Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the state of education funding

Politicians are in a state of denial when it comes to education funding. I honestly don't understand what the problem is. They know that children need to be educated, right? They know that they need teachers to do this, right? Research shows that smaller class sizes are imperative to making strong learners, right?
And yet, they continue to cut funding.

The sad thing is, they do not cut their expectations at all. I work in a small school with about 200 students. We have one teacher per grade level with one multi-age class thrown in for good measure. Never mind that we needed two teachers, they only sent one. I am the media specialist. I work part-time. For the past three weeks, the library has been CLOSED for half of the week because they won't hire anyone to help me, and they won't pay me to work. Without books, without reading, children cannot learn. So, why is it a good idea for the library to be inaccessible to groups of students who have no books in their homes?

To say that I am drowning is an understatement. My job is a full-time affair. To say that I feel like I am doing an inadequate job is also an understatement. Being gone half of the week leaves me feeling left out and behind when I return to work. I rush around trying to help teachers who need me, teach classes, help students, and do all of the administrative stuff associated with my job. Do more with less? I don't know if I can.

At this time, we have no book budget, no periodical budget, and not enough staff. When all the rage is to be like China or Japan educationally, technologically, how can we accomplish this? I'm frustrated with the system that thinks public education can fund itself.

Where are we going and what are we doing???? I want some answers!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a funny story

Luke has been exceptionally tired every day since school started, and has gone to bed nearly as soon as he's walked into the door at 6 from a full day of school and band practice.

However, this past Wednesday, he was tired like I've never seen before. He doesn't have practice on Wednesdays, so he was actually home by 3:30. He went into the small TV room to eat a snack and promptly fell asleep in the chair. So much so, that Steve had to kick his foot to wake him up and tell him to take out the trash. After he did that, Steve asked him to bring the SOL cases of milk over to the church as I was busy preparing the sacks for this week's kids.

Thirty minutes later, Steve and I are over in the church and realize that Luke hasn't made it with the milk so Steve goes to investigate. He finds Luke SOUND ASLEEP with his feel on the ground, his body folded over the cases of milk in the backseat of his car, and his head on the seat. Again, he had to kick his foot to wake him up! He ended up sleeping 14 HOURS STRAIGHT that night.....

Now, that's what I call TIRED!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

today's twenty-somethings

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a very smart man. I don't generally read his blog because, let's face it, I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT! and I'm okay with that.

However, on Facebook the other day, he referenced the Times Magazine article entitled, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” and then wrote a response. It is a phenomenon that is sweeping the country. Steve and I have talked about with our friends who have kids in their twenties and we all feel about the same way. Why aren't they more interested in getting on with their lives? What are they doing?

The article and subsequent reflection from Mohler goes on to discuss how many of us (40 or 50 somethings) were married, mostly with children, jobs, mortgages, etc. by the time we were in our mid-twenties. Basically, they are suffering from the "failure to launch" syndrome. They are putting off making commitments until much later in life meaning that they move more, change jobs more, and generally don't get themselves into position to become productive adults until much later. Why do you reckon that is?

Here's what I think. I think that today's twenty-somethings are afraid. Afraid of failure, rejection, and blows to the self-esteem. Why? Because we have raised them to be so. We protect them to the point that they cannot fend for themselves. We reward them for small things when they need to learn to find intrinsic rewards for doing the "right thing". And, we bail them out of scrapes both big and small without making them suffer the consequences of their actions. They simply cannot cope without the safety net that has been provided up until now.

I'm not a proponent of marrying young or starting a family before they are emotionally ready to do so, but I do believe that we do our kids a disservice by not allowing them to burst into the world full of enthusiasm and to be knocked down a time or two. Most of them need the maturity that being knocked down teaches them, anyway.

We have to begin when they are children to lead them toward adulthood so that when they are face-to-face with it, they can embrace it and learn to enjoy it. I know for us, this has been a challenge that we are dealing with now. We see where mistakes have been made, and are working to correct those (read--pushing a little harder!) along the way in an effort to help the next generation of twenty-somethings that come along.

It's an interesting read found at: http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/08/23/why-arent-emerging-adults-emerging-as-adults/ that you may enjoy....or not, depending on where you stand on this issue if you have a stance at all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

my recent red lobster experience

What's up with customer service these days? I mean, IT.IS.NO.MORE. Gone are the days of "thank you", "come back soon" or "can I get you some more water?".

Steve and I went to lunch yesterday since I was off and all. We drove up Two Notch looking for some place to eat that would strike our fancy. Finally, I said that I could always eat at Red Lobster and be happy, so we pulled in and got ready to chomp down on some yummy seafood.

We waited several minutes for the server to come and get our drink orders.....it was very difficult, two waters...one with lemon, one without. She brought them back, took our food order, and we commenced our conversation thinking all was gonna be good! Oh, how naive we were.......

Our food came, and I do have to say that it was yumm-o. 

But, does seafood make you exceptionally thirsty? It does me... which is why I drink water when I go there. 
Our server didn't really care that we were thirsty. About 1/3 of the way through the meal, she finally glanced our way long enough for us to choke out that we needed some water. She brought us ONE glass....presumably for us to share. But, being the good wife that I am....I chugged it all down, not realizing we were suppose to stick both of our straws into it and sip while making googly eyes over it like at a fountain shop.  

Fast forward to 1/2 way through our meal and we are both out of water again. I begin to watch our server and the restaurant manager. Our server had two other tables besides ours--actually right across from ours. She spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on their needs. She came to the one booth about six times in the course of ten minutes to bring them things she needed and never ONE time even looked over her shoulder at us to see if we needed something--much less ask! She fiddled around in the kitchen, talked to a few other employees, came back to see if her other two tables were okay, while still never coming to check on us!

Finally, as the saltiness of the shrimp I was eating was drying my tongue out, I picked up my water glass and went to the bathroom and filled it up out of the fountain. Desperate times call for desperate measures. As I was heading that way, I passed her taking food to....yep, you guessed it....one of the other two tables! When I came out of the bathroom, there she finally stood...taking Steve's plate away. Did she ask if we needed something? NO! Did she see my glass in my hand now full of water?  YES! Did she give a crap? NO!!

This has to be the WORST service I have received at a Red Lobster ever. Or seriously, at any restaurant ever!

Had I know that Red Lobster valued their water so highly, I would have brought in my own bottled water. At least, that way, I wouldn't have left thirsty....something I find inexcusable at any restaurant!

Ahhhhh.....well, my days of going to that particular Red Lobster are over.

In case you are wondering, I did speak to the manager, briefly. I was so angry that I knew I would create a scene if I said too much. When we got home, I did shoot off an email about this not-so-stellar experience to their corporate "guest relations". I may get over it, I may not. They are suppose to be sending me a letter from "guest relations"....seriously hope that is better than their service.....and if I'm still not pleased, I will call the corporate office.

I'm tired of giving my money to places that don't appreciate it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

torn and tgif

Ever had a decision that you had to make within a time frame, and you just couldn't make up your mind? I'm kinda feeling that pressure today.

You know those cartoons where the devil is on one shoulder and an angel on the other? Totally me right now! Except that I'm not sure one of them is the devil.....maybe they are both angels and I am being left to make up my own mind.

Here's my dilemma.....do I do something I don't necessarily want to do, but kinda feel obligated to do it OR do I just say no and then. perhaps, maybe cause a little (more likely a BIG) stink?

Whatdya think??

Glad I made it to Friday! Although I am only working 2 1/2 days a week, I am still pooped! I am thrilled with my new school....I love how small it is.....but there is so much to do! I ran off my assistant (kidding...she found something full-time!) so my library is closed today while I sit at home. Does this make sense? Not to me, but I am not the one making the decisions.

I now have health insurance and you cannot imagine my relief over that! It's worth the aggravation of cramming 5 days of work into half that!

Hope you have a delightful Friday....I am so ready for the fall season....and some FOOTBALL!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Imma-politics edition

Well, it's time for Imma to come out and play. For you new folks, "Imma" means "I'm going to need....." it's just shortened and I totally stole it from one of Shea's friends!  Love you, Amy!

Imma needs the president of our great country to puh-leeze stop talking about that mosque...or you know, anything else, for that matter unless you are talking about getting some people some jobs!

Imma needs Vincent Sheheen to win the governor's race here in good 'ole SC. Yes, I know he's a democrat, but really, can it get worse?

Imma also gonna need for these politicians...Sheheen included....to keep their pants on! For crying out loud, people, do marriage vows mean NOTHING anymore?

Imma needs some of that stimulus money to come to SC so that my poor little school can get some new books and a full-time media specialist.....hopefully, that would be me, but whatever!

Imma also needs that Iman or whatever the heck he is to SHUT-UP about that mosque....get a grip....NOBODY wants that thing near the 9/11 site. How disrespectful is that??

Imma needs Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh to not make the rest of us republicans look like bumbling idiots...tone it down, people!

Imma needs the state highway department to bring those SLOW DOWN signs that were suppose to alert drivers that a church was near back.....why did you take them in the first place?

What else does Imma need, you ask? Imma has no idea, but is sure she can come up with something else soon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the edge of divine

Sandi Patty's latest offering for our reading enjoyment is  The Edge of the Divine: Where Possibility Meets God's Faithfulness. 

The book focuses on Sandi's journey with her weight issues and her decision to have lap band surgery. The book allows the reader insight, sometimes too much, into her life to include her move and its effect on her family. I guess, for me, Sandi Patty has lost her luster.  I find her and this book a little self-indulgent. 

I hate to be completely negative, however, as she did share a battle that I am fighting as well. It's nice to have a book from a Christian's perspective about triggers and why we overeat. The book is one that I may turn to when I need a motivational pick-me-up. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't have a weight problem.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things

And, Yep! Sound of Music is one of them......

However, I have some new favorite things to share.......

These beads are made of clay and hand-painted. The jewelry is great, and not that expensive. I just bought this to carry my school keys on. I really want a couple of the necklaces and rings (Christmas, maybe? hint, hint, Steve!)

World Craft Village

WorldCrafts is a collection of unique and beautiful handmade items from around the world. These high quality products are fairly traded items, which means they are produced under non-exploitative conditions by artisans who are paid a fair wage.

When you purchase WorldCrafts, you join with other caring people to provide income, improved self-esteem, and hope to artisans living in poverty. 

I especially love this tote which also comes with wooden handles.

Take One
This is a new series from Karen Kingsbury, Take One, Two, Three, and Four. Sadly, I am on the last one, and the next book continuing with these characters doesn't come out until next year.

You can, of course, purchase these at amazon.com or get them free at your public library!

Watoto Children's Choir
We were privileged enough to hear this choir while at the SBC this year. They are amazing, and their story more so.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

my thoughts

I've had several blog posts floating around in my head lately and honestly just couldn't muster the energy to put any of them into cohesive thoughts enough for one full post.


I decided to just post my thoughts on several subjects instead. Maybe, or not, I will come back to some of these and see if I can a form paragraphs about them later!

Whale Wars

1. This is the most bumbling group of idiots ever to take a boat onto the high seas. Do you watch this show? We just laugh, and of course, Steve (being a Navy man) just cringes whenever they do stupid things. Case-in-point: last night, one of the "captains" (his ship was the one that got destroyed by the Japanese) created a FIRE and burned a hole in the workroom while he was playing around with some of the equipment.
2. The Bob Barker was rammed by the Japanese which resulted in a hole in the hull where water was pouring in. They have no pump with which to get the water out, so they were scooping it up and putting it into a bucket to dump!
3. Honestly, I could go on and on because these people are stoopid.

Parenting Adult Children

1. As a parent, I thought once the kids were adults I would no longer have to worry constantly about them. Boy, was I wrong!
2. At what point do we as parents give up and let the kids come back to us in their own time when they've gotten mad? This is not what I wanted for my relationships with my adult children. Do I make the first move or should she? I don't know. I'm hurt and confused.

Chris L. of The Bachelorette
1. You were the best contestant ever.
2. I know you want to be near your dad and brothers, but please, the education world needs you.....get back to your chosen profession. Kids need more role models like you in their lives! You can landscape on the side.
3. I don't blame you for not wanting to share anymore of yourself on TV, but seriously, I'd love to watch you for two hours every Monday night. Yummy!

So, you can see that I have many thoughts. None of them are that important......but soon, I will be doing another "my favorite things" post that you will surely enjoy! AND, I know you've been wondering.....because that's what you do.......wonder what I'm wondering.....Imma is going to be making a statement soon.

Until then, Peace out!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

is it friday yet?

Good grief! I had no idea what I was praying for when I requested a job. I am seriously out of practice when it comes to getting up early and doing so much physical labor. Thankfully, I will have some help tomorrow as I have conned my kids and husband to come on out and lug books for me.

Ahhh....the challenges of a working woman. I love it, you know I do! It's funny how my focus has shifted from all things church-related to not even thinking about church-related things. I like it! As a pastor's wife, sometimes I hear and see things that I really do not want to know. I'd rather know NOTHING than too much. It's not that I am not interested in the life of our congregation, I am, and I love them all dearly....yes, even the ones who write anonymous letters....ha! I'd just rather not be "in the know" about everything.

It's also very different working because my focus is not primarily on what Stevie, Shea, and Luke are doing. It gives them more freedom....for which I know they are eternally grateful....to do their own thing without my constant input. I do, seriously, try to contain it, but it JUST spills out!

So, working, works for me. Really. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

back to work

Whew! I am tired. Last night found me in the bed at 8:30. I felt a little overwhelmed, but today was so much better. I have a ton of work to do before next Monday, I don't know how I will ever get it all done. However, all teachers feel that way at the beginning, and somehow everything turns out fine by the first day of school. So, if I'm absent you know where  you can find me.......moving books around....I'm reshelving the entire library!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

back to school

I can't believe that the summer is over. It seems like except for the first couple of weeks in June, we stayed pretty busy and on the road a lot of the time. However, it's done and it's time to move into the new school year.
This year will be different as I am going back to work after an 18 month forced sabbatical......not being able to find a job and all. Steve will begin his doctorate, Stevie will go back to college, and Luke will begin high school.

Where has the time gone??

It's been fun, but I know that from now on things will likely be different. Once the kids start high school, things begin to change. They don't want to spend all of their time with you anymore, and sometimes they don't even want to travel with you.....although, I don't really anticipate that! Luke will be doing marching band which is an all-consuming activity what with practice, ballgames, and competitions. He's also been challenged (read threatened) to get all As this year as the time for grades to really matter are upon us. Scholarships don't win themselves, ya know.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the start of new things. The days just keep getting better and better!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

sliding rock

Sliding Rock is located in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC. We took the youth group up there and let them experience it. The water was COLD!!


When they tired of sliding, they hung out in the frigid water.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

20 years in the minefield

Dear Steve,

20 years ago today, I walked down the aisle on the arm of my daddy towards you...a man I had only know a few short months. However, I knew in my heart of hearts that God had sent you directly to me, for me. I was right. There is no greater joy for me than to love you.
Though the last 20 years have, at times, resembled a minefield, I've felt confident walking through it with you. You have been with me through many rough patches, but we have also experienced great joys. Those are the times that I choose to focus on today. You are the man I choose to continue to love, honor, cherish,and respect today.
At the end of your portion of our vows you asked me one question....Patty, will you be my wife? I said yes that day, and I'd say it louder and with more enthusiasm today. Because, without a doubt, I'll always be YOUR wife. The one who loves you more than any other.
My prayer today is that we have many, many more years together surrounded by family and friends, filled with God's love, and most importantly, the ability to always find our way to each other at the end of the day.

You are my best friend, and I love you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

fbc lyons children's building

First Baptist Church in Lyons, Ga built this incredible building. These are only a few of the pictures. They paid a company to come in and paint all of these amazing murals everywhere. I have more pics, but this is all I have time for today!

the registration desk
their play place
it's two stories high...better than mcdonald's
even a place for moms to hang out

the youth area
youth area includes pool and ping-pong
the entrance to the children's building
this huge ship is painted next to the registration desk
looking down the hallway of classrooms
x marks "the spot"