Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Flylady

I hope I will be more productive tomorrow than I have been today. I had fully intended to get this house clean. I have been going online to check to see what the Flylady says I should be doing. I am too far behind to feel that picking up the clutter in the living room is all I need to do. After being occupied teaching for 10 months it is time to get in there and do the whole 9 yards. Although I will admit doing small bits and pieces of cleaning does help.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Forever and Ever Hydrangea

It is Memorial Day. Although typically not a holiday for Lee, this year the rains have prevented him from getting in his fields and we decided to go into town to find a replacement window for the remodeling job we will be doing.

While shopping I always have to make a small pass through the plants to see if anything new is waiting there for me.

I found the beautiful Forever and Ever Hydrangea, a new Japanese variety that is a long bloomer like my Endless Summer variety but these blooms will be bigger. My Endless Summer is blooming it's heart out for me but it is at my house on North Trail.

This one will go outside in front of what will be my kitchen window after the remodeling job is complete. I will be able to see it while I clean the kitchen and enjoy it. Perfect! And the blooms are wonderful.

It reminds me of my summer visits in Georgia with Linda.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hope Floats

I guess I need to write more on the subject of my last posting after having read Dana's blog that responds to my post. Usually my intention with my posts is to be uplifting, maybe entertaining but surely something that young mothers can use as an ah-ha! This one is not so uplifting and does express my frustration with the lack of training of our teens.

So with that in mind I will try to reword my post from yesterday to at least state the point I was trying to make. I often imply my point without actually stating it. And often there is more than one point to my thoughts. So read on. I will be very direct in stating my point this time.So here it is.

Train up a child in the way he should go and he will NOT depart from it.

I think that is a good beginning.
As a high school teacher most of you can only imagine what I see and hear. If you have not taught high school and are not around the worst of the worst of our high school students you are probably thinking only of the sweet child who has been trained by church going people and have not even identified the subjects of my blog.

It IS a generational thing. If my mother had not taught me to love nature I may never had discovered it. I may have resisted as a child and not wanted to do the work of loving nature but eventually I came to love it. Had she not taught me to respect the property of my sister I would have been into her stuff (worse than I was). Not only did she teach me to respect the property of the other members of my family she taught us to respect our neighbors property. She taught us to keep our hands in our pockets when we went in the five and dime stores. She taught us to clean our environment rather than to destroy it.

Why? Because we had a sense morality and a sense of pride in our surrroundings. We were taught that if she could not see us, God still sees us and is disappointed in us when we do wrong.

Now I do not mean for this to become "I had to walk five miles to the snow....uphill.....BOTH WAYS!"

The point is not in the change of times but rather in the lack of training.

Yes, train your children to be respectful.
Make your children be responsible for their actions. Do not make excuses for their misbehaviors. No matter what economic bracket you find yourself in......train up your children.....

When I watch my high school students what I am seeing is that they lack GOD in their lives!
At least they are acting un-Godly!

I realize that our children go through phases and often those trained are led astray by the untrained but the training remains as a backbone to support them and eventually they will get back to it.

Yes, Dana, these kids can be trained and should be trained and it may take some years of hard work. Unfortunately there are many who are not being trained or else the parents wait until they start school or are too far out of control before they realize that they need to begin training thus having lost the most formative years of the child's life, those preschool years. Many parents make excuses for their children's misbehaviors and say, I was like that and I grew out of it so they will, too. Boys will be boys! HA!
That attitude only gives them justification for bad behavior.

So here is my point:
  • Stop excusing bad behaviors.
  • Train our children to do good.
  • Hold them responsible when they are not!
If we do not, we are doing our children an injustice because even if we do not hold them responsible GOD WILL!

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Mail Today

I went by my house on North Trail and the place is nearly under water with the heavy rains we have been getting. I drop by often to pick up any mail that is delivered there, feed the cat, Mr. Belvedere, who took up residence there after I moved out and check for any sign of trespassing. When I went to open the mailbox out by the road there is nothing there but a square post with nothing on top. No evidence of any broken pieces, no tire tracks just no mailbox. I drove down to the next mailbox or I should say the location of where the mailbox should be. No Mailbox there either. I had noticed a week earlier that one of the other neighbors were missing their mailbox.

My question is: was this fun?

The vandalism is a bother. I am relatively unaffected by it other than having to replace a missing mailbox. But it makes me wonder about the people who consider this fun. At school I watch teens coming and going dropping trash on the ground in the newly landscaped patio area. They pull up the paving stones in the patio area and throw them aside. In the clean hallway they jump up and shove the ceiling tiles upward, breaking them in half over and over again, leaving a path of destruction. They write on the walls, the desks, the outside bricks. They break sinks off at the wall if they have enough time. Break the water fountains so that they can not be used to get a drink. I have even heard of some urinating in the hallway. I watch this vandalism with wonder. Not awe and wonder but rather with inquisitive wonder.

I wonder what kind of creature poops in their own den. Even a dog goes outside of their territory to do their business.

Well maybe they do not consider their school as being theirs?!

Okay, while house shopping with Daniel this year I went into a home occupied by two of my former students, girls, sweet girls. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the way they lived. Grafitti was plastered all over their walls. Not even pretty grafitti but rather ugly black markings like you find on public bathroom walls, messages, phone numbers, etc. I mean covering the walls, not just a little mark here and there but rather everywhere.

It was so ugly.

I wonder if these children, teens, soon to be adults will ever come to realize their destructiveness and change? Or will this cycle reoccur with the next generation?

Is it simply a case of living among so much proverty that they do not realize that better is attainable?

I worry. How sad for them.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hit by Happy This Morning.

I woke up really early this morning. The smile on my face must have been the reason. I got up went to the bathroom, climbed back into bed, smiled, wiggled around, smiled, wiggled around, smiled, snuggled up to Lee, smiled, wiggled, pet Einstein, wiggled, smiled.....I had been hit by happy this morning. Even Lee telling me that he was going to wake me up early tomorrow morning did not thwart my happy spirit.

Not only is this the last day of school but I also, taught the ladies class last night and it is now behind me.

I still have a few hoops to jump before the day is over and tomorrow I will have to turn in grades, and clean the room........but I have been hit by happy today!

Monday, May 21, 2007

When I Grow up.....

If you could change jobs to one that you would feel extreme satisfaction what job would you have?
Do you feel that what you chose as a young adult locked you into a career that now you feel you do not like?

My ideas changed as the decades changed.
  • When I was 25, had I gone to college then, it would have been landscape architecture or something in that field.
  • When I turned 35 I got a degree in art with a certification to teach art.
  • Later at about 45 I decided to add to my education and got my masters in technology.

They all sound so unrelated when I say that out loud to people but in my head they all fit together. They are all creative outlets.

Now, if I could change careers it would be to become a business owner, probably a nursery and sell exotic plants. Helping Caleb with his business really brings out the entrepreneur in me.
He he says... "not working for a living"!

It is just a little over a year now before I will be 55. I wonder what the future holds.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Auditory or Visual

I have always known I was a visual person. I can tell you tons of stories that prove my visual-ness sometims to my chagrin.

BUT I sit while Lee listens to his Meet the Press and although I hear what they say I am not taking it in and when I watch it I am asking myself.....

.........."do these white headed men put something on their hair to make it so white?

..........Oh, look they have a new table.....

..........Oh, it is a triangle.......

..........Yellow and blue Meet the press logos in the background look like posters.......

..........Our host's face has gotten fuller over the years........."

Well, what can I say? I guess that is one of the reasons I teach art. The visual world around me is so important.

Auditory or Visual?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

May 24, 1945

May 24, 1945 is the date in the concrete horse trough in our back yard. Back then a pier and beam house stood where my home is now. The old house belonged to Lee's aunt and her family. At some point Lee's dad came to own the land and at that time the old house was torn down and the land became farm land. A few large pecan trees, two grand old oaks, a windmill, a falling down chicken coop and a concrete horse trough were all that was left here when we decided to build our house here in 1975.

When the kids were little they used it for a swimming pool. It made a good swimming pool for them. I could watch the children from my kitchen window. At first I was concerned because it was concrete but soon felt fairly secure as no injuries ever occurred in the trough.

As all old things do, the trough needed mantainance and Ryan patched the major leak it developed while he was a college student. Then we added waterlilies and water hyacinths. Now it is full of plants and fish but it leaks terribly again. I guess it will be one of my first real projects for the summer to fix the leak. The choice is to take it out or fix it.

I just have a hard time giving up on things. Thankfully, Lee is with me on this. We will line the pond with a plastic pond liner and then do some landscaping around it and it will be a major attraction to add to the yard.

Now who else can claim to have a 1945 horse trough in their back yard?
There is too much history here to give up on it. When I look the rough concrete work on it I have a vision of the man making it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Can't Please Everyone

Today I started my students on their end of the year drawing tests. I always set up my tests so that every minute of their time in my class is spent working on something productive. There are four days left and the drawing test will take four days. Then I do not have to deal with the discipline issue so much.

I always choose two types of drawings in order to give everyone a chance to shine. Some love to draw realistically and some imaginatively.
  • One drawing is a photograph of a flower and will be drawn by a grid method to calculate the skill they have developed. I am looking for acurate drawings with good toning.
  • The second drawing is a CD cover and is to calculate their creative, imaginative side.
This afternoon I started the test and everyone is drawing quietly really working hard on the drawing when one of my good students pops her head up and begins to complain about how she hates drawing by a grid and she will just fail this. Then another student not as well behaved popped up and said he hates it, too. I smiled sweetly and said, "well, I just can not please everyone at the same time. You may like the CD cover design test better."

No one else complained so I guess 2 out of 19 is not bad.
But we keep trying to please them all, don't we?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prayers Answered

Thank you for all who have kept the baby, Davis in your prayers. God does answer our prayers and heals. The tests have come back saying this child is normal. The family has gone through agony after going from doctor to doctor trying to learn what the problem is.

He is expected in September. The pregnancy still has some risks so do continue to keep them in your prayers.

Then he said, church then baseball....

The conversation between the two parents continued about their precious children and baseball. Then he said it, ", church then baseball."

I wondered why?

Why bother putting God in there at all if he is not on the top?
What are the children learning when the parents teach them that their education is MORE important than God?

Monday, May 14, 2007


Looking forward to the freedom of summer.
Not that I can do anything I want but what I want I can do.

Funny, how my past times have changed over the years. It was not that long ago that I just wanted to go shopping. I loved to go to SA to shop and eat out. I liked to go to places that had roller coasters and fun rides and not just to look at the landscaping.

Now a little of that is alright but......I enjoy visiting family and friends. And I do enjoy getting out to fun places but now it is more to explore new landscaping ideas or photo opportunities. Roller coaster make me sick. I mean REALLY sick.

I look forward to fishing with the kids, spending mornings in my garden, watercoloring and drawing, flying to North Carolina, staying up late watching old movies, stepping up my exercise routine..........

Does that make me boring?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Super Saturday

What a fun Saturday!
The weather is perfect for being outdoors.
I got outside almost minutes from getting up this morning and started cleaning out dead leaves out of the flowerbeds. Yes, I should have done this long ago but I have too many chores and cleaning is a constant in the house and in the garden.

I planted elephant ears, replanted ferns, and planted my triple stemmed pygmy date palm (an early Mother's Day). Family is coming tomorrow and I want the yard to be pretty as well as the house to be clean.

This morning my yard was used for the location of a photo shoot for one of our high school graduates. It was a double-wammie inspiration. I want to work more in my yard and I want to take pictures. Photography is one of my passions and I have neglected it for a few years. I love to take pictures. I just need to get those sweet grandbabies here to be my subjects.

Have a great Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pray for the Baby

My nephew and his wife need prayers. They are the sweetest little family, full of love and concern for each other much like Jaci and Jarred so far from us in Hawaii and Cryssy and Tony so far from home in South Carolina.

Pray for the health of the unborn baby boy my neice carries.
Pray for strength and love for this family.
Our hearts break when our loved have hardships.
Please keep them in your prayers

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Sometimes we refer to planting a seed of thought in someone's brain.
But if we consider bluebonnets seeds it is much more like training a child through the rebellious years of teens and into adulthood.

Every spring my children would be the first to discover the bluebonnets blooming in the fields near the house. While out playing, the children would run across a patch of fresh blooms. In the excitement of their new discovery, they would pick handfuls of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. One of my sweetest memories of the children would be of them standing in front of me with their upraised hands full of the colorful spring flowers. We loved the spring flowers and began to try to get the bluebonnets to bloom where we wanted them to.
My desire was to have masses of the colorful blooms in the front of my yard. We scattered seeds at random hoping that each and every seed would produce a healthy plant. But when spring came only a few plants would bloom, not the tremendous mass of display for which we had hoped.

Again we would gather seeds and sow them randomly and again the spring brought a disappointing display. Undaunted, we continued to scatter the seeds. Some years were hard and cruel and the rains came too late for the seeds to get the proper moisture and the spring would bring few blooms.

Still I was concerned over the lack of bluebonnets in my yard. I studied to learn what needed to be done to have the beautiful displays. I watched and waited and hoped. The sun was the most important requirement for growth. I selected locations that placed the plants in the sun. Plants growing in the sun would grow large and full, producing a crown of blooms and yield strong seeds. Plants deprived of the sun suffered and were spindly and weak and eventually the plant would wither and die.

The next summer a small grass fire burned the field where the wildflower seeds were thrown. I thought all was lost, the seeds were gone. The summer was hotter than usual and the winter cold and harsh.

The harsh treatments the dormant seed had gone through began to wear down the hard protective coating. Moisture crept into the inner areas of the seed where the tiny heart of the seed laid for years since it had been formed. The tiny heart began to grow and the new life began to emerge. Strong and colorful for all the hardships it had gone through, the plants finally had grown to withstand the harsh temperatures of the Texas summers. The plants were strong and mature ready to begin a productive life.

The field was a celebration of newly found life.

Proverbs 22:6
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

The Master Gardener

Last winter on an excursion I came across a palm tree loaded with dried fruit ready for picking. I gathered up 88 little palm seeds and took them home with me to grow.

Spurrred by curiousity more than the love of palm trees I began to soak them to break through the hard shell and begin the germination. Each stage of the germination process facinated me. I watched as a tiny dot of seed covering dropped off the side of the seed one day and the next day a root began to push its way out. I hovered over the seeds like a mother over her new baby.
After a couple of weeks all but one of the 88 seeds had sprouted. I rejoiced for the 87 sprouted seeds but mourned my lose of the one. I continued to watch my lone seed still hoping it would sprout but eventually it became evident it was dead and would never sprout.
The sprouted seeds were planted in the best potting soil I could find. Daily I watched to be sure that the roots did not push out the bottom of the pots and once they began to bulge the bottom of the pot they were placed in a larger pot and the overseeing of the young seeds continued.

Spring came and the roots of the palms were strong enough to begin to push a minature palm leaf upward to mature and begin a productive life. Rejoicing with each new plant I found emerging from the top of the soil, I counted each one that grew and watched for the ones that had not emerged yet a little like God watches over us wanting each of us to grow and become strong. Although some of the plants had not matured enough to produce a leaf I continued to watch after the plants, keeping them watered, placing them in the sun, making sure that the soil has the proper nutrients to grow and be productive. I am reminded of God's love for us. There are so many lessons I can learn from my experience growing these palms but most evident to me is that God watches over us and continues to give us the proper conditions to grow but the growing part is up to us.

No matter what, I can not make the choice for the seed to grow. If the seed is immature it will not grow. If the hard shell on the outside has not gone through something to wear down or soften the outer coating it will not allow the heart of the seed to get the moisture it needs and it will not grow. If the seed grows without the sun it will be spindly and weak and will eventually die.

How much more than I watch over my palms does God watch over us, rejoicing at our maturing and mourning those who are weak. God is the master gardener.

Friday, May 4, 2007

From God's Hand to My Heart

To comfort those whose lives are changing and to demonstrate how blessings come in expected ways.
May you place your lives in God's hand and let him lead you.

I watched the students from the Life Skills class parade down the hall. Parade is the most apt description for this procession. Swaggering happily each at his own pace, greeting everyone in their pathway. I could not help smile as they passed and I greeted each one individually thinking I was the one initiating the greeting but really they were the greeters. Mr. Lott shook each boy's hand as they passed him. The two women entering the hallway from getting their morning coffee were greeted. They zig-zagged side to side throughout the hallway to meet each person. If one did not greet them they did not even seem to notice they continued in their happy procession.

Abel commented to me in his slurred speech, "I like the rain. Do you like the rain? It's going to rain again today. Look at those clouds." We conversed briefly about the weather before we parted ways. I felt warmed by the brief conversation I had with him. How did this young disabled teen make me feel like I was important to him but he did in a brief moment.

A few years ago, I took little notice of the Life Skills classes. That was before Eric. Eric came into our world with Down Syndrome. Now I say that with so little concern, like commenting on the color of his eyes but then we were unprepared for his condition. I knew nothing of it and the thought was frightening and I knew our world was going to change.

Change it did. With the addition of this precious life came more blessings than I was prepared to understand at his birth. My tears that I cried at his birth for fear of the unknown only come now for love of a child I adore.

At the hospital, hours after his birth, this beautiful little boy melted into my arms as if to fill in all the spaces that separated us and bonded us together for all time. My heart melted. Now three and a half years later, I thank God for the gift of this child in our family and realize that his place in our family has softened some rough edges in each one of us individually. His place in our family has been one of the most precious blessings we have received.

I thank God for his life.
I know God holds him dear as he does other children like him.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
Before God sent him to us he must have placed His hand on Eric's head and blessed him.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Too Tired to Eat

I think I am brain-dead!

Why is it that giving tests to students all day long makes you so-o-o-o tired? All I have to do is read the directions, answer their questions and walk back and forth monitoring students taking a test.

We started online testing yesterday with one sessin in the morning and one in the afternoon. We started at 8:20 and ended at 3:40 with a lunch break in the middle. Did it again today and will do it tomorrow. When I got home after church yesterday I went straight to bed where I fell asleep instantly and woke up with the alarm this morning. Tonight all I want to do is put my feet up and watch television or read.

I know I need to get on the treadmill but..... hum-m-m.......well, we'll see.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My World is Changing

Things are going to start changing in my world.

Not only will I be off for an extended period of time in just a matter of days but my house is going to begin going through a transformation. I would say remodeling but really it is going to be more of a huge transformation. Small changes have already taken place, plans have been drawn up and everything moved out of the main room undergong the change. Already I like it better. I can look at the blank room and SEE the new room in my mind. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Silversmith

I got this email from my sister. It was so good I wanted to share it. Thanks, Linda

Malachi 3:3 says:

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this
statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women
offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group
at their next Bible Study.
That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch
him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest
beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.
As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and
let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the
silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn
away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought
again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of
She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front
of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that
yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his
eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was
a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent
for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the
silver is fully refined?"
He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in
~Author unknown