Wednesday, December 1, 2010

christmasING and why it's ok





I love Christmas, I know, we all know this by now, I've been building this up for months and months it seems. I know for some I start too early...sorry. I know for others they don't like the hustle bustle.

I feel like I need to make a case for Christmas.

I actually took a lot of flack for being excited about Christmas. I received various complaints in my exubrant celebreation of Christmas...this is my attempt to answer them as best I can. By the end if you still don't like Christmas, I'm okay with that, but please, I beg you don't rain on my parade anymore. :)


Complaint 1: "It's too early for Christmas."--Okay, okay I'll give some of you this one in my over-enthusiastic-starting-after-Halloween-facebook-counting-down celebrations of Christmas....so there, Scrooges 1, Christmas lover's 0. But look out, we Christmas lover's are about to make quite the comeback. :)

Complaint 2: This one is much like the one the above, only slightly tweeked--"It's not even Thanksgiving" or the reoccurring "What about Thanksgiving, it's a holiday too!" First of all, I want to answer the complaint with a question: How does my Christmas tree being up inhibit your Thanksgiving celebration? For me, my tree only enhances Thanksgiving and gives me one more thing to be Thankful for. Also, just because I start Christmas decorating doesn't mean I leave Thanksgiving out. If I had the money to invest in fabulous Thanksgiving decor, I might. Usually after Halloween, its easier to move from our Halloween decor, into Christmas. It's sort of a practicality...is that word???
Also I view Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc...as part of a general holiday season. One is not more important then the other, rather all are occasions for Thankfulness, Joy, and the anticipation of the bright new days to come. :)

So its 1:1...Tied up!

Complaint 3: "Christmas has become so commercial...all about buying stuff." Okay, to this I have a two fold answer. First of all, if you don't like that it's so commercial, don't let it be. There's no rule saying you have to break the bank and spend your entire savings on Christmas gifts. Try something handmade. Christmas is a lovely time to exercise your creativity. Second, and I'm serious in saying, giving gifts for some people is a huge way of showing love. Again, this doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Usually for people that give and receive love by giving and receiving gifts, it really is the thought that counts...get creative.

Uh-oh! 1:2 Christmas lovers are winning!

Complaint 4: "Christmas was originally supposed to be about Jesus and it's not anymore." This is actually one of my least favorites for a few reasons. First of all, historically if we really look at Christmas it wasn't originally about Jesus. It was originally pagan. I'm not saying that I don't love that its a beautiful time to remember what Christmas became over time--a time to remember Christ...but let's get our facts straight. This leads me to my next point...for those of us who want Jesus to be the reason for the season: shouldn't everyday be like Christmas??? Remembering who he is and that he became Emmanuel ("God with us"). I love Christmas songs, particularly ones that refer to Christ as Emmanuel. Think of it...God with us. God with us. God coming into our dark world as light. I just love it. This leads me to my last point in addressing this complaint: Jesus can still be your reason for the season, even if to others He's not.

1:3 Christmas lovers!!!! :) (see, aren't I winning you over)

Complaint 5 (last one because this post is getting too long and I'm already afraid I've made someone mad, even though that's not my intent at all): "Christmas is too busy!!!! All the family party's, work party's, church party's..." This answer is much like my response to Christmas becoming too commercial...don't let Christmas become that busy. You're allowed to say no...even if you don't have anything planned that night. It's okay to stay at home curled up by your tree with cocoa and a Christmas movie. It's okay to take a nap every now and again. It's okay to figure out a different day to celebrate with a particular side of the family. Relax, enjoy, take time for Christmas. :)

This should clench it...1:4 Christmas lovers! :)

Did I win you over yet? (Or just annoy you...sorry)

All in all, I'm just saying I don't understand the Scrooge side of Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy and I think, especially as those who claim to know the Source of joy, it's okay to celebrate, to stand in awe, to enjoy the mystery and magic of the season, to give gifts, and to love, and to rejoice in Emmanuel, to give to those in need, and to pray for the grieving, and to rejoice with those who rejoice. It's a fabulous time of year and worth defending (I don't mean that in the "Merry Christmas vs Merry Xmas" way, personally its not an argument I'm worried about).

Before I close this long post that no one probably made it all the way through, I do want to add this...I understand for some Christmas is painful. It may be the first Christmas without a loved one, or the 1st Christmas without a job, or the 2nd without a job, or a Christmas centered around hospitals and a family illness, and for those people, its okay to grieve in this season and my heart really goes out to you. I think its okay to find Christmas hard to celebrate this year. I've been there in one way or another, most of us have, and wouldn't want to be there again.

To me though, it's all the more reason to celebrate Christmas and look for those in need to reach out to and be Emmanuel to...after all we are the body of Christ...we are those who are to be "God with us" to so many.

Anyway, that was long, but its been building. I hope no one was offended. :)


Merry Christmas!!! :) :) :) :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

communicatING: kids these days....

If your a teacher--watch these. If you are a pastor--watch these. If you are a parent--watch these. If you are any kind of communicator--watch these.

You may need to turn off the music on this page. Scroll to the bottom and hit pause on the Flash player.









I watched these in a psych class I'm in. I loved these. Both of them. 8 books, but 2300 web pages...this should change how teach, how we preach, how communicate, how we create.

Recently my four year old niece proclaimed to the world that she wants iTunes gift cards for Christmas to download apps for the iPad. She's four!!! This made me laugh and made me think. These are the students I will have, these are the kids that will be sitting in classes, and maybe the people sitting pews....pews? Maybe not. I'm not sure what it will look like, but I think it will look different then it does now and it has to.

"It" has to look different in our classrooms and our churches. Students are not getting dumber, they just learn differently. Students get "it" differently.

It's funny but even kids in schools or churches now have more technology and information available to them I ever did at their age (do I feel old or what saying that???).

I'm rambling, but I hope these videos inspire us to communicate differently, and teach differently, and preach differently, and evangelize differently. I hope they inspire us to update (as much as we can afford), to create (in all new ways), to think before we complain about kids and their iPods, gaming habits, and attention spans. An effective teacher-preacher-learner-blogger-writer-thinker-communicator knows their audience and communicates in a way that the audience can understand it. This takes work and willingness to change, but it's worth it.

p.s. I know the intro the first clip is a little dated. Sorry. I feel like that fact is a little oxymoronic.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

eatING

Yes, I titled this post eating. This is a step that most of us (myself included up until now) can easily ignore in the preparation of our food.

Dave hunts...everything. This time of year several animals are in season, and pheasant is one them. Last year I made a pheasant for Thanksgiving, but Dave had already skinned it. This year I wanted the skin, so this meant plucking.

I've never plucked anything, so this was a new experience for me. Sorry that I look so greasy, but while Dave hunts, I sleep, so I hadn't really been up that long at the time these were taken.

Here we go!
















As you can see, it gets rather messy. This was only a small amount of the feathers we took from it.


This isn't quite the finished product. I had to soak it to get some of the remaining feathers out. Also, I will add that yes, I gutted it. Dave helped with some of the cutting. This is because he is experienced, but I actually pulled out the actual guts...yes, with my hands. (For all of your sakes, I left out pictures of that...it was gross and it smelled.) And yes, I chopped off the head and feet and excess wing parts.

I really feel I can take on anything in life now. I mean, I've gutted and plucked a pheasant. That has to be some sort of rite of passage. I think this means I've moved into some new phase of life...or something...???

I also have to say I'm glad I'm already married. This can't be an attractive, feminine quality, gutting pheasants.

All told, the whole process took around an hour. It wasn't really that bad, but I will say I'm glad I don't have to do this for every meal. I can't imagine living at a time when that was your only choice. Think about this the next time you buy a boneless skinless chicken breast. :) Or maybe don't...I think that would be better.
:)

I will try and post a picture of the finished product on Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

knittING and feltING!!!!

So, October was busy, full of field study in a 6th grade class(which was fabulous, I intended on posting something soon about how fabulous it was), work (which I have now quit, which is also fabulous and I now have time for things like sleep), Halloween partying (as I have already posted, we know this too, was fabulous)...somehow in all of it, I picked up something new. Actually two somethings new. :)

1. Knitting!!!!



Yes, I'm learning to knit. This is my first project and I'm pretty excited about it. I call it my Mr. Tumnus scarf. I secretly want to open an Etsy shop someday called: The Chronicles of Yarnia, and Other Storybook Knits. I would also knit hobbit style scarves, Harry Potter scarves and hats etc....you get the idea. :) I don't know that copyright laws would allow me to actually do that though...something to look into..hmmmm.....


2. Felting!!!



I have actually had felting supplies since June, but haven't made much to speak of. This is my first "figure"...a penguin! :) This isn't the best picture, but overall I was happy with how it turned out.

Unfortunately...



...this is the culprit who got a hold of the penguin and gave it an unfortunate end. The penguin is now missing a wing and has an eye sadly hanging from his head.

I think I could also include felting into my Etsy shop and felt little storybook figures as well. Not that I really have time for any of this...but maybe someday. ;)

Check out some of my fiber, wool, and felting blogs listed on my blog roll. If you click on the one that says "fiberfarm" it takes you to a yahoo page, you then have to click on one of the blog post title to get to the actual, and very creative, blog.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

votING and fundING



Ok, ok, so I swore that I wouldn't get sucked into the world of debate and politics this voting season. Yes, I voted, but after spending 4 years in a public university, one grows quite tired of debating politics with people no matter what side anyone in the argument is on....however (I know, any of you who know me, probably knew I could never let a voting season go by without getting on my soapbox about something)there is an issue I see a lot of people uninformed about and its driving me nuts. So, I regress (surprise, surprise.)

School Funding. Particularly tax levies. (Big sigh...and here we go).

Let's first start by saying--I'm going to be a teacher. Obviously, I'm not in it for the money, so I hope that you can all believe me when I say that I care deeply about our education system and its future, and well, it's funding. I think schools need money. I also think though, that throwing money at someting, doesn't always fix it (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't).

Now, having said all that, I often vote "no" on school levies. Usually on school levies of any kind. Someday, some futre employer is going to read this and not hire me and I may even delete this post when I go to apply for jobs (seriously). I have a good reason for my voting habits though, the reason being: the way ohio funds thier schools (ie property tax levies) has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court...more then once. I think it's been ruled that way four times, but I'm not sure if that is by the Supreme Court each of those times. I'm pretty sure, its worked its way up the Court System. To read all about it visit School Funding Matters.

I do know this, it has been ruled unconstitutional because of how heavily it relies on property taxes. Also more then one time the deadline for Ohio to change the way it funds it's schools has came and went with no solution found.

This is all hard for me to post because again, I hate seeing programs cut, teachers cut, and even schools closed, but schools have bent back the hand of tax payers by saying pass this levy....or else. Or else, your kids won't have busses, or else there will be bigger class sizes, or else they will have to pay to play. I just don't think this is fair. Even as an educator, I think there has to be another answer and we are asking too much of our property owners.

I really reccomend reading up on this issue before you vote for (or against) another levy. I know that so often I hear people say that voting down a levy doesn't change the system, but only hurts the education of our children. There are certain instances that I agree, however I also agree that by continuing to pass levies, we are saying we are ok with the ways our schools are funded. I think for a healthier relationship between schools and communities, we need a new answer. I know this is all easier said then done, but this battle has been going on for decades now.

I apoloigze if I've stepped on toes. I really was much more on my soapbox then I intended to be. I am ok with people voting for whatever they feel is right, I just want them to be educated about the issues.

Photo Credit: Google Image

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

hauntING : HardING style...

Every year we have a Halloween party (well, for the last two years, but we are hoping it becomes an annual thing). It grew between this year and last and I hope it continues to.

Here is a little of what went on! :)


Our mad scientist laboratory...




Some of our creative costumers as "Up a creek, without a paddle."




Luigi and the baseball player!



Shrunken heads.... :)




Skelly in his laboratory...




Witch supplies (and scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out who the witch was)...



If you don't show up in costume...well...




Our costume contest winners: Storm and Ironman (Brittany and Aaron) :)



Our Apple Bobbing winner...Craig with 2.5 seconds! We were all very impressed. :)




Our costume...mwa ha ha!



I hope you all had a fabulously haunted Halloween...and maybe next year you can spend it with the Harding's :) (if you can't tell, I LOVE Halloween). :)



All in all, it was a blast and I can't wait to do it again next year.

Now...onto Christmas. :) :) :) :) (Just so you know....I love Christmas even more than Halloween!) ;) "Mwa ha ha!"...will change to "Ho ho ho!" quite soon. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

shavING



One of my favorite Halloween-ish movies ever. If you haven't seen it, you should....that is--if you can handle it. Mwa-ha-ha! :) Happy Halloween (again)! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

missING (its happy but humorous conclusion)




I am happy to say that my day did in fact get better. However, I have to add that upon arriving home last night I did manage to successfully lock both Dave and I out of the house without our keys (hence the "locked out" part) or our phones. This resulted in walking to his parents house to get a key. Oh, and thank you Katie for giving us ride for the latter half of our walk. (sorry if we scared you too badly by pounding on your door...I think I really felt bad about that part.)

I am also happy to say I found the missing sweater. It was in my closet, but only halfway on the hanger so unless I individualy slid every hanger over to look for it (which I did last night) I wouldn't have realized it was there (like yesterday morning).

I am sad to say that my ticket was actually 134 dollars as opposed to what I orginally thought (114). Since I was doing 83 in a 65 (18 mph over the speed limit) this means that I am "bumped up" to the next bracket of speeders. Oh well.

Thank you all for your concern. :)



Image Credit: www.thekansascitylawyer.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

missING

What was missing? My sweater. When was it missing? This morning, thereby setting into motion the following series of events:

I searched frantically for my sweater watching the time growing ever closer to the time I needed to leave for class (at Stark) and then pass it. I gave up, and left very frustrated as this was my favorite sweater and from Anthropologie even. I drove about two blocks (sweater-less...which means wearing my blue shirt that is a "back-up", I never really feel "ready to go" in it) realized I was missing a folder I needed for class and turned back around. I searched for about 5-10 minutes in the house for it and gave up (again). As it turns out, it was already in my bag I was taking to school. At this point, I realize I am going to be over 20 minutes late for a 50 minute class. I check the attendance policy on the syllabus: I only get one absence so I decide to go for it and try to make it to class (after all I still have flu season to survive...I may need my one measly absence later int he semester).

I am making my way down 77, yes, rather quickly. I am mad about my sweater, mad about my folder incident, mad about attendance policies, and mad that I'm mad about any of this. It was at that moment I looked in my rear view mirror...and yes...you know exactly what's next--flashing lights. It was at this point I finally burst into tears and feeling quite ridiculous about that (who cries over getting pulled over??? apparently me).

The cop approaches, tells me I was going 83 (yes, perhaps I was out of control). I am hysterical and feeling absolutely ridiculous that I'm hysterical and wondering why I'm hysterical when the cop (who was very nice by the way) says "It's ok, I'm not going to hurt you." Seriously? Am I that out of control and hysterical? This really only creates more tears and hysteria for me. Finally, I get my ticket and I'm on my way and I'm now going to be 40 minutes late for a 50 minute class and I don't even know if this now constitutes being "present" for class (so much for flu season...if I'm puking, I'll bring a bucket).

So today I arrived at class 40 minutes late, sweater-less, soon to be 114 dollars poorer, and yes still hysterical and unable to calm down.

The good news is, the prof for my class is a genuinely understanding woman, and didn't think I was crazy for being hysterical(although I still do). Also immediately following that class is a four hour break between my classes whereupon I retreated to Starbucks and then Borders where I used my phone to make out a pictorial Christmas list of the books I would like this year. I also had a conversation with my sister and have now blogged. I think (I say this ready to duck) I have fully recovered from my hysteria and can now move successfully into my afternoon. Also if you look to your right, you will see that there are only 85 days until Christmas. This is a good thing and that alone should make anyone feel better.

Thank you all for listening. If you happen to see a brown Anthropologie sweater, size small...please let me know. It is still missing and I feel it should know that its misplacement has caused quite the ruckus.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

readING



So I'm trying to post because its been awhile, and I'm posting about reading because I always mean to and never do. That being said...I love this book. It's everything I could want in an anthology of poetry. Every poem in the book was chosen by Garrison Keillor for his NPR show "Prairie Home Companion". In the collection you can find famous poets like Dickinson and Whitman. You can also find poems written anonymously and it's a GREAT way to find new poets to read and enjoy. I discovered Mary Oliver and Donald Hall, among so many others. Seriously...it's great.

What I love most about this book is it's simplicity. It really is exactly what it says it is--Good Poems. I love "picking at" this book. Grabbing it, opening it up and reading whatever happens to be on the page I opened to. I love picking poets and reading every poem included by them. I love picking a poem and reading it over and over until it becomes a part of me.

I love the way the poems are organized; into chapters with names like "Snow", "A Day", "Yellow" and "Music". It's so simple and common in a beautiful, wonderful way (except Dickinson...I never feel like she is simple...ok, so she's not my favorite).

If you like poetry (even a little)I cannot recommend this enough. Read it. Buy it. Enjoy it. It's wonderful ands often my inspiration for writing my own poems (or at least trying).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

countING




Yes, that is a countdown to Christmas you see to your right. I LOVE Christmas and everything about it. I fight off the urge all year to listen to Christmas music. I definately am one of those people that as soon as Halloween is over, I'm pulling out Christmas decorations,recipes,CD's, movies...all of it! I just can't get enough of it! So expect posts about Christmas. They are coming.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

filterING

I'm awake and it's 6:48 am. I know, I know to many of you that's really not all that early, but I've actually been awake for hours....thinking. Dangerous, I know. I don't really know if I've been awake because of the things I've been thinking (which you'll soon find out what those are), or because of a nap yesterday, or because I had sweet tea too late at night. Who knows? All three? At any rate, for a few hours its just been me and my thoughts, and now you. Whoever "you" are, which is the scary thing about this. And what may make me wait until I'm a little more coherent before hitting the "publish" button.

Lately, I've been thinking about a lot of things. Thinking, not talking. This is ok usually. But lately, I'm not sure if my motives behind not talking are all that healthy.

I've been thinking about Christianity, about church (we've recently changed churches), about how really, a lot of the newer friendships in my life know nothing about this part of me. Nothing. I'm genuinely not a proponent of beating people over the head with Christianity, or standing on street corners with clapboards and megaphones, or hokey t-shirts, or tracks, or really anything like that, to me those things are fake, and shallow and not really anything that Christianity is. (I didn't used to feel that way...sadly)

What I'm talking about are that people that are friends and want to know me....don't know me. I'm not being honest to hide this part of me. I'm going out of my way, to not be myself. I actually feel like avoided the fact that yes, I would call myself Christian. If it is mentioned, my words are so filtered, among Christians and non Christians alike. If ever I describe my faith or my relationship with God, I feel like every word is guarded, chosen slowly and painfully, like they may be my last. (This isn't always a bad thing, sometimes that's just called good communications, but I don't feel that is my own goal when speaking this way lately). Or I feel I have to duck after saying them, like some Christian somewhere is going to get out thier doctrine stick and hit me with it if everything I say doesn't quite line up.

Why is that? This is the question I've been asking myself as of late. Why do I feel the need to be so filtered? Why among those who call themselves Christians and those who don't do I feel like I can't just talk? Why am I afraid, in this aspect of my life to just be me, just be upfront?

I wondered if I was embarrassed of what I believe, if I was doubting it...no. Not it. Am I being too worried about what people think? Yes, that has to be part of it. But why only with this? Why is it I can talk freely about anything else..even controversial topics like politics, teaching theories (so, not controversial around everyone, but you have to remember who I hang out with all day at school).

All I can come up with over and over as my answer (right or wrong) is Christians. Recently (meaning within the last couple years) I have seen the ugly side of Christians. I have seen the judgemental, "well meaning" but mean spirited Christians. I have seen the Westboro Church side of Christianity>. I have seen close friends be hurt by those who would also call themselves Christian. I have seen Christians say nasty things too each other. I have seen Christians turn doctrinal molehills into mountains. I've seen them unable to listen, grieve, and do things that people (christian or not) do.

This is it. This is why I struggle lately. This is why my soul feels so worn out and tired, and I lay awake at night, thinking of these things. Wondering how and why and what makes people act like this. Wondering how and why and what my reaction should be, and trying to figure what my own reaction really and truly is. I am afraid to speak to Christians about what I think (see above paragraph as to why, or the part about the doctrine stick), and I am embarrassed to associate myself with the above Christianity to those who don't believe it (see above paragraph as to why).

Even in all that though, this is what I know, and what I need to preach to myself (over and over and over): The above Christianity, is not Christianity. It isn't the Christ I know, and it isn't the Christ that ever existed. Christianity isn't hateful, its not ruled by guilt. The point of it is not to beat the whole world or Christians into some nice neat "christian" mold. It is actually quite the opposite of that. Christianity and Christ are life giving, freeing even, when understood and accepted for what they really are. There are moments, for me at least, when all that is easier said then believed given recent experiences and having the Quran-burning church at the forefront of the media.


Please, please know after reading all this that I don't hate Christians (I'm one of them after all). I don't hate church. I believe it is capable of being the most world changing, life changing, soul changing thing on the planet. I don't hate Christianity, I believe it to be the most world changing, life giving, soul changing thing on the planet. And yes (for those with your doctrine sticks..I'm half kidding..sorry) I still believe in only Christ (and in the importance of doctrine for that matter). What I believe hasn't changed. That I go to church hasn't changed. What I want that to look like carried out in my own life--that has changed over time, and I'm more then ok with that. Know to, that I am still working through all of these things. This post of this blog is not my final statement on Christianity and Christians. It's just where I am at this point in this beautiful, messy, thirst creating, thirst quenching, wonderful, sometimes terrifying, wild, precious, abundant life that is Christianity.

So that was it. My (almost) unfiltered thoughts on my current Christianity (I'm still giving it a little time before I hit the publish button though). :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

stretchING (myself thin!)



It's September. Which means back to school, a few more hours at work, we have a new small group, field studies at local schools, not mention,all school related activities come with a commute up to the Stark County campus...so needless to say life is busy. Right now it feels like every hour every day is a precious commodity that must be spent wisely and carefully (in a different way, shouldn't all of life be that way?). Work added an extra hour to my schedule in the morning and I could feel the noose tightening, and the questions of "When will I study, do laundry, sleep?!" All this to say I feel stretched out. As Biblo Baggins would say "Like butter, scaped over too much bread..." (Sorry for the nerdy Lord of the Rings reference, I love it). I don't just feel stretched out in my time, but in all of my resources. Mentally, emotionally, physically (running around in this heat is exhausting!)

September also brings one of my favorite times of the year though, fall. I love autumn and all that comes with it. Brilliant colors, cool quiet evenings, back to routine, chilly mornings, Halloween, carving pumpkins, fall festivals, sweaters, hoodies, soup suppers, the crispness in the air...ahhhh....I could just drink it up. Yet sometimes with all that is my life going on right now, it's hard to stop and do just that. It's going to be incredibly easy this semester to not take time to do the things I love, like drink cider slowly, read books I love, blog, felt, cook, and go for walks.

It's easy as people to feel like if we aren't constatnly accomplishing, and checking tasks and goals off our list, that we are failing. I thnk goals are important and so is a sense of accomplishment. We need it as people, but it can't end there. We need to stop and breath and drink it all in just as much as much we need to accomplish and feel like our life has momentum.

I know this is all obvious and really I guess most of life is, but it is usually the obvious that we miss so easily.

Anyway, I feel like I write this post a little hurried, knowing that in the back of my mind I need to iron my pants, change for work, pack my bag for school, clean up the kitchen etc., etc., ect...but it was great to even to take a few minutes to write and think and reflect. If you happen to see me racing from one place to the next, or furiously and frantically studying, feel free to remind me to stop and to stretch and enjoy life. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

learnING



A few weekends ago I took my Praxis I test in Mathematics (one of a few tests I have to take in my journey to become a teacher). I HATE and have always hated math(Until recently, more on that later). The experience alone was awful not to mention the content.

The test was at 7:30 am in Zanesville on a branch campus of Ohio University. Yes, I said 7:30 AM in Zanesville! So this meant getting up at 4:30 am, meeting the other two members of my group that also were taking the test, and driving aaaallll the way to Zanesville.

Nathan, Bobi, and I did get there in time and with a little (ha!) work found the right classroom (we actually think finding the room was part of the actual test in some way). We sat with our sharpened #2 pencils (not mechanical, as instructed online) calculators (again we THOUGHT this was instructed online) and waited for some of the others along with the test proctor to file into the classroom.

Without boring you with the rest of the long story, by the time we started the test it was an hour...yes...an HOUR later then when were supposed to start (yes, I was ANGRY) and it was declared just before taking the test that we could NOT use calculators. So, we had 60 minutes to answer 40 multiple choice math questions and wasted A LOT of time doing things like long dividing etc., were exhausted, hungry, and anxious. I was near hyperventilation by this point and all and all I still don't really know how I did on this test. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to pay $90.00 (yes...I said $90.00!!) to take it again.

This whole experience got me thinking about learning, school, and how we are taught to teach. What I kept thinking over and over as I was taking my test was "My ability to teach has been reduced to this?" (Perhaps I should have been thinking more about the volume of cylanders). I know testing has its place, but so much of my education on becoming an educator has been reduced to "Read this", "Take this test", "Say the right thing, at the right time....and you're in." I hate this. This isn't the kind of teacher I want to be, and I don't like that this is how we teach our teachers.

Remember earlier when I said that I HATE math? Now this is in part because I was the kid sitting my 7th grade pre-algebra class yelling "When are we ever going to use this!?" However, I don't know that my question was entirely unjustified. The responses I recieved were usually so that I could pass a test and get into a good college. Not a bad goal, but is this the only reason we learn? Is it the only reason we teach? (Yes, I'm on my soapbox now). To pass a test. That's it?

No one ever told me that math related to physics and the fabric of the universe, or that it could help me understanding chemistry and the miracle of the inner workings of plants and animals. Now I know, I know...will a 7th grader listen to this? Maybe...maybe! So why not try? Why not try to get the kid in the back of classroom wondering when this will be useful to see that it's interesting...even exciting and that everything they learn connects to the world around them.

I know this is all very idealistic and I don't feel like I've really expressed exactly what I'm thinking, maybe I was just mad over a math test. :) But, all this to say....teaching and learning...it's more then just about a test. I hope someday, I can teach that way.




"The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer”

--Alice Wellington Rollins




Image credit: sweetlovelife.com

Monday, August 2, 2010

eatING

Here's a little of what we've been eating this summer, mostly compliments of grandma's garden (see post below) and the Tuscarawas County Farmer's Market.....yum! :)

Fresh from Grandma's garden...



Pizza!!! (only the healthy, but still very yummy, kind)





Hillbilly tomato...really, that's what it's called... and it tastes amazing.






Pasta, with two kinds of tomatoes, fresh basil, and feta...yum. :)


Tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil, with vinegar and oil! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

seeING

From Grandma I learn
that there is art everywhere

if only you know how to see it.

It's there in the mountian of fabric in the basement.
Ready to be cut and sewn and shaped into almost a million different things.
Depending on what you like.

It's on the side of the road in the Queen Anne's Lace,
what other's would call weed's, ready to be pressed and framed
and made into bookmarks and wall hangings.

It's on her back porch,
in the forest of potted tomato plants.
Tomatoes of every imaginable shape and color.
But this isn't just art you see..its art you
taste
This isn't just art,
it's a miracle.

Art is in the okra growing straight up like spears into the sky,
it's in ball after ball of yarn in every possible color
if only you know how to combine them.
It's in the shape of fern leaves,
and the smell of bread.

It's there, everywhere, when you

just


slow



down


and see.


I learned from her that there is art everywhere,
but never once did she say it.
She saw it and she taught me how to look.


Monday, July 12, 2010

celebratING





Of the first year,
some told us of the terrors
of the woes
of how everyday would seem like a cold hard slap in the face
when the bills came
or the laundry piled up.

But we knew better.

We knew now was the time
to let the mundane seem so exciting to us
that everyday felt like the fourth of july.

We knew that now was our chance
to let the laundry pile
and to smile our secret smiles, the next morning.

We knew that today was the time
to spend snowy saturdays together
and marvel and rejoice when the sun finally came
and the ice from the lake melted week by week.

We knew today
we could walk down the street hand in hand
so that the old neighbors down the road
smiled
and remembered what it was to be like us.

Some still tell us of the terrible terrible days to come,
the way it will change and the ways we will change

But we know better.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

eatING


Any of you that know me probably saw this picture and wondered "What is HE doing on her page?!" Well, not to worry (or rejoice, depending on where your own persuasions lie) my politics haven't changed. However, I feel I must give credit where credit is due. While I have yet to really agree with Obama on his political choices thus far, the man knows a good breakfast when he sees--or rather, tastes one.

Pamela's P&G Diner in Pittsburgh. He visited last year during his stay in Pittsburgh for the G20 meetings and loved it--per all the media. Rumor has it, he has since even had Pamela's cater for a Whitehouse event.

So what's so great about Pamela's? The crepe pancakes! Dave and I ate them for the first time (hopfeully of many) on the 4th at the recomendation of Dave's boss, and the president. We loved it! The centers have this great eggy texture and the edges are this crispy almondy, vanilla-ey, buttery, lacy looking border. With or without syrup they are fabulous...and don't ruin them by getting the centers filled like a traditional crepe. Eat 'em like a stack of pancakes and enjoy.

Yum, yum, and yummo! That's all I can really say about them.

P.S. Expect more eatING posts...I'm obsessed. I heart food! :)

Photo Credit Dunand/AFP/GETTY via Rolling Stone

Thursday, July 1, 2010

beginnING

So, I'm finally posting. My first post of my first blog. Kind of exciting. Kind of intimidating. It took me a full month to finally post it, but here it is. I've never blogged before so I'm still figuring this out. So, if you're reading this, thanks for putting up with my first post. If you continue reading my posts, thank you for coming back and putting up with me as I write and learn, and for giving me a much needed outlet. Well, here it is--"Ing". A beginning. (I know, I know, SUPER cheesy...but more of that to come for sure...sorry.)