Saturday, April 6, 2013

All god things must come to an end.......

Which, in this case, means our lovely sunny weather has turned into rain showers and our Spring Break is over.  Boo-hoo!  We had some nice days this past week, and then we had days to make up for lost time.  It seems that western Washington has come by its moniker (rainforest) honestly and feels the need to keep up appearances by raining at least every other day, especially if we've had some unexpected beautifully sunny weather for more than two days in a row.  I propose that, if Noah needed a place to launch a second ark, he'd feel right at home here!

The rain might be coming down again, but the temperature has not.  We're definitely into springtime now with trees and flowers budding, cool mornings and warmer afternoons, and frogs croaking every night.  I grew up in North Carolina where we had crickets chirping all hours of the night, so the frogs are a welcome and rather musical change.  It never ceases to amaze me that I'll hear some frog sounding off loud and clear right outside the front door, and, when I open it to investigate, I find this tiny creature sitting on the doorstep---or attached to the wall!  How can such a minute amphibian produce such a volume of sound?  If only I could do that, I wouldn't need to use a whistle to get the students' attention at recess!  :-D

Yes, we are sad to have Spring Break ending while at the same time glad to get back to school, knowing there are only eight weeks of school left in this year!!!  This attitude produces interesting and varied reactions in the lives and workings of those involved in our school.  The students invariably react in two ways: they become increasing agitated with learning and studying as the days get warmer and sunnier---a condition known as spring fever---or they feverishly cram their lessons into their heads, believing that achieving good grades on the last quizzes and tests in a subject will automatically erase all other grades recorded over the last several months.  This generally results in a false sense of security in said students who inevitably come crashing back down to reality once they receive their final report cards!  The parents react somewhat predictably as well:  they, knowing full well that only a miracle from God will enable their child to pass certain subjects, still begin begging the teachers for some sort of extra credit that will boost the final grade of their pupil.  I speak as a parent in this respect; I know I should have been doing more during the school year to help my child improve their grade(s), but I get so busy and I keep thinking that there's plenty of time to bring the grade up......until I realize with all the other parents that here we are facing the fourth quarter, with only a few weeks to go until the fourth mid-quarter report sheets go home and parents begin to panic.  Some teachers are able to assign already-planned extra credit which will enable the students to earn some much-needed points while at the same time reinforcing what they should have already gotten.  I prefer to make sure my students really get the material in class, slowing down in some subjects if I feel the class needs it and offering extra help during classwork time to those who  might still be struggling.  And, as much as it goes against the grain to say this, there are some subjects that some students are just not going to get.  Some students struggle with certain subjects and excel in others.  I had one student who did really well in math but couldn't seem to grasp the basics of grammar.  They would get As and A+s on math tests and nearly fail language tests.  Sometimes, below-average grades are because students just aren't paying attention, but sometimes that's just the best that student can do in that subject.  I've learned to pay attention to a student's strengths and weaknesses and work with them to be the best they can be, without blaming them or myself or their parents unnecessarily.  Last, there are the teachers' reactions; we fall into one of two categories:  either we buckle down and finish the school year strong or we throw in the towel and think, "If they haven't gotten it by now, what is a few more weeks' lessons going to help?"  It's easy to give up and kind of coast toward the end, knowing that those who will need summer school are still going to need it no matter how hard you prepare---and those parents who feel that you are to blame will still blame you even if their child passes by the skin of their teeth.  Ultimately, yes, the student's education rests on the teacher's shoulders.  The parents pay us to impart information to their child, with or without their help.  Some parents are wonderful, always asking how their child is doing in school and pushing their child to do their best.  Some teachers are wonderful, ready with a listening ear to any complaint the parents might have and willing to go however many extra miles are necessary in order to give their students the best chance possible to learn.  Too many of us teachers and parents fall in between those two categories; we teachers don't do our best to teach and we parents don't do our best to support.  In a perfect world............

Enough about school!  One would think the world revolves around the schoolhouse........wait, maybe it does.  Our school is owned and operated by our church, and our personal world does revolve around our church, so---yes, it seems school is important after all!

Easter Sunday was a great day at our church.  I hope your services went well and were as spiritually rewarding as ours were.  We had a combined service starting at 10:30 a.m. which involved lots of singing, a few baptisms, and a wonderful preaching time spent thinking about Christ's death and resurrection.  Having spent the last couple of weeks teaching my students about the gospel, all that Jesus and the Father and Heaven itself went through in those three days (four, if you count the night before) has figured largely in my thoughts.  I'm glad we celebrate Easter with a service and music that make us stop our busy lives and think seriously about what Jesus did for us.  It's so easy to get used to the idea of His dying on the cross for us.  It becomes old hat---kind of like "Yeah, yeah, Jesus died on the cross and rose again the third day; moving on now........"  We should never get over the cross, never become adjusted to the atrocities He suffered just on the way to Calvary, never letting Himself give in to the intense desire to just end it all. He kept Himself alive long enough to satisfy the Father's penalty for sin and then, only then, did He give up His life.  We should thank God every day for the freedom from sin and eternal death that His death and renewed life gives us.

I spent half of Thursday on the phone with various companies, starting with our new health insurance company, Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  I got lots of questions answered, like how much coverage do we have and how do I access a list of approved doctors and hospitals.  Thankfully, we found a nice clinic not too far from our house for regular doctor visits and immunizations, plus we discovered that Dale's neurologist belongs to the same health network!  What a relief this is!  No more seeing him, then having to transfer the prescriptions he writes for Dale's meds to a different health network pharmacy.  Praise the Lord for these conveniences!  Dale has a checkup scheduled with him (neuro) the beginning of May.  He was supposed to have had an MRI around the end of December which we couldn't do because Chad changed jobs and our new insurance didn't pick up right away.  Now we're not sure whether BCBS will cover MRIs or not; that's something we still have to find out because there is no way we can pay for something like that out-of-pocket---nearly $1,000 for the test.  That's something to pray about, I suppose, along with Dale's continued memory problems.

Speaking of..........Dale said something tonight that I hadn't realized before.  He was upset with his sister for turning off a movie he wanted to watch (it was her day to be in charge of the remote anyway) and had begun even to cry about it in frustration.  I sat with him and tried to calm him down, only to hear him say, "And, as usual, I'll forget about it tomorrow!  It'll be gone in the wind!"  I realized then that his habit of forgetting things is actually frustrating to him.  I didn't think he was even really aware of it.  Oh, I knew he knew he should remember things for tests better and stuff like that, but I didn't realize Dale knew he forgot things so easily.  We get a bit tired of having to answer silly questions (ones we think he should know the answer to already) or reminding him over and over to do something (like fold the laundry or eat his dinner).  I honestly didn't think he realized the extent of his own memory problems until it came out with that statement of his.  He was really upset about the fact that he knew he would forget the very thing he was upset about!  And this made me realize something else:  Dale gets really worked up about seemingly small things because he knows he won't remember them later, so maybe he feels he has to put as much emotion and energy as he can into the situation while he has the chance.  This is actually a breakthrough for me and us a family into how Dale is thinking now.  This will hopefully help us help him deal with this aspect of his recovery and future life.  If we remember that he is "making more of this than is necessary" for a very good reason, we'll be more understanding and we'll be able to reason with him better and help him to choose which situations require which amount of emotion.  See?  Thank You, Lord, for this insight into our son's behavior and thinking.  You are always good.

Have a wonderful Saturday and a blessed week to follow!

Psalm 18: 30  "As for God, His way is perfect:  the word of the LORD is tried:  He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him."

Job 23: 10  "But He knoweth the way that I take:  when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."


  1. Wow! Kirsten I love your blog, but this has to be the best post ever. The dedication that you show towards teaching has to be commended. The students at your church school are blessed if all of the teachers are like you, and I'm sure that they are. I had an idea for Dale that may help him keep track of the things that he wants to remember. I use a small pocket size digital recorder to keep track of the many things that i would otherwise lose on a day by day basis. I know that Sony makes several models that are inexpensive, I used to use mine in school as well when I was taking a few college courses, perhaps it would help him in recording class notes as well. I'm so happy that you had that breakthrough with him, it has got to be so frustrating for Dale to try and keep track of everything; knowing that his family realizes the frustration has got to help. And I am glad that your Easter went so well, I love Easter weekend at church so much. I agree, we can never forget the cross and what Jesus went through. Kirsten, thank you so much as always, this blog has become an important part of my spiritual journey with our Lord and Savior, it means the world to me. You and your family will always be in my prayers, thank you again. All my best, Eric

  2. Hello:
    I like Eric's idea. I was going to suggest a journal (but then I like to see students write), but a digital recorder might be a good idea.