I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm Back. (Briefly.)

Oh, hello. It's been awhile.



That last week and a half leading up to Thanksgiving break was non-stop, let me tell you.

But I'm still here.

(Quite honestly, I'd rather be reading The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, but that's another story.)

This is the first year my school is taking off the entire week for Thanksgiving break. (Woo hoo!) The kids were VERY ready. And so were the teachers - you should have heard the voices of excitement in the teachers' lounge on Friday...you wouldn't have had to listen too hard, even from halfway down the hall. The break is going to be wonderful - my parents are coming into town shortly (though, they were supposed to arrive yesterday), and we're going to my sister's school to hang out tomorrow morning. And then I need to buckle down and get some work done - Oh, my to-do list never ends, it just goes on and on my friends...

Knowing me (and, I think I know myself pretty well), I may not post again before Thanksgiving, and I definitely won't post while we're in Michigan (as we won't have internet), so now's the time to count my blessings and wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving holiday week/weekend. May you be wise enough to avoid the lure of Black Friday sales/commercialism, and may the time spent with family and loved ones be treasured and abundant.

"The turkey's a turkey, you turkey." (Muppet Family Christmas)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Just Be...Held

For some reason a few weeks ago, I found myself in tears on my way home from school. A bunch of upcoming deadlines combined with classroom stress and upcoming conferences was apparently more than I could bear in that given moment.

I had been listening to a podcast, but I found it too hard to concentrate, so I turned it off. In the silence (and in the dark - let's face it, I haven't left school before 5pm for the past month), I didn't know what to do except cry out (and cry it out, for that matter).

I ended up turning on the radio, and these were the words I heard:

Just be held.
Your world's not falling apart, its falling into place. 
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held, 
Just be held, just be held.

Can we just pause <dramatically> here for a second? Really, could the timing have been any better? I felt like I had found my personal soundtrack. The only thing I was missing from my very own Hollywood movie scene was foggy windows with rain slipping down the glass.

The song just struck me, as many a song has in my life. (I like music, what can I say?) And I was suddenly filled with peace. It's hard to explain, but I stopped crying and realized that the things that were bogging me down with worry were not deserving of my energy, stress, and tears. In our great, big world, I am so very small.

In that moment, I needed to know that. I needed to hear that. I needed to believe that.

Just be held. Yes, God - hold me now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Digging Deep...So Far, Coming Up Empty

It's the most _____ time of the year. (Just please don't start singing Christmas carols on me...)

You can fill in your own blank. What I want to know is how we've come to such off the wall behavior with the students before we've even made it to Thanksgiving break. Heck, there's no full moon to blame right now, and I know I'm not the only teacher out there struggling. (That is both comforting and frustrating at the same time.)

What's a teacher to do? I promise you, the gray hairs are coming...and my patience is really being tested. What I think the students are missing is respect for (and a healthy dose of fear of) authority. The whole "teacher look" does not work right now - in fact, I can be looking a student in the eye who then will proceed to keep talking after I personally invited him/her to stop. (Ah!)

Sorry, not trying to be Negative Nancy...I just am at a loss. Parent-teacher conferences are coming up this week, but many of the parents I want to see did not sign up. <Fail.>

I'm cautiously optimistic that the whole week we have off for Thanksgiving will be helpful...but there's a part of me that thinks when we get between Thanksgiving and Christmas that there will be no hope whatsoever for getting the students to be respectful participants in the classroom.

I think my prayers have intensified every day. And I'm going to keep revving my prayers up. Whatever it takes...100% every day, no less...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Because It's Friendship...

I felt like I was moving in slow motion today. And no matter what I did, I realized I had about 50 more things on my plate, including things I had to fix. On top of it all, I'm in report card mode - grades and comments were due today for review, so, needless to say, it's been a little hectic in our building these past few days.

My mind has literally been going in a thousand directions all week. And that's precisely why I needed to take a break this evening and phone a good friend. I needed to laugh, to share, to listen, and to breathe. She helped me do all these things.

Good friends do that.

Here's to friendship! God sure knew what He was doing by giving us the gift of others...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On My Knees

Latin. The All Souls' Mozart Requiem Mass was all in Latin (except for the homily). I couldn't understand the words.

But there were two things I did understand: the Eucharist and the gestures of the priest.

Isn't it amazing how no matter where you go for Catholic Mass that it is all the same? The universality of it - isn't it wonderful?

The Mass last night was done in the traditional way, which meant that we had to approach and kneel at the Communion Rail when the time came to receive Jesus' most precious body. I had never received (to my knowledge/memory) at the rail before, so I didn't know what to expect. But there was something absolutely humbling and incredible about getting down on my knees and receiving the Eucharist on my tongue. It was impossible to just go through the motions when I was required to do this.

For lack of a better phrase, It was SO COOL!

My takeaway from last night was getting myself back to the reverence of it all. The traditional Mass helped me do that.