Hello There

Hello There

Hello, friends. It's been a few days and I've been quiet... mostly because I've been reading a lot and feeling... not really uninspired, but for once tossing around a whole bunch of ideas and since I still haven't picked one I chose the reliable old "everything but the kitchen sink." So, what's new? Let's say hello...

Hello, Monday. Nice of you to be relaxing without any pressing plans.

Hello, downtown New Bern. You're totally my favorite... and the Pepsi store has the best Mountain Dew in the world.

"Did ya see that sky today? Talk about blue!"
"Yes, Kronk, riveting."

Hello, Psych Season 1. Even though I'm still heartbroken that it's all over, I'm thoroughly enjoying watching from the beginning. 

Hello, spring weather that has finally decided to show its face. Nice of you to show up!  (Although, I was wearing leggings, boots, and a scarf last night, so... we'll see. Mother Nature is a fickle woman.)

Hello, my new favorite sweatshirt. Finally getting it was quite an ordeal that I'll have to share sometime. (Also, hello to my new favorite shirt. Hello, sales from Old Navy.)

Hello, gorgeous spring flowers. I love gerbera daisies! 

Hello, my new favorite picture:

Hello, my other new favorite picture:

Hello, my sweet husband that I love so much...

Hello, amazing dinner that he made tonight: 

What are you saying hello to this week? 


P.S. Sara, sorry this post is probably far less than inspiring, but... it's what I've got.

Dear Psych: It's So Hard to Say Goodbye (to Yesterday)

Dear Psych: It's So Hard to Say Goodbye (to Yesterday)

If you have never watched Psych, or if you're not a fan, then this post is really not for you. At the least, it will make you curious about a great new series to watch on Netflix... but at the worst it will make you wonder why on earth I'm so devastated over the end of a show that is, in fact, fictional. Don't worry... my people understand. =) They also understand that the title of this post comes from one of the best episodes, High Top Fade Out. 

Growing up, I watched TV, but I wasn't that great about knowing all the new shows or keeping up with them. So, it wasn't that unusual for me to have not heard of a particular series, even if it was super popular. Sometime in 2011, my Uncle Mike (or Uncle Awesome, as he prefers to be called) kept telling me about this hilarious show called Psych. Since I am a loser I kept putting off watching it, and finally one night fate intervened it happened to be on and Uncle Mike insisted we watch an episode. After that one episode ("In Plain Fright," Season 5), I was hooked. I immediately went home, did a happy dance when I discovered that the first five seasons were on Netflix, and promptly started binge-watching to catch up. I finished season five just in time for season six to begin, and I have been a faithful Psych-o ever since. It had finally happened. After 24 years of casual television viewing, I joined the elite club known as "fandom." 

And oh, what a fandom. As James Roday, star of the show and one its executive producers, has said, "Other shows have viewers. We have fans." Especially with the interaction available on social media, Psych-o's have become a force to be reckoned with, regularly "blowing up" Twitter with trending topics, particularly during the airing of new episodes. Fan-based awards are a shoe-in for this show. I really don't know of another show with a more fiercely loyal following. (Also, I just re-watched the cast's "thank you" videos to the fans, so I'm a little teary-eyed even now.)

But this is sounding a little like a TV review, and it's not. It's a farewell letter from a true fan (albeit one late to the game). As we all know, Psych is ending this Wednesday. After eight spectacular seasons, our favorite Santa Barbara family will be saying goodbye in a series finale that will have me, for one, in (gushing) tears. But what is it about this show that's so unique that its fan base is, seriously, "psycho"? What makes us so devoted? There are other comedies on TV, other crime shows. What sets Psych apart? I could write an entire post (or several) dedicated to aspects (a fake psychic! a grumpy but lovable head detective! the world's creepiest coroner- in the sweetest way possible!) that I love about this show, but combined, they've made it an incredible experience for a whole lot of people. 

First of all, it's hilarious. As in, every single episode makes me laugh out loud multiple times. And some of Psych's best jokes have now taken on a life form of their own, from the hidden pineapple to Shawn's nicknames for Gus (Lavender Gooms? SillyPants Jackson? Hollabackatcha?) to Lassie's "I would rather" statements ("I'd rather date a vegan.") to my favorite: "Gus, don't be..." (a myopic chihuahua, Pete Rose's haircut, this crevice in my arm). Of course there's plenty of physical comedy, and few people go at it like Dule Hill and James Roday. But the clever wordplay is what makes the show so "quotable"; one of my favorite lines ever is (Juliet) "Detective Lassiter is literally on fire today." (Shawn) "Literally as in Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial or as in a misuse of the word literally?" I could fill this post with lines like that, but I digress. It's hysterical and never fails to make me laugh. My husband and I find ourselves using "Psych-isms" all the time. ("Big fat kisses.") 

And while a lot of shows are funny, not very many shows are so cleverly written that all this physical/verbal comedy is actually centered on an actual police case with suspects and motives and murder weapons and all that. And since solving the case always depends on Shawn's observational skills, all the details have to work together. In other words, the writers are extremely clever and actually think these cases through instead of just putting together vague backgrounds to set the jokes up on. 

As much as I love to laugh, I wouldn't be that emotionally invested in a show that didn't really appeal to my... emotions. Psych makes me laugh, always, but we know that it has made us feel so much more than that. I have laughed my head off watching this show, but I've also cried (wept, actually), been scared out of my mind, concerned, worried, excited, happy, overjoyed- you name it. How does a comedy make you cry? By creating characters and relationships that you really care about. So many relationships in this show have evolved over time, from Shawn and Henry's (that moment at the end of Season 6? When Henry kissed his head? Weeping) to Lassie's slow, begrudging acceptance of Shawn and Gus, to Gus and Shawn's friendship (the end of "Yin/Yang" when they almost died together... tears) to my favorite, Shawn and Jules's journey all the way from Season 1... I care about these people! 

I cry when they're sad (Season 7 just about killed  me, thank you Psych writers), I am happy for them when they figure things out, I worry about them when they fight. Naturally, most of the cases involve dangerous situations that put them in harm's way, and that can be scary, but the most painful moments have been watching them experience hard personal moments, like Shawn finally learning that his mom left when his parents divorced, or Gus acknowledging his need for Shawn's friendship, or Juliet leaving the force (um, I cried like a baby during that episode.) Those classic moments (Juliet and Lassie's hug at the end of Season 5, Shawn avenging Henry's shooter) are proof that this show is far, far more than "just" a comedy. It's taught us about love, and true friendship, and loyalty, and essentially we've been able to watch Shawn and Gus "grow up" onscreen. 

It's pretty obvious that even with fantastic story lines and scripts, a show isn't going to be great without a great cast. James Roday, Dule Hill, Maggie Lawson, Tim Omundson, Corbin Bersen, and Kirsten Nelson- these people nailed it every single time. And not only do they sometimes have us terrified, occasionally make us cry, and consistently make us laugh hysterically, they also take the time to interact with fans online and do all kinds of fan events. Most hit shows don't have stars who will chat it up with fans on Twitter or have an entire "Fan Day" event, but the Psych cast is just that awesome. They are good at what they do, but they've also been having a ball for eight years, and it shows onscreen. They're so talented (um, the musical episode, anyone?) and have been able to pull off literally any scenario from a "Clue" remake to a '60's themed episode because they are just so good. Sure, they've had some unbelievable guest stars (like William Shatner!) but the core cast (with a few extras we adore, like McNabb and Woody!) is what makes the magic happen. 

I don't like writing this in past tense, like the show is already over and gone. There's one episode left, and I'm sure it will be unforgettable. I'll laugh, yes, but I'll definitely be ugly crying shedding some tears on Wednesday night. There are still some questions about the future up in the air, especially for Shawn and  Gus. I've tossed around the possible endings, but no matter what happens, I won't like it. I can't like it. I'll still be heartbroken over the end of the show I've planned my Wednesdays around for the past three years, the show I've turned on every time I needed a laugh after a long day, the show I've quoted more times than I can count, the show I've pinned a few hundred times on Pinterest, the show that has helped me smile on some really rough days, and the show that will never, ever be replaced. (Although I wouldn't say no to a spin-off about the Lassiter family.) Over these eight (eight!) seasons and over one hundred (!!!) episodes, it's been an absolute pleasure to watch these characters grow and develop, not just as detectives or cops or pharmaceutical salesmen (it's a very noble profession!) but as people that we genuinely care about. 

To Steve Franks, you giant genius, I say thank you. I thank the cast, and the writers, and my fellow Psych-O's. Let's finish this series out with a bang... I love you all!

From me to you, here's a fist bump and a big serving of delicious flavor. 


Fighting Back...

Fighting Back...

I don't know when this became a thing, but I've been seeing tweets and memes about it lately, so I'll just go ahead and address it... stuff like this:

"It's a miracle that people who correct others' grammar have any friends."

"Just remember everyone hates you when you correct their grammar."

"No one likes a grammar nazi."

... and so on. Let me start off by saying that I rarely if ever correct anyone's grammar (other than my students', since that's kind of my job) and I don't because I know that it can come off as insulting, condescending, rude, etc. And I'm not a very emotionally mature person so the thought of ticking somebody off usually is enough to quell my burning desire to point out their glaring grammatical errors. (And what if I said those things in reverse? "It's a miracle people who use incorrect grammar have any friends." "Just remember everyone hates you when you use incorrect grammar." That wouldn't be very nice, eh?)

HOWEVER... Why are people hating on those who prefer correct grammar? I didn't realize that speaking/writing like an illiterate third grader was now considered socially acceptable, while those correcting people who regularly abuse (or ignore) basic grammar rules are considered jerks? Really? (Apparently, I'm not so afraid of ticking people off, am I?)

I'm not suggesting that everyone post to Facebook with fear and trembling because of the risk factor of eliciting the wrath of the grammar police, but come on, people. Is it really too much to ask that you remember that "your" is possessive and "you're" means you are? I don't think so. And if someone points out your mistake, that doesn't make them a jerk. Maybe they're like me and they're extremely weary of reading ridiculous mistakes from educated adults.

(Side rant: thanks to the incorrect grammar of so many adults, it's now nearly impossible to teach my students correct word usage because "it doesn't sound right!" Thanks, previous generations. My kids don't even recognize good grammar when they see or hear it!)

I can't really say that I blame technology or the "digital age" for this decline, either. Sure, people are lazy with their spelling and punctuation while texting, but I'm pretty sure people have always used incorrect grammar; we just didn't know it until we had the privilege of being privy to one another's thoughts and feelings on social media every day. 

And beyond improper grammar and spelling- what's with the blatant disregard for punctuation? I mean, I'm aware there are a bunch of comma rules (trust me, I spend the first several weeks of school teaching them) and it's such a drag to actually include a semicolon now and then but you don't have to take out your frustration toward your high school English teacher by completely leaving punctuation out altogether! *Exception: the poor overused apostrophe, which never, ever makes a word plural. So, when you talk about all the "errand's I have to do today" I'm guessing one of them is "make people cringe."

Again, am I saying that this is a spiritual matter? Are you a terrible person if you don't use correct grammar? No, but I can (and do) make a judgement about someone who is too lazy to even bother to communicate correctly. And I certainly am not okay with being made to feel like some kind of criminal for expecting people to follow the simple rules I taught my third graders. As I tell my students, if the rules don't matter, then why have rules at all? There you have it: use correct grammar or society will descend further into anarchy.

I know what you may be thinking: "Your a jerk." And you'd be wrong- that's "you're." =)


Making the Connection

Making the Connection

Any teacher (especially high school teacher, I think) will tell you that "special" moments are not exactly a common thing in our everyday classrooms. You know, a cluster of students gathered around you, soaking in your wisdom, while violins play in the background and you recreate a scene from Boy Meets World with Mr. Feeny. But every now and then, you get the opportunity to really share your heart, and I had one this morning.

Things have been crazy at school these past several weeks, with the snow days, schedules thrown off, and some personal tragedies happening in a number of families. It's just been kind of yucky, and add in your typical discipline issues and I'd say we've had a pretty challenging winter. But there's a class of mine that I've really seen some growth and maturity in over the last year, and while they certainly haven't "arrived," they're getting there, and I'm proud of them. I've been wanting to tell them so for a while, but it's not really the kind of subject you bring up between sentence diagrams and I have the emotional maturity of a twelve-year-old, so... I didn't really know how or what to say it. (I'm really good at being light and so awkward when it's time to be serious.)

But the Lord laid a story on my heart (I'm not a television preacher- He really did!) and it just so happened to coincide with our literature lesson (again!) so I first assured them that I had not taken any "happy pills" this morning and then told them I had a story. I'll share it with you as I did with them.

Our story from last night is about Helen Keller. We all know Helen Keller was blind and deaf, and we know that she eventually learned to read, write, and speak, but can anyone tell me the name of Helen Keller's teacher? (Naturally, they couldn't.) Helen Keller's teacher was a woman named Anne Sullivan. She was brought to teach Helen a new system of reading for the blind, called Braille, when Helen was about six years old. But the Kellers, who had no idea how to handle Helen or reach into her dark world, had allowed her free reign of the household for all those years, and she was a little monster. Before Anne Sullivan could teach her anything, she had to break her will. The Kellers, and Captain Keller in particular, were horrified at what they considered Anne Sullivan's cruelty toward a child who could not understand their language, but Anne Sullivan was firm. 

Finally, weary of their interference but confident in her methods, she insisted that she have time alone with Helen to work with her without distractions. Since the Kellers were wealthy plantation owners, they owned a small bungalow on their property where Helen and her teacher could stay. They were given one week together. During that time, Anne Sullivan, who was teaching Helen sign language first, desperately tried to think of a way to make the connection for Helen between the words she was spelling into her hand and the things those words represented. She could spell "H-e-l-e-n" over and over, and Helen, a natural mimic, could copy the movements perfectly, having no idea she was naming herself. Anne Sullivan knew that connecting the movements and words with concrete images was the breakthrough Helen needed. 

Finally one day as their week came to a close, they were walking through the garden together and came across a fountain. Anne Sullivan, seized by a sudden idea, grabbed Helen's hand and thrust it under the water, letting it pour over her hand and all the while spelling into it, "w-a-t-e-r, w-a-t-e-r" over and over again. It finally dawned on Helen that the cold, wet feeling on her hand was the same thing as the letters being spelled. Anne Sullivan described it as "a flash of electricity" that shot through Helen as she immediately began laughing in delight and demanding to know the names of everything around her. In that moment with the water, Helen got it

Guys, that's what I'm doing here. I want you to learn grammar and spelling and literature, sure; that's my job. But if I don't love you and try to make you into good people, I have failed you. And you wonder why I'm hard on you and why I demand your best, but it's for you. We teach you about God and the Bible and Christianity, and day in and day out we spell these words into your hands. And whether it's today, or tomorrow, or this year or next, we want to be part of the moment when you connect the words in your hands to the water that is Jesus Christ and you get it.

 I just want you to know that I'm proud of you, because things aren't easy and I know your lives and families have problems. I know your friends don't always stand for right. But you guys are making good decisions. You're slowly learning that doing right is worth it. The light is coming on as you connect the words and the water and you are getting it. I don't just see you as kids who don't always do your homework or study long enough for a quiz. God doesn't either, and I (try to) see you how He does. I see you in ten years as nurses and businessmen and leaders and good people who have made this connection. You made sense of the motions, the words, and put actions and reality alongside them and now they aren't just something your mean old teacher ranted about- they're your life. That's what I want for you. If you never walk out of here a grammar expert, that's okay. It really is. There's more to life than that.

I know you roll your eyes when adults talk about your "potential" but you guys really have it. You have limitless potential. If you live what we're teaching you about the Lord and his righteousness, if you're making that connection and "getting it" then there is no telling what He'll do with it and with you. And I'm going to keep spelling into your hands and I want that connection between what I teach you and what you experience for yourself to grow even stronger. I don't tell you enough, if ever, but I am proud of you. That's it.

And yes, I cried a little bit. But it's all true. And I love these kids, and I'm slowly coming to realize just what all of this is about, and it isn't English. The most important words that I can spell into my students' hands are about the Savior of the world. And the most unbelievably rewarding thing I can experience as a teacher is that moment of connection, when the lights come on and the words have meaning.


A Hodgepodge

A Hodgepodge

This is totally and unapologetically a poor man's blog post of a bunch of recent pictures and happenings cobbled together to resemble something interesting...

What's that I hear? Snoring? Right... back to the excitement.

I love FaceTiming this big boy. He's become HUGE all of a sudden. It's like he turned three and BOOM- instant adolescence. 

Only my version of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

I love choir music arrangers (lookin' at you, Mike Speck) who think that the average church choir member has the lung capacity of a whale. (I don't know if whales can sing, but I know they have huge lungs.) 

It's been a good week for my disturbingly large necklace collection; I picked up this little beauty for $4! Yay!

I've wanted an oversize rose gold watch for a while and I found this one at American Eagle for seven bucks! It's nice to find something there that doesn't make me feel like an ogre... my days of fitting (literally!) into their demographic are long gone, I'm afraid. =)

And the grand finale... I pinned the necklace on the right from J.Crew on Thursday, but I wasn't willing to cough up over fifty dollars for it. On Friday night, I found the (very similar) version at Cato on clearance for $6.99! Score! I was just slightly over-the-top excited about this... I have wanted some kind of jewelry with pastel colors for the spring and this was perfect. =)

There are few things I love more than time spent with Mamaw. I love this lady!

We've finally had a few spring-y days in a row and so a bright floral skirt, shiny shoes, and my new sweatshirt  seemed appropriate (even though it was still 40 degrees when I left the house this morning.)

RA blogged about this book last year and I've loved these words ever since. She shared the same post today and I was reminded of them and how true they are... "the track you took in must also go out." Inspiration from a children's book? The best kind.

So, just a few snapshots of what I've been doing and buying and eating... not pictured is the beautiful sunshine I enjoyed today (walked three miles- yay!), a stack of library books I'm sure I'll get around to boring you to tears over soon, and Reese's Egg wrappers lying around. (Take that, three miles.)


My Favorite Feature Films for Families

My Favorite Feature Films for Families

Have you heard of Feature Films for Families? It's like the Patch the Pirate of the movie industry, and, like Patch tapes, these were a staple of the Baines family when we were growing up. Some of them are dreadful, and they're all a little (okay, maybe a lot) cheesy, but a few of them are winners in my book. (Also, I haven't seen most of these in years so I may have to cheat a little on the synopses.) I popped one of these in (on VHS, what?) for some students recently and... lo and behold, they loved it. And there wasn't a cuss word or sex scene in sight. Amazing how that works.

Eat it all that early 90's goodness.

1. No More Baths- this one is set in a small town (really, they all are) and is about an old man who is forced to face losing his house to a greedy developer. (Naturally, his little friend demands to know how this can be legal, and his dad tells him that it's within the law, and he indignantly insists that "the law is wrong.") Since Jake beloved by all the kids in town, and since their secret clubhouse is located on the property that's being taken over, the kids go on strike... from bathing. (I told you these were cheesy.) The court case drags on (and the kids grow dirtier) until finally old Jake gets his house back and movie ends in a triumphant, "Children of Glenwood Springs, it's shower time!" as the mayor (or somebody) turns on a firehose. There are some admirable overtones of civil rights principles, but honestly, as a kid I was mostly envious of the super-cool clubhouse. 

2. Split Infinity- I probably identify more with this one as an adult than I did as a kid, because it's about a money-hungry teenager named A.J. (or, unfortunately, Amelia Jean) who finds her identity in her style and makes shopping and clothes her #1 priority. (Not that I do... nervous laugh.) However, her grandpa, a philanthropist who's always telling her that the love of money is the root of all evil, disagrees with her materialistic lifestyle. Through an accident, she's taken back in time (totally plausible!) and lives as Amelia Jean, her grandpa's sister who lived (and later died) during the Great Depression. As A.J. (and from the future) she has to keep her grandpa/brother from making a huge mistake before the stock market crashes. Of course, he doesn't believe that it will and, well, you can figure the rest out, I'm sure. Eventually A.J. returns to the present with a better perspective on the "things" that truly matter.

3. Seasons of the Heart- this. movie. will. make. you. cry. It's about a couple who lose both their little girls to scarlet fever when the family travels to the West, and the orphan boy they take in, and how the mom, Martha, learns to love another child. I'm practically tearing up just thinking about it. This one isn't cheesy- it's just good. Watch it, especially at Christmas. 

4. Caddie Woodlawn- I have a deep, abiding love for this movie, mostly because I love the book by Carol Ryrie Brink. Also, I identified with Caddie because I was a tomboy and I always wanted brothers and she had two. If you're unfamiliar with the story (and it does deviate from the book slightly), Caddie is the daughter in a pioneer family and basically runs wild with her brothers, to the delight of her father and the dismay of her Bostonian mother. There's a snooty Boston cousin, Indians, and lessons about being true to yourself and racism and responsibility. All that in a low-budget B-movie? Yes. It's a winner.

5. Rigoletto- maybe my favorite, if only for the music. It's a good plot (if the some of the acting is a little pitiful and more like a school play) and I really do love the songs. It's a little bit of a Beauty and the Beast story, but here the beast is a real person, a disfigured man, and he isn't in love with the "beauty"; he teaches her to sing. (He never does much for those flared nostrils.) I hadn't seen it in forever and put it on during a rainy day P.E. and I remembered how good it was. Again, I'd love to hear the same songs performed by almost anyone else, BUT it's still sweet. And I have the songbook for these, and they really are pretty. ("Sweet April Child" was my first attempt at singing in a foreign language, years before heinous voice lessons would require me to, and it made me feel so fancy.)

I'm well aware that I could write another entire post about how very lame some of these movies are, but these five I really do love. Again, I'm showing my own corniness a little bit, but they really do teach good lessons and character traits (unlike most of the complete drivel on Disney Channel today), plus it's not every day you get a movie that comes with a family discussion guide. ;) Did anybody else watch these? Or The ButterCream Gang? Behind the Waterfall? Borrowed Hearts? Do tell. I'd love to chat it up about wholesome family entertainment, because I am just that cool.


A Literature Lesson

A Literature Lesson

One of the things I love about teaching English is that when we study different works of literature, we get the opportunity to talk about people, their decisions, and right and wrong of those decisions. Little moments like this allow for instruction (or discussion) on topics that I probably wouldn't be able to naturally bring up without a look of "What on earth is she talking about?" (which, let's be honest, I still get all the time) from my students. 

This week we've talked about a story called "The Mansion," which is about a banker who spends his life doing good, all the while expecting a "return" or reward on his "investment"- the good-doing. In a dream, the man wakes up in heaven and, much to his surprise, is led past a series of mansions (which is exactly what he felt he deserved and should expect to receive) to a little shack- what his "good" had earned him.

I try not to be one of those English teachers who read into the text of every.single.story. ("When the author said the sky was blue, he was creating a metaphor for the fleeting happiness in our lives that comes just before a terrible storm." Um, maybe the sky is actually blue and you should calm down.) But, since this story already had a spiritual theme, it seemed like a good idea to preach share my heart with the kids about some spiritual matters (again, with a more natural segway than, "Let's review the nominative case pronouns. By the way, are you living for Jesus today?")

The first application of the story, I told them, is that no good we do on our own will ever merit eternal life or favor with God. We get to feeling pretty cocky about how "good" we are until we have the ugly misfortune of measuring our goodness against God's perfection. That reality check reminds us that our very best is still "filthy rags" compared to His righteousness. Does that mean we throw up our hands, say "I'll never be as good as God," and then live how we want to? No, it just means that we have to rely fully on His help to live righteously and never get caught up in our own merit because it's worthless. 

Then we discussed the second application- if this man really did do a lot of good and lived a moral life, why was his "mansion" in heaven a shack? He wasn't a bad guy- he was a good guy! He gave money to the church. He ran an honest business. He probably didn't claim extra dependents on TurboTax and cheat the government. (Wait, people do that? =) He deserved a mansion... probably more than some of those sinners! Yeah, we're all sinners, but they had done the bad sins. 

Here's the second part: if we're doing good with the wrong motives, it's not going to be worth much and it won't last. I worry about my students because it's so easy, when you're surrounded by rules, at least at school and sometimes at home, to do right just to "follow the rules." To keep your parents off your back. To keep Mrs. McNeese from preaching at you in English (too late.) To keep from being "yelled at" in chapel. To not get detention. Whatever the reason, it's easy to do right just to please a person or follow a certain set of rules. 

(This also makes it super easy to break the rules Unfortunately, and these kids are already learning this, but rules are just words on paper. And people let you down. Your parents, your teachers, your pastor, your mentor- I wish I could look at my students and tell them that no adult in their lives will ever fail them, but I can't. Why? Because adults have failed me! And I have failed as an adult... many times! So it's impossible to say that no one will ever disappoint them. Christ is the only Person that my students (and I) can follow without disappointment, without seeing hypocrisy or selfishness or just plain unrighteousness that they see in themselves and sadly, those they will follow. 

I love my students, but if they do right for my sake, it won't last. I'll lead them wrong, someway or somehow, and probably unintentionally. So will any other person they choose to live for. And so will any person I choose to follow or do right for, other than God. He won't say one thing and do another. He won't break my heart. He won't turn on me, kick me when I'm down, or change His mood based on my behavior. (Thank goodness!) And that's what I want these kids to learn. As long as they make the decision to live right (or wrong) based on human expectations, they will continue to live for themselves because ultimately, what teenager really cares what their English teacher thinks? Don't "do good" (as Mr. Feeney says) for me, or your parents, or any other person, although wanting to please the adults in your life is not a bad thing. But do it for God or, eventually, you won't do it at all.

(Bell rings. Thank heavens, I'll shut up now. =)


Social Media Bulletin Boards...

Social Media Bulletin Boards...

After stretching out my "holiday"/winter classroom decor as long as possible (and with a few hearts thrown up for V-Day), it was finally time for some bulletin board changes. I really love this theme... I planned on doing when we started school and then our new building wasn't finished until the end of September so I just started with fall stuff. It was inconvenient at the time, but it was nice to have a whole room theme ready and waiting with minimal effort this time around.

The bad thing about cutting out letters in August and then losing the paper that goes with them is that I could not remember for the life of me what all my hashtags were supposed to say. It took a little creativity to get it all right (and I had some letters left over... oops!) but oh well. I just love these little birds!

I want to add pictures of the kids (with "buddy" poses) around this, since it's a little bare on its own.

Maybe my favorite.

The students helped me with this one... the rainbow border isn't my favorite but it was what they picked out and I had nothing else to match. =) And it was going to have Philippians 4:8 ("whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely. etc.") under it but clearly I ran out of room.

We'll see if any of the students agree with this statement (my guess is probably not.)

Not my idea, but I love this one! 

Other than having way too much captions (as always!) this time around was pretty painless. I really do love this theme, and it's actually great timing that I'm doing it now because several of my students are writing research papers about social media. And, I mean, these kids are all obviously on social media (or at least texting constantly), so if I can remind them every day (at least subconsciously) to think twice before posting something stupid then maybe I'm doing a good job. =)