Quote of the day, week, month - or whenever I get around to changing it --

I need to get laid - Vickie Moriarity

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 and the Road of Resolution

I was in church this morning, the first day of 2012 (Yes, hard to believe what a change has occurred...tell me that isn't a God thing!)  My pastor talked what it meant to be on the road of resolution.  He gave credit to his wife's datebook/calender/daily devotional thingy as his inspiration, so he didn't flat out rip off anyone.  He was quite conscientious about crediting his source which met with all my English teacher sensibilities!
Anyway, one thing that really stood out in his sermon was the importance of recording the events where God has impacted you.  It might be one of those amazing God moments that, as someone pointed out to me (sorry - can't remember the who or the where), happen all the time, yet we are so self-absorbed neediness that we miss it entirely, or it me be a moment of reflection when we realize how different we are from a younger version of ourselves.

As I sit here this afternoon, I can't help but think of how everything I have and everything I am is all because of God's amazing grace.  Yes, it may sound cheesy to some, but I am so ok with cheesy because, when I am out of my own self-absorbed fleshly self long enough to look around,  I see how easy bein' cheesy is.  Where money, homes, status and power,  and ego preservation were the most important things in my world before Jesus entered, I am now content with no money, a beat up home (although God does see fit for me to own it at this time), no status (I am a single, broke, teacher in podunk, Kentucky for goodness sake),  and a very real understanding that my ego needs to be replaced with humility so God can work through me.

What an incredible transformation - one I can't explain, one I don't deserve, one I praise God for.  Anytime I fall back into my whiny "what about me?" world, I hope I look back on this post and remember how God has changed me, focused my attention on others more than myself.

Things I did in 2011 I would never have done prior to God:
  1. Ate Top Ramen and was thankful for it.
  2. Got my finances in order even though it required letting go enabling someone else (a trait I see in myself now)
  3. Prayed to God when things were confusing or frustrating; whenever I let go, I actually saw amazing miracles, such as getting additional work to help me pay debts down, found ways to cut bills so that I wasn't paying so much out.  Those ideas had been there all along, but my mind couldn't see them until I let God take it all.
  4. Listened to the times God told me to act (like this summer when I had to question a decision made by my boss), and God saw me through each stage.
  5. God gave us an amazing principal to see us through a very challenging change at the school.
  6. I saw the simple pleasures of growing a garden from a brand new perspective and enjoyed the simple task of breaking beans on the front porch!  How country girl is that!
  7. I had an amazing Christmas break where I reconnected with God on a closer level and recharged my batteries in preparation for the 2nd half of the school year.
  8. I finished portfolio entry #4 (except for the two page reflection) and sent it for yet another perusal by my mentor.
  9. I have a plan for portfolio entries #2 and #3 (well, sort of) and trust that God will help me see this national board certification through.
  10. I helped serve Thanksgiving dinner at the community center this year, something I would never have thought to have done years ago.  This was such an amazing day that I hope to keep with me always.
As 2012 begins, I pray for a deeper connection with God, a renewal of my desire to have a relationship with God that is so close I can tell what He wants me to do and when I am to do it, and continued peace and serenity as I do His will, whatever that is each day.  Yes, I love being cheesy, and I hope I never wipe this God given grin off my face! 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

School is Back in Session and My Mind is Out to Lunch.

Sitting up much too late on a Saturday night, I realize that my schedule is far too packed.  It is only because of God that I accomplished as much as I did today.  What occupied my day, you may ask? 
  • Lawnmowing
  • Tomato picking
  • Went on breakfast date (Yes!  I do have a social life tightly squeezed into this crazy schedule!)
  • Lesson Planning (May I just say the standards based units take a really long time to create.  Yes, I know it will be worth it in the end which is why I keep plugging away at it).
  • Creating the most complicated seating charts ever!  I color coded the seating charts based on student MAP scores which will provide me a great visual to ensure I am asking appropriate questions to various ability levels.  My new mantra?  "Data is my Daddy!"  (OK - I stole this from a great writer and friend of mine, Liz Prather, who typed it on her FB page)
  • Running to the church at 9 PM to clean.  I forgot to call the other three people to remind them, so I ended up doing some additional cleaning as a result.
  • Creating a lesson plan for Sunday School tomorrow.  Joseph is tempted by Potiphar's wife who had eyes for him.  When he refused her advances, she accused him of rape and her husband threw him in prison.  Great story!
Now I am blogging.  Figured I should do something to process the day even if it simply listing.  Listing is one of those things that implies that I am making progress.  In reality, it merely highlights the fact that there is so much left to accomplish.  Yet there just comes a point where a moment to myself is necessary.  I will retire shortly and read some students' responses about how they feel about reading.  Or I may read one or two cards and decide enough is enough and get a little shut-eye.  Whatever it is I do, at least I can enjoy a fresh tomato for lunch out on the front porch while looking at a freshly cut lawn, and I will know that people attended today's service in a clean church while I taught the teens another lesson on Joseph's Journey in Genesis 39.  Life is hectic - Yes, but also joyous and exiciting!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-... That's all, folks."

I visited a world I never would have thought to before today.  No, it wasn't Walmart at 5 pm when everyone decides to pick up 57 items and stand in the 20 items or less checkout aisle.  No, it wasn't the inner sanctum of my mind.  No it wasn't the Twilight Zone.  It was. . . (Reek, Reek, Reek, Reek - my interpretation of a horror movie soundtrack)   ... the crawlspace beneath my house.

Yes, that's right - I chose to spend approximately 3 1/2 hours of my God given life beneath my house today with only the ugliest of critters to keep me company.  Now before you go calling the psyche ward on me, here is the reason --- I have --- (Reek, Reek, Reek ...yes, more horror movie soundtrack) --- Termites!  (If you could see me at this moment, my whole body just shuddered)

Can you believe this?  Those disgusting insects that will eat anything wooden structure in just moments are attempting to eat me out of house and home - literally.  I remember laughing at cartoons when I was a kid where animated termites would mow down a mansion in seconds leaving a pile of sawdust and the dweller from within in some compromised position.  Now how in the beep beep was that ever a funny concept?  Homeless is 30 seconds (fall on floor laughing). 

How did it ever occur to me that I might have termites?  Well, I noticed a couple of living room floorboards that looked like they were disintegrating.  Upon closer examination, they looked an awful lot like the stump outside of my house - at least it used to be a stump.  It has become less and less stumplike over the last two years.  Upon close examination of the stump remains and a reexamination of my living room floorboards and a quick visit to Google, I concluded that chances were decent this could be a termite problem.  Apparently, I reached the correct conclusion.  Yea for my brilliance. (note my lack of enthusiasm.  I hope that came across.)

At any rate, I met the nicest Orkin Man who quickly agreed I had indeed reached the correct conclusion.  He validated that with a trip to my crawlspace.  Upon resurfacing from the depths below, this man said I did have termites, they needed to be treated, but they weren't as bad as some of the infestations he had seen.   Yea for that (again, note my lack of enthusiasm).

He also mentioned that there appeared to be a lot of books below and asked if I used the space for storage.  "Absolutely not," I responded quite proudly.  "The renters before I bought the house did.  My husband cleared a bunch of stuff out of there."

"Well, he didn't clear out a bunch of wood and boxes of books."  The Orkin man pulled out a sample text from the dungeon.  (Reek, Reek, Reek, Reek) The most intricate tunnels had been burrowed deep into the tome.  "Termites love book because paper is made of wood."  Apparently. Yea.  (More enthusiasm)

After a nice sitdown at my dining room table, we came to the conclusion that this problem needed to be addressed ASAP.  The Orkin man quickly drew a blueprint of my home, went out and measured, returned and wrote a variety of numbers all over his really nice drawing.  He proceeded to explain that the numbers represented a variety of chemicals (about 5 or 6 in all) that will be sprayed on and into my home.  Some are liquid, some are powders, some are foam which is used simply as a traveling agent that permeates the walls.  They will drill holes into cement, fill with both liquid and foam termite killer, then plug up the holes.  The home will be termite free for three years or any additional treatment will be free.  After that three year period, a yearly Then he told me that the intial treatment would cost ... (Reek, Reek, Reek, Reek) $2500.00.  That's right Twenty-Five Hundred Dollars.  Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars. 

At this point I was deciding how much I really wanted this house to stand.  Maybe it would be better to let this 40+ year old home be eaten.  Maybe it would be better to let my bank have the house back.  Maybe it would be better to put my cats in the car and just start driving.  Arizona is looking really good to me this time of year!

But then I took some deep breaths.  The sucky thing about being Christian is that I can't just ditch all my responsibilities and leave it for others to clean up.  Darn it. So I bit the bullet and signed.  My Orkin Man gave me good news though. 

First of all, this house is made of oak, not a termite favorite.  They prefer soft woods, which explains why that stump is just about dust but my house is still standing.  The great thing about the stump being soft wood is I don't need to pay anyone to remove that stump!  (lemons - lemonade - you know).

Also, the Orkin Man takes installments if your credit is good.  He is breaking these payment down to a little less than a hundred a month and that won't start until April.  Yea.

So the money I was adding to my check due to taking the ex-husband off my insurance will now go to the Orkin Man.  We got to know each other fairly well, him being in my crawlspace and all.  He has two kids - one in college, the other 19 and working.  He is a good Dad and he and his wife are doing a great job raising their kids to be responsible young people.  His daughter wants to be a teacher.  At least I know the money I am spending will go to a company that hires good people like my Orkin Man. 

Tomorrow I will tell you about my actual 3 1/2 hours in the crawlspace and the rest of my day.  But I am far too tired to get into that tonight.  All I can say is it's worth tuning in for.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't lived it.  Luckily, tomorrow is another snow day.  For the first time all year, I am really happy about that.  I am sleeping until 10 tomorrow and I am feeling completely guilt free about it.  Let's just hope that my bed doesn't fall through the floorboards into my crawlspace!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Soap Opera Signing Off

The last moments of the Moriarity Soap Opera are playing out.  I feel sadness, profound sadness that I can find no other option.  I realize this is necessary but can't help feeling that I should be more kind, more caring, more giving.  How, I have no earthly idea, but that feeling somehow pervades.  Think I still need to work on my own self-esteem a bit?

Below - the final moments played out. 

I called CCCS this morning and separated out the ex's debt from mine.  They will call with details of what I own from this point forward in one to two business days.  They will contact the ex.  I told them the situation, then sent the following final e-mail (I hope) to my soon to be ex:

Dear _______,

I am very sorry about the last couple of weeks for you, but as harsh as this may sound, the drinking is clearly contributing to the situations you continue to find yourself in. I can't keep listening to you continue to spiral downward, so I need to end all contact with you. I got hives last week after our phone calls. When you drink, you make poor decisions, and you do and say things you never would if you were sober, so here is what I plan to do at this point. I am cutting all ties with you. It will be better for my health at this point.

I am calling CCCS today, and they are going to separate our credit card payments. What is mine will be mine. What is yours will be yours. I will not cash your check if you do send me one. They will call you today after I have spoken to the counselor. I am sure you will need the money, and I can get by this month. I can't rely on your check, and I need my finances to be more stable to survive. This way, we will both know what we have coming in and going out.

When I can afford it, I will file for divorce, probably sometime during the summer. I hope you will sign a quit claim deed, but if you don't, I'll deal with that later. It isn't that important at this time, and if I could, I would dump the house and get something more manageable for just me. It is a non-issue at this time.

I will send items like your CD's and whatever else as I can afford to.

I wish you luck. I am done with phone calls and e-mails, so please don't contact me anymore. I am sorry I yelled at you the other night, but telling me I should have fought harder when you were choking me last May is not logical (the second time you have told me this), and it angers me when I hear you refuse to own your part. I don't need to relive this anymore, and I am choosing to get on with the life God gave me.

I really hope you get sober, and take good care of yourself. I will pray for you as I always do.

Best Wishes --

I unlocked my e-mail for the sole purpose of one final goodbye, certain he would send it, and he did:  Here was his response:

Hello, still locked it the hospital phone almost dead only got your message in tex w no body. Don't know when I'm out or where ill live I will do will have to file 7 I have nothing sorry just txt me phone on last breathe

Like his phone, our communication just exhaled its final last breath.  I just blocked any future e-mails from him and my phone will ring silent if he does call me or text.  The drama is over.  Now maybe the hives will go away.  Onto the rest of my life.  Thank you, God!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Voice of Reason

Isaiah 30:20-21
20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Well, when God wants me to hear His voice, He sends me signs, quiet clear words - often echoed by other people. Today was one of those amazing and powerful days when I realize how much God is speaking. I just need to listen.
I went to church, happy to be in a warm, safe place where I could experience fellowship and just praise God.  One of my Sunday school students ran out in ten degree weather to say hi in his new T-shirt, which he couldn't wait to show me.  We frequently discuss video games, one of his all time favorite topics, and he ran out there to show the phrase of the day so boldly printed in green -  "If I'm not sweating, then I haven't played video games enough!"  It was so nice to see his joy, his excitement, his happiness.

I went inside, said hi to several people, and went to sit down.  It wasn't long at all before the service started - I had gotten there late due to the weather.  I stood up to sing.

We have a wonderful band at our church that plays modern Christian music.  I always feel at peace as I enjoy the songs, a chance to praise god and to focus solely  Him, not on me.  I felt God's love as I gave all the stress of the last few days over to Him and thanked Him for all he has done for me.  I praised him for the neighbors who happened by me yesterday and helped me put on my donut tire after I had a flat.  I thanked Him for making sure I had enough money to have a new tire put on my car and for it happening on a Saturday instead of a school day.  I thanked God for the fact it happened when I was going 10 miles and hour and not 70.  I thanked Him for everything. 

A few songs later, a couple of lyrics hit me to the core and I began to cry.  When I was saved, the same thing happened, and sometimes the lyrics ring of such simple truth that I get emotional.  Anyway, one of the lyrics really pointed out how this world is not the way Jesus intended it to be, that we are supposed to be his hands and feet, show compassion.  I thought of my ex and our conversations the last few days, and my heart ached for him, that he seemed unable to come to terms with his need for alcohol. So when they asked people to come forward if they had special prayer requests, it made sense to go up to the altar.

I asked the pastor to pray for my ex, that he was struggling with his addiction, that he'd lost his job, that he was in the hospital, that he needed God's help.  This act may seem odd to some, but it helped me let go of any self-perceived control over the whole situation.  As my pastor and the congregation prayed for him, one of the elders, who would never speak up as he did today (this according to people who have gone to this church forever), said in a firm, caring voice that resonated through the entire room as I walked back up the aisle, "Realize there is nothing you can do for him.  When he is ready to let God help, God will be there, but there is nothing you can do for him right now." 

I walked to my seat, stunned, tears streaming down my face.  Back in March, April, and May of last year, those were virtually the same words I had heard over and over in my head as I had tried to grapple with the ex's drinking.  This is not your deal. This is not your deal.  I heard that same phrase from the time I asked Jesus to come into my heart to the day I prayed to him when the ex was choking me.  I heard it so often, it almost became my mantra.  The phrase gave me an objective perspective when he ranted and blamed me for his troubles.  And here it was again, the same phrase once again.

Jules told me the same thing the night before when she recommended I block his e-mails, I just read a fellow blogger's comment to my previous post, and she said the exact same thing. (Thanks, Cheryl)

 Wow!  I get it.  I get it and I let it all go to God.  If I truly have the faith I claim to have, how dare I question God's ability to take care of this man and his struggles.  How dare I interfere or enable.  I get it.

Time to move forward and listen to what God truly wants me to do to glorify His name. I will never stop praying for this man, but I think I am finally past my false belief that I have any power to help him.  I will leave that awesome task to God.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chaos - Only in Greek Mythology from Now On!

Well, I finally had to block my ex's e-mails  (Thanks, Jules, for your objective wisdom in this matter).  I can no longer read his drunken nonsense.  Tonight's final episode will be just that -- the last. 

It all started a few days ago.  I got a one line e-mail that stated "I think I am about to get fired". 

The last time we spoke a month or so ago, we had created an agreement regarding some credit card debt we were cleaning up.  We had struck a deal with Consumer Credit Counseling before splitting up.  After he had left the state in a hurry to avoid having to go to court over domestic violence (I can't even believe I am writing this in first person!  It feels like the plot line from the Lifetime Movie Channel!), we developed a respectful tone with one another.  He was working again, and he appeared to be moving ahead with his life.  Occasionally we talked -- Our would have been 7th anniversary, an occasional How's the Weather e-mail...nothing too intense, and that was working for me. 

Then the bills began to pile up.  I realized I had taken on all of the debt except his car and the lawn mower I still had in the garage, and I was sinking into poverty fast.  At the time, it seemed easier to take on the debt if he would just go away.

After having to go to the emergency room and racking up over $1000.00 in emergency bills and having the car break down, I accepted that I couldn't pay his bills as well as mine.  I called CCC to see what could be done.  They said we could separate his debt from mine which would lower my payment to 250 - less than half of what I was currently paying.  I called him with their number. 

He hit the roof, said I had everything - at least $30,000 dollars worth of stuff in the house which belonged to him, not to mention the house

(By the way, I bought the house and have paid the mortgage ever since we have had it, but because we are married, it is partially his unless he signs a quit claim deed)

to which I hit the roof and said had he not almost choked me to death and left the state that we wouldn't be having this discussion. 

A little later he called me back, and agreed to send me most of the money that was his half of the CCC debt, and I would continue to pay the full amount.  I had the option to cut his debt free and I didn't do it.  I sure wish I had done that then.

Since the drunken anniversary call, I hadn't really heard from him, and I was settling into my workaholic routine quite nicely.  The ex sent his almost half of the debt for one month, and I had hope that we were treating each other fairly and kindly and moving forward with our separate lives.

Then I got that one line e-mail - "I think I am about to get fired."

I was a bit shocked.  This man has never been fired - he always quits jobs because he gets bored or feels he is undervalued.  But fired?  Momentarily, I thought of my money situation and then shook that from my mind.  How callous of me.    How was he?  Do I respond?  How do I respond?  So I e-mailed back:  So sorry!  What happened?  I'll pray for you.  Call if you want.

Now that had to be the all time dumbest thing I could ever have e-mailed back.  My dear friend Jules has metaphorically shaken me through the phone, and rightfully so!  How could I fall for the feel sorry for me routine once again?  But I did.

My reward for that phone call was a drunken spiel about how he had rescued a co-worker from a snowbank because she had called at two in the morning saying her husband would literally KILL her if he knew about this.  So, even he had a couple of beers (whatever that means) he drove to pick her up and took her to his place to stay overnight out of the kindness of his heart.  Then he stayed up all night talking with her - but there was nothing sexual (like I even care!) and he called in the next day because he had been up all night.  They unfairly fired him, he stated, because his boss said this woman has been in an abusive relationship for over 14 years and that's why they have Human Resource department.  So the ex shouts back that he was helping someone and if that was worth firing him, then so be it. HUH?????

At any rate, after I heard the whole story, I asked him why he is still drinking.  Of course, that was the craziest thing I could have ever said, according to him...The conversation deteriorated from there.  He proceeded to ask me again if there was any chance for us to get back together (I told him no), then attempted to serenade me with songs he had once sung to me.  Mercifully, I was saved by one of my girlfriends who was returning my call from earlier, so I wished him well and told him I had to go.

Then I got other e-mails where it was clear the alcohol was taking over once again - ones where he called himself evil, etc.  I wrote back saying he wasn't evil.  He was saved by God, so he couldn't be.  If they don't fire him, I hoped he would quit drinking, and if they did fire him, I hoped he would quit drinking.  Then he responded that those were better words written than any song he had ever penned. 

He then texted (there's another darn 20 cents of mine he wasted!) that he was sending the money he owed a little late because he wanted to see how much his final check would be.

Then -- the piece de resistance ... This e-mail:
Friday, January 21, 2011  1:58 AM  (Yep, I'm guessing he was drinking and e-mailing yet again)
Hello baby
It has taken me 8 months to work the courage to write this because i alwas revered you more than you will ever know.  I have had over 40 employees and my sister in law call me this week to etell me I am a good man.  I lost my job because I went and saved a woman in distress.  I thought about it over and over and wouldnt change a thing

When you said my drinking was not your deal...and you couldnt help ... I died that day

I only ever wanted a woman strong enough to fight for me like I would her

I am sorry things turned out like they did

You could own me if you wanted

You just didnt realize

And In front of Jesus....I miss you soo much, now my life will get really bad

Be good

Ummmm...ok....When I read this, I could see the self-pity, the blaming of others for his own choices, the addiction refusing to allow him to own his behavior, the denial, the woe is me. Yet, after seven years, I couldn't shake off any of that enough to ignore the e-mail.  So I looked up one of his cousin's phone number on Facebook and left a message asking him to check on the man to be sure he was ok stating I really didn't want to create any more drama, but just wanted to be sure he was ok.

Then not a minute later, I get another text message stating  "Guess things happen for a reason.  I 'm in the hospital"

Well, that freaked me out.  I called and he answered.  Then he proceeds to tell me that I should have fought harder when he put his hands around my throat - kicked him off me. 

OK  -- silly me, of course I should have done that.  What was I thinking????

I lost it and screamed at him.  I told him that I am tired of his excuses, that he needs to own his behaviors, that drinking is causing his problems, and I am not going to take his calls anymore.  He hung up on me.  I am not proud of my tirade.  It wasn't graceful or kind.  It was me being frustrated.  I allowed myself to fall for the drama yet again.

He told me this same thing (I should have fought him off when he was choking me) the day he called on  our would have been anniversary.  Enough is enough is enough.  Tonight is the end of this insanity.  His cousin texted me...I sent him Tim's number, told him he says he is in the hospital and we argued over the phone, and thanked him for checking on him. 

Monday I will separate our CCC accounts and I will file my taxes separate married.  Then I will get to saving my money and get this divorce finalized.  I have had enough of the drama, am no longer interested in trying to rescue a grown man, and am truly enjoying my very undramatic life.  If I want a little Chaos, I'll read Greek Mythology from now on!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We Shall Overcome

Three snow days and we finally went back school yesterday.  I had a Monday/Friday opportunity to teach students the major concepts necessary to pass the state test in April.  Mind you, if I don't teach them well enough, the principal is certain he will be fired as well as half our staff.  This all due to some pie in the sky figure the state and federal government dreams up in order to make sure all are students reach proficiency by 2014.  The chance of pushing the test back is minimal at best.  No, they usually just tack the days to the end of the year when all students feel they are technically out because the big tests have already been given. 

We are still wading through the same story I started a week and a half ago that I was planning to use to cement their understanding of propaganda.  I have also had them write out reading strategy responses in their journals, and I plan to put them into pairs where they have to complete graphic organizers that focus on different skills based on their reading comprehension MAP scores. 

Give it to them as homework, you might think.  Ahhh.  Not if you want it read.  Kids don't do homework anymore.  Nobody really makes them.  I even tried to spark up my homework by telling kids to do the following assignment:

1.  Watch a TV commercial
2.  Analyze commercial:  Identify product being sold and target audience.  What persuasive/propaganda techniques are being used?  Is this commercial being used persuasively or as propaganda?  Why do you feel that way.
3.  Text response to number I gave them where I have a poll set up for the class.  (see http://www.polleverywhere.com/ if you are interested in trying this with your students.  It is a cool site!)

I had four incomplete responses texted to me, one well written e-mail response from my overachiever, several who took the initiative and wrote the homework out on paper because they had difficulty with the texting instructions they had to write out in their agenda.  The rest?  Whiners who cried out "I couldn't get it to work" and so many others who said "What homework"?

I think I may be a little surly as well because just about every one of my students who I friended on Facebook think I have a direct connection to God's weather plans and my district's decisions regarding school.  For some reason they all seem to think I know whether we are going to have school or not.  Never mind that I tell them over and over that, just like them, I find out when they find out - from channel 27 or from the onecall system our school sends out with recorded messages.  Coincidentally, it's those same students who said "What homework" in class.  when I asked them about it on Facebook, and I explained it to them several times on facebook both en masse and individually, they said they would do it...I have this really great bridge I can sell 'ya ...

And here we are, at the beginning of a three day weekend -- That's right - Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Don't get me wrong.  I am so glad King finally received a day that our country honors him.  But have you ever tried to get 7th graders, or any graders, for that matter to get back to work after a multitude of snowdays (I think we have been to work in January a total of six days this year - if that!) and the threat of more nasty weather next week?  Especially after having just been off  for Christmas Break.  All the routines have been forgotten, the expectations, the work ethic.  It's like starting from scratch. 

With all this being said, I just received my Take One box in the mail, a program that lets you turn in the first portfolio entry for the National Board Certification process.  When I got the box, I remembered reading the first few standards in the instruction manual and thinking - "Wow.  They don't cut you any slack for being in a difficult environment, for having difficult students.  There are no excuses in this program for students not learning. It is the teacher's job to figure out how to teach each student.  Period.

So maybe it is quite appropriate that MLK Day is Monday.  I will be singing that hymn and applying it to my life on so many levels.  Yes - -We Shall Overcome!