Saturday, December 26, 2015

An I-Pod Touch and a Fanny Pack....I've Got This!!

Well,  my four Santa-Children purchased their mother--me-- an I-Pod Touch. I am thrilled for two reasons. One, this is what I said I wanted, which means that one of them finally listened to what I said. (Mothers out there will take this as a miracle!) Secondly, I am now able to listen to the music of my choice simply by touching a screen. But I really thought this i-pod thing was a small square-ish thing with an ear bud. Kind of like asking for a moped and getting a Lexus, if you ask me.

Which leads me to a new challenge. I have no idea how to use this thing. Are we surprised? I know what they are doing...they are setting me for a cell phone which I have no desire to own. The way I see it, learning how to use this electronic device is like drinking the 'prep' stuff for a colonoscopy. Once you get through that, the procedure is a breeze. So, if I can learn how to operate this gadget, then a cell phone is the next step. Can I just add that giving Deb Hall a cell phone is as dangerous as me packing a handgun? Think about that for a while. I am unsure that the world is ready for me to be able to tell a story to a list of 'victims' on my contact list---whenever I feel the need to tell one. And NO ONE needs me to pull out a Magnum or a Glock and say, "FREEZE!" My cop son says that I would probably know the perpetrator and would strike up a conversation saying something like, "Leroy, didn't I have you in fifth grade? Put down that gun." And there we would be. He would be held captive by a long, boring, story and my weapon would be lost at the bottom of my purse. Yep, I will stick to using hornet spray. (If I remember to get it out from under my sink).

But I digress. Back to the I-Pod Touch. I really think this techno-pop-tart is cool. I mean, I love having information at the end of my thumb. Umm...does one use his/her thumb when using the keyboard? Anyway, I have a Siri Person, which I have always found cool. A personal valet of answers. SO....I made my Siri a male voice with a British accent. Fun huh?  (I laughingly referred to him as my Siri-bi***). I didn't trust him, so I asked him/it a few questions about space exploration. He got them all correct, so I guess it/he can be trusted. I mean, the teacher in me knew that it had to pass a test before I would ask it important stuff like who was on 'Days of Our Lives' in 1972? I did like the idea that I can find out what aircraft is flying over my head, or who did the voice for an animated movie, or look at the constellations outside. It has its possibilities.

But I am very worried I will drop it. I mean, it is thin and fragile. So last night, when I met up with my family, I wrapped it up in paper towel and put it in a baggie. Oh, the kiddos laughed and laughed. UNTIL I started to leave and then dropped my purse. Yep, before I walked out of the door it was in bubble-wrap inside the baggie.They know me so well.

My next dilemma is how to keep track of the darn thing. I mean, I lose my keys regularly. My sanity, constantly. You know that old saying on why old women can't have babies? It is because we would lay them down and forget where we left them. Well, I can't very well lose my children's Christmas gift. So I have a solution.

A fanny pack. Yeah! I can put my I-Pod Touch in my little pack and strap it to me. Then, I am told, I can measure my steps and track my progress on getting fit. I also can prevent certain folks from stealing it from me. Lord knows they aren't desperate enough to go through my fanny pack to take my new gizmo.

Hey!!! I could put my gun in there, too! Think it would scratch the i-pod screen?

One thing at a time. I must learn to figure out how to make it work.

But this is why I have nine grandchildren. Once they get done rolling their eyes and screaming, "Mamaw is not that hard!" I will master this thing.

After all, I did learn how to work a Boom Box and a VCR. Game on.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dear Grandchild-Not-Yet-Born,

My Dear Grandchild,

      Well, let me begin by saying that you are grandchild number ten who has/will stolen my heart. I only know you in dark and white ultrasound photos, but no matter, you are ours and you are loved already. I get the report of doctor visits, ever thankful, that your emerging life is following a routine pattern. You will make our February or March very busy. And very rich. Loving families widen the circle to welcome one more. And a grandmother's heart is very elastic; a capacity for embracing another gift from her offspring. I never take it for granted. The birth of a new baby is a holy event. It never gets old. As you are changing from moment to moment, so does this world. We call them seasons of life. Embrace them. Now...before I forget what I am going to tell you, let me get started.

       First of all, your siblings and cousins will be your best friends. And first enemies. Don't fret....this is normal. Your mom and aunt and uncles will instill you with four distinct philosophies: laugh, love, learn, and live. It will make sense to you later, but rest assured these are lessons no new little one can live without. Your father will shape you with a faith that will guide your tiny feet until they morph into older footsteps. I can only imagine the fun adventures that await you! No matter what anyone tells you, the world is still kind. Good people outweigh those who are without hope. If there is any prayer I would beg to be answered on your behalf, it would be for you to by joyous. Not happy---that is fleeting. But joy abides within one's soul. It is a flickering flame that nothing can extinguish. As the old poem goes, "Take joy."

        Your gifts will be many. Personal qualities that are unique and as individual as your fingerprint. I would advise you to use every gift you are given so that when you arrive in Heaven, your pockets will be empty. Hold nothing back. I think this is great advice for a wonderful existence. I practice it daily. Try not to conform to this world; instead enhance it. "There is only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself." I don't know who wrote it, but I surely take it to heart. Oh, and when it doubt: giggle.

        There is a quote by Robert Frost that says: "A new baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." I have always agreed with this statement. And soon you will be joining this world. There's an entire realm of wonder called 'nature'. You will be so amazed! Everything from fur and paws, to gills and feathers. You will gaze up at the moon and nighttime sky and your soul will be dazzled by what is all around you. I can't wait to explore with you. There is perfection in a dandelion--and don't let anyone tell you there's not. This planet is your playground as well as your source of life. One amazing sphere. Much like the womb you are experiencing now. Life is one big circle.

         I do want to share a few more thoughts with you. When you arrive, the country you will call home will have just elected/inaugurated a new President. Ours is not a perfect place on the map, but you will see how incredibly special it is by the folks who risk their lives to be on our soil. I hope that you always vote in every election because your voice may seem small, but it matters. Perhaps one of the first things you will memorize (after your name, address, phone number, birthday, etc.) will be the 'Pledge of Allegiance'. Say it proudly and wear the label of 'American' without shame.
          There is much that you will be given but some highlights will be the language, traditions, customs, and tools that our family will share with you. It is like our very own DNA of everyday life. Then holidays will come along and bring its own special magic. We are like an intimate village set among thousands of others. We are all perfect in our own right, yet the richness emerges when we share and accept people different from ourselves. It is like a quilt; lovely, rich in different patterns, and warmth for the soul. From Valentine's Day to treks to the State Fair, we will keep you busy making memories and interpreting life from our corner of the world.

         I suppose I am wearing you out. After all, you are busy developing neurons, fingers, eyelashes, and limbs. I hope I haven't bored you or overwhelmed you. One of my biggest flaws is talking too much. You will learn that soon enough, I suppose. But I just wanted to give you a bit of a tour before your grand entrance. We look so forward to meeting you! Gender does not matter, nor weight, length, or eye color. Your coming will make our lives complete. Until then....grow baby. Your birthday awaits you.


Monday, July 20, 2015

First Steps....Time to Keep Walking

First steps. We never forget them. Our children's first steps were heralded with huge smiles, cheers, claps and the clicks of a camera. We recorded the event, knowing this was the beginning of a new world for our offspring. There would be falls and scraped knees, and bumps on the head; the price of independence, curiosity, discovery. Our little beings were on a risky mission that we knew was so necessary. Yet, didn't we secretly want them within arms length so we could collect them back into our safe grasp? But that is not what first steps are for. It is not an experimental wonder for celebration and then a stoppage of walking. Nope. Once our little ones got the hang of it, we were done. Those wobbly steps of our toddlers would soon turn into adults running from us as they hurry to make that flight. My ninth grandchild is about to walk independently---even as I post this, the deed may be done! While I want her to score high on that 'Denver Developmental Rating Chart' I want to keep her a baby a little while longer. Identical thoughts when her mother--and siblings were eleven months old.

But my world has launched into another love of 'first steps'. And if you know me at all, you will shake your head, roll your eyes, and say, "Apollo 11." Yep. Today was the day, oh so many years ago, when America took its first steps on the moon. I have never stopped loving the stories, history, and science connected with this event. Secretly, I long to walk upon the moon's surface and gaze back on Earth. I peer up at the full moon and am almost a bit homesick for a place I've never been. Is that even possible? While I marvel at the International Space Station, and will forever feel such a kinship to the space shuttle program---and do think we should continue fly-bys and efforts to visit Mars....the moon owns my heart.

I teach Lunar Science with finesse, facts, and an infallible hunger to excite young minds to realize what the moon has to offer. On those early Apollo missions, so many 'spin-offs' (inventions for space travel that ended up as ordinary tools in today's world) can be seen in our ER/trauma rooms, tools, prosthetics, sports equipment and on and it goes. And this doesn't even scratch the surface of what NASA did for the realm of electronics, computer technology, fiber optics, etc. But the reason we need to seriously consider lunar exploration is because the moon's regolith is abundantly rich in Helium 3 gas. This would be a clean, stable, fuel source for our planet. A very small amount of Helium 3 gas can support a vast amount of our fuel needs. Solar winds deposit this gas into the soil of our own natural satellite. We are past collecting moon rocks for museums; it is time we attain a very real fuel source from our closest neighbor. Oh, by the way. A lunar base/outpost makes perfect sense if we are serious about mining asteroids, exploring planets, and becoming knowledgable beings in our lovely, spiral Milky Way galaxy.

There is much to celebrate regarding those "small steps for man; giant leaps for mankind." Our lunar pioneers gave us so much more than just science. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins captured the American spirit by being brave, problem solvers dedicated to an assignment that had no guarantees. Oh yeah. A word about the unselfish act of Michael Collins....the Apollo 11 astronaut no one remembers. He was the one in the command module, orbiting while the other two left footprints on the moon. Almost NO ONE ever remembers the names of the guys who orbited in the command modules. This is a lesson in unselfishness that I always share with kids. I tell them it is like this: two kids/astronauts get to go to Disney World/moon, while the other kid/astronaut gets to drive around the parking lot/orbit in space. NASA trained the best and assigned the jobs--no whining allowed. One part of the equation that is omitted in space exploration is the 'me me-pick me-look at my space selfie' moronic thinking. It is teamwork, cooperation, and following instructions, and years of perseverance. Already I can think of folks that couldn't hack it.

I am sure most of you have clicked off this post by now. I get it. I hooked you with a line about babies walking and took you to the moon. Well, this is how I roll. I salute the space-faring American astronauts who did what no one had done before: visited our planet's moon and came home to tell about it. One of my female students had the most awesome quote on her binder:
          "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when I know there are footprints on the moon."

The next week the class and I built an imaginary lunar base/outpost in class---as I have done for so many years of teaching. It is my best lesson in which I combine scientific principles with imagination. The kids are so excited with their research and final product there are no words here to describe it.

They are simply, "over the moon."

We owe them to return. And I am sure that those Apollo astronauts will be cheering us on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Once a Classic Always a Classic

So, Harper Lee has taken the world by storm, once again. Way to go! On July 11th, 1960, she set the literary world on its ear by creating a story rich in character, theme, and social overtones which resulted in the book being banned in many libraries. That is fame in itself, if you ask me! Write a book that teens will read and make them think. Wow...dangerous stuff back in the day.

Now we are ready for 'Go Set a Watchman' to be released. The title is straight out of scripture. It tells the watchman, that if he does not sound a warning to whom he is called to protect, he will be held accountable for judgment and punishment by God as much as those who did not heed the warning. Well, there were all kinds of warnings and sirens in 'Mockingbird'.

But here is what I know. I have loved Atticus Finch since the day I finished the book. I adored Scout and her perspective on life and how the story just flowed like a lazy southern river. It had every component that made it a classic. When defining a classic to my students, the number one quality is that it withstands the test of time. The world can go from number two pencils to calculated fly-bys past Pluto, and good literature, art, music, will connect those worlds for us in a way we will not forget.

Or, let's look at it another way. In 'Mockingbird' Scout/Jean Louise is telling the story as a seven year old. One of the most critical aspects of writing is creating an authentic 'voice' for each character. Author Harper Lee nails it with every person we meet. Scout reveals a love and reverence for her father, Atticus. Think about it. As seven year olds, didn't we all consider our parents to be perfect? Didn't they reveal the world to us, complete with filters and careful lies? Scout processes her world from her precocious and southern point of view. It is, well, classic! And then the story came to the cinema, cementing poignant dialogue and events in our minds, and becoming a classic in another genre.

Now, Scout, is a grown woman, having abandoned her beloved nickname for her given moniker, Jean Louise Finch. And with that metamorphosis comes the realization that her father, Atticus Finch, is not perfect. Well, wasn't that a lesson we all learned as adults? That our view of our mothers and fathers became a bit skewed when we held them up to the light? I think that is one of the biggest 'coming of age' story lines out there. I get it. Why?

Because I was once Scout (little Debbie Martin). I lived for summer adventure-filled days, and with Frankie, the neighbor boy, we would have knocked on Boo Radley's door and tormented that mystery man day after day. I loved my father deeply, but had to learn quickly that the man I idolized fell fast and hard---with many folks watching. And then it happened. I grew up to be Jean Louise (Debbie Martin Coffing-Hall) and learned that I was as imperfect as the next guy and am still living in a world harboring a hate that divides people, cultures, and countries. I have always tried to savor my days as 'Scout' and the love of an imperfect father. Oh....that neighbor boy, Frankie? We see one another and laugh at every crazy prank and person we encountered in our youth. In our minds, we remain Scout and Jem.

So now you have it. I will read the new/old book by Harper Lee. I am anxious to meet Scout again as a grown-up. Yeah, it is time to see how we did. I have been warned not to read it as it will ruin my ideal of Atticus. Naw....nothing will do that. 'Mockingbird' and I have been companions for so many years. I have carried my love for this literary work into naming my pets: Scout, Atticus, Harper, and Boo. Besides that, I have had plenty of practice in loving imperfect people.

After all, I am one of them.

Bring it on, Harper, I'm ready. Scout was always brave. And forgiving.

Let's see if I can be as well.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Days of Our Lives: Or How I Became a Soap Opera Addict

      I am a hopeless romantic. I have known this by the movies I watch, books I read, times I've fallen in love and married. When it comes to 'meet the guy, lose the guy, get guy back' I am such a sap. I've loved weddings, bridal gowns, and everything nuptial since I was a little girl and colored every page of my 'Here Comes the Bride' coloring book.

      So it comes as no surprise that I loved watching soap operas. I used to keep it a secret, then 'Luke and Laura' made the cover of Time magazine with their soap 'I do's' and then I was free. close friends and family knew that I was addicted to 'Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, the Doctors, Edge of Night, Secret Storm, Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow, the Guiding Light,Young and Restless, (or as my son called it: The Young and the Rest of Us), and One Life to Live. Boy....this kind of commitment made for busy summer days. It's a wonder I had time to spend every waking hour at Pam's house and get into trouble with boys on her porch. Oh wait!! We didn't do anything when 'Days' was on! Her mom and grandma watched it too...kind of a family ritual. When those sands passed through the hour glass, we were spellbound. I mean...what could be better than Bo and Hope, Doug and Julie, and Dr. Marlena Evans and Roman. I know. Some of you have already clicked over to FB or googled how to cook pork loin in the crock pot. But if you were a 'soap fiend' then I have news for you.

      Did you know that you can google your old soap and or actors and actresses who starred in them and actually WATCH old episodes??? Yep...there's a thing called 'Retro TV' and I watched a couple of episodes from 'Love of Life', the 'Doctors' (you know...Althea and Dr. Nick Belini), and some wonderful black and white passion from 'General Hospital'. I must say, watching those shows now I realized how goofy some of them really were. The sets were what you would see in a middle school play, the medical scenes had little more than an oxygen mask and a plant on the nightstand. But no matter, there was plenty going on behind the hospital room curtain! The fights were guys hitting the palms of their hands instead of the bad guy's face. Now...I know once there was a scene where the actress opened the closet and it was snowing in the closet same as outside...but Retro TV must have missed that one. I have seen outtakes and to be honest, it looks a lot like the episode that aired...complete with the microphone sneaking into view.

      Only in soaps, can a lady have a baby by her long lost ex-husband who was really her cousin and that baby will come down the steps next season as a seventeen year old in love with his neighbor's daughter, who is also his unknown sister. Yep. It gets messy sometimes. But oh....the romance and tender moments is still the fodder for good daytime serials.

       I will leave you with the cheesiest ending I can to this blog. Hold onto your hat. You may gasp or gag, but I bet you will giggle...especially if you stopped in a Sears store and watched your favorite soap on their display tv's. have done that, right? Okay. Here goes.

                                                    My Ode to Soaps

I was just a young girl, on my Search for Tomorrow, looking for the Love of Life that I knew was waiting for me at the Edge of Night. It was my own Secret Storm, waiting for the prince who would carry me to Santa Barbara with the help of a Guiding Light. After all, I only had One Life to Live and the sands of the hourglass would fall through just like the Days of Our Lives. I had to find my Luke, my Bo, my Ben, my Mark, Dr. Hardy, because I knew that Love was a Many Splendored Thing and I was not going to miss out! Yes, I was Young and Restless, but if it took the Doctors of General Hospital to help me find love while The World Turns, then fine! I had a passionate side to my innocent 'girl next door' and the whole world was my stage! No matter what....I was on a mission. I was looking for love! And darn it, I would find in no matter how many channels I had to change or classes I had to miss just to watch every episode. And yes I would devour every 'Soap Digest' magazine to see a close-up picture of every bride, groom, victor and villain. This was the basis for forming life long relationships: I mean...this was real life, wasn't it? Tune in tomorrow....

Sigh. Maybe it was just daytime programming designed to sell soap products and jello. Could it be that this is not how everyone finds their traveling to Port Charles to Genoa City to Kingdom Come to find their soulmate? And to do so on motorcycle in a wedding gown or nestled down in a dark field with that tall, dark, handsome bad boy---with no hint of mosquitoes, wood tics, or possums? Well, we all need a respite from the real world of laundry, children puking, and a husband who thinks romance is turning the channel from the NFL to the 'Thorn Birds', then snoring through the steamy love scenes.

Okay. I'm done. No more sloppin' through the soaps. But if you want to see what Tony Geary looked like when he came on--40 some years ago on 'General Hospital' google it!

Little did I know, if I wanted to live life like the soaps, all I had to do was leave Pam's front porch. 'Days of Our Lives'--- so much more fun to live than simply watch.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

"What is Your Emergency?" or How Pam and Debbie Spent Their Sunday Afternoon

Okay! So my best friend and I are having Sunday dinner with her mom. And since we have been best friends since we were fifteen years old, my mom was her mom and her mom is my mom. Get it? We still can recall one another's phone numbers by heart: mine was 359-4451, and her family's number was: 356-2138. Sometimes I don't know where I leave off and my friend begins. Our Social Security numbers are the same except for the very last digit. This occurred when we both went together to the SS office to get cards prior to driver's education.

But enough on that history. You gotta hear what mess we got into today. best friend, let's just call her 'Pam', and her mom we will name her, ummm, 'Carolyn'. Yep, that will work. other mother, Carolyn, recently fell, so they have her wired with this fall alert button thingy. I guess I should read up on it, as I am getting pretty clumsy myself. But that's a matter for another time.

I am sitting in Carolyn's kitchen when all of a sudden a voice starts blasting into the room. It was all 'urgent-like' and serious. I knew that voice meant business. Must be the weather alert radio. I look out the window and say to 'Pam': "Well, I sure don't see any storms. Do you think it's a tornado warning?"

Instantly, Pam starts yelling at Carolyn! "Are you alright, mom?"

Is she alright? The storm isn't even here yet. I go out to the back porch and check on Carolyn.

There she is. Pouring detergent and peering into the washing machine. Miss Carolyn is oblivious to the emergency-blasting voice, my reaction to the oncoming storm, and Pam's panicky question.

"She's doing laundry," I respond, "I don't think she hears you. What are you yelling about?"

"Life Alert! Life Alert is calling. They think mom has fallen. She must have hit the button on the washer." Pam continues yelling at the Life Alert box. This is awkward.

"NO. No....everyone is okay. We don't need an ambulance. Mom....what is your password?"

Carolyn comes out from the back porch and shrugs her shoulder. "I don't know. Hal (her son) didn't tell me." Pam starts digging through some papers trying to locate the information. Pam is shouting at the Life Alert lady that she is indeed her daughter, and Carolyn is upright and fine and that the button got caught in the waistband of her pants and banged against the washing machine, setting it off.

Yeah. This could probably happen to anyone.

In the meantime, Carolyn is relatively unconcerned that in a matter of moments a parade of emergency vehicles are about to descend on her property. Soon, the Life Alert Lady asks for Carolyn's date of birth. Bingo! That is the password! The Life Alert Lady has called off the Emergency Vehicles Parade. And we all settle down to process the last four minutes of our lives. And then we do what we always do: laugh.

But wait!!  I need some clarification! You mean that wasn't the Weather Radio? There is no impending tornado? Pam just stares at me. I've seen that stare a bazillion times. She is looking at me in disbelief that I am so slow catching on to the events that have transpired. I know better than to restate my question. Yeah. I'll just sit back down here and look out the window. Uh huh.

And think about why Pam and I are the Worst. Care-givers. Ever.

But I'll tell ya right now....if that Life Alert Lady calls back and says there's a storm coming, Carolyn and I are heading for the basement!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Selfies, Silliness and Stories

         I have this wooden block above my sink. It has each season on the four sides. I truly smiled and clapped my hands when I turned the block over from spring to summer. I am that kid who lived for school to be over. I am also that teacher who shares the same sentiment. I don't know. It's like standing on the edge of Christmas Eve, waiting for all of the surprise and adventure of Christmas morning to unfold.

         That's how it is when the bus pulls away from the curb on that last day of school: total joy and anticipation. A chapter waiting to be written of fun, freedom, and an endless string of Fridays that happen on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Summer vacation is the work of gods who understand kids. No more worksheets, tests, homework, and projects that fizzle. Time to imagine, get dirty, stay up late, sleep in. The summer assignment is to: pretend, build, pitch, hit, kick, slam, dribble, and that is just getting to the breakfast table.

         My summer has started with the grandkids. Play dates in which five grandsons make slingshots, play in the hose, take turns on the swing, and play with action figures with wild abandon. This is the bonus timeI have to take my granddaughters to dinner. The best course isn't on the menu; it's their endless stories and funny takes on life. The purchases at the mall were great buys; but you can't put a price on the silly selfies they took on my digital camera. Birthday parties, ball games, and pleas of "Can we spend the night?" make summer a magical time. For them and me. And foregoing the cleaning agenda while I rock the youngest grand baby, resets my inner peace. I made up a phrase that says, "Plant stillness---harvest calm." A sleeping child in my lap does just this.

        I value education, structure, and the hunger for life-long learning. But watching a robin return to the nest to lay on blue eggs is a science lesson built on wonder. Watching little lips sound out the words of a book they bought at a garage sale is reading for the fun of it. Which in turn, will prepare them for reading that is required. Planting seeds, picking strawberries,  trying to make neon 'glow in the dark' bubbles is agriculture and chemistry at their fingertips. I think that we make learning so hard. Junk can become art; broken tree limbs a fort, and taking a walk downtown can reveal history lessons on every corner.

        And may I add that a skinned knee may be the result of climbing a tree. Let 'em climb. The run through the meadow might be a little itchy. Scratch, but keep running. Collecting crawdads out of the creek may result in muddy kids. Guess what....they will wash. Play involves risk. Bike races and kickball games probably will end in a disagreement; let them solve it. And if they can't work it out, call them in for  a Kool-Aid break (black cherry is my favorite). And don't stress over the sugar in's only a matter of weeks before they are being served school lunches.

        I hope your summer is full of lightning bugs, chalk drawings, and ice cream cones. And when the kids come to play, join them.

        The giggles you hear may be your own.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

NKOTB are Now the Old Folks Down the Road

Hey! It's May 30th in Indy and you know what that means: the Indy 500 race is over, tornadoes have hit, the Little Flower Catholic Church had their festival and the New Kids On The Block are playing a concert in Indianapolis! My FB page is exploding with folks I know posting pictures of themselves partying at various bars or arriving at the venue. is where I smile. The folks I am referring to are kids that have morphed into 35 year-olds (and then some) adult women. My own daughters would have been there if the planets had lined up in the right order. Yes...those same daughters that had NKOTB pajamas, cassette tapes, t-shirts, posters, hats, underwear, (I am can't swear to that one....but I bet I'm right), figures, games, cards, you get the idea. There was no Christmas, birthday or Easter basket that did not contain this stuff. And when a new product was advertised, my girls went through the CHILD VS. MOTHER RANT which was a cross between begging, family promises and a layer of mom- guilt that went something like this:

         "I can't live without this, PLEEEZ, Mom, I'll do a thousand chores, I'll watch Nick (younger, annoying, little, brother at that time), I'll clean my room, I'll organize World Peace, and even do my homework without being told. I'll even wear that headgear for my braces! If only you will buy this NKOTB outfit! (And now the big guns come out:) EVERYBODY has them! I'll be the ONLY girl without this outfit! PLEEZ Mom, if you love me...."

And then it happened. The parent caved, the kid won, and before the next latest and greatest recording was released, all NKOTB items were stuffed in the box for the next garage sale. No clean rooms, no headgear for the braces --even located--let alone worn, and not everyone at school had the outfit. In fact, the truth be known, by the time this mother could afford two sets of all begged for items, they probably were out of style. Sigh. Urgency and my wallet were oxymorons. Too bad. So sad. Or as my daughter says to her offspring today (yes that same daughter in aforementioned paragraph), "Suck it up Buttercup."

Yep, we have all blissfully matured from our days of worshipping the Beatles, the Monkees, Bon Jovi, New Kids on the Block, and New Direction. And yes I did just jump through about three generations there. Like that? I can do better. The New Kids on the Block groupies are now the thirty-somethings who live down the road... enjoying mortgages, babies and teenagers, homework wars, dandelions and crabgrass challenges, and kids who MUST HAVE tickets to see Five Seconds of Summer this summer.

I have only one thing to say to that: Nope. Oh...and "Suck it up, Buttercup!"

The real truth is that your mother just spent your concert money on her concert.

Rock out're only a new kid on the block once.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer has Come! Time to Play, Indeed!

Another school year has slammed shut like a hollow locker. The day's knowledge washed off the white board. Books collected, papers distributed and the recycle bins overflowing with those same papers. Grades posted into that cyberspace portal which some kids will dread their parents opening. The flag has come down from its station and put away until next year's Pledge of Allegiance.

I am a teacher. You know that. And this time of year is always bittersweet, as faculty departs for summer break or new job opportunities, or that adventure called retirement. We all gathered as the buses pulled away....yelling good-byes, and "I'll miss you" even though some kids we won't. Just as they won't miss us. It's just a fact. Nothing to be too upset over. I mean really, do you like everyone you work with? Didn't think so.

But now that I settle into a summer that will come and go as quickly as my prep time, I have some moments to call my own. To repair the damage done to my house, garage and car known as 'hit and run' which is what life is like when the morning alarm of 5:15 announces the new day and falling into bed at 11:30 pm is part of the agenda. You know how it is; you just push through. What do you leave out? What goes undone? It is like dusting your house when the company is coming up your walkway. You just keep processing errands, appointments and people. I know God did not create 'hurry' but I feel I live in that whirlwind most days. But I am not complaining, simply stating facts.

Summer is a time for the soul to take it a bit slower. To make time for the porch, even if I have to pencil it in on the calendar. To avoid 'sign-up charts' like the plague, and to realize I am not going to make all of the grandkids' events. And that's okay. It is far better to be rested and ready for them to play at my house and sleep in my sleeping bags. That is the summer they have been craving, as well.

I started my first day of summer vacation by going to a couple of garage sales with my daughter while pushing my youngest granddaughter in the stroller. A simple act, yet I held it up to the light as a holy moment. This is the family that just moved back home after being out of state for three years. A simple stroll created a quiet ecstasy in my soul. Yesterday, having five grandsons at the park was beyond grand. They went from baseball to basketball to soccer. Soon a small clump of trees called their names and off they went exploring. I simply smiled. I am the grandmother, who as a child, could NOT wait until school was over. I lived to be outside to play, create, wonder. I came in when the lightning bugs came out. Perhaps, I am more a child when summer begins than any other time of my life.

Yet in the back of my mind I worry about my other kids. My students. Will they find enough to eat without school breakfast or lunch? Will they be safe or stuck babysitting for hours? Will they find any time to relax or will their sport schedules and travel teams keep them so booked up that they can't find time to goof off? Will these kids who stole my heart be so connected to their phones and electronics that they never get lost in a book or craft? Will they watch films that steal their innocence or will that happen when supervision of caring adults is lacking? I think of the faces that reacted to my hours and hours of lecture, questions, and how they would laugh when I said some crazy thing. In that moment, their giggles were authentic and their middle school lives were carefree. I want my kids to have that balance of a summer that is fun, relaxing, and full of childlike memories. Is that too much to ask? We push and push them to be better test-takers, citizens, independent thinkers, problem solvers; it is my hope that we also give them permission to just be kids.

Well...I am off to bed. Baseball games and birthday parties await me. And a nap. And a good book to read. Summer is here. Time to play.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bubbles: A Visual Miracle

I know what you're thinking: Deb has been into the bubbly again and is having hallucinations. Well, if you know me,  then you  know I don't drink alcohol. Although, one time a guy came up to my daughter and after observing my crazy behavior, inquired how much I had to drink. My girl responded that I did not drink. His next comment was, "Oh yeah. C'mon. How much has she had tonight?" My daughter just smiled and said, "No really. She doesn't drink. That is how she is all the time. This is why I drink!" And this is how an innocent story became family lore.

Back to the bubbles. I find bubbles fascinating and here is why. When I was in, oh say, eighth grade, I had an old science teacher named Miss Geisler, at IPS # 73. I think she had a thing for Thomas Alva Edison, and was older than the sun, wore wire spectacles, rode the bus to school, always wore old lady shoes and taught every second kids were in her presence. She was persnickety, blew a whistle when we got too loud, and paddled when necessary, and was spell-bound by the electron microscope. Her classroom looked like it would explode with curriculum, folders, books, and such. I feared and loved her all at once. And learned, oh so much. One day, she told the class this scientific fact: 

        The thinnest source of atoms we can see with the naked eye is the common soap bubble.

Now....this was the late sixties, before fiber optics, mind-boggling technology, and Google. But I never forgot this brief lesson. And as I stood at the sink doing dishes as a pre-teen, I would hold a soap bubble up to the light and gaze at the prism-like rainbows. I would hear that teacher's voice about the thinnest source of atoms and the ordinary became amazing. That bubble would rest on my fingers and I became spell-bound in the mystery of the scientific world. Who would have known that years later, I would teach a lesson developed by astrophysicists, beamed down from the space shuttle, called, 'The Electo-Magnetic Spectrum: Seeing in a New Light'.This lesson dealt with light rays, the color spectrum, and how humans see their world of color in this atmosphere. 

I know Miss Geisler was watching. And smiling. And perhaps, bubbling over with pride.

When we had 'Bubble Day' at school, the kiddos made ginormous bubbles using hoola-hoops as a bubble wand, filling the playground with "the thinnest source of atoms one can see with the naked eye." Even today, one can browse FaceBook and see how to put glow sticks in bubbles and make magical spheres that float in the summer night. Weddings are replete with bubbles as the bride and groom exit the church in a barrage of lovely, floating, round rainbows. A nice, photographic, send-off that is far easier to clean up than confetti. 

I am thinking that my science teacher's acclamation has been replaced by some technological bling that makes the common soap bubble look as outdated as pagers and video-players. But, hey--I see how bubbles can make a toddler giggle, second graders play and learn, a bride and groom grin, and a sixty year old teacher gaze at the by-products of Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Don't you love it when the simple, common, uncomplicated object lifts our minds and hearts to a place of contemplation? Isn't it rather touching when an old sage makes a proclamation that sticks with a student up until her later adult years? Man, that is teaching at its finest! I have always regretted that the 'thank you' letter in my head never made it to the paper. I always meant to write Miss Geisler and tell her I became a teacher partly because of her influence. She left this planet many years ago to explore other physical and chemical dimensions I'm sure. And perhaps, to catch up with Mr. Edison. Yet, the bubble lesson never left me. 

Bubbles. A whole bunch of science and fun floating on the air. Extraordinary spheres that shimmer and shine, reminding us that we are surrounded by miracles if we would only look, study, and think.

But mostly just bubble over with wonder. Just as Miss Geisler would have wanted.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Maybe I Just Need a Little Muzak.....

Okay....I saw that sneer. I heard that "Are you kidding me?" I detected that guffaw and loud groan. And if you are asking, "What is 'Muzak' then you better bypass this blog. It is time sensitive and your time has never known such a classic as 'Muzak'. perhaps calling it a classic is pushing it.

For those of you who are too young to remember Muzak or too old to remember much of anything, let me enlighten you. MUZAK (myoo-zak), was recorded background music that was played in public places such as offices, stores, waiting rooms. Also known as elevator music. It was lyric-free, and probably was the scourge of every recorded artist that heard their hit song as a Muzak marvel. Which begs the question: why do I think I need a return of Muzak?

Simple. Muzak was calming to me. And also to the voices inside my head. There....I said it before you did. But really, my life is noisy and busy. My brain is cluttered, creative to a fault, and I have been likened to a kindergartener on Red Bull, as I am a tad bit random. And amidst all of these neural firings, my memory stick is a bit wobbly. So, I visualize, forget, dream, remember, question that process and begin again. And I wander, meander, and amble until I finally retrieve that detail I cannot remember. Like....why did I walk into this room? Who left the water running? Since I live alone, that answer doesn't take much higher-level thinking skills. My mental clutter has turned me into a cranial hoarder of unimportant and goofy things, laced in real life calamities. I'm a mess.

Now...if I could have some soothing, boring, uncomplicated music perhaps my life would become a nice, placid melody. Okay, so it won't fix my clogged drain, or my rejected federal tax forms, or mow the grass. But maybe the drone of Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline',  recorded bland as cornstarch, just might be the ticket. A nice tune coming over the airways of my chaotic life would surely bring me an internal calmness. And possibly, world peace.

Muzak is my answer.....I just know it. Tunes without the words and complications of the day. Audio oatmeal. No thought-provoking NPR, no straining to get that hook lyric, just noise that soothes the soul.

You're not buying it. Sigh. Well, I just think that we all need our own little respite in the information/high tech/me me/twitter and quitter/text-mex/and all the other crazies that create such mental and physical woes. We are a busy planet and I am a "bear of little brain" who needs a nice, soothing soundtrack to balance out my day. Muzak is my choice of solace. Finding it on my radio dial would be stellar.  Oh yes! And movie theaters should print out a list of all the actors playing the voice parts of every animated film. This should be federal law. I cannot enjoy my buttery popcorn wondering if the snowman was dubbed by Beyonce or if the daddy's voice was really Steve Martin. Why, yes, that was a random comment that really did not belong in this paragraph.

Nothing that a little Muzak couldn't fix.

Friday, April 10, 2015

National Siblings Day: Or How We Survived the Other Kids Our Parents Dumped On Us

Today is National Siblings Day. Who knew? Not I. But since it is on the internet, I know that it must be so. So....let's go there. Do you have siblings? Have you survived that phenomenon known as being a sister or a brother or having such? Are you a parent and do you wonder if your offspring will ever speak a civil word to one another, quit fighting over everything from who sits where in the car--to whose piece of lint fell on their side of the bedroom? Yeah...sibling-hood is part family network, part gang warfare, and a whole lot of Survivor.

But if you are raising kids, I will insert one more possibility of sibling-hood: intense friendship.

I raised four kids. They are gone from the nest and have their own lives. I am still dancing in the nest ever-joyful that they are gone. On a quiet afternoon, you may hear me announce to no one: "I am taking a nap because I can." Or, as I eat a bowl of cereal and call it 'supper' I giggle because I will not spend hours shopping, cooking, and cleaning up a meal that no one really appreciated. But this is about them, not me.

With two sons and two daughters, that ranged ten years apart from numero uno to caboose, we had a lot of adventures. And mishaps. And near misses. And heartbreak. And just plain fun. I will admit that being the children of a public educator puts them on a special and scary kind of playing field. I expected the truth, 100 percent effort, and two straight lines to the restrooms at the mall. Every holiday was in triplicate: home, school, church. My children got to know--at the dinner table-- the names and events of every student that drove me nuts. Once on 'Take Your Daughters to Work' day, my two girls scouted out 'THAT KID' and warned him to start behavin' as they had to deal with me and my bad mood. Maybe it was their charm or threatening stare learned from their older brother, but I must say he cleaned up his act.

I truly wondered if my children would kill one another in their sleep. Oh come have had the same thoughts, too. Everything was a competition, the Olympics, a courtroom, and a theatrical production. There was the plaintiff and defense team and I just wore out that judge's robe. Until I learned that chasing them around with the gavel and threatening a trip to Juvenile Detention Center was far more effective. How many parents out there went from, "I'm sorry your bad choices are disappointing me and you will have a time-out" to, "I know you want a gerbil for your birthday, but I'm getting you a Probation Officer instead." Yeah, I have to admit, I went from zero to a thousand in about 30 seconds. My kids will never recite a poem at my funeral, entitled, 'My Loving and Patient Mama'. Parenting is not for the weak. My other favorite mental note as I dealt with my children was: "So this is why mothers in the wild eat their babies."

My children really did love one another and I made sure of that by making a lot of mistakes which, inadvertently banded them together. And lovingly, I was invited to be part of the group. Even now, I crave time for just the five of us to spend a meal or event together. My daughter-in-law and sons-in law graciously comply. We are the 'table of five' who carried such memories and connectedness that truly forged immeasurable bonds between those four kids.

It amazes me today that the kid they tricked into believing was adopted has been so forgiving. The sisters are like two bodies with one soul. My oldest son showed off his baby brother's hospital picture when he was collecting for his paper route; miles may separate them but still there are no spaces between the two. The four gathered in their grandma's hospital room to bid her good-bye and the room became replete with stories, laughter, laced with tears and hugs. When the youngest spent untold days in the hospital, the other three maintained a routine and a vigil on when he would be released. Whether it was Christmas or birthdays, special events were marked by the giving of unselfish gifts bought with pocket change or meager paychecks. Whatever obstacles marked their journeys these four overcame them together. Their riotous laughter over music, dance moves, lines from the Cinema, or tricks they played on one another are pure joy for this mother. Even now, as they tell me things I could have gone to my grave not knowing, I shake my head and wonder why I have been so blessed with these guys.

National Sibling Day. I truly think it is a valid observance. Oh, and you know why else I think that? Because my siblings--two older sisters-- are pretty incredible. I would like to think that my own offspring learned about relationships by watching us. Unconditional love, authentic relationships, laced with open communication and many giggles.

So that brother and sister. And for goodness sakes....let them sit in the front.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

'Of Ice and Men' My Apologies to John Steinbeck

We have snow in Indiana. About 7 inches--which is really a sissy amount compared to other parts of the United States. But nonetheless, I love it. And I was most excited to go out and shovel out my driveway, sidewalks, a path for the mailman. Until I started shoveling. Then it started to be work. Heavy work. And when one is 4foot 10inches tall, it soon feels like that 7 inches is catching up with one's head. Okay, so I exaggerate. Truth is, shoveling snow is not as much fun as sledding in it. But hey...sometimes one has to be the adult, right?

So when the distant neighbor guy hollered, "Hey, we'll do that for ya for $25 bucks or so..." I at first said, "Naw....I'll get it. Thanks!" ("I am woman hear me roar, in a voice too loud to ignore." Who said that? Some lady in the seventies. Not shoveling snow).

Pretty soon, the offer rang out again, and I said, "SURE!" The knee was aching and the shoulder kept whispering: we are NOT 30 anymore. The gentlemen came into the yard and we started talking. If you know me, that was their first mistake. As the conversation unfolded, the novel, 'Of Mice and Men' began unravelling in front of me. Sure did! The shorter guy, we'll call George, and the tall man with one half of his snow overalls hanging down, is Lennie. Without the little soft bunnies and girl with the golden curls. If you've read the book, you'll get that. If not, no worries. Suffice it to say, George did the talking and working. Lennie, just stood there leaning on his shovel, talking to me about the neighbors that just moved out. And where I taught school. And if I knew this person and that person. (I actually did. Who is not surprised?)

Finally, George tells Lennie to start shoveling. Lennie complies. Until George asks if I can spare some bottles of water. Lennie beams as if I was bringing back plates of fried chicken. Settle down, Lennie, it's just water. Lennie starts drinking the water. And talking about how cute my black dog was and how it looked just like theirs before they had to put it down. (I already know this because I met that dog at a garage sale about three years ago). But, being this was Lennie, I let him carry on. And pet the dog. And he petted it real gentle like, not hard enough to crush the bones or anything.

George adds details to Lennie's stories from time to time, but never stops working. And keeping an eye on Lennie. And reminding him to shovel. See what I mean? All I needed to do was throw in "livin' off the fat of the land" and some bunkhouses, a guy named Curly, and I could have this story unfold on my porch.

Purty' soon (Steinbeck dialect) George and Lennie had transformed my snow-laden drive back to black asphalt. Now...I had asked George if he could turn my car around so it was facing the street. I may find myself in the classroom tomorrow, and wanted to be headed out for duty. But get this. The plot takes a turn. Ole' George forgot. And it was Lennie, still leanin' on his shovel who hollered at George that I wanted the car to face OUT not in! Boy, Steinbeck would sure been proud of ole Lennie. Character development in Deb Hall's driveway!

Sigh. I liked these guys. They were so excited to help out a neighbor. Especially when I paid them. But there's nothing like a bit of old classical literature coming alive on one's land.

I'm kinda hoping for more snow, 'cause I know Lennie and George will be back.

Heck, Lennie is hoping for that plate of chicken. I just know it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Whatta Day. And It's Only 3:00 PM

Somehow, after running errands I found myself at Subway for a quick roast beef sandwich. I had settled into my booth, ready to attack the day's crossword puzzle. Now...mind you I looked like a hot mess. Hurriedly I had thrown on my youngest son's old corduroy jacket from his middle school days, skipped make-up and had slipped my feet into 'comfy but ugly' shoes. I did not appear to the general public to be anyone who had much on the ball.  Who would have thought that  I held two college degrees, an aerospace endorsement, and knew that an APU stood for 'auxiliary power unit' and MECO was NASA-speak for 'main engine cut off'. Impressed? Let me tell you this: only minutes earlier I was befuddled on how to get the battery and memory disk out of my digital camera. It is still not back in correctly. And, about two months ago, my son-in-law watched as I was confused by their salt and pepper shakers. His comment, "And you wanted to go into space?" shook the room with laughter. My point is this: as Winnie the Pooh says, "I am a bear of little brain."

Back to my roast beef sandwich. I was surely minding my own business when a gal walks in with a big smile and asks the employee if she can just sit down and charge her phone. Permission granted. She plugged into the outlet, pulled up her hoodie, placed her head on her big purse, and appeared to go to sleep. If you are thinking, "I thought you said you were minding my own business..." Umm, I was. That's as close as it gets for me. I like to think I am a scientist always observing human behavior. My sister says I'm just plain nosey. Sigh.

Soon, I could tell the girl was sobbing. Yet she did so as privately as one could. Knowing that I had tissues in my purse (my mother's good example) I slid out of my booth and offered her several. I then realized I had put my arm around her and was asking why she was so sad. Her reply?
                                                      "I'm just tired of living."
Haven't we all known that hopeless, helpless vortex of despair? If not, you are living a golden existence. I asked her age and when she said, "I'm almost twenty-one" I replied that she was too young to give up yet. However, after buying her lunch and listening to her story, I thought, "Nope. Your twenty-one years makes my fifty plus years look like fluff." You know what she lacked in her life? Someone who loved her, valued her, and worried if she even woke up. Pretty big stuff for this young gal. It was obvious that she was smart, articulate,  knew how to avoid unsafe situations, and accepted her lot as "It is what it is." She laughed at herself for not being able to donate plasma due to a cut on her hand. She should have known better before she walked several miles to the donation center. I asked her the going rate for plasma centers: they base it on your weight--the first time you get $25 and the second time you are paid $45 and you can donate twice a week. I did not mention that I too, had considered this type of income after my divorce.

I brainstormed ways I could help her and discussed options for housing; this is an essential first step to get on your feet. Without an address, social services--especially interventions for physical and mental illness are hard to come by. I took her by my church to show her where our Thrift Store was located, and we exchanged numbers. I offered her my home to shower, rest, but after discussions, we decided that the best thing was a ride to 38th Street. She was not real sure she wanted to meet my two dogs! I laughed at that.

But, before we left Subway, another lost lamb sought us out. As we sat there, this guy approached my new pal and asked if he could use her cell phone. She was anxious to help him out. He slid in next to me and his story unraveled. With tattoos covering his face, she asked him why he had 'tatts' on his face? He replied that his mother had asked him the same thing when he got home from prison. The musical notes on his temple, were kind of cute, the big cross on his cheekbone a bit overdone, but the phrase emblazoned on his forehead, "I trust no bitches" was truly a conversational piece. He placed a call to his mother (begging her for food) and explained to my new friend, that he got that tattoo to get back at a girl that broke his heart. I looked at him and said, "Dude...I hate to say it, but she got the last laugh on that one." He smiled and said, "Yeah that is what my probation officer said. I can't get a job or anything." Sure am betting he will not get any new girlfriends either. Soon, he was off and my new lunch companion resumed our conversation.

By now, it was 12:00. You may think that this was a crazy day...but for me it just is kind of typical. So many emotions, situations, pop-ups from the past, questions for the future. And maybe...a little hope in a small corner of Subway. So, I have made a new friend. Or possibly, taken on someone else to care for. But seeing that young girl privately crying reminded me of my own children who have been standing on the ledge. I could not ignore it. Perhaps this is why my mother taught me to carry kleenex and band aids in my purse. To befriend the stranger.

After I had taken to her requested location, I was heading back down Emerson Avenue to my home. That is when the dog caught my eye. On the porch of a deserted house, he looked like my former pup, Atticus. Awwww. But this pup was in luck! I had gone to Family Dollar and had dog food in my car.
Using a nice plastic bag that said, 'Pacific Whale Foundation/ (which matched the t-shirt I was wearing---my son's girlfriend's gift from Maui where she does indeed work with whales), I loaded it up with dog food. This was Atticus' look-alike's lucky day. He barked but did not lunge. He came close as I dumped it out on the driveway. Ever thankful that I did not get shot at or bitten, I returned to my car. My work was done.

Whatta day.

No Ordinary Book on the Shelf

You already know that I brake for thrift stores. There's nothing better than roaming down the aisles looking at odd items and seeing how I can 're-purpose' them or finding gems that adorned my grandparents' homes back in the day. There is something about seeing potential in another person's cast-offs that gets my creative neurons all aglow. But this story is one for the books. Truly.

So, here I am searching for a certain Golden Book of my childhood, when I see a reading textbook that I LOVED teaching from. Every now and then a seasoned educator will latch onto a publisher that amazingly hits the standards and objectives with a great array of solid material. Such was the case of this reading text I had used with fifth graders at Southport Elementary. As I spied that beloved series, I smiled and automatically the titles, characters, themes, genres began parading through my head. So many stories, such little time. I grabbed the book off the shelf, wondering how this old text had found its way here. Then the magic began. 

I opened the book to see "Mrs. Hall" scrawled in pencil on the facing page. What?? I'm a 'Mrs. Hall' and I was about to remark, "Hey, you had me at 'hello' but it gets better! I look on the inside cover and there were the names of 10-12 of my former students! My classroom number of 45 was written in the appropriate box, and there were 'my kids' and the year that they belonged to me. I was under their spell once again. I stood in that thrift store as if I were adrift in the ocean...taking attendance and seeing each of my kiddos raising their hands, smiling their quirky smiles, and making me earn my pay. 

I held that book as if it were a holy thing, and took account of each child who had obediently written their name in the book. After purchasing the book and babbling on about how I had taught from this very book and these were my very students---boring everyone who had to listen to me carry on--I went home and sat on my porch and went through the names of ten year olds who had suddenly morphed into adults. Believe it or not, one girl's name who used that book for an entire school year is a Facebook friend of  mine; she is married, has a daughter, and lives in Florida. One young man is now a highly acclaimed high school educator himself---and I just saw him in May-- when we both were honored by graduating seniors! One gal had played the part of 'Clara' in the Nutcracker Ballet at Clowes Hall, on the campus of Butler University. Yeah...she had played that part when she was MY fifth grader---that's how good of a dancer she was then. Perhaps Google will lead me to her.

I know that the Disney tune, "It's a Small, Small World" fits this blog perfectly. How that book from 1990-2002 made it to me is unknown. But it truly warmed this teacher's heart to 're-unite' with likes of:
Tommy M., Courtney W., Delaina W., Daniel J., Jermaine J., Zac E., Kristen M., Chris P., Liz J, Tiffany S., Andy E., and Sara C.

I said a prayer for each of you, and my heart smiled as the classroom memories spilled out of that book. May each of you enjoy chasing your dreams and living out the ongoing stories of your souls.

Oh...the title of this textbook? DreamChasers. An ordinary book on the shelf that made this teacher's day extraordinary.