Thursday, May 31, 2012


There are some events that catch me by surprise, when I realize, in no uncertain terms, I have entered adulthood.
I often hear older people make comments like, "I don't feel 60/75/90 (enter age here)"... I always figured those feelings came with age.  I feel 28... but I certainly don't feel like an adult.  Is that what these people are talking about when they say they don't feel their age?  Maybe this is what adulthood feels like -- fun?

I know I'm an adult, and for years I took great pride every month writing my month checks from my own hard-earned paycheck for rent, credit card, tithe, etc.  Now we have an automatic check sent from the bank... but for years paying those bills and writing those checks made me feel so grown up and responsible.  Like I was a kid, but I was remembering to complete my monthly adult responsibility.  That being said, there were still days I enjoyed staying in my pjs as long as possible and consciously deciding that the dishes in the sink could wait til morning... those choices don't seem like choices an adult would make.

Last night, Chris and I went to a city meeting regarding a new water plant they want to build in our city.  On the way home, I was astounded at the adult I've become.

I have been to City Council meetings before -- I remember going as young as age 6 or 7 because my parents didn't want me to stay home with a sitter, and so I went along to the meetings.  I remember attending the meetings in high school because by doing so I received extra credit in government class.  I remember not understanding what was going on -- maybe I'd understand an issue or two, but on the whole, I was clueless.

It is because I had attended city meetings as a child and adolescent that I noticed the amazing contrast between those meetings and the one I attended last night.  Last night... attending this meeting as an adult, I was interested in everything that was said -- from the presentation, to the discussion, to the questions, I was fulling invested in the topic, I paid attention for the entire 2+ hour event, I asked a few questions myself, and I understood everything that was said.  Those things certainly never happened when I attended meetings in as a child and adolescent.

I really am an adult.  There is no denying it.
Well, there may be no denying it, but I can still treasure the joy of stopping for an ice cream cone with my hubby on the way home from the meeting, and laughing because the scoop of ice cream fell off of the cone and smeared all over my shirt.  That would never happen to an adult.

There's adulthood -- caring about taxes and community issues...

Then there's adulthood -- a homemade veggie dinner that you don't spill on your shirt...

Well, I've achieved one level of adulthood.  I plan on postponing that second part for as long as possible.

image signature

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

I am not very good at talking about politics... and I don't enjoy it.

In middle school, I started to feel like I was relatively informed about the world and I was starting to form my own opinions and I LOVED talking about politics.  It was a chance to share ideas and feel grown up and discuss this real world in which I was growing up and into a real citizen.

By high school, I realized that no one has a discussion about politics -- people TALK about politics... and by that, I mean, people talk AT each other about politics.  No one listens.  No one changes his or her opinion... people simply talk at each other and love agreeing with each other, or they talk at each other and end up disagreeing, just like they did before the conversation.

That being said, sometimes I have to share a few things about politics... and I have to admit, the reason I am not very good at talking about politics, is because my response is always the same, "Are You Kidding Me?"
That's right... a high school Diploma, one Bachelor's Degree, two Masters Degrees... and all I can come up with is, "Are You Kidding Me?"!

Recently a news video was called to my attention where a University Professor asked his economics classes to write an essay on what they believed the American Dream to be, and what the Government's role should be in helping them achieve their American Dream.  Please watch the news clip: The Gimme Generation 
(The part I wanted to show was the interview with the college prof approx 5 min... but I couldn't find a clip with just the interview)

The results shocked me, and made me not only ashamed of my generation but extremely filled with dread of what might be in store for my country as these disillusioned students become adults, parents, and politicians...

When I heard that these students wanted the government to pay for higher education, and their health care, I immediately was reminded of the political hailstorm that occurred earlier this year regarding health insurance and employers providing free birth control pills.  This is the same type of thinking... free higher education, free health care, free contraceptives... okay, let's honestly talk about these options.

Students, I'm sure you know from your many years in the real world that you never get something for nothing, so let's talk about the costs of these "free" services.

You want free higher education... but are you willing for the government to tell you what you can study and where?  Are you willing for the government to give you a test at the end of high school, or in middle school, or even in upper elementary school to determine your intellectual potential?  If you don't show the intellectual skill on this test, are you willing for the government to pay for your free higher education at the university and in the field IT believes you should pursue

Source: via Abby on Pinterest
You want to be a doctor, a teacher, a chef, a businessman, a scientist, a musician?  Maybe the government will pay for that education... but maybe the government will tell you, you your tests don't indicate potential as a doctor, chef, musician... you are welcome to a government funded education as long as you pursue the course of study in the higher education of the government's choice at the institution of the government's choice.  Forget overcoming the odds, hard work, determination... all the things that this free country used to reward, all the things that used to be involved in the American Dream -- you want the government to serve you a college education on a free platter.  I hope you're willing for the government to tell you which college education you will get.  Why would they pay for you to become a doctor or lawyer if tests indicate you are likely to fail as a doctor or a lawyer?  Free higher education?  I hope you're ready for the government to be an active stakeholder in the path of your education and career choice.

You want free health care... but are you willing for the government to tell you when you can see a doctor, and what doctor you can see?  Okay, you scoff at that scenario -- what about your children?  What about your parents?  What about your spouse?  Not if, but WHEN a big medical trial comes your way, do you want the government to tell you where you can go, or do you want the freedom to seek a second opinion, an expert opinion, the services leading researcher in the field?  I sure do!

Source: via Hanka on Pinterest
You want free birth control... but are you willing for the government to tell you at what age you are allowed to have children or how many children you can have?  You think that is an outrageous argument?  That would never happen in our country?  Well, hopefully that's true, that would never happen in this country -- but you can't get something for nothing.  The government is providing you the medicine to not have a child... that's an investment, as a stakeholder in your reproductive activity, haven't they earned the right to express an opinion about when you do decide to have a child?  Just like a husband and wife discuss their reproductive desires and habits (a very personal conversation, by the way), they each are in invested in this topic... now the government is also literally invested in this situation.  You can't tell me they don't get a vote.

Maybe I've made some outrageous arguments... but that is why I usually stick with,
(say it with me),
"Are You Kidding Me?".
Thank you for reading and I hope you achieve your American Dream.  I also hope that the government stays out of your way so that you, yourself, a capable, motivated citizen can achieve, for yourself, your American Dream.

image signature

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Treasuring the Present: Time with Friends -- as a Couple

 Today, I'd like to treasure some time Chris and I have spent with some new friends... a couple of new friends -- literally a husband and wife couple who have been married about 3 weeks longer than Chris and I.

Chris and I have mutual friends and mutual friends who are married, but usually one of us knows one of the couple better than the other.  We have really enjoyed getting to know a fellow newly-wed couple TOGETHER.  Both husbands are even named Chris -- of course we're friends!
me, (my) Chris, Lloyd, (other) Chris, and Nicki
They invited us to dinner a few weeks ago when they were camping...
Nicki and Chris and their kitty, Rafiki
Chris and Nicki were camping near by, so we had a great cookout for dinner!
Even Lloyd was invited to dinner
Dessert = S'mores!  Yummy!
Nicki is due with their first baby, a girl, in September!
Chris and his perfect, huge marshmallow
Lloyd really wanted to try a marshmallow
And we invited them to dinner this past weekend...

I just forgot to get pictures of people
Grilled Brats, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans and Sweet Potato Fries
Brats mean every condiment in our fridge available for use
Here's a picture of a person!  It's Nicki!
Lexie really liked my centerpiece of fake red, white, and blue flowers
I had to hide the flowers in the microwave until the guests arrived
Just like family and memories are what make a house, a home... friends and memories are what make a town, a community.  We feel blessed to be making these new friends and making memories.

image signature

Monday, May 28, 2012

Words for Memorial Day

Friday night, Chris and I were watching NBC Nightly News and we saw a clip of a speech Vice President Biden said to Military Families that have lossed loved ones.  I am SO GLAD we saw clips of his speech.  I was crying just in the 2 minutes highlights that Nightly News showed.

I did not know much about the Vice President before I heard this speech, and I still do not know much about him.  But I know he can give a very moving, memorable, heartfelt, comforting speech that perfectly embodies what should be said on Memorial Day.

His words are so much better than any words I could write for today.  Please, do yourself a favor and watch this extended clip of his Memorial Day Weekend speech:

Thank you, Those who Serve and Their families.

image signature

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Decade Ago

May 27, 2002 -- A Decade Ago

I was in bed writing or reading, and my mom came in to say goodnight.  I don't remember the details of our conversation, but I couldn't sleep.  Mom told me that my sister was still up and out in the family room and maybe I should go talk to her.

I didn't want to.
But, for some reason I did.

May 27, 2002, I got up out of bed and went out to the family room and talked to my sister.  I don't remember everything we talked about, but I do remember that we talked more than we watched television.  One thing that was said was that Tracey asked me if it was okay if she didn't attend my graduation ceremony... she was in so much pain and worried about getting to the auditorium, sitting for so long, and getting home.  I told her I totally understood, and she would see me before the ceremony and I didn't want her sitting in pain through 300 names being read just to hear my one name.  I told her I would love for her to be there, but I completely understood and it wasn't a big deal for her to stay home.

May 27, 2002 was the Monday of Memorial Day... I remember because the Tuesday after Memorial Day was the day I was going to graduate from high school -- May 28, 2002.  I bet the majority of my class could not tell you the date we graduated.

I remember the specific date I got out of bed and talked to my sister, the night before my graduation, for one reason.

At one point in the conversation, she reminded me that four years earlier, to the day, my brother-in-law, her husband died -- May 27, 1998.  No one had remembered to say anything to Tracey that day that they remembered that this was the day that Dan died.

It was a busy day... I have no doubt we had had a Memorial Day Cookout, we had spent the weekend working around the house, and preparing for my graduation.  We simply hadn't noticed the date.  But sure enough, May 27 -- the day Dan died.

As Tracey reminded me of that date, so much was unspoken in her eyes... "Will you forget the day I died a mere four years after I'm gone?"
You see, Dan died after a 14 month battle with cancer.
On May 27, 2002, my sister was rounding her 14th month battling her own case of cancer, and she was not doing well.

This picture was taken a few weeks before our May 27 conversation
before my Sr. prom
In fact, what I didn't know ten years ago was that Tracey would spend the night at our parents on May 27, and then spend every night thereafter at our parents... she never went back to her house to stay...  What none of us knew on May 27 is that Tracey would die less than two weeks later on June 8.

I can believe that its been ten years since I've graduated high school.  A decade -- wow!  But it's been a great decade.  I can believe its been a decade because its been full of wonderful times post-high school.
What I cannot believe is that its been a decade since I had that May 27 conversation with my sister.  I cannot believe its been nearly a decade since I've talked to her at all, seen her, hugged her, laughed with her, been mad at her.  Ten years that she has been absent from my life.  Ten years that she has not been there for big events, she has not met people who are important to me.
Even worse... its been a decade.  I could potentially have 6 or 7 more decades without my sister before I see her again.  Six or 7 more decades of living on memories I made in the first 18 years of my life.

A Decade Ago was the night before I graduated from high school.  I couldn't sleep, so I got out of bed and talked to me sister.  I am so glad I got out of bed and talked to my sister.

Fourteen years since Dan died.
Ten years since I graduated from high school.
Ten years since that conversation with Tracey.

image signature

Saturday, May 26, 2012

One Happy Hubby!

Summer has arrived for my wonderful hubby!

I took a picture of him on the first day of school, but I couldn't find it anywhere... I do have this picture that I took of him on the last day of school (easy to keep track of given that it was taken yesterday morning).

Why, yes that is his morning Shakeology in his hand!
My hubby and I are in a little bit of a light-headed bubble regarding the end of this school year.  This is the first school year since we've been together when one or both of us have not changed jobs.

My husband and I met when we were both teachers in the same county.  We met at New Teacher Induction Class.  :-D  At the end of that school year, Chris was looking for a new job due to budget cuts... and we didn't know if our relationship would survive whatever distance was in our future.  Over that same summer, I was offered and accepted the job I currently have working with visually impaired learners.
First summer together -- two job changes.

The next school year, I was covering five school districts with my new itinerant position, and Chris was living 3 hours away teaching middle school.  As you all know the rest of the story, we did survive the distance and Chris proposed just before Christmas of that year we were living 3 hours apart.  Since we wanted to live together once we were married (crazy, I know), it meant one of us was going to relocated.  Chris was offered a job in one of the districts where I provide vision services.
Second summer together -- one job change, (MARRIAGE, and big move for both of us).

Now, Hubby and I are entering our third summer together --
Neither of us is changing jobs next year!

We are over the moon excited, and we feel unbelievably blessed to each have jobs that we love, and to know that our employers think we're doing pretty well and want us to return.

Chris has even been asked to take some leadership roles for next year!  :-D

We are Praising God like crazy and really excited for next school year -- in the same jobs!

That being said, at the moment, we are thrilled to welcome summer.

My hubby is totally done whereas I have another week -- a four day week, but a week nonetheless.

Congratulations, Hubby.  Summer has arrived!

image signature

Friday, May 25, 2012

Some Graduations are Special...

Some Graduations are Special...
Some Graduations are Really Special.

Chris and I were privileged to attend a really special graduation this week.

I teach students across five school districts and stay with the same students year after year from age 3 to 18... or sometimes age 21.

By looking at this picture, you would have no idea how
VERY difficult it is to get a picture of this girl smiling
and standing next to someone.

One of my students (the one in the purple gown) graduated earlier this week.  When one of my students graduates, it is a big deal.  I've only been at this job two years, so I certainly cannot take credit for the majority of the progress this student has made in her 21 years, but I have loved working with for these two years.  I will seriously miss her next year.

I remember the first time I met this student.  I remember how much I relied on her special education teacher and her paraprofessional to help me get to know her.  This student is nonverbal and has many medical issues.  I was doubting my abilities and wondering how I was every going to get to know this student.  And then I got to know this student.  And then I came to love this student.

And now, I will forever remember and often miss this student.

Congratulations to 2012 Graduates!

Some graduations are really special. 

image signature

Thursday, May 24, 2012

3,000 Words

The other day my mom sent me an email forward, then specifically called me to make sure I read the email (because I don't always read emails forwarded to me).

I have been getting in the habit of snapping pictures that are worth 1,000 words... well, the forwarded email my mom sent me had three pictures attached.  One picture won photograph of the year and the other two are the second and third place finishes.

My 1,000 word pictures don't hold a candle what is said through each of these three pictures.  I had to share them.

Third Place

“Son, a grateful Nation……..”

Second Place
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. 'I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,' she said. 'I think that's what he would have wanted'.

First Place
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport , Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport , Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: 'See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home,' he said. 'They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should.'

As we draw near to Memorial Day, please thank a service man or woman, thank the families of service men and women, and keep our troops in your prayers.

Thank you, Troops.

image signature

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sometimes & Always

Sometimes and Always with Megan!

Sometimes: I get into such a happy, productive routine in the month of May that I start to think I could enjoy working year-round
Always: I fall across the finish line of the school year completely exhausted and admit that I need two months to recover before another school year

Sometimes: My hubby or I casually comment on how nice it would be to eat take-out tonight instead of cooking
Always: We say that we don't need that tonight, think about it a few minutes, and then wind up getting Chinese or Pizza

Sometimes: I follow my mother's baking recipes to a "T" in an effort to create delicious treats like my mom makes
Always: I end up with baked goods that taste somewhat like Mom's, but are texturally dry and crispy -  GRRRRRRRRR!

Monster Cookies made for my hubby's students... I hope they like them with a crunch
Sometimes: I tell myself that we should invite friends over for the sole purpose of requiring me to majorly clean the house
Always: When we invite friends over... I clean, but not majorly

Sometimes: I do not understand the thought process of others
Always: I continue to wonder what they are thinking

For example... why would anyone ship 6 spatulas in a box this size?

Sometimes: I get very excited for the weekly Sometimes & Always post
Always: I'm surprised with how difficult it is to come up with statements of Sometimes & Always  :-D
 image signature

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Treasuring the Present: The End of the School Year

I love the month of May... I've posted on that before.  One reason I love the month of May because in many ways, it is like the month of December.

What do I mean by this?

When I'm asked what my favorite part of Christmas is... other than it is the birth of our Savior -- Immanuel, God With Us... my favorite part is December 1-26.  All of December is magical, full of hustle and bustle, Christmas parties... Christmas music, Christmas movies, Good Will, Christmas carols and greetings fall out of the mouths of many non-believers.  People cannot NOT celebrate in December.

That being said, this post is about the end of the school year.  May is a lot like December in that all of May leads up to the end of the school year... just like all of December leads up to Christmas.

May is a time of tying up loose ends -- tying up all ends, stepping back and seeing the growth and progress students have made over the past nine months, celebrations, special events, school assemblies, and excitement.

Only in May!
At the end of the school year and ONLY at the end of the school year could and would the following occur:
  • Students -- many students -- some might argue EVERY student, and TEACHER wakes up excited to go to school day after day after day (usually for the last 3-5 days of school)
  • My husband takes 2 liters of soda pop to school
  • Students are rewarded for meeting goals they have been working toward for the past 9 months (hence the soda pop)
  • Teachers can pull off field trips that are only possible in the last two weeks of school
  • Students express appreciation to in a different way, perhaps more sincere way, than they do the rest of the year
  • I send my hubby to school with 8 dozen homemade cookies
  • Teachers meet for lunch, happy hour, breakfast and enjoy each other as colleagues more often in the last two weeks of school than they do from September-April combined
The end of the school year is the last mile of a marathon... well, I've never run a marathon, so I should stick to comparisons I know are true.

The end of the school year is the last mile of a half-marathon.  It is the last ski run of the day.  It is the last lap in the pool. Its the last refrain of a song.  Its the last twirl and dip of a dance.  It is the final sprint to the end zone of an exhausting, exciting football game.

At the end of the year, teachers (and many students) are exhausted and busy, but totally motivated and determined to finish the race.

I love the end of the school year.

Here are some pictures I took last week on a vision field trip where four kiddos with visual impairments from four school districts met for the first time and did a ropes course at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.  A colleague of mine arranged the whole thing and we were able to bring four of our students of similar age and vision ability.  We had a BLAST.  Only near the end of the school year could this fun have occurred:

Practicing for the high ropes course

We're pretty high!

Can you imagine doing this without your sight?

We're getting ready to do the zip line...
Here we go!

image signature