Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No License to Parent Necessary

One of my special students constantly battles with his mom and wins. Today he refused to come to school and mom couldn’t make him. I walked into the office as our assistant principal was on the phone with his mother. She tried to coax him to the phone to talk him but he wouldn’t budge. I asked her to tell him that I wanted to talk to him. He answered the phone and sounded like he had been crying (which he never does at school). I talked to him and we had a good conversation. He agreed to get dressed and come to school. However, I was disappointed when he never showed up. It is amazing to see that he runs that household and his mother has no control over him what-so-ever. It makes me so sad as I think about what his life might become. If you get a chance, please pray for my student and his family. I pray that I have impacted him in a meaningful way and that somehow he will come to know the Lord and turn his life around. I am praying for his teacher next year as well. He requires lots of patience and love. I had to work hard to build a relationship with him and work even harder not to get into power struggles with him because he will be sure to win. I am praying that his next teacher will immediately have a desire to love on him and disciple him in ways that he is not receiving at home.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A busy season

Wow! What a season! It has been a busy but good time and now we are in the home stretch. I have really missed DJ over the last week as he has been at Outdoor Education Camp, but we had a great weekend together. We were able to spend part of Saturday and Sunday together here in Abilene and then I was able to go back to the lake with him on Sunday evening. We had a great time out on the boat and I enjoyed getting to watch as he taught his students the introduction to rifflery.

Yesterday, I was able to hang out with two precious little girls that belong to our friends. I wanted to give them a chance to have a break before their third little one arrives in the next few weeks. The girls were great… we enjoyed the morning at the zoo, then they fell sound asleep on the way home, napped for about an hour and a half and then we had some lunch at Chick-fil-A. The best part was the ice cream we enjoyed after they wore themselves out on the playground! Wow! What a mess, I felt terrible when their grandmother walked in to pick them up only to find us engaged in lots of licking and dripping!

Today, we took our third grade students on the last field trip of the school year to Red Bud Park. The kids loved watching the prairie dogs and just spending some time outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. I am working hard to get my classroom cleaned up and packed up for the summer. 3 more days!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On a personal note...

Is it too personal to tell you that my husband always remembers to put the toilet seat down? I didn't even have to ask him, he just remembers to do this every time. This morning when it was still dark I groggly (is that a word?) walked into the bathroom and discovered when I FELL IN that he had forgotten!

I have a friend who was the first one out of my group of friends to get married. So when we were at a bridal shower for another one of our friends she told the story of how her husband always left a hanger in the bathroom ... everyday. It drove her crazy, except for the reason why he did it. He did it because she was still sleeping so he would take his clothes into the bathroom to get dressed so that he wouldn't wake her up. She said that she finally learned to be thankful for the hanger because it meant that her husband was there to leave it there. So instead each day as she puts his hangers back into his closet she thanks the Lord for the blessing of her husband.

I have to say that my husband extends grace to me each day for ALL of my shortcomings, so I will also extend grace to him in this instance. I really wanted to walk back into the bedroom and wake him up to tell him what he had done, but I didn't. Instead, I waited and he will find out today as he reads my blog. I love you sweetpea, thank you for putting the seat down most of the time but I am also thankful for the days when the seat is up because it means you were there to leave it up. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do You Talk in Your Sleep?

Me: Can you please turn off your light?
DJ: I'm reading.
Me: Your eyes are closed.
DJ: I'm praying.
Me: Oh OK.

A few minutes later it is clear he is asleep by the sounds he is making...
Me: tap, tap, tap
No response
Me: tap, tap, tap a little harder
No response
Me: tap, tap, tap a little harder
DJ: What?
Me: Could you turn off your light?
DJ: I am reading.
Me: You are asleep!
DJ: No, I'm praying.
Me: Please turn off your light.
DJ: It's off (it really isn't) just ask Luke.
Me: Luke?
DJ: Luke Skywalker! He and Hans Solo are going to be in a movie in the spring.
Me: Just turn off the light!!!

Before we got married, my roommates warned him of my sleep talking. They told silly stories of talking about the drool machine and then getting mad at them when they didn't understand. DJ was really nervous.

However...since we have been married, he hardly ever hears me talk in my sleep, instead it is always him!

Hear is another really good story from a while back... DJ: I'm gonna be the president of Texas.
Me: Oh really.
DJ: Yes, just ask Sam. ( I was thinking maybe he meant Sam Houston?)
DJ: It's not the Sam you are thinking of, it is Yosemite Sam!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HUGE Stacks of Paper

So I have failed in the filing department. I vowed that this year I would get my classroom organized and put everything in its place. My classroom in San Antonio was SOOO organized and I loved it, but I just can’t seem to get that accomplished here. Each week as my class completes work I have been sticking it in a folder labeled with the date with full intentions of getting it back into the math, reading, or science files etc. Of course that never happened after a full school year, so on Friday afternoon after we had finished everything I had the munchkins help me sort through the mounds of papers. WOW! They loved it, but my goodness that is a lot of filing to do. Another teacher suggested that I throw it all away and just mooch off of them one more year, but I hate to do that. So I have stacks and stacks of papers to go through and organize and get into files. My mom used to help me do all that kind of stuff. At the beginning of this school year she even had a trip to Abilene scheduled so that she could come help me in my classroom, but it just didn’t work out before she was sick again. It makes me realize even more how wonderful she was because I just didn’t ever fully realize how much she served. So that is what I will be up to this summer… filing, working on grad school, Pampered Chef parties and trying to be more like my mom...

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Impact of a Mom

I have tried to upload the digital story about my mom but the file is too big so I here is the transcript from my digital story. It is not as impressive as the one with the great pictures, but you get the idea. Yesterday was my first Mother's Day without my mom. There were momments that were hard, but for the most part I am doing well.
Here is my story...

Each of us has people in our lives that impact us greatly. For me that person is my mother, my life giver. She has given me life both physically and spiritually. When I look at the many ways that the Lord has shaped and molded me, many of the most influential moments were made possible because of my mother’s presence in my life.
My mother is literally the most selfless person that I know. Throughout her life, service has characterized her. She would do anything for anyone and genuinely had a heart for those in need. The role model that she has been to me is the reason that I am who I am today.
However, God also used my mother’s life to bring me through many challenges. From the time that I was four years old, my mother battled bipolar disorder. She did not believe that she had a mental illness, therefore the many delusions that she had during an episode became very real to her. These delusions even led her to pick me up from elementary school when I was ten with the car packed. As she drove us to the battered women’s shelter, I watched the road signs carefully so that I could call my father and tell him where to pick me up.
When I was 18 and about to leave for college, my mother was placed in intensive care in critical condition. However, this time it was due to kidney failure and the doctors did not believe that she would live. Miraculously, God allowed her kidneys to begin functioning again. After 6 months wheel chair bound in a nursing home she received a necessary hip replacement and returned home.
Although, she continued to battle many medical conditions and in 2005 after more kidney trouble, my mother began dialysis treatments three times a week for four hours each time. Dialysis made a huge difference in her life and she was able to do many things again, including moving back to her lake house where she had previously lived alone.
In 2006, my mom and I spent countless hours planning my wedding. She even meticulously sewed each of my bridesmaids a tote bag by hand. She also truly enjoyed helping me in my first grade classroom. Without her help, I would not have made it through my first few years of teaching. Each day as I open my filing cabinets, I see her handwriting labeling each of my files.
Then in April of 2007, my mom had a stroke and came to stay with us for a few weeks. My husband fondly remembers their great conversations as he came home to eat lunch with her each day and taxi her to dialysis. A few weeks later, she returned home to stay with my sister. Towards the end of May she had another stroke. This time it was necessary for her to go into a nursing home. I put a lot of effort into making her room special and personalized and as I drove her from the hospital to the nursing home, she told me how thankful she was for how I had served her. It was on this day that she had special clarity and I was able to tell her that I had gained all of these qualities from my mother. She was truly surprised to hear this.
In October, my mother went into hospice care and on my husband’s 33rd birthday, November 6, 2007, my mother went to be with the Lord. I miss her so much but more than anything else I am so blessed to have known her. God used my mother, Karen Jean Daniel, in a special way. Even through these difficult circumstances I can see that she was part of an amazing plan and I was drawn closer into the fold of God. Without these trials I am sure that I would not have leaned on the Lord in such a way as I do now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Great Impact

This semester while working on my masters I am taking a class called Digital Storybook. My first assignment was to make a digital story about something that has impacted my own life. I chose to tell about my mom. Here is my final product...

or so I thought... as soon as it uploads it will be here!

Ok, so I can't get the video to upload. I think it is too big. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! Thanks!

Thankful for a Home

For those of you who do not know, Abilene is one of the site's that the IRC (International Rescue Committee) places refugees when they come to America and my school happens to be the main school to receive them because we have a New-comer center to meet their needs. I have had a student from Burundi in my classroom this year who arrived to America just before school began in August. Let me just say how blessed I have been to have this student in my room! (I am blessed to have all of my students, but this one has blessed me in a new way.) Tonight all of the students from Africa will perform at the PTA meeting. We were able to preview their performance at an assembly a few minutes ago. Wow! I had tears streaming down my face as I watched these precious children dance beneath a banner that read, "Thank you, we have a home!" They said the Pledge of Allegiance along with the Burundi National Anthem and then proceeded to give us a taste of their home country through song and dance. I am reminded of what a privledged life we lead while I am also so thankful for the opportunity to play a small part in the life of a student whose life up until this point has been very different from my own. What a blessing that the Lord is bringing the nations to us!

Matthew 28: 19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Monday, May 5, 2008

So What's in a Name?

Well, I guess it is a new day for me as I try this whole blogging thing. The title of my blog actually came from my students. The other day we had Junior Achievement in our classroom. A local firefighter came to teach the kids some great lessons about community etc. They made their own city and in the process they had to come up with a name. They didn't quite get the concept of an "original name" and they kept naming their city things like "Austin" or even "Texas." (I guess I need to work on the concept of what a city actually is!) Our firefighter started leading them to pick something that had to do with my name and one of my witty one's suggested "Gililland's Island." They had a great time creating "Gililland's Island" and even creating a newspaper and learning to write checks! Now I guess I have my work cut out for me in teaching the difference between a city and state! That is a hard concept for third graders.