Living In La La Land

The dog ate all the cats’ food. Furry thief. He is currently in the cat bed. He has his own place, but seems to like the cat bed better. Whatever. Maybe he is confused. He fits right in around here.

We only have 3/4 of a gallon of milk left and it is supposed to snow again tonight and tomorrow and Wednesday. We need milk. It’s a thing with me. If we have milk all will be okay. We can be snowbound. If we don’t have milk, well, we might not make it. Just sayin’. I can see the newspaper story now. FAMILY OF FIVE FOUND AFTER SPRING THAW. LACK OF DAIRY WAS TO BLAME FOR THEIR UNTIMELY DEMISE. LAST WORDS FROM MOTHER SCRAWLED ON A NAPKIN….” I KNEW WE SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN MORE MILK. PREFERABLY 2%.”

This morning the sun is streaming in through the kitchen windows. The snow piled up outside looks as if it has a million diamonds in it. On that subject let me just say that black granite counter tops are gorgeous UNTIL the sun shines in across them and one sees every speck of dust known to mankind. Black appliances and counters, one would think, would HIDE dust and dirt. Um… Trust me on this one.  Unfortunately for me, ,I am just obsessive compulsive enough that I feel the need to wipe everything down. Just because. Not that it won’t look exactly the same by this time tomorrow morning–alas, this is how dust works. UGH.

Since we home school, the kids are still “in class” today. Even though they don’t think it’s fair that the public school is out due to massive amounts of snow and they aren’t.  Oh, well. Don’t feel sorry for them. They have plenty of perks that go along with home schooling, they just want something to gripe about. It’s a teenager thing…. and they do it well. I FIND MYSELF WANTING TO SAY, “WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL…….” GOOD GRIEF. I SOUND OLD. GREAT. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

I am in my own mood this morning. I am not my usual perky, morning self. (in a house full of NOT perky morning people) Do you ever have days where everything is getting on your last nerve? Well….it is one of those days. WARNING. WARNING. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.

I just heard scraping out on the road. It’s the snow plow. Probably plowing our driveway shut. Again. Oh no. This time the snow avalanche hit our mailbox and popped the door of the mailbox open. Great. So now snow can get in and make our mail nice and wet. Lovely. At least our mailbox is still in one piece. Living out here in rural America one sees a lot of mailboxes that have seen the bad end of a snow plow. My friend, who grew up here, informed me that winter mailboxes are attached to the post with a myriad number of things. Duct tape, bungee cords, an old belt….whatever one can find to hold the mailbox together. After all, who wants to spend money on a new mailbox if the plow is just going to destroy it again? Makes sense to me. Our mailbox used to have a fancy piece on top, that had our family name on it. It lasted all of 2 seconds. We found it laying in the ditch last winter. A victim of the plow.

I guess my readers can already “see” what kind of day this is going to be at my house. Thanks for listening as I vented. I feel a little bit better.

I suppose I should go feed the cats…….

You Are Being Watched

Diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

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The title of my blog today is not to scare anyone. Don’t worry. I am not a stalker….but, I am a people  watcher and a keen observer of human nature. I have been for most of my life. Not professionally mind you, but just because I’m drawn to people and their motives behind the behavior.  I am the one that is always asking, “Why would he do that?” or “What is she thinking?”

Yesterday I had some interesting experiences pertaining to being a people watcher. Many of you know that I have been in a 6 week long term subbing gig at the local middle school. The regular teacher is out on maternity leave and I am filling in while she is gone. Now, I could write an entire book on the motives and actions of middle schoolers. Some of the chapters could get fairly dicey so I will just suffice to say that they are a mess. The middle school years are difficult, with a lot of changes going on, none of which the children themselves understand. Thus, I am left with a confused bunch of 11,12 and 13 year olds.

My first class of the day is an unruly bunch of eighth graders. I will admit that they have tried my patience more than once. Yesterday in class we played a Jeopardy-style game using questions from the story we had just read. The game was being used as a study tool, in preparation for an upcoming test. The class was divided into teams. Many of the students laughed at the first group, calling the members of that team “stupid”. “You’ll  never win.” (the cruelty of this age group is a whole different issue—one that I struggle with. Why they feel the need to hurt their fellow classmates is difficult to comprehend. We have had MANY conversations in the classroom about this subject….) Anyway, the kids loved the game and I was pleased that they knew so much of the material.  Even better was the fact that the group that was called “stupid”, were the ones to win. Not only that, they won by a landslide. That was great, I was cheering for them….but, that is not the human nature side of this story. After class two of the boys on that team asked if they could talk with me. I said, “sure”. After everyone left they told me that they really do listen in class and that they did a good job, right? They are not stupid. “When they called us stupid, it made me want to win! I wanted to show them! We kicked their tail, didn’t we Mrs. G.? ” I told them, “You sure did. You should be proud of yourselves. I’m proud of you. I’m very impressed with how much you knew. Great job!” They left the classroom feeling like they could take on the world.

Wow. I felt a lot of things after talking with those students. My heart broke because I don’t like any child to think that they are stupid, or somehow feel like they are less because things don’t come as easily to them as they do to others.On the other hand, I felt happy for them because they had a renewed confidence in their abilities. They had proven themselves. Sure, it was just a game in an eighth grade classroom…but at that moment it might as well have been the Olympics. The human spirit prevailed against the odds.

The next event occurred later that evening, at McDonalds.  Now, you might not think of this particular restaurant as being a human behavior lab, but you would be wrong. This place is a human petri dish for observing human behavior. I could write an entire thesis on how people interact at Mickey D’s. Last evening my husband, oldest son, and I were enjoying (?) dinner at this establishment. We were half way through our burgers and fries, when an elderly lady (whom I had been casually observing eating alone near a window seat) slowly walked over to our table. She was smiling at us as she moved toward us. My initial thought was that she was needing our assistance for something, and we would have gladly obliged to help her. I was wrong. She wanted to tell us some jokes. No we had never seen her before……and she appeared to be fine mentally. She had seen us sitting there and wanted to share with us. She informed us before telling us that all her jokes are funny and not dirty, because she does not tell THOSE type of jokes. (“What did the plow say to the tractor?” Pull me closer, John Deere (dear).  Cute, huh? ) She told us three jokes and gave my son and I a hug, we thanked her for picking us to share with…..and then she was gone. Just like that. I watched her leave, as she struggled to walk out to her car, and then drove away. I wondered where she was headed? Home? Walmart? Does she talk to strangers often? Maybe her only intent was to spread some cheer to others, in the hope of brightening their day. I don’t know.  I wish I would have gotten her name. I could have kicked myself for not finding out more about her. If I ever see her at McDonald’s again, I’m going to tell her that she made me smile and I appreciated it. It wasn’t a huge event, it only was a few minutes, but she made a difference. What causes a person to want to reach out to others? To touch someones life?

Human behavior is an interesting study….whether one does that as a profession or just as a hobby. I am always amazed at the situations I find myself in while observing. Sometimes I am on the outside looking in and at other times I find myself on the inside looking out. A person’s motivation is not always discernible to me.

Even though I do not always know, or for that matter, always understand human  motivations…….I know someone who does. He knows us each intimately. He knows every hair on your head (or lack thereof), He sees each tear that falls—and never forgets. He celebrates our joys. He knows the second we were born as well as the second we will take our last breath. He knows our heart better than we do. In Hebrews, chapter 4, verses 12-13 tell us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Our Creator knows us. He has known us from the very beginning. Psalms 139 tells us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know them full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place …..your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ………”

Thank you Lord for being the ultimate people watcher. For knowing and understanding your creations. For loving us.

School Rules For Radicals

Post-secondary educational organizations

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I heard today that the NEA (The National Education Association) would like for Saul Alinsky‘s Rules For Radicals to become mandatory reading in this country’s high schools.

Saul Alinsky was a community organizer…..who had some very debatable rules for whether the ends justify the means. I certainly wouldn’t want MY children to be forced to read his book. Sure, his book is controversial and yes, there have always been books that people struggle with….the thing is, if they are wanting that book read, what conservative book are they also going to make mandatory? In order to keep everything fair and balanced, of course. Hmmmm……?

I believe that the NEA is a liberal group. I was a member a long time ago, until I realized that my dues money was being used towards promoting things that I had no desire to promote. It is irritating that what is supposed to be a union for teachers, has become nothing more than a sounding board for the left.  What should be used to further true learning, has been distorted into something that doesn’t even resemble a union that promotes education for the children of this country. Make no mistake about it…there is an agenda.

If that isn’t bad enough….the state of Texas is deciding what to put in or delete from their textbooks.  They are considering taking out things that pertain to Christianity in the history of our country while adding many things about Islam and Hinduism. All this in the name of cultural diversity.  I hope people in the state of Texas state their opinion on this LOUD and CLEAR!

True education is not about distorting the truth. Yes, individuals are allowed to have differing opinions on things….but there are basic truths and trying to rewrite history because it doesn’t follow along with the liberal view is absolutely ridiculous.