Showing posts from November, 2013

Really?!? College Football Greatness

I have to admit that I had trouble getting to sleep last night.   It was almost 3:00 this morning before I was able to finally drift off.   Part of that is my usual sleep issues and being sick over Thanksgiving, but this time, a little bit of it was due to the MOST AMAZING COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME I have ever watched.   And in my home growing up, the seasons were marked by sports on television as much as they were by the weather, so that's saying something.

Did you see it?!   Tell me that if you didn't watch it, you spent last night or early this morning reading every possible article about it you could lay your eyes on.   I've lost count of how many times I've heard the Auburn announcer lose his mind as he calls the end of the game.   I was right there with him, in spirit, the lone viewer in my living room, losing my mind over another--ANOTHER--miracle at Auburn in just two weeks.   I watched that one happen too, during the Auburn vs. Georgia game I thought was pretty AM…

Thanksgiving 2013

Joey and I cooked a great feast together.   That evening, all of us but one was struck by a pretty powerful stomach bug.   I have lots of food pictures, along with the kids eating dessert, but those still make me feel a little ill.   There will be no pies for Christmas this year, I'm afraid.   So, the morning after Thanksgiving, here is how our Elf on the Shelf showed up:

Still, Thankful

It's the day before Thanksgiving and it's quiet here.    I keep thinking I'm forgetting something.   For the past few years, this day has been the culmination of several days of intense pie making.   Careful planning and shopping was followed by a tight time schedule so that by Wednesday morning, beautiful pies sat complete, boxed and ready to be picked up by customers.   This year, I'm taking it easy and the only pies I'm making are our own.

I've had to rest a bit between my own cooking today, so I'm glad I declined all pie orders.   I realize though, what those orders meant, beyond extra spending money for Christmas gifts.   They meant planning and anticipation.   I had people coming to my door throughout the day.   Those pie orders and the customers who placed them helped to keep me occupied so I had less time to think about who would not be coming through my door for Thanksgiving.   Or Christmas.   Or a single of her grandchildren's many birthdays, …

Go-Get, but Leave Room for Grace

Every family has little stories that are told again and again.   I remember Mama's stories of her siblings as they were growing up on a farm in northeastern Oklahoma and those tales of my father's poor circumstances as a child in the same region.   There were the stories of special teachers and of all the fellow students they knew during college years.   When both of your parents are from the Midwest and one of them rose up from poverty, you learn from an early age about self-reliance and self-determination.   My father's job as a professor of Animal Science put him into contact with 4-H and FFA students, as he judged livestock shows and helped with workshops.   I was the only kid in my club with a 4-H project book written by my father. He always had high praise for those high-achieving students he described as "real go-getters."   They were usually officers in the clubs and they spoke to adults with poise and confidence.   They were clever, quick-witted and alwa…

Knee Socks, Sequins, & Straight Jackets: Finding Myself in the Crowd

I'm a Southerner, but not a Southern Belle.   I was never presented to society at a white-gloves-and-ball-gowns-cotillion.   I was never the princess or queen of a small-town festival.   I only drink unsweetened tea, whether hot or iced.   My parents wanted to see if they could raise me on only unsweetened tea, so I wouldn't like the taste of the sugared variety and it worked.   Mama always made two pitchers of iced tea.   And, though I can appreciate the cast and technical achievements of Gone With the Wind, I'm telling you, if I had any state secrets, I might give them up if forced to watch that film on an auto-loop.   Ashley sure wasn't worth all those ripples of misery and by the end, the only three people I could respect were Big Sam, Mammy and Belle Watling.

But whenever I am once again close to the waters of the Mississippi River, my pulse seems to adjust itself to the undulations of the river's waves.   I have stood beneath the low, grand branches of ancien…

Common Core?!?: Some Thoughts on Public Education Today

Common Core: What Is It?

There are SO many articles and videos warning people of the dangers of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, or CCSSI.   That's right, that's the official name: it's Standards, not Curriculum.   Standards are a part of a curriculum.   They simply state what each student should be able to demonstrate, with mastery, by the end of a school year.   Standards are important as they guide curriculum and the instruction in classrooms.

There are currently Standards for Mathematics and Language Arts, Kindergarten through Grade 12 and they are all available for inspection on the official CCSSI website:
For example, in Mathematics, there are Standards for Mathematical Practice, which are the general  "varieties of expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students..."   These Standards are to be developed across all grade levels, throughout each school year and some of them c…

12 Years a Slave and Truth: Beyond Convention

The first time I met with my physical therapist, he told me that, in the future, I would have to weigh my pain against each situation.   Knowing I had three children, he asked me if the pain of childbirth was worth it and then told me I would have to look at each situation and decide if the pain or discomfort was worth it.  Last week, I made that decision three times.   I decided to: walk, slowly, with my children as they trick-or-treated, accompany them to our parish All Saints Day party, and drive to watch 12 Years A Slave in a cinema.   Yes, they were all worth the discomfort, which is significantly less than that which I was experiencing a few weeks ago, thanks be to God.

In this post, I wanted to write about the films of 12 Years a Slave director, Steve McQueen.   I wanted to write about that film, in particular, in detail.   I have pages of notes and lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head, but I can't approach that film--that story--in that manner, at least not right no…

Open to Truth: Fearless

Every day, I see headlines proclaiming that all is lost, each side claiming the other side is evil and the cause of all ills.   Because of my social media settings, many of these lamentations come from those who are Catholic.    And I've grown weary from it.   I can always find relief in scripture and prayer, but recently, I've found hope for literature, television, and film from some secular sources.    I watch the films of Steve McQueen who explores what it means to be human and how our actions affect others.   I read the reviews of stand-up comedian, writer, and actor,  Brett Goldstein, whose show, Contains Scenes of an Adult Nature, chronicles his addiction to pornography and his journey as he gave it up and continues to heal in the way he deals with women and relationships.   There are people out there searching for answers, for truth.   They are asking us to think.   We Catholics may have access to the source of truth, but are we really living that way?

A few weeks ago, …