Mind

September 29, 2008

“And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.”
— Mary Baker Eddy

I did something today that I haven’t done in over a decade: I walked into a classroom and spent the whole day teaching sophomore English.

In light of the challenges I faced in the classroom a decade ago, I was understandably apprehensive about trying it again. But as a series of unlikely events unfolded — beginning with a strange intuition last September and continuing through all sorts of job changes, chance encounters, and offhand conversations — I started to catch on to the idea that the Father didn’t think I was quite finished with my teaching career, so I listened, obeyed, and stepped out onto a stormy sea with nothing but a few ideas about classroom management and a childlike certainty that God would not coax me out onto the water just to watch me drown.

That certainty was enough to get me to volunteer for a trip back into the classroom, but as we drove across the Oklahoma Panhandle yesterday on our way back from New Mexico, each passing mile brought me closer to a confrontation with the fears and uncertainties that had haunted me since I left the profession, and doubt started to creep into my thought. The restful sleep I’d looked forward to on our trip had eluded me as dreams — some of them nightmares — about teaching danced in my head every time I closed my eyes, and I began to second-guess myself.

Doubt has no place in a classroom. Kids are like dogs: They can smell fear, and it makes them very nervous when they sense weakness in someone who is supposed to be taking care of them, so I knew I had to get a handle on my concerns before class started this morning.

As I prayed for an idea that would carry me through the day, I remembered Mrs. Eddy’s words about praying “for that Mind to be in us that was also in Christ Jesus.” 

Of course! I didn’t have to worry about what to say to my kids, or what to do if they acted up, or how to structure the class so they wouldn’t get bored or disorderly. I just had to remember that the Mind of Christ was right there with me, supplying a steady stream of ideas to carry me through the day.

The fear that had been following me around all weekend vanished, and an easy confidence took its place. I wasn’t perfect. There were things that could have gone better. But I kept my classes under control, had fun listening to the kids’ ideas about the short story we were reading, and ended the day feeling that I had finally become the teacher I’d intended to be 10 years ago.

Wow.

Emily


Neil Diamond Impersonator Monday

September 29, 2008

This guy is pretty good. (WARNING: Sound in link.)

Even better is the unabashed cheesiness of this promotional video from his agent. Check out the Streisand impersonator around 3:32. 

Emily


Home

September 28, 2008

Because I have to get up at 7 a.m. to finish preparing for class, I can’t stay up all night Photoshopping images … but I did want to share just a few shots from our trip this weekend. The photo above is the view from halfway up Tucumcari Mountain, which Ron and I climbed on Saturday.

The climb was Ron’s idea. He’s been looking forward to it for weeks and even did some training for the hike (which is roughly a three-mile round trip over mildly challenging terrain) by walking to the gym several times a week and walking the dogs up and down a long, steep hill near our house. This is how he looked when he got to the top of the mountain.

The view was nice, but I was more fascinated with the tiny creatures we encountered on the way up. This butterfly — which was about the size of a nickel — left me wishing, once again, for a macro lens…. 

For some reason, this rock reminds me of a wise, gentle Muppet.

Luckiest. Shot. Ever. I was surprised by the number of pollinators we saw on the mountain. I was trying to get this wasp working the flower you see in the foreground, but it decided to take off just as the shutter opened. Awesome.

A wonky shot of the gorgeous U-Drop Inn on Route 66 in Shamrock, Texas. We passed through town late Friday night on our way to Tucumcari. 

Here we are on Route 66 at the Blue Swallow, where Bill kindly took our picture this morning in front of one of the new murals he hired a guy to paint on the exterior walls. Ignore my hair, which is a complete disaster because A.) I’d just gotten out of the shower, and B.) I forgot to bring a hairbrush on this trip. 

The hair situation factored into my otherwise inexplicable decision to purchase a straw cowboy hat for $3.50 at a convenience store on the way out of town.

Ron shot this just before sunset as we were coming through the Gloss Mountains on the way home. It still blows my mind that we have mesas like this in Oklahoma. 

I’m not sure I’m really getting away with that hat, but normal style conventions do not apply to road trips, and it’s definitely not the silliest souvenir I’ve worn home from Tucumcari. That honor goes to a beaded Indian barrette with two huge, charcoal-gray feathers attached, which I bought at the late, great Coyote Moon one evening and insisted on wearing all the way home. (You can imagine how awesome it looked with the screaming red dye job I was sporting at the time.)

Hope your weekend was as much fun as mine.

Emily


Tucumcari tonight!

September 27, 2008

Just a quick post tonight at the end of a long ride. We pulled in at the ever-gorgeous Blue Swallow a few minutes ago. The Holga and the Diana have both been introduced to the magic of neon in the high desert. The Rebel still can’t quite replicate the soft blue glow of electrified argon, but that’s part of the magic, I think. It’s been a long day, a crazy week, and a roller coaster of a year, and I’m ready for my long-anticipated rest with the casements open and the high desert air drifting in.

It’s a lovely night in New Mexico. Have a beautiful evening, wherever you are.

Emily


Folk Thursday: Let It Be

September 25, 2008

I’m not sure Ray Charles jazzing up a Beatles song qualifies as folk, but I doubt I’ll hear many complaints….

Emily


Still crazy after all these years

September 24, 2008

Two weeks ago, I learned that one of our English teachers was resigning.

For reasons I still do not fully comprehend, I walked into Zaphod’s office and offered to swap my nice, cakey curriculum-writing gig for a chance to teach sophomore English again for the first time in 10 years.

Zaphod said yes.

I start Monday.

God help us all….

Emily


Anguish

September 22, 2008

Wax moths destroyed our oldest hive. On July 1, we harvested 10 frames of gorgeous, amber-colored honey from that hive. In mid-August, we checked to see how they were doing with the new frames we’d added. Today, the entire hive was overrun with wax moth larvae that had destroyed everything in their path: comb, honey, brood.

I am heartbroken.

Emily


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