Saturday, October 28, 2017

Learning at a New Level

As a kid, I often heard my parents say hard work pays off. I would hear their words again throughout my life but especially remember those words at my high school graduation, again at college graduation and my first post college career assignment. Those words became a goal for me (Wonder #207) as I pondered what I would do to contribute to society in a good way. To me, those words were a call to use my God-given talents to help and educate others. I just didn’t realize how profound those words were until recently. 
As an adult we don’t remember being a baby (Wonder #1337) but if we could, I’m sure my memories would include my mom whispering encouraging words or saying to me that my life would be better than hers. Parents by design want the best for their kids, even when the steps to make things better seem hopeless. During my 22 years in public education, I never met a parent who would say to their child, “Have a bad day.” For me, my parents are my circle. They are my cheerleaders and they tell me I can, when I say I can’t do something. My husband and kids are my life. They support me, challenge me and say, “Yes, you can.”
Recently, my hard work caught the eye of a state level supervisor. I had no clue that my life’s work would lead me to being able to make a difference with preschoolers and their teachers. I had no clue that all of my previous trainings and subsequent work with preschool would lead me to a new path in life. I’m in love with school and love being  of  service to children and teachers. Teaching is a calling and I have found a new passion and I am so grateful for God’s newest blessing upon my life. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kindness Matters #pb10for10

This year I am compelled to share picture books on the themes of individualism, self esteem, and kindness. I also located accompanying wonders on Wonderopolis. Happy reading!
  1. Cheer Up by Michael Gordon -Simple rhymes tell of a little boy learning about kindness.
  2. Wings by Christopher Myers - a student who is different from the others is ok with his individualism.
  3. The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace - a class assignment leads students to explore random acts of kindness
  4. Pinduli by Janell Cannon - A book about how words can make something enormous. A lesson on treating others with respect.
  5. The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz - Treated as outcasts, two students new to a school form a bond around their uniqueness and lead others to explore kindness.
  6. How Kind! by Mary Murphy - A book that shows how act of kindness leads to a series of other good deeds. (See WOD #137)
  7. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig - Left out by classmates, Brian befriends a new boy and makes the boy feel welcomed. Great lesson on kindness and making others feel included.
  8. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson - Maya is rejected by girls at school and stops going to school. After a lesson on kindness by the teacher, the girls think about the consequences of their actions. (See WOD #607)
  9. Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson - Mary picks blueberries for a neighbor and this leads to a chain of good deeds. (See WOD #502)
  10. Sharing: How Kindness Grows by Fran Shaw - boys and girls learn about sharing and how good it feels to help others.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Date Night Ideas: July - September

Now that we've helped to equip you with a barrage of date night ideas for an entire year, you should be well on your way creating and trying out your own ideas. Have fun and don't worry so much about limitations. Don't let life get in the way of your marriage building. Plan to make time for one another no matter what else has to be done (we know first hand there's always something or someone needing you). Our suggestions can be adapted to fit any budget. Today make the commitment to devote more time to your marriage. Time well spent together, an arsenal of spoken prayers and an enormous amount of patience will make your life together as husband and wife so rewarding for you both. Give your marriage your absolute best. Steve and I both have learned marriage works, if your work it! 

37. Write a prayer together. Take turns reading that prayer each night until you learn it. Then write another.
38. Plant a rose bush and watch this gift keep on giving. 
39. Create and play games during a marriage-themed game night
40. Spend some time at the beach.
41. Have a picnic in a park.
42. Recreate your first date together. 
43. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast one night. 
44. Attend a marriage retreat together.
45. Attend an auction together. 
46. Make homemade ice cream or your favorite dessert together.
47. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Hold hands.
48. Visit a bookstore and purchase the Love Dare and follow!

All the best!
~Steve and Del

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: My Personal Reflection

“Freedom is never free.” These words were engrained into my five-year-old mind by my dad. Most conversations that we have now, will always turn toward talks about the state of our nation, service, and his views on how these “21st century kids” need to step up for their fellow man and country. A former soldier in the United States Army, my dad, often shares military tales with me and answers my many questions, most of which begin with the word why. I grew up with a great respect for our military and the sacrifices that all branches of our armed forces make and the sacrifices of their family members. I had many in my family to serve our great country in various military branches. My love and respect for each of them led me to read more about the wars of our nation, and led me to one of my greatest life lessons, outside of a formal school setting. Learning about the cost of our freedom and the meaning of Memorial Day is a lesson I look forward to sharing with our grandkids as they grow.

Photo taken on May 11, 2017 as students of W. E. Striplin Elementary School
 visit the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall on tour in Gadsden, Alabama.

While many celebrate the Memorial Holiday weekend with family, friends, cookouts, a weekend getaway or fireworks, please take the time to remember the lives were lost so that we are able to make such choices. Please remember the following about Decoration Day now known as Memorial Day:
·      Do not thank a current or former soldier for their service.
·      It is not a celebration of those who currently serve.
·      Do not say Happy Memorial Day. The day is void of happiness for so many families and troops who lost loved ones in battle.
·      Do pause and reflect with your family and friends to remember those who gave up their life for our country and for us.

·      Do proudly display the American flag.

Here is a Memorial Day Video

Date Night Ideas: April - June

We sincerely hope that you are enjoying our date night suggestions. Making your marriage a priority is what God desires for each of us. Marriage is a beautiful union that requires work on our part.

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25. Comedy Club
26. Backyard camping
27. Spa date
28. Do a home-themed project at your home or apartment together. 
29. Rail to bicycle trail ride
30. Seafood boil at home
31. Read the book of Proverbs together and discuss.
32. Play charades.
33. Have a classic movie night at home.
34. Fly kites. 
35. Camping with kids
36. Take kids to one of your favorite restaurants.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day 2017

Today is such a historic moment in our democracy. Witnessing the transition in power from outgoing President Barack Obama to President-elect Donald Trump is so majestic.  On this day in our nation’s history, it has always been a respectful transition from one president to another. No matter a person’s political party choice, what happens before noon today helps in making us stand out as a great country.  It shows a united front on the world’s stage.  Eight Supreme Court Justices, members of the House of Representatives and Members of the United States Senate, along with Ambassadors, the 39th, 42nd, and 43rd United States Presidents and First Ladies, as well as official staff members, and citizens from all over these United States will convene to witness this change in power, which is a breathtaking moment. I am so proud to be an American and to live in this great country. Our country has the distinct privilege of electing its leaders. We know that we have a voice and we are allowed to make choices. That is the core of democracy. We are THE greatest country and to be able to see this change in power every four years is inspirational.  “True democracy requires work by each of us every day,” as President Obama so eloquently stated.  Today is a day of renewed hope for our country. Hope that every American will continue to enjoy the freedom, voice, privileges and rights that our country proudly boasts. It is a day of hope that America will remain great. We are already great and we are already the best nation on planet Earth so let's pull together for the good of our country and go forth helping our fellow man. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Date Night Ideas: January - March

I hope you begin reading these date night posts and are finding some ideas that fit your budget. I also hope that you find some ideas that to add another bright spark to your marital fire! Just as I've stated in a previous post, date nights are meant to be fun and to help couples keep maintain that spark that drew them together in the beginning. The date nights we suggest in this post are not centered around the weekends only, and they may certainly occur in the order of your choice. Have fun trying some of our suggestions and don't forget to try some of your own ideas. Have a fun and engaging time living your vows everyday! 

13. Fireworks show: create your own or attend a show
14. Photo booth fun!  Strike silly poses. 
15. Design, print and hang a family crest together. Discuss what is important to include and why.
16. Paint your own pottery session. 
17. Go kart racing indoor or outdoor
18. Ballroom dancing lessons
19. Create and view a slide show of pictures from your life together.
20. Murder Mystery Dinner Show
21. Weekend at a cabin. 
22. View an exhibit at a local museum
23. Happy hour at a local restaurant
24. Date night at home 

Best wishes!