My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

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Through the Eyes of a Child

mimimuffinJune 6, 2015

Dear Readers,

If you want to know the truth, ask a child.  Not only will you get the truth, you will get it in such a way as to make you laugh.  Because kids are honest to a fault, and they have no filter, they say the darnedest things.  Do not ever ask a child a question unless you are prepared to hear the absolute truth.  Well, leave it to me to walk right into that trap.

A few days ago I mentioned to my therapist (of course I have one!) that I saw the cutest question and answer session between mother and child on my Facebook feed.  Now, stick with me dear Readers, Facebook is not the focus here.  I mentioned that a friend of mine had asked her two daughters a series of questions and posted both the questions and the answers as her status one day.  There were 23 questions and answers.  The questions were ordinary, mundane even:  How do you know your mom loves you?  What does your mom always say to you?  What makes your mom happy? sad?, etc.  The answers are anything but.

Of course, dear Readers, you can well imagine what a small child of 5 or 6 would come up with for answers.  And true, they make us laugh.  But check it out, what if an old broad, such as myself, were to ask her grown, adult children to answer these same questions?  My therapist thought it would be a good idea.

At first, I didn’t quite understand what purpose it could serve.  My children know what I do for a living and they know how old I am (mostly, lol).  So what would be the point?  That is why my therapist is the therapist, dear Readers, and I am the patient.  “Send your children the questions and ask them to answer them and send them back to you.  Once you read their answers, you will see yourself through their eyes.  It might surprise you.”  She was right.

I must admit that only my daughters completed the answers and sent them back (are you listening, my sons?).  But, what an eye-opener.  Here is who I am:

I am kind and funny.  I am thoughtful and outgoing.  I am loving and inspiring.  I am a good mother.

Honestly, those conclusions were not surprising.  I know, without conceit, that those adjectives do describe me.  However, here are the two most surprising conclusions:

My children paid attention to our discussions and they believed what I told them!

I’m joking, of course.  However, here are some heartfelt questions and answers that warmed my heart:

What is something that Mom always says to you?    you will do great things, you will change the world, I want you to be better than me  This is something I stressed to my children as they were growing up; I believed it and I hope they did, too.

What makes mom sad? Dishonesty, abandonment Wow!  This one blew me away because not only is it true, but this is something I never told my children.

What makes you proud of your mom? Her honesty and strength  I’m sure some would beg to differ on that first one, but there is no mistaking that second one 😉

Finally, my favorite one was the same from each of my daughters.  And although the answers were completely different, opposites even, they both go a long way in describing who I am..

If your mom were a character, who would she be? Betty Rizzo, Grease  For those who are unfamiliar, Rizzo is tough and sarcastic and she doesn’t give a care what people think of her.  She is definitely one tough broad.  I love that description of me.  It’s true.  The other answer is also true. 

If your mom were a character, who would she be?
I might be biased.. but I would say pooh bear.. he’s loving, accepting of all, a little anxious, and loves food

No explanation needed.  Peace, ~v.




July 26, 2016

Dear Readers,

I am a little weary from my first week back to school.  Last evening, as I sat relaxing on my front porch, a storm began to brew.  I have little energy to write, so I snapped these photos and well, here is today’s blog post.  Enjoy the lightning show while I enjoy my rest.  Peace, ~v.



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Missteps, Mistakes and Mississippi

July 22, 2014

Dear Readers,

Every year I go back to school forgetting how difficult it is to start back up again. Several things have come together this year to form the perfect storm, not the least of which is less me time.

Last year I had 8th grade and this year I have 7th. Because of this change, I must create all new lesson plans. Right there, less me time. I know, I know, why didn’t I do my lesson plans over the summer. I wish I could have. However, the company with which our school district contracts to create our curriculum, did not have it available until the week before I went back to school.  Thus, I could do no lesson plans over the summer…darn!  I know, I know, I should be working on lesson plans right now.  Misstep.

But I have been doing a little bit of my plans, really.  Here’s the thing, though, I do not create my own tests.  The company the district uses to create the curriculum also creates the tests.  Okay.  I am told what to teach my students, I am told when to teach it to them, and I am told how to assess them.  This would be fine, except the tests are riddled with errors.  And not just simple, “Oops, I misspelled a word,” errors.  But huge, glaring, “I could drive a truck through the holes in this test,” errors.  For example, one test has an excerpt of an informational article for the students to read and then answer questions.  Only problem is, the answer to two of the questions is nowhere in the excerpted article.  I did some digging and found the original article available on-line.  When the test makers took an excerpt of the article, they did not include the part that contained the answers to two of their questions!  And the test only has five questions.  How am I supposed to deal with that?  The tests are copyrighted so I cannot change them.  Administration’s response is to…well, they haven’t gotten back to me as to what I should do.  Mistake.

There is a bright spot in all of this, dear Readers.  Driving an hour to work and an hour home each day is giving me time to catch up on my reading.  No I do not carpool, I drive myself.  I have taken to enjoying audio books.  I have been soooooo reluctant to listen to books.  I enjoy reading books so much so that I cannot even stand Kindles.  I love the feel of a book in my hands, the way the paper crunches, just a bit, as I turn the pages.  I love the way I get lost in the setting of a book and the way my mind envisions the characters, and I was under the impression I could only get lost and envision while my mind was focused on nothing else.  I was wrong, gladly, I was wrong.  I began listening to audio books over the summer while driving to and from summer school.  Not only did the time go by quickly, I found I could still get lost in the setting and envision the characters while driving.  I found I rather enjoy being read to.  It takes me back to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Pickett, and the way she would read a book to us every few weeks.  And that was where my love of reading began.  I have come full-circle.  By the way, I am listening to a book right now titled Sycamore Row by John Grisham.  The central character is a lawyer and of course there is a mystery to unravel.  I can envision the characters and I love getting lost in the setting…Mississippi.

Again, I leave you dear Readers with more of my beautiful pictures.  One of you, dear Readers said it perfectly, “God’s paintings.”  Thank you, DP.  And thank you all, dear Readers for allowing me to ramble my way into your lives.  Peace, ~v.







Sunrise, Sunset

July 21, 2014

Dear Readers,

It was back to school day for me and my new 7th graders, today. It went very well for me. However, having given my students the better part of my energy, I am quite spent. It feels good. I haven’t felt this blissfully exhausted in a very long time.

I must cut this short, dear Readers, so that I may get my rest. I leave you with some of Nature’s more beautiful moments. Enjoy!


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Pictures of Peace

July 15, 2014

Dear Readers,

In honor of peace, I would like to share with you some of the most beautiful and peaceful photographs I have captured.  I took the following pictures in April of 2013 on the island of Guam.  In the near future, I will begin to post more pictures with write-ups on what and where they are.  Enjoy dear Readers.  Peace, ~v.

Hate no one, no matter how much they have wronged you.  Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become.  Think positively, no matter how hard life is.  Give much, even if you have been given little.  Keep in touch with the ones who have forgotten you, and forgive those who have wronged you.