Monday, May 27, 2013


Also known as summer to all the non teachers out there. :P Sounds horrible when I say it that way but the first year of teaching was awesome!! I enjoyed every single minute. It's not to say there weren't challenging moments, and quite frankly there was one probably every day. But the truly challenging moments/days were learning lessons for me. I cherish them.

How was your first year?

Several people have asked me that question and there is no one word answer. 
Great. Challenging. Rough. Sad. Awesome. Totally awful. Moments of panic. Humbling. Wanting to rip my hair out. Enlightening. Interesting. 
Those can all. Be used to describe my year. But not all at the same time. There were days that went smooth, without a hiccup. Then there were the days that were like being on a sailboat in a storm in the middle of the ocean without sight of land. But thank God those days were few. Challenges of subtraction and division. Incomplete goals. Sloppy papers. Careless attitudes. These things will try a teachers sanity. Or at least this one's. It seems to me that they would realize if they went slow and neat the first time, they wouldn't have to redo the whole page. But no. There were times when I moved the pages around to try and figure out what number or letter that figure on the page was. I make it sound awful don't I??? But it wasn't all like that!! 
The times of seeing the "lightbulb" go on in their little minds was the best thing ever!! Seeing them finally understand how to rename for subtraction with 3-digit numbers. One of the greatest times was hearing a boys own mental tool to remember a multiplication fact. It was 7x7. His tool was that Colin Kaepernick's number is 7 and he plays for the 49ers and if you multiply his number together(7x7), you will get 49, which is his team!! That warmed his sports-loving teacher's heart. :) Seeing them become better spellers and readers. Watching them progress in story writing ability. Their stories at the end of the year were. MUCH improved from the first of the year. I loved how they would tell me things in the middle of working on their science worksheet that had NOTING to do with anything at school, but they wanted me to know it. Getting a glimpse into their minds that are wonderfully different from each of their classmates. God made each one of them and they are uniquely special. For me this little quote is true: 
I call my students "my kids" because in our year together, they're not just kids on my class list, they become part of my heart. I thank God for the opportunity He has given me to help educate their young minds.

What are you going to do this summer?

For some reason, people seem to think teachers do absolutely nothing in the summer. Not true. I'm currently in Ohio on  a 2-week trip. After which I will spend a week in Oregon before Annual Meeting. After which is a 3.5 week break before Youngfolks Camp. That lasts a week. Then I have a week or so before I go to Florida for a teacher workshop. Then it's August and school starts!! Oh, and sometime in there I will be filling it with wedding stuff because my best friend is getting married the Friday after school starts :) showers, dress sewing, weekend away...not to mention getting my classroom ready for next year!! My summer will get filled up pretty quickly!! I'm already enjoying and I hope you all have a great summer as well.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pep-talk to Myself

How do discuss something like the events of the last few days?? Bombings in Boston...this is the same yet different than what happened in Newtown. Acts of terror. Different "stages." My kids still talked about it. How do you discuss it with 3-4 graders when they bring it up??


That's what I told them. For each person involved. The families affected by the terrible events. The first responders. The runners who will be scared to run again. That hearts wouldn't turn away from God, but toward Him. He who binds up the brokenhearted. As each tragedy unfolds and man's sinful nature is revealed, I can't help but be reminded of the millions killed each year by legal means. I am not down-playing the events of the last few days, but how are they different?? I am again reminded to pray.

Not just for America, but the world as a whole. We hear of "wars and rumors of war...earthquakes in diverse places..." It makes me wonder how long until Christ returns?? Today? A month? 20 years? Sometimes life can get discouraging...when it seems that nothing is going right. When the kids don't get along. When your math class is dealing with imaginary numbers. When whatever you face seems to be too much. DON'T LOOSE HOPE!!! As my mom likes to say, "This, too, shall pass." Whether the situation is resolved, or (best-case scenario) Jesus returns, it'll all be ok. It's been on my mind lately, and the events in Boston made it come together, so to speak.

Hopefully that encourages you a little bit. It's the only thing that comforts me.

That, and the fact that I have only 2 weeks left of math class!!!! Another thing that helps me through is my job. Although it is hard at times and tough when 3 digit multiplication isn't going so well. A child's perspective is what I love most. They were pretty sure I hadn't been in first or second grade before!! As I was explaining about going to a tea party at the last auction (like 15 years ago) when I was in first or second grade, one boy exclaimed, "YOU WERE IN THAT GRADE BEFORE?!?!?"  (Way to make me feel old!) Moments like that are what makes it fun!! 

We got the results from achievement testing back and it was fun and encouraging to see that our school as whole tested higher than average on a national scale!! This encouraged me a bit to see I must be doing something a little bit right. :) Not alone, for sure!! God is good!! And He will see me through the last several weeks when all the kids want to do is be DONE and play outside.....
As the year winds down, I marvel at God's plan and how He knew just what He was doing when he placed me here. I have to remind myself of that when the days aren't so great or things happen across the world that make it seem He has turned away. His plan is perfect and He knows when *the day* when we shall see His face. Until then, I encourage us to "occupy 'till He comes."

The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.Even so come, Lord Jesus.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spring Break

Am I the only one that is shocked it's already about March?! Where has the school year gone?? Don't get me wrong, I'm not wanting the days to pass slower...but times seems to go faster as you get older. Or so they say. I'm too young to be quoting that...I turn 21 next month and I feel so OLD!!!! Ohwell
We have those next week off and I plan to enjoy it :) and by that I mean math homework, library, studying for a math test, reading, reading, taking a math test, flying to Ohio, having a rocking awesome time there(staying up late, talking, consuming copious amounts of caffeine to survive the sleep deprivation), and flying home. On which flight I will most likely loose consciousness in an effort regain the lost sleep. Sound fun to you?? IT DOES TO ME!!

What else does one do while their mother embarks on a Caribbean cruise with her sisters??

I'm truly glad they get to spend some quality time and reflect upon my mother's half-century here upon the earth :D I'm sure they are already having fun...anyways, I wish you all a lovely spring break and adeui...I'm sure I will have pictures to post of my weekend trip to Ohio :D

Toddles :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's Been Awhile

Where did 2012 go??

I can't believe we are writing 2013 on papers now...but time has a way of marching forward. I happen to think that's a good thing though. A year ago wasn't the happiest time for me but I can safely say God showed me TONS of things about myself in 2012. And I praise Him for that.

This post is (belatedly) dedicated to my dear Uncle Lowell who spent the best Christmas with Jesus this year.

Dear Uncle Lowell,
I already miss you and I haven't even been at a family 'get-together' without you yet. Your caring smile and soft-spoken voice will be missed. Your gentle nature. How I always knew you cared about me when you asked what I was up to in life when we talked. And I will always remember our last conversation about baseball following my Giants beating your Reds in October =) Mom told me how you were cracking funniest almost until you slipped into heaven. It was very hard to not see you laid to rest. I got to listen to a bit of the memorial service before school. I heard all about it and how you used skids to hold your casket =) Then you made everyone cry when you gave Grandma and Aunt Sandy roses. Men like you don't exist anymore; at least not around me! I will never forget your talent for telling stories(Phil and the Fudge Bar) and how you "dropped" many-a-softball playing first base so the little cousins could reach safely playing at Duke Park each summer we visited. I have many memories of you that I will cherish forever. And if you get a chance, ask Jesus to come back soon. We want to be there too =)
                                                       Love your niece,

Now that that 2 month-late post is written....and I cried a few more tears,

I was on my own for approximately 6 days while the rest of my family went to Ohio for Uncle Lowell's funeral. My Auntie-Mothers didn't let me stay home alone though =) Then there was a whirlwind of family Christmas and a new baby cousin to love...Finn Patrick David Miller, although I've only seen him twice. We had a small party at school and there were gifts, snacks, cookies, etc. Who knew being a teacher warranted such sweet gifts from little children with eager eyes when you open their gift?? =) 

Two weeks of vacation

Spent with friends home from Ohio and Indiana. Sleeping in. Sewing a school dress (the last 2 days and still needs a hem and buttons). Spent an alarming amount of time with the Brother...I enjoyed it. Watched some football games. Counted the days until spring training games start, which is currently 43 days from now. Went ice skating and didn't fall, which is an accomplishment considering the last time I fell so hard on my posterior I was sore for a week. No lie. To top it off, I got a flu bug and missed the first day back. But I lost 5 pounds ha! 
Hopefully it's not 2+ months till I write again....but MJC starts next week and I'm taking Math 90. I may die, in which case there will be no more posts. Anyways....I dislike math so you can pray me through it. Or offer your tutoring services. Good-bye for now =)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

October Was A Good Month

October blended into a haze of rush rush rush. after my visit to Ohio it was back to reality. Quickly got back into the classroom routine and became a teacher. My mom was still gone in Ohio for a week so I played mom, housekeeper, and cook to an 18 year old boy who suddenly thought he ruled the world because he's 18. I love him though. I hope he knows how to properly put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder now. I helped my cousin give a baby shower for her boy-expecting sister. That was a load of fun. It was very special for me to be able to because both of those cousins are very dear to me and this littler boy has been much prayed for....I can't wait till December!! Then we had family birthdays which is always a lot of fun, noisy, but fun. A sweet little girl turned 1 and she brightens my day whenever I see her!! Waiting to see her walk...she's almost there. Then I madly cleaned the house and threw things into drawers and closets before Mom got home. Oh, and in the midst of all that, the Giants were giving me heart palpitations from being on the brink of elimination 6 times and somehow pulled off victory each time in an improbable World Series push; they made it. Keeping up my History class keeps me busy too, and it's always good to get an A in a quiz I really thought I'd bombed (I need to learn that it's ok to NOT know the score of every game and study more). I am a sports fanatic and I thank you for putting up with that. Character flaw? Maybe. But I do try to reign it in. After that 6-elimination comeback, they swept the Tiger in 4 games. My class got cookies the next day. Speaking of class....

I feel like a dictator.

Like for real. Some kids decided to pass notes and now it's a pandemic. Needless to say the colored tallies have been flying. but I guess they have to learn somehow. Dishonesty and not doing school work properly can lead to no recess. And if that doesn't work, a visit to the principal can become a reality. That was a new experience. I was as nervous as the student. Even though I'd obviously talked to him beforehand. I hope that takes care of the problem. I want them to succeed. Habits like that are not conductive to success. But I remember having things to work on too! I'm clearly not a perfect teacher and some days I question  the impact I really am having in their lives. Those days are once every 3 weeks or so, and the days of good greatly outweigh those feelings. Like when they wanted to have a World Series party...

After October ended I had high hopes of November not being as full. That lasted until I received the monthly school calendar. Wowzers. Stuff happening this weekend, and next week; then the next week, it's Thanksgiving. Ah, 2.5 days off. No black Friday shopping; I'm sleeping and reading and drinking coffee and listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other Christmas music. Oh and once November is over, it's December and everything that month entails. I'm already praying we remember what it's all about. Sometimes we forget.

Getting 8 hours of sleep tonight as I cram for a History exam tomorrow,
                                                          Miss Kelley

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Surprise!!

When I got word back in July that my remaining close friend in Ohio was finally engaged, I began to plan. I began to plan my trip to go back for her wedding. Pretty normal, right?? Well I have happened to have become very close with my 5-years-younger-than-me cousin and decided to try to surprise her. I bought my ticket in August and kept quiet for a few days. Then I texted my aunt to make sure it'd be ok for me to "stop by." She was delighted to keep my secret and on with life we went for the next few months. I nearly let it slip lots of times on Facebook and through texting but thankfully, I didn't :) Last Friday afternoon, my Grandparents picked my mom and me up from the airport and headed to my uncle and aunt's house. When we go there, she was getting ready in the bathroom (shocked, I was not) and I waited around the corner for her to come out.
"Mandalyn," her mom called.
"They are here." My aunt told her people might be coming to look at their house they are building.
"Ok, just a second."
A good minute passed with my adrenaline pumping and phone shaking in my hand as I recorded her reaction. Then she exited the bathroom and squealed.

"Hello," I calmly returned. That was followed by a hug and a very confused "How did you get here and did you just come after school?" She clearly doesn't know it takes a whole day to get to Ohio from California.

 My Grandma and cousins :)

 This was the next evening after I had stayed up waaaaay too late on Friday night giggling and talking in their RV, gone on a hour drive to see my other cousin with her sister and ate lunch and shopped with them. I was guzzling Mountain Dew in a failed effort to gain some caffeine and sugar so that I could function at the family gathering Saturday evening. I wore my Giants sweatshirt in a very hostile area of recently disappointed Reds fans. But they still claim me. I got to see a new baby cousin and play with some toddlers and see my uncle who is battling cancer. Gave me a realization that life in indeed short. Prayers for him and his family would be appreciated.

We truly are sisters. God made us cousins 'cause He knew no mother could handle us as sisters. My 2 days with her and the rest of my family was too short but I got 'bumped' on the way home, so I have a ticket to use in the future.

Back to the original reason I went there in the first place. My friend did get married. I served food. They look very happy. Soon I shall be providing baby names for her and my other married friends. I'm sure they will be thrilled., it's back to the grind of teaching. :) Which I love. But I love it a little less when I am jet lagged.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Last Two Weeks

Busy Busy Busy.

^my life the last couple of weeks. I would say the phrase,"the honeymoon is over," fits well at school these days. Perhaps it's my fault. I've probably not been as consistent as I should be. No excuses. I take responsibility, but do they think I won't realize if they don't do their math for that day, I won't catch it; or that there won't be consequences for talking out when it's study time? I guess they just started testing the limits. That resulted in an emotionally tired teacher. Well, at least one of my fellow teachers told me that this way if I have children I will be prepared. Thank-you for that startling epiphany. My children will get away with nothing. "Sorry, kids, but I was a teacher before I was your mommy."

Yesterday (Wednesday)  we sang a song about how we don't believe in evolution. It so happened to be the day we had a "whole-school assembly." This one just so happened to be a retired NASA rocket scientist who had worked on all the missions from the 1950s-1990s. He is a Christian man who gave a Christian, God-created talk about the universe. I love how that song fit so well with the day. As he talked and showed us a scaled down show of the planets and stars,  I could not help wondering why God cares about us? HE HAS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!!!! Why should he be concerned about what goes on on the little, measly planet we named Earth? People, we are specks of dust compared to the whole world. He measures the heavens with just a span of His hand. Yet, He cares about each of us. He cares when we hurt. He hates when we sin. He forgives when we repent. Sometimes I just cry out and say, "Why, God, why do you love me? I sin. I am nothing. Why do you love me?" I haven't came to a conclusion, but I don't care.
I am just glad He does.

We aren't worthy.

We don't deserve it.

He does it anyway.


Maybe I am an emotional woman (as my brother likes to say), but even this man got choked up during his presentation. He was amazed at the wonder and awesomeness of the known world. I left feeling very inspired and thankful.
                                                  In awe of His Greatness,
                                                              Miss Kelley