Posts

To make your dreams come true, it’s up to you…

dreams

“If it’s to be it’s up to me.”

I know that as a Christian this quote isn’t exactly right. But there’s a lot of truth in it. Other than the fact that indeed, we must line up our dreams and plans and goals with God’s purpose for our lives, no one is going to make sure we hit the mark but ourselves.

mark

Six years ago I decided to pursue two life-long dreams. To continue my college education and write books. Since then, neither of those dreams dissipated. And now I find myself in the middle of one of the hardest parts of the journey physically for me: student teaching and editing a book I’ve sold to ready it for publication.

images

During my journey to today, no one ever asked me if I had my homework done or if I had written anything each day. No one pushed me out of bed in the mornings after staying up until two or three in the morning. No one made my tea or asked me if I was making my deadlines.

I had to learn to say no in order to say yes to my dreams. Saying no is hard for me. As a pastor’s wife, I’ve been conditioned to worry about what other people think. I’ve still not mastered the concept of forging ahead without a thought to others’ opinions, but I’m getting better. I mean, sometimes it’s good to hear other opinions about things. I’m still figuring out when to listen and when to tune out.

op

The point is this. More than likely no one has a passion for your dream like you. No one wants it as bad as you do. And you’ve got to muster up all the courage you can to climb that mountain and reach the top. It’s called ambition. And its cohort is grit.

You can do this dream thing. But be prepared to encourage yourself a lot. Be prepared to forge ahead when others wish you’d just slow down and take a breather. When your friends look at you funny because you need to stay in and write or study instead of going to the game or out for a night on the town, you can have the backbone to know that you’re in a different season than they are. You’re in the season of mountain climbing, and you need to suck up all the oxygen you can.

climb

You can do this. Dreaming is a solitary thing. And sometimes, making dreams come true is solitary, too. But as Christians, we’re never alone. Isn’t that wonderful? Imagine having to do it alone. We don’t have to. We have the Great Teacher with us and in us. We have the mind of Christ. We have someone Who never leaves us nor forsakes us.

Give Him your dreams and He’ll help you carry them. He’ll even carry you when you’re too tired to take another step. Ask me how I know.

twitter30small

Tweet this: Dreaming + Grit = Mountaintop views

E is for Erasmus, Education and Einstein


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the Letter “E”

When I get a little money I buy books; (2)

I think Erasmus and I would have gotten along swimmingly. In fact, my husband, Mr. Himself, says (and he’s right): “If I give Karla $10 to spend on anything at all, she’ll buy a book.” He’s mystified by this phenomenon because he’s not a reader. He wasn’t taught to read phonetically and he also has ADD and dyslexia. These issues have hampered his reading ability his entire life. That’s not to say he isn’t intelligent. Trust me, he’s brilliant. But his inability to decode words is one of the reasons I’m passionate about literacy and learning.

literacy

I think it’s a crime for someone to get an education and graduate without being taught properly how to read. Mr. Himself has a bachelor’s degree. And it was hard-earned. He had to work at least twice as hard as someone else to get that piece of paper, all because schools in his day taught English reading as if it were Chinese.

Chinese%20logosIronically, in Erasmus’s day, very few books were available to people of my economic demographic. Only the very wealthy could afford books and only the very elite of society were able to read. This is how people were kept under the government’s thumb for so long. It’s one reason the Middle Ages is called The Dark Ages. And it’s also the reason Erasmus had very little money left for clothes and food (although, he does look nicely dressed in the picture below, don’t you think?).

holbein-erasmus

I can’t imagine not reading books. Reading has gotten me through many painful periods of my life. It allowed me to escape as a child into worlds I’d never otherwise go. Some of my fondest memories are summers of endless reading, especially at my grandmother’s. She would take me to a local church “basement sale” where I’d paw through boxes of books and pick out a few to take home. It’s where I found my first copy of The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. Once I learned to read, I don’t think there’s been a single day when I didn’t read something from a book. Books comfort me. I surround myself with them.

Capturebooks

E is also for Education and I’m an Education fanatic. I love learning, and I’m fascinated with how people learn. I love breaking things down into manageable steps. I’m intrigued by how the mind words. I especially enjoy teaching people who find learning difficult. I find it a personal challenge to figure out how to make things click for a struggling student. That’s why I’m pursuing another degree in Special Education. And I’m proud to inform you that my teacher’s college is #1!

NATL_PR-SocialMedia-FBnewsfeed2_17Jun2014

Did you know that Einstein (E is for Einstein!) was bad at algebra? I am, too. And it’s not that I couldn’t learn it. I did learn it. But I had to learn it a lot slower than other folks. Classes move so fast sometimes that those of us who need more time to grasp and practice a concept get left behind. This shouldn’t be. Everyone should be given the chance to learn at their own pace. It’s not a race.

_Everyone should be allowed to learn at-1 (2)

In the next few weeks I’m going to write about a fairly new and exciting educational concept I’m involved in. I’m eager to share it with you. Education is changing for the better. I can’t wait to be a part of a movement changing the way the world learns and perceives how learning should take place.

But all this education is for naught if we don’t acknowledge our need for wisdom. I always believed this and spouted this to my kids and friends so often they got sick of hearing it:

_You can have a Harvard law degree and (2)

Now, that doesn’t mean I’d turn down one of those law degrees myself. But it does mean that as Christians, the most important knowledge and education we must have is that which is found in the only book that truly matters, God’s Word.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a-3 (2)

Only God’s Word can teach me what is most important to know. Yesterday (Wednesday, November 5, 2014) I finished reading the Bible cover to cover for only the second time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve studied different parts of the Bible in depth. I’ve taught classes on the Old Testament and the Life of Christ in Seminary. I’ve read the New Testament probably many times. But I’ve only read the entire Bible as a book, beginning to end, twice. I’m ashamed of that. One of my goals is to read it many more times before I die. I begin again tomorrow.

tomorrow

Yes, I love books, and I own hundreds of them and I can’t imagine a life without them. But out of the millions of books and gazillion words written, there is only one book that is TRUTH. And I’m grateful, so grateful, that I can read it.

Birdbooks

Tweet this: You can have a Harvard Law degree and still flunk heaven.

 

 

 

 



Sometimes Mama Bear needs to back off

The Bear Family Stand Up

I’m subbing at the high school this week in a special education classroom. That means that my twin sons who take life skills classes are in my department. This is great fun for them. But today my Mama Grizzly showed a bit when a staff member (not a teacher, a support staff) rudely snapped at one of them, first thing in the morning. No hello. Nothing. Just a bark.

grumpy-cat

The reason she snapped at my son was valid. It was how she handled it that wasn’t. He’d left his backpack in front of a locked classroom door, and while waiting for someone to unlock it, he slipped into my room to visit with me.

When the staff member arrived, she flew into my classroom and barked, “Whose stuff is that in the hall in front of Mrs. —‘s door?”

angryandbitter

Isaiah, who is almost always cheerful and sweet, and wouldn’t do anything wrong on purpose to inconvenience someone, jumped up from his chair and headed toward the hall door, “Oh, that’s mine.”

To which she responded with a great scowl and angry voice, “Well then move it, it’s in the way.” (Or some such phrase of which I don’t remember the exact words.) All I know, is that I never talk to students that way, and especially not special needs students.

th

It’s all in how you say it. And I realize that teachers and staff have bad mornings. But bad mornings should be left at the schoolhouse door. Being a grouch doesn’t model appropriate behavior to students who need it more than anyone. I dare say that teens with autism need it more than elementary-aged children (although they all do desperately need it).

7946861948_7733a5b848 - Copy

I did complain to their teacher about her, but as I was doing so, I felt petty. It’s impossible for me to protect them from all the rude people on earth. Especially now that they are adults. (They are 19 but still in school until they are 21.) Still, as an educator myself, I feel that all students should be treated with respect. Tone of voice speaks volumes.

quotes-april-sims-my-kindness

As I shared in my post on my philosophy of education, school may be one of the only places some kids have that’s a safe place to fall. If they are to feel valued, school personnel must treat them with respect. It doesn’t matter what a child’s label is, they are still deserving of politeness.

929

Maybe the snarky  staff member works with hard behavior cases. I don’t know. But I do know that children will act the way you expect them to most of the time. I know this because I’ve worked with some very, very difficult students. No one should ever be valued less because of their limitations or emotional struggles.

i-believe-in-youThis Mama Grizzly is learning which battles to fight. It’s not easy. There will be many more instances, I’m sure, when I won’t know whether to bite my tongue or take up the torch on behalf of my sons. It’s because of their vulnerability and inability to know if an offense is truly something they should be reprimanded for, or an honest, un-meant mistake. A student with autism isn’t always going to process that a book bag in front of the door might be in someone’s way.

badbehavior - Copy

This frustration at the world for not understanding autism is part of what parenting these kids is so difficult. We want people to understand them, and frankly, most people aren’t even going to care. It’s something I’m learning to accept. Even 19 years later.

autismbI think as long as I live, the Mama Grizzly side of me, will always wrestle with the teacher in me, to teach the world how to get it about autism, kindness, and respect. Thankfully, the kind side of me won today, and I didn’t go toe to toe with the staff member. A part of me wishes I hadn’t complained to the teacher.

aaaaamama

Sometimes I feel I should wear a sign that says, “If you think I’m opinionated, you should know how much I want to say and don’t!” There’s so much inside of me that feels like it’s going to blow at times when people are rude to my children or other people with disabilities.

1044 - Copy

Only with God’s help am I able to model appropriate behavior when I’m feeling protective. Since my gift is words, it’s also my weakness, and I know I need to temper my opinions with grace.

mother-bear

Have you ever felt the need to stand up for your children? How did you handle it? What do you think I should have done? Should I have said something or not?

twitter38smaller

 Tweet this: No one should ever be valued less because of their limitations.

 

Strong Girl: Malala Yousafzai

9780316322409_custom-816e144177646939af125a24217bab5d299e4f53-s6-c30

Click to order

Imagine riding the bus home from school and being ambushed by the taliban because you blog about girls getting an education.

This is what happened to Malala Yousafzai on a Tuesday, October 9, 2012.

The young militants opened fire on the bus, shot Malala in the head and neck, wounded two others, and left them for dead.

malala-yousafzai-quotes-about-life-1024x682

They thought they’d silenced Malala forever but they were wrong. She survived and has continued to spread her message that a girls’ education benefits everyone. It reduces mortality rates, increases lifetime wage earnings, and strengthens democracy.

malala-yousafzai

Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. She is the youngest person to have ever been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

malala-nobel-prize

Malala’s father sounds a lot like my dad. My dad never limited me because I was a girl. He always told me I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. Malala’s dad owned a school and encouraged his daughter to write and go to school even though he lived in a society that prized sons more than daughters.

malala-yousafzai-world-educ

In July 2013, on her 16th birthday, Malala addressed the United Nations General Assembly:

“We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty, injustice and ignorance.  We must not forget that millions of children are out of schools.  We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.  So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.”

inspiring-life-quotes-by-malala-yousafzai-3-1024x687

Malala reminds us that some girls face death for going to school. Terrorist groups in Afghanistan and other oppressed areas of the world continue to threaten and attack female students and teachers. Things were improving in some places but with limited presence of the United States in these oppressed areas, girls lives are in danger if they read books and go to school.

gty_malala_yousafzai_quote_ll_131004_wmain

Clearly, Malala is a strong girl with big dreams. The next time you’re tempted to skip school, think of the price other girls in the world pay for the right to learn. Strong girls are readers. Strong girls are educated. Strong girls, like Malala, have the courage to stand up and not sit down for what is right.

Hero_Malala_QUOTE

How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! Proverbs 16:16

twitter37smallTweet this: Strong girls want an education and are afraid of no one.

 

Erica’s Edition: Spring fever vs. finals week

ericagrapham(Today’s post is brought to you by my college intern, Erica Graphman!)

Do you ever have a long project that you’re working on and nearing the end, but you’ve put so much work into it already that you just can’t seem to find motivation to work on it? I’ve seen this problem left and right this past week. It’s crazy how big of a change one week left of classes and half a week of finals has on the morale of college students.

ericapostits

It’s probably bad to admit, but I have that problem occasionally as well. I’ve noticed so many of my fellow classmates not owning up to the amount of work they have to do this weekend. Most are more intent on partying the entire weekend, using “It’s May Day Weekend” as an excuse to blow off any and all responsibilities.

ericamayday

This idea that, as students, we’ve put so much work into this semester that we can hardly bear to finish it out really surprises me. Especially the fact that I have that thought in my own head! I’ve never once struggled finishing a school year. In fact, I’m usually sad at the end of the school year because I enjoy having class. This semester has just been a lot more work than I’m used to I think. Probably because I’m in four classes that are junior-level up classes and one of them is a writing class (which isn’t my strong suit), but still. I’ve never had such a complete lack of motivation and apparent lack of sleep.

ericauniversity

As Manchester University students head into the last week of classes, I wonder who will have their work done and who will be left struggling like a worm trying to climb out on the pavement in a storm. Some of my friends are coming to me with worries about work load and questions about how they will have the time to get everything done. I guess the only thing I know to say to them is what everyone has been telling me. “Don’t worry. Everything will get done in the end.” Is there any other way to reassure struggling college students?

twitter33small

 

Tweet: Any tips for overwhelmed college students during finals?