Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘success’ Category

huge-8-43989

Today, technically the first day of my fall break, I went to school.  This is the first time I’ve actually gone to school on a break.  I’m supposed to be “sharpening my saw” — Habit #7 from the 7 Habits, but the custodian said he’d be at the school from 12-4, so off I went.

This may require some explanation.  I have complained long and loudly about TUSD’s habit of giving teachers only three days to get ready for the first day of school, and then taking half or more of those first days up with required meetings, trainings, what have you.  I worked very hard during summer school to get a lot of things organized, and so was not…completely…lost these first two months.  Last year; wow.  We won’t talk about last year.

I’ve enlisted the help of students after school (you can Tom Sawyer them at this age), and even come in on an odd weekend day, but the organization was not in place, and I keep making piles of papers.

I finally got to the bottom of the pile of things to be filed.  Not everything is filed, but I know where everything is and will be able to file it, little by little, over the next week after school (I hope).

My core library was leveled before school started, but I still have not gotten to that.  I would much rather have piles of books around than piles of papers, however, so I will continue to work on that as time allows.

pile-of-books

not this bad, I promise!

I brought home “teacher crafty” things to do this week (I’m NOT going back in again, so I did a lot of laminating today), and everything I might need for “Fall” centers.  Haven’t touched Halloween yet, and I may only have a couple of things on the day itself, rather than a couple weeks of spooky activities.

The fun thing about teaching elementary is the chance to be creative with assignments, to make centers that fit a theme while still aligning with current standards.  The tough thing about teaching elementary is to keep up with making the centers fun and cute, while not tearing one’s hair out.  I try to keep an even keel between the two, because I am short on time (especially now that after-school tutoring has started).  So some of my centers are not cute and some are.  We try our best.

And sometimes, sharpening the saw means having things ready to walk in on the Monday after a break, so I can sleep Sunday night.

56398c8b29000030004dc199

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

dscn3066

I’ve let myself slip over the last six months.  I fell down the stairs at work the first weekend of September, and as soon as I was just feeling like I could get back to my exercise, I had a car accident (mid-October, not my fault) and the subsequent back issues didn’t begin to clear up till Christmas break.  I got a new job (finally!) teaching fourth grade at an inner-city Catholic school — this started two weeks before Christmas break, so with everything, I’m just getting to where I’m feeling caught up with everything there and able to spend some extra time catching up at home.  This includes (unfortunately) diet, exercise, house cleaning, and personal devotions.  Yes, I’ve gained weight since October 6, when I had actually dipped below the 140 mark. 😦

Grades were due for midterms yesterday, so I’m not only caught up on classroom organization, but my grading is not a large pile glaring at me. Just this last week’s worth and a couple tests I had to wait for students to finish.  Plenty, yes, but I should be able to spend time tomorrow doing something else other than either grading or stalling getting started. 🙂

I decided, since the grading is done and Ash Wednesday is this week, I’d start my Lent discipline early — today.  My church doesn’t celebrate Lent, but for the past few years I have used it as a time to discipline myself either with my diet or in my spiritual life.  I’m feeling flabby, both physically and spiritually, so I’m going to try to do both this time.

Starting today, I will:

  • Track my food
  • Exercise at least to 10K steps daily — try to do more on the days I can get to the gym
  • Have personal devotions
  • Keep up with my grading!

I’d like to blog a few times a week too, but I know how that goes, and exercising and planning meals takes a lot of time!  So I will try, but no promises.

In looking for images for Lent, I came across one that pretty well sums up what I think it’s for:

lentmmcIt reminds me of the verse in Psalm 1 about the righteous person — “a tree planted by streams of water…whatever [he] does prospers.”

Prayerfully, I hope what I am trying to do in these next weeks prospers as well.

 

Read Full Post »

I had a hankering for baked beans and brown bread the other week, so I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some Jacob’s Cattle beans, which according to John Gould in his book The House that Jacob Built (a book I love dearly), are the only beans to use for baked beans.  He also says to use a well-seasoned bean pot on a wood stove, and to put in salt pork (or bacon), but I had to adjust a little.  I used a crockpot and some G. Washington broth.  And a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, Maple Baked Beans.

The beans turned out really thick and juicy, although if I do it again, I will put in more beans per broth.  Then I needed to find the brown bread.  I remembered buying brown bread here somewhere, but since this is the Midwest, it’s easier to buy lefse in the grocery store than New England brown bread!  I thought about making some, but I didn’t have any cans.  So I started looking online to see if I could find out where it was sold.  I found some on Amazon I could have gotten with free 2-day shipping (yay Amazon Prime!), but I wanted it NOW.  I finally found some at Lund’s, which is five minutes from my house, and I ran and bought four cans, although they were the kind with raisins…aaah, it’s ok.  And yes, the B&M company is based right in Portland, ME — a little taste of Downeast Home! 🙂

So today for lunch I sat down with some maple baked beans, brown bread, and steamed broccoli with salt and single-source olive oil from Spain….Ahhhh, bliss. 🙂 Who needs turkey?

Read Full Post »

what i need to discover

more

than the joy of flickering gusts of wind

through smooth pinions

more than the

glory

of crimson-tinged gold gleaming from wings

more than the sweep of air and tilt

of curve

more than the clarity of mile-high vision

more than the primal thrill of a

blue morning scream

what i long to know

more than the perfection of muscle and wing

is the hawk’s unfettered freedom of never wondering

if he might need

to learn how to swim

Read Full Post »

one reward of teaching

beginning band

is helping them learn enough

so that one day i turn and see

a black boy

a white girl

an Asian girl

who taught themselves how to play

“Lift Every Voice”

and their smiles are exactly the same

as mine

Read Full Post »

In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.

“Passage” by John Brehm, from Help is on the Way. © The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

.

I had a place in the woods behind my parents’ house I called the Cathedral.  Tall pines and slanting sunlight, just like in the beginning of the poem, and a sky that seemed to be miles above my head.  I used to go and walk around there whenever I was upset and needed my troubles to feel small.  There was a stream there, too, with a little bridge across it.  I was drawn to this poem first because of the memory of my Cathedral.

But I love the image of the water going through and around all obstacles, not in a pushing or angry way, but simply joyfully determined not to be stopped.  A lot of the time when I am doing something hard, I feel a frown and stubborn, almost angry determination. It would be better for my soul, I think, if I could be determined in the way of the water.  Not “this must happen and I will make it happen or die”, but “this is going to happen and it is inevitable, so I will be happy”.  Maybe I need to lose my fear of failure.  Maybe the word I need isn’t determination, but confidence.

Read Full Post »

Today’s poem from the Writer’s Almanac, which I get in my inbox every day, sounds so much like me I just had to post it.  You can hear Garrison Keillor reading it if you go here, plus see more interesting facts about today’s date in literary history.

Pursuit

by Stephen Dobyns

Each thing I do I rush through so I can do
something else. In such a way do the days pass—
a blend of stock car racing and the never
ending building of a gothic cathedral.
Through the windows of my speeding car, I see
all that I love falling away: books unread,
jokes untold, landscapes unvisited. And why?
What treasure do I expect in my future?
Rather it is the confusion of childhood
loping behind me, the chaos in the mind,
the failure chipping away at each success.
Glancing over my shoulder I see its shape
and so move forward, as someone in the woods
at night might hear the sound of approaching feet
and stop to listen; then, instead of silence
he hears some creature trying to be silent.
What else can he do but run? Rushing blindly
down the path, stumbling, struck in the face by sticks;
the other ever closer, yet not really
hurrying or out of breath, teasing its kill.

"Pursuit" by Stephen Dobyns, from Cemetery Nights. © Penguin Books, 1987. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

.

I know my life is crazy right now, but I need to take more time to enjoy what I’m doing at each moment and focus on the positive in things that happen during the day.  I had a meltdown last week from stress, and I think if I had been focusing more on the positive (and getting more sleep!) I would not have lost it the way I did.  Focusing always on the next thing steals my joy in the things I have accomplished and keeps me mentally frantic.  I think that should be one of my HealthMonth goals for next month — to be more mindful of the moment in which I find myself and also of my successes and joys.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: