in keep one's faith, in good (or bad) faith and in common usage of faithful, faithless, which contain no notion of divinity). But faith, as cognate of L. fides, took on the religious sense beginning in 14c. translations, and belief had by 16c. become limited to "mental acceptance of something as true," from the religious use in the sense of "things held to be true as a matter of religious doctrine" (c.1225). "

I guess it's time I quit believing (accepting as true) that my abstract thinking, creative out-of-the-box kid is a befuddling mess, and start believing (trusting ) in the beauty of his unique character. Move over Mr. Pollack.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eeyore or Theoden?


It's that time of year. I'll be spending a lot of time over the next few months watching the red table and all of the young minds and hearts who gather here to sup at the table of knowledge.


Frankly, that intimidates me. In the past, I've gone forward with confidence, sure that my enthusiasm and passion would be contagious. But that's just it. I fear my poor students might be immune to Mrs. Fisherstine.


Socrates says that being a teacher is a bit like being a midwife. Teachers are simply there to gently draw forth the knowledge that is waiting to be born in the student. Ah, Socrates. Nice plan, but where do you believe they got the knowledge in the first place? (Don't answer that. I know what you think and it is positively silly, but I like you anyway.)


***Sigh*** I think I sound a bit like Eeyore. What do melancholy Eeyoresque types do? Well, they plan. I might be able to cook something up that will spark a hearty appetite for learning. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.)


Logic, Ancient Literature, American Literature, British Literature, and the Moderns....breathe... Progymnasmata, Thesis Papers, Poetry, Grammar, Worldview, etc...etc...etc....


It's a good thing that I'm very comfortable with the war analogies. Perhaps it's time for me to read the Iliad once again. (Nah, teaching feels a bit more like Middle Earth.) Teaching is not like serving dinner, midwifery, or "catching" a disease. To me, it's about doing battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation. I'll answer that call. Today, I feel a bit like Theoden of Rohan running into battle: "TO DEATH!!!!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thrifty

In these hard economic times, it's imperative that we all pull together. We should sit on our front porches and enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as a glasses of fresh squeezed lemonade. We should play frizbee golf (better known as frolf), and board games (known as bored games to me--well--except for the farming game). We should pick home-grown flowers (weeds) and we should purchase gently used clothing (thrift-store finds).

Pish-posh. I'll have store bought lemonade and a good book, thank you. But girlfriend I was raised on thrift-store shopping. The beauty is that my girls have caught the bug. Let me tell you that I bought 60 items today for $125.00. The only time that I "check the label" is at a thrift store. And moreover, I only shop on HALF PRICE day, because really why would you buy used clothes for the same price as 75% off new clothes? Senseless.

So I made a spreadsheet when I got home, and we discovered that if they had been brand-spankey new (oh. some of it is), our haul would have eaten a minimum of $1,200 (conservative estimate) of our hard-earned cold hard yummy cash. We're loaded with Abercrombie, Ann Taylor, Old Navy, Gap, Harolds, Dockers, Mudd, Arrow, Bugle Boy, Hollisters, Arrow, Dickies, Charlotte Russe, Talbots, Tommy Hilfiger, and the basic Class Club, George, and Arizona brands ( I probably spelled something wrong there because in regular shopping life, I look at the price not the brand name).

I worked as a social worker for about seven years. A lot of people might not know this, but when my clients needed help paying their utility bills, we often went to the Salvation Army to get assistance. The $$ earned at many thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army is used to provide employment as well as help for community members. Win-Win if you ask me.

I guess I'm just man enough to brave it (or that might be the false bravado in me....maybe I'm just stupid enough). We've been doing laundry all night, and we're set for the school year. Don't get me wrong. We shop at regular stores, too. But we're fans of thrifting. I guess it makes me feel...I don't know...Thrifty.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Does She Come Up with this Stuff?


What do you get when you cut an apple directly down the center, split the stem, and cut out two triangles?

Apparently, a very creative butterfly.


How does she come up with this stuff? As an ex-caterer who used to read "garnishing" books in my free time, I've never seen this done. Maybe I'm out of the loop.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

What a Week it Was!

It was my second time to Logos, but I'm afraid I might be addicted and I'll need my "Logos Fix" sometime in the future. Listening to the speakers almost brought me to tears a few times (I'm afraid that's not a joke). It might have been the fact that we stayed up until 4am the first night we were there. There's nothing like physically tired emotion combined with passion to fill my eyes!

(part of my) Commonplace Collection:

"Many Christians spend a lot of time worrying, sinning on their knees." - Wilson

"You can't always 'do the math' to understand how the Holy Spirit moves." -Wilson

"Godliness is not a way of figuring out how to lie to yourself." -Wilson

"To determine your character in a story, you need a 'plum' line to determine if you are a protagonist or an antagonist. That 'line,' or 'lens' is scripture."- Whitling

"Rise of technology is often equated with rise in culture. The opposite seems to be true." -Garfield.

"Why should we act like the world is a game and they have the only ball?"- Garfield

"Just because you might not be using negative words, it doesn't mean you're using positive words."- Wilson

"The power of the tongue is enormous. We assume the power of the tongue is ALWAYS destructive. Words are powerful CONSTRUCTIVELY!"- Wilson

"Just because it is true doesn't make it necessary. Think of 'due season'."- Wilson

Finally, I love this thought so much, I think I'll put it on my wall this year:

"Beware of verbal scribbling."- Wilson

(And ironically, I put "word scribbling on first!" LOL! Looks like I have some learnin' to do!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Repressed 7th Grade Social Anxiety

Wouldn't it be grand if I had something witty and wonderful to write?

Alas, it is summertime, and I find myself in my usual bloggy rut. I have a kid with a broken ankle, a teenage son gone for a month working on the family ranch like a miniature man, and two daughters who are constantly in search of entertainment.

I've read, but not as much as I would have liked. Next week, I head to Logos for training. It will be the second time I've been, and I am very much looking forward to being a student instead of a teacher. However, and oddly, I find being in FRONT of the classroom much easier than being a part of the class. I always feel nervous as a student! (What if the teacher calls on me and I don't know what to say? What if I need to go to the bathroom? What if my stomach growls?) It feels like Jr. High all over again.

Oh, but all the repressed 7th Grade social anxiety in the world is worth it. (But I WILL be looking for a seat on the back row, and/or closest to the nearest exit.)

And getting away from the oppressive Oklahoma heat? Please. Just say when, and I'm there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"All The World's A Stage..."



Thanks, Jaime. I think this is hilarious. It reminds me of Shakespeare's words (was it in "As You Like It"?) "All the world's a stage, and the men and women are merely players" (or something like that).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Random Summer Thoughts:

Most Importantly: I'm rather thankful that HE intercedes for me. He's "got my back." Fairly (understatement) thankful for that. I wonder what He says to the Father?

Less Importantly: I get rather annoyed with judgemental Christians. They get annoyed too often. Believe me, the irony of this is not lost with me. (See "Most Importantly" above.)

Zero Importance Whatsoever: Do you think it's possible that "Please" is the once singular version of "Plea" that has morphed into a new "appropriate" plural word? Because I'm beginning to think I shouldn't teach my kids to "plea" for what they want. Instead, maybe they should be more "Austenian" in their approach. Eg: "It would delight me greatly if....," or "I would be most grateful if...."

Addendum: Lovin' Kanakuk and "I'm Third."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Plundering English Villages

I have come to the poignant realization that I do not like an empty house. I'm not sure that I ever will enjoy solitude the way I should. My idea of solitude is sitting on a beach surrounded by strangers. This gives me quiet time, but it also gives me a false sense of security. EVERYONE loves a good fictitious sense of safety. All four of my children are gone, so I have been restaurant hopping in order to read a book and write a few lines. What does this mean for my golden years? I may indeed become a Golden Girl. Have my children EVER all been away from home for more than two hours at the same time? Indeed, they have not.


This, my friends, is history in the making. I feel like I should be crying or having a bunch of personal epiphanies, but instead, I'm just sort of in a state of shock. Nevertheless, I keep looking at that to-do-list and checking things off one at a time.


I know no one really cares, but in case there is just ONE SOUL that is listening, let me say that RUSSIAN LITERATURE is just simply amazing. I don't know. The psychology of it all just resonates with me. Anna Karenina makes so much sense. It's so... "real."


We're running again. Mr. Clyde, the Viking, is a very big strong man, and I love to watch him dominate the course. I imagine that centuries ago, his ancestors were plundering English villages carrying the goods upon their backs, running like crazy to the ships.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer's Evil Dictator

SO excited for summer.

My to-do-list is so unrealistic, it just might make me laugh. But...not in a slap-stick "Three-Stooges" kind of a way; but rather, I'll laugh in a maniacal "Evil Dictator" kind of a way. There is SO MUCH TIME!! MOOAAHHAA HAA HAA HA.

My pathetic unproductive life has been beating me over the head with a rubber bat, and then, "POP!" the bat explodes in the heat of the warm summer sun.

The Books! The Writing! The Learning! The Teaching! The Applications! The Cleaning! The Scrapbooking! The Playing! The Studying! The Running! The Sleeping! The Cooking! The Gardening!

I think I can put off my mid-life crisis for at least a few more months. There is time to be looney AND productive in a lazy summer day. Summer months mean my life can change in crazy ways, thus satiating my need for constant change.

-NightFat

Monday, May 18, 2009

Techno Confessions

Just to let you know: If you take too many "What kind of bubble gum am I?" tests on Facebook, I'm going to hide you from my feed. Our friendship will shrink a little bit, because I won't be able to give you a thumbs up when you say something like: Krenshaw is happy because his son just won the Nobel Peace Prize.

I'll give you about ten quizzes per month. After that, well, we both know how it's going to end between us.

Oh, and FYI, I'm Green Apple because I'm sour, sweet, and green with envy and naivete. Chew on that. :0)

Techno Confession: I have no idea what Twitter is. Plea: Please don't tell me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Theses Rhymes With...

"Ma! Pull yerself up right cheer next-uh me, and listen to these here book learnin' kids doin' their fancy talkin'."

That's right. It's "THE WEEK." The week that sprinkles salt on top of their high school savory pie. It's the nutmeg on the latte, the cheese on the grits, the lemon on the salmon. Ladies and gentlemen...it's the proverbial "cherry on top."

And even though technically, the plural form of "Thesis" is "Theses," I refuse to use the word. I've explained this to my class. Why? Because giving your senior Thesis at ACS should NEVER bring to mind connotations of...well...you know.

There is nothing...NOTHING more exciting to me than to watch a high school senior present, by memory, a 12-14 minute speech on a controversial topic, and then field questions from a panel of intimidating characters (plus their kind hearted and oh-so tender English teacher).

One big thing that impresses me is that these kids know that knowledge and spiritual development are NOT antithetical.

These kids are better speakers than 97% of the adults I know! Then, after their awe-inspiring speech, they manage not to cry or fold under the heckling. I'm telling you--C-Span, Fox News, CNN, TBN, MTV, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CMT, TNT, TLC, and whatever C you want to be, you can just get back. You outa' wack, Jack.

They're ready for college. Spread your wings, little birdies. You make me smile.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Soma Holiday?

No thank you.

I would rather feel the pain that comes with these precious things: TOO, TO, TWO, THERE, THEIR, ITS, IT'S, "S" AND " 'S ".

I also wouldn't be able to tell my students that prepositions are terrible things to end a sentence with. (Yes, I noticed.)

I wouldn't be bothered by the misuse (or lack of use) of this: " ;".

Would I cry when I watch "David at the Dentist?" I think not.

The Seniors are graduating. And I'm crying AGAIN...just like in 2008. I just adore them. The JR/SR Banquet was May 1st and Mrs. Fisher spoke to the students...MISTY-EYED.

I'm teaching Oliver Twist, Confessions, Brave New World, and Ivanhoe. A few of my students and a couple of adults want to read Austen over the summer. Book 1 is Mansfield Park which will be discussed with Victorian Flair June 18 @ the Fisherstines. If you're reading this, you're invited. Wait...I think I found my Soma.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Late Nights and Cuss Words

Can someone please tell me why the only time my teenage boy wants to have a conversation is at 11pm? He sure is early morning sunshine at this hour! There is a lot of bribery: "Can I get you a drink?" There is a lot of reaching out: "Would you like to read my paper? Look at the section about the Gladiators." Concerns are expressed: "I don't think our play about Julius Caesar is going to be long enough." Advice is given: "You don't need to worry about it. Isn't it the same as last time? Why would you expect anything different?"

Earlier, six year old boy confessed: "I just hate it when I can't get a cuss word out of my head." I asked him what cuss word he had on his mind. (I was hoping it was "chaos," the word he thinks sounds like and in fact seems to be a cuss word.) Nope. He spelled it for me. The good news is...he can spell. The bad news? He can spell cuss words.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Essay prompt:

What IS the importance of being earnest?

I'm thinking of participating in this assignment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vicarious Living

I've abandoned "Lit Happy." I hope to have time to blog about all of my favorite books this summer. Maybe I will...Maybe I won't. Who cares?

As of today, I'm a little obsessed with "The Idiot," which I finally got around to starting this last weekend. I'm a little worried it's going to cost me a sleepless night or two in the near future. I'm not a big fan of taking months and months to read a book. I'm more of a freakishly obsessive reader. I'm supposed to be re-reading Beowulf this week, but since I've read it several times already, I think sparknotes will do the trick. I'm adding new and different books to "Mrs. Fisher's Book List 2009." Can't help it. I read one, I want to read a different one... this reading business has a life of its own.

Can I also tell the world that my seniors twisted my arm into completing 20 pieces of literature this year? And with all of that, we're slated to be finished two weeks early. I'm pretty sure we'll just watch movies and talk about old times and future times during our last week. :o)

The freshman are acting out "The Importance of Being Earnest," and laughing their tails off. Denise, your boy is just plum funny. I keep forgetting to tell you that. I crack up every day. I caught the sophomores talking about how cool it was that Camilla (in the Aeneid) was saved from certain death by her father by being strapped to a spear and thrown across the river as a baby. Apparently, they're secretly enjoying the book.

So I haven't been blogging, because...I mean really...who out there cares about this fantasy land of literature where I live? Let's call it like it is: I'm vicariously living via lit. There. Now all of you non-readers can "feel sorry" for me. You're LIVING LIFE. I'm just "delusional."

I'm turning into one of THOSE people. I need to trow some mothballs into my closet so I'll smell exactly like I feel.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Introducing....



A beautiful little girl started her own blog.

Add her to your Google Reader!






Saturday, March 21, 2009

Falling off and Getting Back on the Train

Let's see...

Spring Break 2009.

I finished three books that I've been working on for some time:
the God who is there, by Francis Schaeffer
The Pearl, by Steinbeck
The Knowledge of the Holy, by Tozer

the God who is there boggled my mind like I expected. Actually, I would say it is life-changing. It's a book about finding common-ground, and respecting our fellow man because EVERYONE is made in the image of God; therefore, they are lovely.

The Pearl--people say this book depresses them. I didn't shed a tear.

The Knowledge of the Holy is unfathomably quotable. It's a book about the attributes of God. Tozer's big message seems to be that God doesn't have to account for Himself, but when we seek to understand Him...our beliefs will undoubtedly change us.

I painted a room with "One Coat" paint. I put on five coats. It still isn't sufficient. I had a "crazy lady" showdown with the Wal-Mart paint dude discussing the fact that since the CAN was different than the last time I purchased the paint (which covered horrifically ugly wallpaper in ONE coat), perhaps this paint WAS DIFFERENT. Don't go to Wal-Mart with an agenda in paint clothes, zero makeup, and a bad attitude. This type of psychotic array will undoubtedly prove fruitless. (I should have read Schaeffer's book before I pained that room.) Put that in your back pocket.

I went on a diet. It lasted three days and I enjoyed thinking about food the ENTIRE time. (I wonder if other people think about food that much? WOW. It was painful.) Today, I decided to get out and start exercising. I keep trying to get that train rolling. If I plan on running (or "completing") a marathon this fall, it's time to shed those ten pounds I'm lugging around and get back on the training train. (I prefer that to the "no carb" train).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So...Like..WHA?...Duh...Because....Uuuh-Huh

Today in my Rhetoric class, I motioned for each member of my class to draw a slip of paper from my basket. On each paper, I had written a single word or utterance. Words like, "oopsie-daisy," "because," and "ummm...." Lastly, I drew my word from the basket. It was: "DUH..." Wow. Class, can you say "Providential Irony?"

So I explained to the kids that they could ONLY say THEIR word the entire class period. (I explained it by saying "DUH.") Luckily, they were smart enough to get my point.

This was, of course, in reaction to a conversation the previous day (the best teaching opportunities). In Rhetoric, we are constantly discussing the subtle nuances, connotations, tones, and implications of words. One kid was tired of it, and sarcastically implied that we should simplify language. Not having read 1984, and unfamiliar with Newspeak, he was unable to grasp the implications of his desire. I HOPE I convinced him otherwise after today.

On the other hand, everyone seemed to have a good time working on their "figures of speech" exercise uttering their little words.

Even without the full English vocabulary at my disposal, I was able to say "BE QUIET" saying "DUH." I was able to answer questions with "DUH," and I was able to even offer some encouragement.

Sometimes, I find just the right words to express how I am feeling. On other days, like today, I just want to say "duh" and hope someone is there to whom I can express myself. It doesn't need to be eloquent; it simply needs to be expressed. I hope we are listening to the not-so-eloquent communication directed our way.

I'll take a real-life friend to whom I can say "duh" and know she is there over a friend who needs my rhetorical skills any day. (Wait...maybe that kid was right...."duh.")

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Carpe Diem

It's 11:26pm, and I should be writing a Rhetoric quarter exam. There are a stack of essays begging for my attention. Animal Farm and Sherlock Holmes tests peer at me from inside the "to grade" folder.

Instead, I sit on my laptop searching for the catharsis found in writing. I'm wondering if I can take a sick day tomorrow for "mental health" purposes. My husband sits with me tonight (he's on his laptop purchasing cars; I'm on mine thinking about books), and he tells me that it would not be appropriate to drop out of life right now.

My Little Mr. Man is reading--finally reading, and actually reading quite well. I credit his teacher for that. She has believed in him. She has challenged him. She has pushed him.

I think about Pretty. She has grown SO much as a student this year. In her spare time, she likes to diagram sentences, work on her division facts, practice cursive writing, and highlight her Bible. I thank her teacher for that. This teacher has been diligent, inspiring, and has kept the standard high.

Big Sis, with the help of friends, has become quite a debater this year. The last debate tournament gave her medals in Cross-Examination, Standard Oratory, Humorous Duet, and Dramatic Duet. I wonder if she could have achieved those things without a teacher to inspire her? A team of teachers have worked alongside her to make this a reality.

Big Bub-- my little (big) man-- His grammar is the second highest in the class, he -amazingly- writes paragraphs with topic sentences, a coherent middle, and a conclusion. Big Bub tells me things about Messianic OT scripture that I barely understand. His grasp of history amazes me. I thank his teachers for that. They have inspired him.

I think about tomorrow. I wonder if I'm making a difference, and then I realize the difference that teachers have made in the lives of my children. I think I'll get up and face the day after all. I think I'll stand on a table tomorrow and yell, "Carpe Diem!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Secondhand Smoke

I've been thinking about starting a brutally honest private blog. You know, the kind of blog that operates more like a fancy email. I'll let you know if I go unfiltered. For now, you're just breathing in second-hand smoke.

But not tonight. Tonight I took a sleeping pill. If you call me right now I will probably tell you everything that I don't want you to know. If I go unfiltered right now, I might set something on fire.

Augustine talks about whispering his secrets into God's ear. Interestingly, however, he also talks about getting his ear close to God's mouth. Presumably, this is to hear what God has to say JUST to him.

I wonder if I'M being quiet enough to hear his whisper?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Viking Plunders Aldi

Every Sunday, my Viking Warrior goes grocery shopping for me. He makes me give him a list. After I handed him the following, I laughed until I cried.
  1. Milk
  2. Grated Cheese
  3. Gravy Mix
  4. Brownie Mix
  5. Corn Kernels

That's pretty much the essentials, right? I'm so terrible at being a housewife. I would ask the world to pray for me, but I think my family needs prayer more than I do.

Luckily, he came home with extra things such as half-price yummy smelly candles, soap and not one but EIGHT packs of gravy. AAAHH!! THE PLUNDER!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Confess; I Feel I'm Living in a Dystopia

I'm getting ready to re-read the Confessions of St. Augustine with my Senior Literature class. I've blogged about this extraordinary work before, but I must say again how critical and life changing Augustine's words are. There are many scholarly reasons to read Confessions, but the reason I love it, is that it pulls at my heart. Augustine is candid, vulnerable, and equally insightful. His salvation was a poignant process.

I often feel the urge to post my own "Confessions" on my blog. Interestingly, however, Augustine's confessions were more about his confession of faith in a Holy God and less about himself. I must confess, that there are times when my heart is so heavy and burdened, I ache to confess and explore my frustrations online for the world to see.

However, I think there is an element of depth that is added to Augustine's confessions because they were private, not written for the world. His confessions were written to God alone. They were later published, and for this I am thankful. Watching his struggles-this great man of God- gives me hope for my own life.

In addition to works like Augustine's Confessions, I'm also rather obsessed with dystopian literature. I haven't read as much as I would like to, but I'm always looking for more. I wonder what prophesies could come to fruition as a result of the disconnected and impersonal relationships we are developing online? What happens when a tool becomes a replacement for a relationship? I must confess, it leaves me lonely. (There is a book waiting to be written.)

Reading Confessions reminds me of the importance of intimacy. Intimacy first with my God and Savior, and next with my friends and family. I know of no other writer who has moved my heart like Augustine. It's well worth the read.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Keep Smiling Casserole

Start with a healthy dose of insomnia. Fold in a a midweek cousin sleepover. Mix that up with a heavy dose of Shakespeare and an unexpected dash of clean house OCD. Gently stir in one vomit covered third grade child. Let the mixture rest while laying on the couch eating carbs and gaining weight. Purchase new fat pants. Next, bake with a dash of overnight debate tournament. Just before the casserole comes out of the oven, add a thirteen year old with a fever and a sore throat. Sprinkle with overnight house guests (leave broccoli out of the mix-- broccoli is resting at gma and gpa house). Put the casserole in the oven on Sunday while you lay around feeling nauseated. Serve with a side of broken leg still in a cast and an eleven year old with toenail "surgery." For dessert, care for the puke kid, the toenail kid, the cast kid, and the fever kid. Garnish with a spunky attitude. ENJOY!!!

***This just in!!!*** Since my post, cast kid = cast/projectile vomit boy! Keep SMILING! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot! I'm a robot.....robot...robot...r...r....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

B= A++


It only took my nephew B the Rock a few hours to find the best reading spot in my house.


Broccoli also found our favorite family reader.


Little Mr. McMan knew immediately that the Brockinator would be a great storyteller. Brocktastic read "Sister for Sale," and then added a moral morsel. "That's not about your sister."


B-coli is setting a great example for the kids already by keeping his room squeeky-deeky clean, and even does dishes without being asked. Big Sis has him pegged to be her G-Tar teacher.


Having the Brockinator stay at our house for a while is going to B Rockin.

Friday, January 30, 2009

An Example, but of WHAT??

I'm beginning to fear that my worst nightmare is coming true.

It's the nightmare where your kid doesn't want to do what you do, so they do the opposite of what you are doing. (I know I just made an incredibly profound statement there. Try not to be intimidated by the brilliance contained therein.) If you've seen Spanglish, you know what I'm talking about.

I think I'm going to need to quit reading the classics in my spare time and start laying around on the couch reading Danielle Steele while munching on cheese puffs instead. And if there are any Danielle Steele readers out there, PLEASE stop reading that. It's just no good for your brain. I read one once (A lady on a plane gave it to me to get me to shut up. I read it in a single flight...). I couldn't believe I had spent an hour and a half reading that book.

Anyway.... there is also the possibility of eating only sugar, staying up late watching MTV, and tiVo'ng all my favorite shows so I could get my "picture box fix." I wish I was kidding when I tell you that big sis LOVES the show "My Redneck Wedding," and just because I think it's the most IDIOTIC show around, she's telling me how she's going to have a wedding like that.

I'm not convinced that "setting the right example" is the best plan. I'm sorry, but many awesome people don't look back on their childhoods as perfection personified. I wonder if I could be the example of what NOT to be instead. It feels like I'm just dangling somewhere in the middle and my family is confused.

So what do I have to do? PRETEND to like a bunch of junky brain-mush stuff so they try to be different than I am? Really. This teenage stuff is a mind boggler. I keep trying to be perfect, but that angle aint workin.

"look At mee....I da CRAZZZYYY mamaaaaaaa.............You NEEDS to be gettin yo'way n dis WERLD, cuz MAMA NEEDS YOU to be everything I CAINT! I CAINT do't! ***cry, blubber*** mama da Needs you to get her a drink of water ***drink/ spill/ slobber***"

I mean really, would this help things? Because I'm up for pulling the crazy card.

And I really am no good at being demanding. I prefer inspiring. Only thing is, these kids of mine know all of my tricks!

It's time for me to go play Wii.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

He or She Plays by His or Her own Rules


It would be just awesome if I could tell you that this type of thing wasn't perfectly normal around my house.

But then I'd be telling a lie, wouldn't I? And everyone knows what they say about liars. (Actually I'm telling a lie I don't know what they say.)

I've been wondering why my refrigerator smelled like spearmint every time I opened the door.


I'm going to be asking my kids all about this very very soon. The fact is, I know EXACTLY who did this, but I don't expect the guilty party to come forward. It's pretty much the same person who makes his or her own rules. He or she is one of my favorite people in the world, and he or she is very creative. He or she likes thinking outside of the box, and he or she will be very successful, in spite of and because this person, who remains nameless, is not bound by traditional rules of engagement. He or she is a leader, an innovator, and a genuine, certified free spirit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Relaxation Junkie

I think I'm a Relaxation Junkie. On snow days like we're having, I seem to thrive on doing nothing. I did clean out a closet or two, but that only got me 2% closer to where I needed to be. Instead, I've been sitting on my cozy couch, listening to Pandora "Library Tunes," watching the snow fall, and reading Longfellow. Truly, he amazes me. His work is simple, but in the grand old style using American word-pictures. Apparently, he has gone in and out of vogue, but I enjoy his writing. I came across this simple poem:

THE WITNESSES
by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.

Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.

There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms.

These are the bones of Slaves;
They gleam from the abyss;
They cry, from yawning waves,
"We are the Witnesses!"

Within Earth's wide domains
Are markets for men's lives;
Their necks are galled with chains,
Their wrists are cramped with gyves.

Dead bodies, that the kite
In deserts makes its prey;
Murders, that with affright
Scare school-boys from their play!

All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride;
The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!

These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss;
They cry, from unknown graves,
"We are the Witnesses!"

It would be great to feel a sense of relief because there are no longer slaves in this world. Unfortunately, there are more slaves living today in this world than were trafficked during the African slave trade era. Slavery doesn't always look the same today as it did then. What is it? Modern-day slavery is human trafficking, forced labor, forced prostitution, debt bondage, contemporary slavery, forced marriage, transferring of wives, inheritance of wives, and transfer of a child for purposes of exploitation.

"Probably the most startling statistic is the estimated 27 million slaves still in the world today. These slaves come in varied forms, and may be very different from the slaves in the days of Wilberforce. But they are slaves nonetheless.

Millions across the globe are bonded into slavery with men, women and children toiling on plantations. Then there is the deplorable and prevalent trade in humans to serve as sex slaves.

Let's look at the statistics: an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year; approximately 50 per cent of all victims are children; 126 million children work in the worst forms of child labour - one in every 12 of the world's five- to seventeen-year-olds; there are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers involved in over 30 areas of conflict worldwide, some younger than 10 years old." Source

The statistic "27 million" seems unfathomable, but I've checked this statistic over and over from multiple sources. This is the most CONSERVATIVE estimate.

Well...

I didn't mean to ruin anyone's day. I do think, however, that we need to be in prayer for those helpless ones across the world (and right here in the land of the free) who face circumstances much worse than we could imagine. The church is being persecuted, and the truly helpless are being exploited.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about these things, and I've hesitated to discuss it on my blog, since it's such a huge and dark issue. However, I'd really appreciate it if you would join me in prayer.

I'll be ready for Christ to return any time, won't you?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wilbur is in Solitary Confinement

I wish something funny was happening around my house. But NO! Nothing funny happens around here anymore! My funny bone must be broken, because I have very little comedy in me these days.

I'm not having emotional problems or anything, but I just don't feel funny! And if Wilbur has died, WHO AM I???

This is truly an identity crisis. Is this my midlife crisis? My hubby bear made his "very own" batch of cookies tonight. I should have gotten out the easy-bake oven for him, but he used the big boy oven instead. Not being a baker, he decided to add "extra" butter. This is the funniest thing that has happened to me all day! Oh wait... he just yelled, "Where's MY PEAS!!! BRING ME SOME PEAS, WOMAN!!!"

There's a whole lot of comedy building up inside of me right now. I wonder when it's going to pop out? I'm building up steam. Let's just hope that when I explode, it's not in anyone's direction. It's going to be scary.

****He keeps yelling for his peas. This is surreal*********

When does comedy turn scary? When Wilbur becomes ravenous after being starved too long.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lock Me Up? Or Lift me Up.

We listened to "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by Jonathan Edwards yesterday in Rhetoric. It was a follow-up to Aristotle's discussion of how to use fear to persuade an audience.

My students and I were all sufficiently humbled and awe-struck. The sermon was a great reminder to me that without the Good that is God, my own sin would eat me alive.

God cannot tolerate an ounce of sin. This is bad news for me, because on my best days I can usually count at least 100 times my mind has wandered where it should not, my tongue has said something that it should not have said, or my heart has nursed a secret bitterness.

Sin, unchecked, creates an unfathomable hardness of heart. I knew I was in trouble today when I told one class that I thought Miss Havisham (a classic Dickens character) was a "...funny lady. I hope I can be as blunt and crazy as she is when I am old." One student said, "I think you've got a pretty good chance of seeing that dream come true; You're off to a great start!"

But guilt can be a beautiful thing. I realized afresh today that I am a wanted woman. My sin makes me an outlaw. I have broken the rules. I deserve death.

I'm so grateful that there is someone who paid the ransom for my sin! Scripture says that Christ sits at the right hand of God to intercede for me. He's speaking to Him on my behalf. I am no longer an outcast, an outlaw and a sinner. The debt was too much for me to pay, but HE paid the price for my lawlessness and disobedience. I truly am redeemed. As a bonus, I know I am constantly restrained from evil by His providential hand. For this, I am truly thankful.

I am not a wanted woman; I am a wanted woman.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, yep.... I'll admit it.

It's time to come clean.

I REALLY love those students of mine. But for their part, I think LOVING a teacher generally has to do with getting a good grade.

A=love (You didn't mess up my life.)
B=tolerable (This is unacceptable, but I might survive.)
C=dislike (This is extremely inconvenient.)
D=anger (Who do you think you are, Teacher?)
F=inane, insatiable blood boiling hatred

I had all of my classes watch a Martin Luther King video montage this week in class, and I gave them an ambiguous assignment. "Write a short essay in response to the video." This boggled many of their minds.

One asked me, "If I don't do well on this, are you going to be angry with me?" I responded, "Of course not! I'll feel exactly the same way about you that I feel about you now! YOU, on the other hand, might feel entirely different about me depending upon your grade. "

Their debate t-shirts say it best: " 'Corrupted Youth' Plato, Apology 24." Are we corrupting them? I sure hope so. Tell me: How do you grade THAT?

So, yep...I love them. Just thought you should know.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do You Like My Poncho?

I REALLY need to know how you feel.

I put my reputation as the quintessential fashionista (cough) on the line this week for my Rhetoric students. We were discussing "truth," and TELLING the truth.

I know for a fact that there are at least four blog-readers out there who might LOVE this poncho. You might love it because it reminds you of another time in your life. A time in Guatemala... Earthquakes, missions, and learning about God's call on your life. I love it for that reason, too. It reminds me of you.

There are others of you who might not find this poncho appealing.

I asked my Rhetoric class to respond: "When do simple questions require direct and simple answers?"


The question is simple. Are you suffering from Post-Modernism Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Am I?? Do we think that EVERYTHING has a "black and white" answer? We all want to be able to discern TRUTH, but maybe we have failed to realize that LIGHT doesn't create Black and White. LIGHT creates COLORS.

When Martin Luther was asked to recant his writings that were based entirely on his understanding of Scripture, he said "Here I stand, on the word of God alone. I can do no other." When someone asks me "do you like my poncho?" (or some other equally irrelevant question), It's important for me to understand that my opinion is not necessarily TRUTH. It's a matter of TRUTH versus Opinion. Do I have to respond? I don't think so.

I'm wondering if we, as Christians, are at times tempted to "take a stand" for something that isn't a real issue, because we want everything to fit into a box? We're so afraid of being wishy-washy that we make issues out of things that aren't really issues. Is PMPTSD the new legalism?

Someone this week told me that he was on a mission to "reclaim the rainbow." I agree. This beautiful reflection of God's many colors shows his promises and covenant with man. I can't help but also think about the Trinity, and the beautiful differences contained therein.

I think that when we draw a line in the sand, we need to be sure that we aren't standing in front of the Light of Truth while we are busy making our point heard (or seen).

St. Augustine said it best. "Most people don't want the truth to be found, they simply want their opinions to be heard."

I'm grateful for the differences of opinion in this world. This exchange of ideas, cultures and tastes allows for an "iron sharpens iron" effect. I think it's critical, however, that when we share our opinions, we're realize the difference between...OPINION, and the Holy Word of God (Truth). I'm grateful for differences when they help lead me to truth. I don't think there's a truth to divine in a poncho (or other "seemingly" serious issues).

BTW, I did spell poncho "pancho." I'm a poncho neophyte.

I'm taking a stand. I don't have to take a stand.

But...that's just my opinion.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Curious...

After sending my thirteen year old to his room for the night , when asked to explain "Why??"

Should I have responded by saying: "Because. You're a back-talking goober face!"

PMPTSD

It has become crystal clear to me in the last few weeks. I've been struggling with a few issues that have become a driving, obsessive personal force in my life. And then, yesterday...it hit me.

It "seems" to me that many Christians (myself included) are suffering from:

Post-Modernism Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I feel free. Sat on that branch long enough. Time to fly. Oh man. I'm awfully close to the cliff. I wonder if I'll make it across????

More to come...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chapters 1-3

Chapter One:

I've gained eight pounds since the marathon. Did you ever notice how short I am? (No of course you didn't because I always wear heals.) Eight pounds on me is like twenty on a person who is not vertically challenged. Those pants...they don't fit sister!!! What happened to mini-me??? SOOO, I started training for the half marathon yesterday. I remembered why it is that people exercise. In the words of Elle Woods, "exercise makes people happy."

Chapter Two:

For some reason, the students in my class today decided to start discussing whether or not we HAD to "tell the truth" by responding to someone when they ask a point blank question. For example, if someone says "Do you like my vest?" (their example), my students feel that the response must be completely honest. I think you can avoid answering the question by saying something like. "Do YOU like your vest?" I don't think it's NECESSARILY a sin to remain silent. Of course, this doesn't apply to vests covered in pornography or dripping blood from a recently murdered person. In that case, I think the answer is a clear "NO! I don't like your vest, Mr. Porno-murderer." Really, does a vest have anything to do with morality? Sheesh. Pick a better example, or I refuse to dignify the question with a serious response.

Chapter Three:

Am I the ONLY PERSON in the whole world who finds the following church sign incredibly ironic? I kept discussing it with my students and they were looking at me like I was C-rayyyy-a-Zee!!!. "Well done is better than well said." (I agree. Well said.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Here, God... Here's the Pen. It's Yours.

It’s 2009, The beginning of a new year.

I’m not inclined towards “new year” resolutions. In fact, I vehemently, in both theory and practice, oppose them. I’ve never kept a resolution for an entire year. I suppose some people are able to do so, but I have been a miserable failure in this arena. Several years ago, I gave up the practice altogether. My life has stagnated, but at least there is no guilt (just kidding...but about which statement?).

However, one cannot help but be inclined towards realizing the hope that comes with something new. A new year brings an opportunity to re-focus.

There are those of you out there (like me) who are easily bored and will glance down this post and realize it goes on and on. You will not continue reading. Bravo. Your time is your own, and I value your choice. Go make a sandwich. For everyone else, here goes an unusually serious post.

I’m a literature teacher, so forgive me if my personal epiphany has been couched literarily. In the great novels, the protagonist always comes face to face with a “defining moment.” It is generally a singular moment in time that defines the character’s entire prior life as nothing more than a precursor to a singular act. The protagonists that we see as heroes define this climactic moment most often by making a heroic moral decision. Sometimes the hero of a novel will realize his or her moment has arrived. More often than not, however, the hero is too absorbed in his own story to have the ability to reflect upon his actions. The hero simply lives how he or she has always been living. The hero makes a surprising choice, but the choice generally falls in line with his or her character traits.

What will the consequences of my character be in 2009? Will I face that defining moment in my life? If I do face it, will I realize that it has come, or will it pass me by unnoticed? Will I be a hero or an anti-hero?

I have a tendency to believe that there are many defining moments in our lives. It is no great epiphany to realize that life is a series of ups and downs, rising action, climax and denouement that is all a part of the every day.

But what if 2009 is THE YEAR? What if 2009 contains that singular moment in history that will define who I am? What if I’ve found my life’s work? Can I maintain a safe distance from myself, so as to not make every move a self-conscious and affected mess??? When providence is at play, I think it is important to live with a measure of selfless abandon.

I don’t think that greatness is generally defined by strategic planning. I think greatness is generally achieved when we realize that we are in a providentially ordained moment (a space in time written just for us by the Divine Author), and we embrace it. We must act on our previous experiences, our character, and most importantly Faith in God that he has prepared us for such a time as this.

To some, the previous has been nothing but garbledy-gook. Someone else out there might know just what I’m talking about. Nate Wilson once challenged an audience: "What type of character are you? How will history remember YOU?" In 2009, I plan to be an active participant in my story. I hope to do this by handing the pen to God.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Outspoken" Little Sis

I don't know of many women who were socialized by four older brothers.

In my formative years, they were all teenagers. So it's actually closer to the truth to say that I was socialized by teenage boys. Wow. That explains a lot.

Goofy humor and good-natured sarcasm were all part of the package.

Once in a while, I meet one of my own. We immediately bond. Let me tell you, that the experience is one of a kind.

They are all older, born between the years of 1960-1965. I came several years later.

My parents felt guilty that I was "left out" because my dad neglected to purchase me one of these Christmas sweater vests for the ski trip. Don't worry Dad, I'm really not offended. (Honestly, You really thought I would be???)

The bottom line is that I have EIGHT men in my life that I hold in the highest regard. My husband, my two boys, my father, and my four brothers. I had two grandfathers who were Christian patriarchs in their own right.

I've never been one of "the boys," but likewise they aren't "the girl." I wasn't a pampered princess, but I certainly learned the importance of living a disciplined life sprinkled with a great deal of humor from these four guys. I love them all deeply.

Thanks boys.
-Your Bratty (a.k.a. the euphemism "outspoken") Little Sister