Monthly Archives: December 2014

Resolutions to Traditions

Sonya's earned sticker :-)
           Sonya’s earned sticker 🙂

“Out with the old and in with the new.” Or does it have to be to add something new that you have to give something up? Not always… If it is worth continuing, it becomes a tradition. According to Merriam-Webster, tradition means “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom).”

Our family decided to add new traditions this holiday season along with the established “Elf on the Shelf,” holiday baking, holiday movies, and more already on the annual holiday season to-do list. A new holiday tradition for my family is to give blood. My nephew, Carter, was diagnosed with cancer last December, and he continues to battle. As he wins his fight against Ewing Sarcoma, we decided to do something good with the life-changing challenge. We honor his fight and all those who fight for their lives each day by donating blood. This new holiday tradition started on Christmas Eve morn, and will hopefully continue each year.  ~Sonya

With the end of a year and the start of another, we often times consider New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions can be small tasks like getting photos organized to lofty goals like losing 25 pounds. What’s the difference between a tradition and a resolution you may be wondering? According to Merriam-Webster, resolution means “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.; the act of resolving something; an answer or solution to something.”

With that in mind – Why not consider a resolution and establish it as a tradition this year? Solve a problem – make it work and make it last.

Whether home or school or work or life – what will your new resolution-to-tradition be?

May you find success if whatever you do – now and the whole year thru!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

A Teacher’s Day Before Christmas

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

 

‘Twas the day before Christmas break and all through the halls

Children were skipping and laughing, hiding in bathroom stalls.

All the teachers were frazzled, pulling out their hair

They didn’t know how much more ruckus they could bare.

One classroom was partying with a Polar Express theme

They had tickets and nuggets and hot chocolate supreme.

Out came the principal, dressed up like an elf

Inviting, “come on down, and I’ll read a book off the shelf.”

Children and teachers rushed to hear the book she’d picked

All the children wanted to sit near her and be her sidekick.

She told them “settle down and listen with good ears”

The Teachers’ Night Before Christmas had them all laughing to tears.

What? You’ve not read this book? Surely, you jest?

Check out Steven Layne’s book, your students will think you’re the best.

Here’s a sneak peak of his wonderful rendition

Of The Night Before Christmas, only in Teacher Edition…

“I’ve been checking my records throughout this past year

And your grades indicate that you’ve nothing to fear.

Santa truly loves teachers, support staff, and such.

Your students are blessed ‘cause you’ve given so much.”

To our teacher candidates at SMSU, our correcting is done and your grades indicate that you’ve nothing to fear. We love our teacher candidates, we will see you “next year.”

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Just a Different Kind of Christmas this Year

BLOG Four Generations

I served coffee today out at Good Sam, the nursing home here in my home town. My parents both lived out there the past few years until they passed away—my dad in August of 2013 and my mom just this year in June 2014. I miss my parents. And, I miss the residents at Good Sam so this is how I stay in touch with them…I volunteer.

One of the residents asked me today how my mom was doing. It was a lady my mom always gave a bear hug to when we went to coffee hour. I had to tell this gal that my mom had gone home to heaven in June. When I reminded her of this, I couldn’t stop my tears. They started to flow like Niagara Falls. I had to dismiss myself for a few minutes to pull myself together.

This year will be my first Christmas without my mom. Her smile, her teasing, her jovial laughter…all will be missed. As Mark Schultz sings in his heartwarming song, it’s just a different kind of Christmas this year.

If you’ve lost a loved one and find yourself sad this Christmas, I pray you find comfort in Mark Schultz’s song. I also pray you find hope and encouragement in this poem that was sent to me by one of my church family members.

I’m spending Christmas with Jesus This Year

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.

 The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear.
For I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

 I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas Choir up here.

 For I have no words to tell you, the joys their voices bring.
For it’s beyond description to hear an angel sing.

 I can’t tell of the splendor or the peace here in this place.
Can you imagine Christmas with Our Savior, face to face?

 I’ll ask Him to light your spirit, as I tell Him of your love.
So then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.

 Please let your hearts be joyful and let your spirit sing.
For I’m spending Christmas in Heaven, and I’m walking with the King.

~Author Unknown

Hold your loved ones and their memories close to your heart. Fill your homes with love and laughter this Christmas and always. And, Mom…I love you and miss you! ~Wendy

BLOG Warren & GG 

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C.Dr. V.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Finals…

BLOG songwriters

It’s beginning to look a lot like finals – everywhere you go!
Take a look at the library
For it’s filling up once again
With students and studying galore!

It’s beginning to look a lot like finals – stress in every soul
But the prettiest sight to see
Is at the end of finals week
When we meet our goal!

Rendition courtesy of collaboration with teacher candidates:
Ms. Ashley P., Ms. Rachel W., Ms. Kristina W., Ms. Dana K., Ms. Samantha P., Ms. Gina H., Ms. Brittani R., Ms. Kendra B., & Ms. Bridgett B.

Indeed it is that time of the year – getting ready to be finished with this semester with plans to enjoy a break before starting again new. The catch is that there is simply so much to do between now and sanity – um, we mean winter break.

This is true quite possibly at all stages of life when it comes to the holidays. Whatever your religion or holiday participation, December is about closing one chapter and January is about starting a new one. With that in mind, we need to “finish up” many things on our list and hope for better things in the New Year. It seems a little “scrazy” to talk about the New Year already when there is so much left to do in this one. (We just simply can’t decide between “scary” and “crazy” on this one so the stress has caused us to create a new word…which can be the positive thing about stress –it can raise the productivity level! Anyway… back to the main focus of the blog as stress can clearly cause us to ramble!)

With that said – a few words of advice which are research-based from us – “super seniors” who do not graduate from the End-of-the-Semester rush:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Make a list and check it twice. It is easy to get distracted – especially when there is yummy holiday baking or shopping or there is much cleaning to be done or … wait – let’s back on track here…
  3. Take much needed breaks – just don’t forget to get back to work and finish the task at hands. Enjoy the journey and not just the destination or we end up wishing our life away.
  4. Are you still breathing? Yoga or a quick walk will do too!
  5. Look at the big picture – this too shall pass.   In the moment everything can seem like the big picture, but it is just a piece of the puzzle.

Enjoy the ride – sleigh or otherwise and best wishes on your “finals” whatever and wherever they may be!

Our students taking a ‘brain break.’ :-)
Our students taking a ‘brain break.’ 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

What’s a Memory Anyway?

BLOG memories

What’s a memory anyway?? In the charming children’s book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, Wilfrid discovers the answer to this question. Wilfrid is a small boy who lives next door to a nursing home. He becomes best friends with one of the residents there named Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper because she has four names too. Wilfrid overhears his parents saying ‘Poor Nancy, she has lost her memory.” So, Wilfrid sets out to learn from the elderly at the nursing home exactly what a memory is. He discovers that a memory is something warm, something from long ago, something that makes you cry, something that makes you laugh, and something as precious as gold.

A memory is something warm:

Wendy: A memory that warms my heart is remembering standing next to my dad in church and singing “Silent Night” by candlelight every Christmas Eve.

Sonya: I remember being at the lake with my family when I was young. The sunshine and smiles and Coopertone smell… all make me smile. We still go each summer, and it still makes me smile.

A memory is something from long ago:

Wendy: My dad was electrocuted around 8:30 a.m. on December 31, 1974. I was 15 at the time but remember it like it was yesterday. He took in 7200 volts and it blew out his arm, his fingers, his leg and his foot leaving him in the burn unit for four months. He was soldier fighting through that.

Sonya: Walking down the hallway at school as a teacher and hearing another teacher ask, “Did you hear about what is happening in New York?” on September 11, 2001… then rushing to the watch the horrific moments in time take place on the TV in the library. I remember trying to comprehend it and trying to help frightened students make sense of their world.

A memory is something that makes you cry:

Wendy: Memories of losing all of my family makes me sad. My dad, mom, and brother are all together in heaven, and I miss them.

Sonya: “It’s all right to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you. It’s all right to cry. It might make you feel better.” I can remember singing those lyrics (or something along those lines – per my memory) in elementary school. To this day, I sing my rendition of it. When family and friends hurt, I hurt with them.

A memory is something that makes you laugh:

Wendy: A memory of buying every exercise contraption available and hoping it would work its magic is a funny memory of mine. Like the aluminum foil pants that my mom and I wore when exercising…guaranteed to help you lose weight. All it did was make us look like Martians from outer space. 🙂

Sonya: It seems like every single day my own guys – kiddos – children provide me with a cherished memory that makes me laugh. I have so many I don’t know which one to share… I actually do record these for any time I need a good laugh – most of which just do not seem appropriate for a public blog for some reason. A fairly recent one that can be shared – my oldest son was in the middle of a football game, and walked to the sideline, dug an apple out of this bag, ate it, and then proceeded to go back into the game. (Keep in mind – I was not quite sure if there was a time out or what was going on at that point.) When asked what he was doing, he simply shrugged his giant padded shoulders and replied, “I was hungry” and then ran back into the game. The other parents looked at me, and I just smiled and shook my head. At least the kid was prepared with a healthy apple in his bag on the sidelines. 🙂

A memory is something that is as precious as gold:

Wendy: Grandchildren are as precious as gold, so when my first grandchild was born 6 ½ weeks early and was in the NICU…to finally get to hold him was so precious.

 BLOG Wendy & Warren

Sonya: Selecting one is so challenging …I clearly remember the first time I held the boys after they were born (but I don’t want to copy Dr. C. since she had her memory picked first 🙂 ) so I will go with my memory of my three boys at Christmas. They were sitting in their PJ pants and santa hats – all by their own choosing – and reading together while they impatiently waited to open gifts. I tried to burn that one to memory because I know they will be grown much too quickly, and I am fairly sure their future spouses may not know what to think of their boyhood tradition as grown men – hopefully they never stop.

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it is the perfect opportunity to build some fabulous memories. It is also a time to remember and share memories of those we love who are no longer with us. Share your memories that are warm, from long ago, that make you cry, that make you laugh, and that are as precious as gold.

Our wish for you this holiday season is to celebrate the reason for the season, and to enjoy family time. Build a lifetime of memories today and always. Make memories today – don’t wait until tomorrow.

What memories do you have that you could share with Wilfred?

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.