Friday, August 20, 2010


Today, I lost it.
I broke down and cried in front of my mentor teacher.
It probably made her think that I am a mental teacher.

And, truthfully, I may be a little mental! It has been a long week of working really hard, really long, and sometimes really haphazardly. It may have made me crazy.

But, not for naught. I now have a really cute classroom with 29 desks and 29 chairs and 29 red folders and 29 orange folders and 29 boxes of crayons and 29 sharpened pencils and 29 math books and 29 spelling books and 29 writing notebooks and and and...

I even have lesson plans and papers run off and my M,T,W,Th,F baskets filled with things to do.

So, for a moment there, I was cheerful.

But after one visit too many to my cute little classroom (complete with polka dot paper and red borders) from some other teachers, I began to doubt my own brilliance. After a look or two around the classroom, I would get comments like these:
"Oh, my. Polka dots? You know children can't learn with polka dots around. They'll be too distracted."
"Oh, my. You're using red in your classroom? You know red is the color of anger, and children can't learn with that color in the room. Everything needs to be blue. Studies show that blue is calming and aids in education."
"Oh, my. You're going to use that book to instruct your children? No, no. That's not the right book. That book is too hard for these children."
"Oh, my. I would never use that method."
"Oh, my. I would never take that approach."
"Oh, my."
"Oh, my."
Oh, my.

And then, I was fearful.
Fearful of doing the wrong thing, I began to second guess everything I'd done, was about to do, or ever thought about doing. I went to my mentor teacher (who is, by the way, absolutely amazing!), just to ask her if I needed to use a different textbook...

And then I was tearful.

I couldn't stop myself. I cried. Highly unprofessional, I know, but also highly impossible to stop once started.

But, that was then and this is now, and now I am home after a good night at the theater. I am cheerful once more.

School starts Monday, polka dots, text book, and all.
Sans tears.
Moderated fears.

Three cheers.

Friday, August 13, 2010


...BIRTHDAY, to you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Daddy!
If any of you are lucky enough to know my dad, then you are lucky enough to know one of the world's greatest men.

And, one of the world's zaniest! He is definitely his own man, doing things his own way.

Once I went with my dad to pick out new glasses for him. If I thought I was to be of any assistance, I was greatly mistaken. He walked in, picked up the first pair of frames he found and declared, "These are good."
"But, Dad, don't you want to try them on first? Or look for some others?"
"These are good."
"But, Dad, there might be others that look more stylish or something."
"Keri," he said, sitting down in the chair, indicating definite done-ness, "Style is not a part of my lexicon."

Who'd 'a thunk it?

Here are a few things that are a part of his lexicon:
Love of my mother.
Love of his children.
Love of Jesus Christ.
Love of His children.

My dad is one in a million. And I love him. I'm lucky that he loves me, too.

Thanks for teaching me your lexicon of life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


How lucky can a girl get?
I pulled this fortune while having lunch with my beloved Gliny in Ft. Collins. Thinking it a lovely list of words, I took the photograph for posterity, then promptly forgot about it amidst left overs and leaving.
Forgot about it until...several months later when I got a phone call from the principal of the school where I've been working as a substitute teacher for the last several years. A phone call during which he offered me a job.
A real job. A perfect job. A plop down into my lap, couldn't be better suited to my life sort of job. A job I wasn't looking for, but a job I happily accepted nonetheless. It's a job teaching the morning half of a second grade class.
Not that teaching has ever been known as a make-you-rich sort of profession, but teaching does bring in more money than doing nothing! And, better than the money, teaching just plain makes me feel rich inside.
Wealth, indeed, awaits me very soon.

The truth, however, is that the whole thing scares me to death.
What if I'm not any good? What if I don't know what to do? What if I'm terrible at it?
What if I fail?
There are times I'm slightly tempted to quit--quit before I even begin!
But then I think of something my voice teacher has taught me to say at times like these:
"Swim fat."

Say what? Swim fat?!
Here's the deal:
If you are fat, and you want to go swimming, you have three options.
You can wait until you drop the desired poundage, and then go swimming.
You can just not go swimming.
Or, you can swim fat.

Well, I am, admittedly, a bit doubtful of my abilities right now, and totally unsure of what I'm really facing. I'm feeling fat.

But I'm also extremely excited, and recognize how very lucky I am to have this opportunity to teach.
So, folks, I'm jumping in. Fat and all.

Wish me my fortune.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Ha! I accidentally posted this when absolutely nothing but the title was written.
Oops. That's kind of funny. (And, Natalie, so was your comment!)

My intentions were to post pictures of our recent trip to St. George (hence, the title), as well as some pictures we took in St. George while visiting there a year ago. I hadn't realized that we'd made it an annual vacation, but it's kind of turning out that way! I don't mind one bit; it's such a lovely place (more so when the air conditioner works, right Lindsay?).

My intentions are still there. Michael's laptop, however, is not. Well, I mean, it's there, if "there" means Island Park, Idaho, where M and the boys are reunion-ing with the Vance clan (I'm going on Wednesday). So he's got all the pictures with him, and I just have a blank blog entitled "Saintly."

As long as I've got you looking, though, let me tell you how saintly I truly am.

Today, as I was walking out after church, I passed a woman I didn't recognize. I did notice she was standing alone, possibly waiting for someone. I just kept going. Suddenly there were words in my head. Some might call that inspiration. But was it? Here, let's replay the moment together:

"Hmm...I don't know that lady. I should probably stop and say hello." walk, walk, walk...

"That would be stupid. She's probably just visiting, and church is over now anyway, and I'll never see her again, so what's the point?" walk, walk, walk...

"Well, the point is to be nice. Are you a friendly person, or not?" walk, door and exit...

"Not." walk...stop

"Or, at least I don't have to be...all the I?" roll eyes at heaven...

"Oh, come on! I already talked to two other new people and invited that one kid to my Primary class and shared my quiet books and, and, and...!" dang it

"Keri, you need to go say hello." Can't ignore that one.

"Maybe I'll be the one who makes her feel welcome? Maybe my words will be just what she was waiting to hear? Maybe my hand of fellowship will be the one that pulls her back from a sea of loneliness to bask in the warmth of womanly companionship?!" turn self around...

"Okay. Yes. I'll do it. I only hope I'm not too late!" walk, walk, walk...faster now...back the way I came...

I found the woman exactly where I'd passed her, still alone, still waiting. I offered up my winsome smile and a happy greeting. And was met by a stone cold wall. She stared at me icily for a moment, and then walked past me in silence.

Where are the words now? Hmmmm?

I suppose, all in all, I'm lucky. Most of the saints I've heard about had their heads chopped off.


If a picture paints a thousand words, well, then here's a short novel:

Trek 2010: A Pioneer Odyssey

In the beginning Michael and I were clean, pressed, and pioneer power-dressed to impress.
No make-up, no hair-spray, convening at the church at 4:45 a.m., I was truly leaving civilization behind.

After a six-hour drive we reached our destination: the Mormon Handcart Visitor Center at Martin's Cove, Wyoming.
Lovely views (especially when I'm home, looking at them on a computer screen).

It was fuh-reez-ing cold!
Okay. Maybe "freezing" is a slight exaggeration, but it was extremely chilly, with terrific winds that drove us all to search for warmer wear, including my winter hat (which, by the way, did nothing to improve my heretofore non-hair sprayed hair do).

And the walking began.
Sing with me now: Pioneer children sang as they walked,

and walked,

and walked,

and walked,

and walked.

They washed at streams
(crossing the Sweetwater River)

and worked
(wending our way to the actual Martin's Cove site)

and played.
(the plastic lizard I left as a surprise for one of my Trek daughters. I also came prepared with rubber spiders, mice, and snakes which I shared as special--yes, surprise--gifts throughout the camp).

At night they camped,
(singing around the campfire each night)

and danced
('though I am one exceedingly proficient square dancer, I ended up in the super-dunce group--of which Lane was a part, incidentally. No one could master the art of even walking in a straight line, let alone dance with a partner! At one point I looked around and saw one young man ripping his shirt off and swinging it around his head, another young man doing the disco next to the poor, sweet sister missionary who was trying to lead us, and Lane pretending to ride a horse with his friend Cody, galloping sounds and horse commands included!)

and prayed.
(not really praying, here, although we did a lot of that! We also started seeing Lane hang out with our Trek family a lot more, since he and one of our cute Trek daughters really hit it off well together. They ended up spending lots of time together after we got home, too, until--alas--she had to return home to Colorado.)

Can you figure out which one she is? Don't be fooled by the hot babe with the ringlets. That's just me, wearing one of the three wigs I brought and wore on Trek.

Wigs or no, three days of wind, sun, sweat, and dirt certainly transformed us into bathing (as in "needing one badly") beauties!

Despite the dirt and grime, and my sincere reluctance to ever spend that much time in the great outdoors, this was a great experience. Memories were made, lessons were learned, and friendships were strengthened. My testimony of obedience was strengthened. Lane, who never talks about such personal things, told me ways that his testimony was strengthened. And Michael was just plain thrilled to a) get to be outside, b) have a Trek experience with his son, and c) have me away from any form of shopping for three blessed days.


I hope they call me on a mission...

when I have grown a foot or two...

I hope by then I will be 19 years old ready...

To teach, and preach, and work...

like missionaries in the Pennsylvania Philadelphia mission do.

Yes, folks, he's all grown up now and leaving us on September 8th. He could not be more excited. This is what he's dreamed about and prepared for all his life. Evan truly wants nothing more than to serve the Lord.

I, the lucky one he calls Mom, want nothing more for Evan than the peace that comes from knowing that the Lord is intimately involved in his life, and loves him beyond comprehension. If Evan doesn't know that already, he's going to find out.

If you don't know that already, I hope you get to find it out, too. There's nothing better I could wish for you, either. You are loved.