February 27, 2009

Kisses in the Wind

Posted in Causes tagged at 11:06 am by livethelifeyoudream

I have several friends who are in the midst of the adoption wait-and-see process. They were each called to adopt for different reasons. One couple, after years of infertility treatments, was unable to conceive a child. Another couple feels so blessed with three young boys that they would like to add a girl to the mix. The final couple has one child, but the pregnancy was difficult, so they turned to adoption for their second child.

Their journey has been difficult and time consuming. Their financial resources have been stretched. Their patience tested and yet, they persist. They maintain hope. They have confidence and faith that God will deliver in his time. They inspire me with their determination and courage.

For those waiting for a child, I pray that your prayers are answered soon.

KISSES IN THE WIND (The Waiting Child’s Lullaby)

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that’s how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are… what’s taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin…
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I’m doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you’ll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
— © Pamela Durkota




February 26, 2009

I’m Breaking all the Rules

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:59 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I’m trying to find my bloggy voice today.

I love to read blogs that sound real. I can picture the writer. I laugh with her, rejoice in her success, and empathize with her pain. If you visit other blogs, you know that there are a lot of really great writers out there.

My problem is that it is hard for me to drop some of my writing habits. Perhaps I’ve been a teacher for too long, but finding my bloggy voice has challenged the rule follower in me.

First Up: Contractions. What can I say? I’m a fan of contractions, but they don’t always make it into my writing.  I’ve noticed that by writing out the contraction it makes me sound. . . uptight. Which I am not, ThankYouVeryMuch. Well, maybe a little.

Next: Creative punctuation and sentence structure. Right now my students are learning all of the comma rules. Yes, there are actual rules. Too many, in fact. But, in blog writing some of those rules are relaxed.

Fragments. Ok.

Making up the word bloggy. Not a problem.

A one sentence paragraph actually works in blogdom!

I’m breaking Standard English usage rules left and right! You know what I discovered? I like it. It is kind of freeing.  Maybe blog writers understand that some rules are made to be broken.  

Watch out world I’m livin’ on the edge today!

February 25, 2009

Lost. . .Not with Me!

Posted in Travel Tips, Works-for-Me at 9:50 am by livethelifeyoudream


Welcome to the debut of “Travel Tip Tuesday!” Yes, I realize that it is Wednesday, and the banner says “Works-for-me Wednesday” but that is because I’m makin’ the best of a bad situation. My computer died yesterday. I’m sure you understand my pain and frustruation and the control it took for me not to hurl the computer into the trash.

 It took a lot of self-control. Anyway, Welcome to “Works-for-Me Wednesday.” ta-da!

Our family loves to travel and whether your preferred mode of transportation is by plane, train, automobile, or on foot, I have a tip to help make your traveling a little less stressful.

I created the “lost card” after loosing my younger brother in the Magic Kingdom. He was fifteen at the time. Let’s just say that one collect call from Main Street, hours of roaming around the resort, and one frantic call from my mother 1000s of miles away made for a not so “priceless” experience.

So, if you are traveling, you need a plan: A plan for what to do if someone is temporarily misplaced.

Purchase the self-sealing laminating business/I.D. pouches from Scotch. They are 2 7/16 inches by 3 7/8 inches. Mine came in a pack of ten. I have many uses for these things, but you can also just go to any office supply store and have your card laminated right there.


On the front of the card, this is where I would really like to insert a picture–but the pooped out compter has other ideas–I type in my word processing program the lost directions. For our most recent trip, it was 1. Stay where you are; 2. Find a Cast Member; and 3. Give them this card.

The directions can vary depending on the age of the child. On the other side of the card I put the child’s name and our contact information. This is usually our cell phone numbers.

You can get as creative as you would like by adding in clip art and using fun fonts. The kids feel secure knowing that tucked away in their pocket is some “Lost protection”. This is what works for me.

February 23, 2009

Just a Lazy Saturday

Posted in Boys at 4:56 pm by livethelifeyoudream

This was a shirt flying, shorts trying on kind of weekend. If you have kids you know how hard it can be to get kids, especially boys, to try on clothes. Two weeks ago I threatened the boys that they would have to swim in their underwear if they didn’t try on their swimsuits; I could see the wheels turning in their brains. They weren’t actually convinced that swimming in their undies would be all that bad. Boys.

With am armful of shorts, I tried to distract them with some educational programming. We were having a nice lazy Saturday morning watching the Discovery Channel. The show on TV was something about deadly jellyfish. I’m not sure if this was the best choice since we are leaving for a cruise in a month, but at least it wasn’t about the sinking of the Titanic.

Did you know that there is no cure for the jellyfish sting? The boys were shocked. No cure, but why? Alden asked if they were trying to find a cure. Forget the shorts, honey; this is a great “teaching moment.” I love times like these.

I start in “I am sure that they are trying to find a cure for jelly fish stings (validate the child), but (this is where I begin to teach and mold these two young minds) research money is usually spent on diseases that are widespread.” The words are still lingering in the air. I give them the ole pregnant pause before I start in about how money is allotted for research and how that research money is distributed among various scientists to help find cures for major diseases.

William doesn’t need to process what I said. He has a very clear and simple answer. At eleven he claims to be an expert on all things dinosaurs, military, and mammal/reptilian related, and he quickly quips, “like the Komodo dragon bite.”


It took all of our parental restraint not to laugh because he was serious. I’m not sure where you all live, but I don’t live in fear that one day I’ll get bit by a Komodo dragon. Running into a deer, now that’s a different story.

 The clothes did get tried on; the boys did learn that research money is spent on things like heart disease and cancers, and yes, thanks to PBS, cures for the Komodo dragon bite. Ah, just another relaxing Saturday morning.

February 20, 2009

Close to the Heart

Posted in Causes at 12:20 pm by livethelifeyoudream

We are blessed.  In this crazy economy, we have stable jobs. We have our health and secure retirements. We don’t have expensive tastes. We are happy with our paid-off-vehicles, even though the miles are creeping up. Our house isn’t a show place, but it’s comfortable. We like spending time together as a family. We truly are blessed.

Today I’m letting you in on something that tugs at my heart strings. It puts a smile on my face and brings tears to my eyes, but I know it is something that my family needs to do together—a volunteer vacation.  We donate money to charities, but we have never given our time. Time is precious.  Money is easy.

The story of Give Kids The World begins with a little girl with a wish and the desire of one man to make that wish come true.

The little girl’s name was Amy. Amy had leukemia and one wish – to visit the theme parks in Orlando. To facilitate Amy’s wish, the request of a complimentary stay was made to a respected hotelier. As he had done many times before, the hotelier gladly obliged and Amy’s wish was that much closer to being realized. Sadly, the remainder of Amy’s travel plans took too long to arrange and her wish was never granted; Amy had passed away. Time simply ran out.

This unfulfilled wish inspired a man, the hotelier, to make a vow that no child in need would ever be failed again. That man was Henri Landwirth and his desire to ensure that Amy’s story would never repeat itself is where the story of Give Kids The World begins.

The organization is nonprofit. All of the Orlando theme park businesses have come together to support GKW. The best part is that all the money donated for buildings and projects don’t feature any advertisements. There are no smiling characters encouraging people to visit a particular park or patronize a particular company.

It’s just a bunch of people coming together to help grant the dreams of dying children. As if that isn’t enough to move anyone to tears, wait until you hear about the wishing star. As a child’s trip comes to an end, she gets to put up on the ceiling a “wishing star”. They keep all the stars on the ceiling from their past guests.

I can’t even begin to imagine what these children wish for—health, toys—more time.  For one week a family gets to be a “normal” family. For one week a sick child gets to just be a kid.

For one week, my family is going to give its time.

They rely on volunteers for help.  College and scouting groups, church organizations, and individuals and families can volunteer their time. They don’t require families to work eight hour shifts; they seem very accommodating.

I encourage you to click on the link above and see what Give Kids the World is all about. It looks like the most wonderful place to visit; yet, I am so thankful my family will never have to stay there. Count your blessings today.






February 19, 2009

All the things I don’t know

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:31 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I went to a conference today.

It was a conference of English teachers, not as boring as it seems. We were working together to create an end of the course assessment that fits what the state wants and what our district can live with.  

We talked. We exchanged resources and ideas. I left with a list of websites to visit, a vocabulary quiz created, and new pre-advanced placement resources to buy.  Amid all of this information I realized that there is still a lot I don’t know.

Even after ten years of teaching, countless hours spent preparing at home, years spent obtaining a master’s degree, there is still a lot I have to learn; and my lack of knowledge or ignorance doesn’t just apply to my work.

I don’t know how to say I’m sorry to my husband when I know feel I am right.

I don’t know how to organize my life so that my house is always clean, the laundry always folded, and dinner always planned ahead of time.

I don’t know how to make Alden stop picking his scab off when he gets nervous or anxious when he is away from home.

I try.

I do know that as much as I like to think I have a handle on the world and can figure things out on my own, I can’t. I succeed at times. I fail at others. Sometimes sharing with someone really does help.

So, I am asking you, my few readers to help me learn.

There is so much to this blogging thing and so much that I don’t know. What resources would be good for me to read? What websites should I visit? What advice can you give me?

February 18, 2009

25 Things About Me

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:10 pm by livethelifeyoudream


The “about me” section intimidates me. I see it looming at the side waiting for me to write something witty and wonderful, but I want to say just the right thing.  I’ve lived through a lot. I don’t want to define myself based on what I have done—teacher, wife, daughter—but who I am as a woman.

So, I give you the abbreviated version “about me.”  I promise I will fill the empty page, but for now I give you 25 interesting mundane things about me. Yes, this is taken from facebook, but I’m sure you don’t mind, do you?

  1. Sometimes I wish I had a pocket “Paul”—my husband. He could be in my pocket all day so that I would have someone to share my thoughts with.  I want a pocket version because if he became too opinionated he would still be small enough to stuff in my school bag.
  2. I am an introvert. I need alone time.  
  3. I like to subject my family to “double-blind” tests. These tests usually revolve around food. I will make a dish and change something and then ask if they liked dish A better or dish B. I don’t tell them what I have changed. I find this game fun.
  4. On a day-to-day basis, I don’t wear any make-up. Well, I do wear cover-up under my eyes
  5. because  I’m not a morning person, and  I have to cover up the dark circles somehow.
  6. I only leave myself 15-20 minutes to get ready for work. I shower the night before because of #6.
  7. I don’t eat fruit.
  8. I dream of one day visiting all the Disney parks.
  9. I love Tupperware.
  10. I am honored to be selected for jury duty. I am determining someone’s future; I take my civic responsibility seriously.
  11. 90% of my clothes come from Talbots or Lands’ End. When I find a store that I like, I stick with it.
  12. I have never had a desire to own an iPod, but now that I have an iPod touch, I can’t imagine my life without one.
  13. When I was about ten, I really wanted my name to be Victoria, not so much now.
  14. I have been using the “reuse” grocery bags even before they became popular. I like going “green” and helping the environment.  My husband calls me “light green” because I still buy plastic water bottles.
  15. We have a cat named Alex and we talk about him like he is a real person. Alex is in first grade. Alex rides the bus to school. I might write a book one day about Alex’s adventures. Kind of like the book Dewey.
  16. I long to live in a state without snow and cold winters.
  17. I love teaching, but it doesn’t mean I can’t see myself doing something else later.
  18. I’ve always wanted to go on a game show. Someday I will. I would prefer wheel of fortune, even though I am a horrible speller or Deal or no Deal.
  19. I am a Republican. I know it isn’t popular, but I can’t imagine voting any other way.
  20. I believe that there is a creator.  I am trying to determine how much control he has over my life.
  21. I’m sensitive and take things personally.
  22. I can be critical. I am working on it.
  23. I am seriously considering going back for a second master’s degree.
  24. I could travel for all of my 108 vacation days.
  25. Monday is my favorite day of the week.

 I’m not sure why the numbers are all goofy. I am still learning how to work the program.

February 17, 2009

Really old

Posted in School Smiles at 5:44 pm by livethelifeyoudream



I have the ears of a 24 year old.

I kid you not.

Even though I am 30+ my ears seem to have maintained their youthfulness.

Today during seminar—kind of like a study period—a student was playing this high pitched sound from his IPod.

If there is one three things that I just can’t stand it is tapping on the desk during quiet periods, sniffing your nose instead of just getting a tissue, and high pitched noises.

I looked over at him and told him to stop, all the while giving him my firm teacher look.

“Wow, you’re not supposed to be able to hear that.”

I’m not sure why. The class is quiet. The sound is loud.

“Mrs. So-and-so can’t hear it. Mr. Math teacher can’t hear it. When you are over thirty and you get to be really old.”

 Seriously, he said really old and over thirty in the same sentence.

“Your hearing breaks down. You have really good ears. “

Two other students turned around and asked if I was really over thirty.

I shook my head yes and continued with what I was doing.

“Wow, we thought you were 24.”

I smile today, not because my students think of me as young, but because I have learned over the years that there really is a difference between growing up and growing old.

I’m thankful that I am not 24 and the trials and hardships that I have had to endure triumphantly overcome have helped me become who I am today. But I’ll save those stories for another blog entry.