Where I Stand

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Today’s photo prompt is Where I Stand.  Today was a day off of work. A perfect February, spring-like day. A day that I hoped to get a lot done. Instead, I sat nearly all day working on my course for grad school, Evaluation of Research. This slide popped up in one of the presentations I watched today.  So far, my adventures in grad school have been amazing. Although challenging, I have been truly engrossed and absorbed in the courses. This particular course, a requirement for graduation, has been hard. So hard! It is all online. The professor is great and so helpful. She is so smart, I am in awe of her. My classmates are smart, educated and incredibly supportive of one another in the forums which we share in almost daily. We get to meet in video group chats which have also been great.

For this particular class, we got to choose our own topics of research.. I chose to research the advantages of playtime in the kindergarten classroom, something I am passionate about. The topic is compelling and I am reading a lot about it but the course itself evaluates the research studies. Statistical and analytical data. The words are almost foreign to me. Lots of numbers, lots of data – all things I never thought I’d be working with as a Kindergarten teacher! This course is challenging and demanding and really making me think. I never thought grad school would be easy but working full time along with this one particular one is really testing me! At this point, I am just praying to pull out a B.

Restorative Practice is a social science that helps build healthy communities, decrease crime and antisocial behavior, repair harm and restore relationships.  I am a little more than half way done and can’t wait to see where the degree  will take me. I just need to get through this class first!

Tried Something New

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I have written more than once about needing a place to worship, but that I am frustrated with the Catholic Church. I love my church. The beauty of the architecture, the music and the familiarity are just a few of the things I love about it. I have received five of the seven sacraments there. My mother was buried there. Her funeral, despite being the saddest day of my life, was also one of the most moving and beautiful because of that church. Yet, so many of my beliefs don’t conform with those of the Catholic Church. I feel hypocritical some days even being there. I used to go to mass weekly but have found myself going less and less.

Today, with the encouragement of a friend, I attended services at Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church. I have been contemplating going for many years. Even when I taught preschool there, more than 10 years ago, but I am such a creature of habit, I never got the courage to try something different. It took me a few weeks and several conversations with this friend, to work up the courage to just try it.

I am so glad I did. I saw so many familiar faces and the welcome could not have been any warmer. From the woman who greeted me at the door, to the smiling faces sitting all around me. There were so many similarities to the Catholic Mass. I knew the songs and the prayers. Although, quite different was when they sang a song by The Black Eyed Peas during the service! “Where is the Love.” Which fit in perfectly with the sermon,that didn’t feel like a lecture but more of a story of how we can live our lives in a positive way.

One of my students from last year happened to walk by and see me and ask if she could sit with me. Of course I said yes. She and her uncle sat beside me and I told them it was my first time and asked her if she’d show me what I needed to do. She giggled and said yes. Before the service there had been a children’s class and she had created a crown. During the service she was writing on it and at one point she turned to me and gave it to me. It said, “Kindis Tchr” her translation, “Kindness Teacher.” Of course, being the sappy person I am, I got a bit weepy. She told me to keep it and wear it around.

I often write about “signs” and taking them as messages. “God Wings” Dave calls them because they are messages from God letting us know that he is watching over us and sending us little signs. Seeing my sweet student was the first one. At one point they sang, Eagle’s Wings, which I am almost sure was sung at my mom’s funeral. More weepiness.

Today is not the day I will make my final decision. I will go back and see if I find it as wonderful as I did today. Will I stop going to my Catholic Church? Probably not yet. Will I try something else? Maybe. I just want a peaceful place that I can go to worship and pray when I need to. A place that is warm, inviting, diverse and inclusive. A place where everyone is welcome.

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Dislike

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Back to the photo prompts. Today’s word is, DISLIKE. Drew has been practicing his hockey in the driveway again. In doing so, he is breaking windows. Again. Our garage doors have been broken and in need of repair for quite some time, but it is just another one of those things that has gone on the repair list at our house. The melting snow on this beautiful Spring-like February day had the two of us out there picking up broken glass from all over the driveway. Found plenty of it under the snow from the last one he broke and didn’t tell us about.

Dave and I just got new tires on our cars. Both of us have needed them for awhile now so we took advantage of some great sales at Firestone – where he is working now.  It would be terrible if one of us drove on that glass and got a flat. I laid quite a guilt trip on Drew with that one…at least it got him out there to help me clean it up.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

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I didn’t realize until just now, that today was “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” I guess I don’t think there should be only one day for this. They should be carried out everyday. Random acts of kindness don’t have to cost a thing. They might not even always be noticed by others – but you will know because “no act of kindness , no matter how small, is every wasted” Aesop.

 

Long Week

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When you have a four day school week that includes Valentine’s Day, the 100th Day of school, 2 in school birthday celebrations, an enormous food drive, a paper for grad school and report grades due…it doesn’t feel like a four day week!

Years ago, our school district gave us a full week off in February. Now, we get Friday and Monday. Not a whole week, but these four days off  starting tomorrow, will give me the chance to catch my breath.

Right now I am just thinking how nice it will be nice to go to bed without setting an alarm!

Hoping all of my teacher friends have a nice relaxing and calm long weekend!!

Meeting Our Goal…Again!

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It is amazing when you are able to work in a place where you can help to do good things for others while teaching empathy at the same time. For nine years I have been running a food drive at our school. We challenge every class to collect 100 items by the 100th Day of School. We have over 25 classes in our school, so if each class reaches the goal, we are able to donate close to 3000 items to local food pantries. Once again, our amazing school community did it! Thanks to them and our many volunteers, children, teachers and parents, we loaded over 200 bags into 8 cars and delivered it all to two local food pantries.

I love when students come to me and tell me it is one of the things they look forward to every year. No matter their age, from the Kindergarteners to the fifth graders, I love to see their enthusiasm when they see the bags of food piling up outside of my classroom. They can see the impact of how much good can be done when everyone pitches in.They are learning such an important lesson and so many people will benefit because of it.

 

 

Love is…

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

25 years ago tonight, was the night Dave asked me to marry him. It was a Friday night. He drove 250 miles to Washington, DC, where I was in school at American University. I was a senior. We’d been together since high school so even though we were only 22, we thought nothing of how young we were. Nowadays, people remark on how we were crazy to have gotten engaged so young, and I am sure back then there were many who doubted that it would last, but here we are…all these years later and I am still in love with my best friend.

I guess I kind of knew it when we met even in high school. He became my best friend the day I met him. People joked with us about how funny it would be if Claire Gianni married Dave Sinclair – she’d be forever known as Claire Sinclair. We just laughed about it but sure enough, that’s who I am!

Since that day, we have never really done anything big for Valentine’s Day. I don’t like flowers, they never last long enough. Chocolate is always a treat but often Lent falls right around the same time and I always give it up so I can’t eat it. Sometimes we’ll go out to dinner but usually we keep it simple with just a card or a sweet message to each other.

This morning, Dave gave me a gift. After we promised NO gifts this year. It was a big bag filled with my favorite treats and sweets. Tea, kind bars, chocolate, cliff bars, caramel corn…all things I love. I guess after 25 years, he really does know me!