Monday, August 31, 2009

Home on a Monday!

I'm home today! With all the mix-ups with our new refrigerator, I had to reschedule the plumber so he can install the ice maker. Bill left for South Africa and beyond just last night, so I get to wait for the plumber and have a day off. I hate to get a substitute teacher so early in the school year, but I need to give heed to my graduate school paperwork anyway - and blog! JOY!

So, Bill is in London, waiting for his flight to Capetown. I miss him already. Weep. I'm so excited for him though. He will find encouragement, give encouragement and see our friend Deo's village in Uganda later this week. You can click on the Nexus blog by hitting the world on my sidebar to hear what's happening on this NVI trip. He'll go to Australia from there and won't be back for almost three weeks.

My new refrigerator! Thankful! Thankful! It's big inside, CLEAN, looks so utilitarian - what a sight! What a delight!

Last night, some animal had a dig in the sunflower garden and uprooted a big bunch of sunny blooms. Into the trash they go, but they make a cute picture first, don't they?

And one of my two pumpkins (one rotted) is finally starting to turn Halloween orange! Yea! I picked a few squash this morning and gave them to Rusty next door. I am not craving squash anymore.

It's lovely rose time! Look at this Double Delight! It is almost twenty years old and because of our short growing season, doesn't show its age, but the dew is kissing it just the same - wow!

It's so quiet this morning. The plumber isn't coming until noon, so I am soaking up the neighborhood sounds - dogs barking, the main road humming, the MANY birds feasting at my bird feeder, the wind gently tossing the branches to and fro. I'm drinking more coffee than I usually have time for. Do you see me in the coffee pot, taking its picture? (Welcome to another dimension!)

And here we have zinnias in a fish bowl! Tiny little Thumbelinas are poking their heads out in spots and patches throughout the garden. They are so perfect.

Lovely cones are falling from the pine tree. I used to have big pines in our Spokane, Washington yard, back when the kids were babies. Now, in Colorado, I have little delicate cones.

Do you see the Coca-cola frame below? Kids from the squatters village in Capetown, South Africa make them from old Coke boxes. Our friend Ben is pictured in this one, hugging the sweet children he reaches out to there!

Below is a picture Jeff took and I love the verse he added. Entertaining angels, unaware - you've done it. They are here. Your loving acts and loving heart have probably ministered to them many times.

So, I'm thankful for this freebie morning. I'm going to grade some papers, ride the exercise bike while watching Because of Winn Dixie (favorite!) tidy up around here a little bit and soak up the peace and quiet. Right now, though, I'm going to sing and read myself some Psalms and welcome the PEACE that passes all UNDERSTANDING. xopp

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blog Love

I am feeling the blog love because SuKnitWitty sent me a goody in the mail! Look at how dear she is! I love the spool-y bell pull she made for me. Jeff hung it on the lamp. It's so cute! Sue knows I love Raggedy Ann and now I have another book! Woo hoo! Also, she sent me a magnet (a tiny one!) from the great state of Texas, so I put it on my new refrigerator! Yahoo! She made me some adorable Pom Pom charms and sent me cute buttons that I will love sewing on random things. She wanted to encourage me concerning school and wish me an early happy birthday. What a queen she is, that SuKnitWitty! I adore my blog friends. You are all unbelievably supportive and giving. I cherish your words and your attention. When I tell non-bloggers about the world of blogs, they just don't get it. They don't know what they are missing!

Because it's the weekend! (ahhhhh!) I took a leisurely stroll around the flower beds this morning. Things are looking tangled and I love that!

Have you ever had a sunflower wink at you? Now you have!

The sweet peas are having a long run. A few pin wheel petunias have joined them.

Last night I watched Slumdog Millionaire. Wow. I know that some children really do live like that in India. When I was in Cambodia last summer and we stopped to get gas in the motorcycle, a little girl came up to me begging. I gave her the USA dollar I had and she looked at it funny, of course. I felt bad for a long time after that, wishing I'd had a handful of Cambodian money to give her. I realized that survival is an amazing and vast idea. All the books we assigned the kids for summer reading have to do with survival - children trying to survive. I think instead of just giving the essay test, we need to talk about how survival relates to leadership. Leadership is a consideration when our needs are met. We can't assume our students needs are met and saying our theme for the year is leadership may be a bit presumptuous. I have to do some more thinking on this. What do you think? How do we teach kids compassion and what is a leader anyway?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday is GOOD!

See our Giving Tree? Isn't it fun? Those are apples taped on by the students and me. They wrote sweet intangible gifts on their apples - respect, kindness, laughter, courage, talent, and many other things they can give our school and our classroom community. It was fun and now I have a Giving Tree growing in my room. Happy, happy.

Here's Birdie all jammy-ed up just before she went home last night. I love her little long-johns. Don't you just want to smooch her?

On our way back from the park last night, I had to stop at my favorite garden and snap these lovely, poke-y things!

We see Zelda and her mistress around the neighborhood quiet often. She entertained us with her red ball fetching. She's all wiggles and love.

In the strollers - ready to go! Let's go Ginx! Birdie still calls me "Ginx" but I think her name for me will morph into Grans.

Miss Bug is working on eating solids. As you can see, she's not impressed.

I must stay late at school today to get ready for Monday. We've had a great week. The kids are dear and things are shaping up. It's exhausting and busy with a million things to do every minute, but standing in front of 115 teenagers every day is quite an honor. I'm thankful.
Happy Friday to you! xopp

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reading The Giving Tree

Hello my big-hearted blog friends! When I got home from school today, I cooked dinner real fast, ate it (yum- pork tenderloin and red potatoes) and then I had to scurry off to run a few errands for class tomorrow.

The sky was smoky, still and pretty.

I didn't find the book I needed at Target, so I had to keep buzzing around. I found it at Barnes and Noble and there was one more copy of this (below) lovely lady. We are a month behind here in the USA, but at least I can find it. DELICIOUS magazine browsing feast - that's what this is!

The eighth graders were cherubs in the library today! They listened to the librarian, asked good questions about books, listened to Mrs. M (smile) and tomorrow we'll write in our reading journals and our writing journals and do one other heart-building thing.

I usually don't go for preachy posters, but with my big push to get my students to LOVE reading, I thought Denzel might help me invite them into the world of books.

I found this "ice breaker" idea on a web site. The Giving Tree is about a tree that loves a boy. The tree gives and gives and the boy grows up and when the tree has given all it has and is just a stump, the boy is old and needs a place to sit. We'll read it and then we're going to talk about how we can give of ourselves. What can we give? We can give kindness, generosity, attention, and ultimately LOVE. We're going to hang apple shapes with our gift written on them, on the tree that I have to whip up in the morning when I get to school. You'd think fourteen year old kids would think this is juvenile, but this wise book is not really for children. It's written to send a message to grown ups. I hope they'll begin to label gifts that ARE not material and start placing value on the manifestations of their character. Next week we start Romeo and Juliet and things get more academic, so I am taking advantage of our team-building week. And then . . . we'll quiet ourselves and lose ourselves in the READING ZONE for a while.
Now it is black outside and my eyes feel all peppery. Time to employ my pirate toothbrush, snuggle under the quilts, and dream of trees.
Have a frisky, happy, "give yourself away" kind of day! xopp

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School, A Pirate Toothbrush and TOO MUCH SQUASH!

You too can turn yourself into a hockey player. Just go to Yes, when you should be doing something else, but you are too brain dead to do it - play around on the Internet and then write a random blog post.

It's been two days with students and I am not yet feeling organized at school. Tomorrow we're going to the library so they can browse through the stacks and also so we can have an occasional fifteen-minute read during the class period. I am ready to start inviting them to jazz up their journals and release all their brilliance on the page! I wish we could fast forward to the middle of the trimester, so all the kids were comfortable and relaxed. We'll get there and I will start to calm down and find my groove. Do you like my new toothbrush? It was on sale at the grocery store.

Next year, I am not planting yellow squash. For heaven's sake! I don't like them that much! Every time I go out to the garden there are MORE and if I don't pick them they get weird and BIG! Now that I've sort of lost interest in the garden, everything is looking BIGGER and BETTER!

When the seasons are about to change do you ever get kind of spacey and unsettled? I think I do. I have a million things on my mind and the "I don't have enough time" voice won't be quiet. I'm reminded to surrender, wave the white flag, and shout, "HELP! I can't do ANYTHING alone!" I'm glad HE is listening.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gift from the Sea

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach -- waiting for a gift from the sea."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I watched a film version of Rosamunde Pilcher's Coming Home today. Because I adore Pilcher's work and read her novels over and over again, I was disappointed in the movie. The actresses weren't right. They were lovely talents, but not at all fitting when compared to the characters in my brain. When the novel was published, I bought it right away and settled on my bed to read it aloud to myself. I reveled in delight as I turned page after page, completely lost in Pilcher's world. The estate that dominates a good amount of the setting proved another disappointment in the film. I know better than to expect a set designer to duplicate the magic from the story. However, you can't mess up on the sea. Every time I see the sea - I want to SEE it. I long for it. I'm thankful that the Pacific coast is a two hour plane ride away even though I can't just jump on planes and go places whenever I want to. Somehow, I must get to the sea before too much time goes by. Bill will see the sea off of Cape Town, Africa this month and then he'll see the sea from the shores of Australia. He'll take pictures for me and that will just have to do. Meanwhile, I had a nice shrimp salad for dinner.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Whew! After a great night's sleep, I'm feeling human again and I'm filled with joy over my blog friends as I spend the morning catching up on all your brilliance! I feel compelled to share and connect so I'm going to tell you about some of the "over the top" posts and blogs I am blessed by!
First, my artist friend Carolyn's two blogs are ALWAYS inspiring. Her pictures of her home in St. Ives are better than a travel brochure. She always says such kind, warm things to me and I feel so connected to her. Then, Elizabeth in France posts about roasted tomato soup and I am delighted by it. She has such a sharing heart and gives sweet details and lovely photographs. Mmmmmmmm! SuKnitWitty is creativity and skill personified! She is someone who you could follow around for a month and you'd see no end to her brilliance! She knits, she quilts, she used to be an art teacher, she organizes, and she's hilarious. I love her! If you've never visited her GO NOW!
Then, my first favorite blog - I found it when I was snowed in over spring break- the blog I cut my teeth on (smile) which is Gigi's blog. She's funny and clever and very eclectic. I marvel at her knitting, her flowers, and her PIES! She's been featuring a pie a week and even if you are trying to eat like a skinny person as I am (drat) you will find yourself elbow deep in pastry after looking at Gigi's pies!
I absolutely LOVE Canadian Deborah. She is a dear heart, a beautiful mother, and she has a heart for the world. I love her children, because she takes the dearest, most real photos of them. You can almost see the halos of love around their images.
I'm crazy about HeartFelt. She features precious photos of her adored children. She has such a sweet heart, so her blog name is so appropriate. She's stylish and crafty, real and true. She lives in New Zealand and I tell you, everything I see from New Zealand makes me feel all loving toward the kiwis!
Tabiboo is another favorite. This mom lives by the sea and takes glorious pictures. I love to visit and pretend like I live by the sea. She's clever and artistic and never disappoints!
Tracing Rainbows is always diverse and interesting. This Baptist pastor's wife LOVES so much and so many and shares her experiences of village life. You can't help but feel involved. It's sort of like real life At Home in Mitford! Angela is a fun writer and an inspirational woman! Go there. I promise you'll learn something!
A Parson's Wife is completely inspirational. Andrea is so hospitable, so welcoming, so LOVELY. She has such a humble heart - full of love. You feel like you've been invited into her home and she is fluttering about you, trying to find out what you need. It's all kinds of wonderful. If you haven't visited her, do! She's another pastor's wife. I love pastor's wives!
Of course I love all my kids' blogs (Brad, Kelli, Jeff, and Jenny) and wish they'd update every day! April has a creative blog and she posts what she makes. I check it every time she updates. Bill's international ministry blog has just appeared and of course I love my husband's heart! I really could go on and on and on! I love Gladsome Lights because Gretchen Joanna is so smart, articulate and thoughtful. Her posts are thought provoking. If you've never read The Left Handed Housewife you are in for a word treat! She's a beautiful writer with a down to earth viewpoint. She is completely original. You'll hear her voice - that shows how gifted she is. You'll anticipate her next post. She's a star! Pileofsmiles is always upbeat and direct. She's faithful and alive. I always visit her. Songs of Light is another favorite. Her photos are highly artistic and powerful. Aisling is a poet and a teacher at heart. She's honest and forthright and completely inspirational. I like to participate in her blog!
I could go on and on, but I'll save it for later. I'm just bursting with thankfulness. I'm off to buy peaches, some groceries, some teacher stuff. The sky is blue, the house smells like soy sauce (yeah, Jeff is cooking something out in the kitchen - something borderline weird) and I'm still in my pjs and noon is fast approaching. I love you, dear blog friends and I love all my visitors. I hope you can feel this big (HUG) and *KISS* xopp